See previous comment. It's nice to be sensitive to students' feelings, but the emphasis on this almost seems that the principal thinks she is running a school for emotionally disturbed kids instead of an academic program preparing them for college.
The "emotional safety" of the students is over-stressed by the principal without an equal stress on developing critical thinking skills. I don't think you can have integrity, compassion, and respect if you don't know how to think critically.
I am a parent of a 10th grader. This might have been a rigorous high school at one time; the science and math classes remain challenging, but the teaching in literature is less than mediocre. My child had one essay assigned for ninth grade. In 10th grade, difficult essays were assigned after books were read and discussed briefly with no demand or teaching of annotation. Very minimal teacher feedback on student writing with the excuse that "the classes are too big" even though there are 2 teachers per class. When a teacher was asked "Why aren't you requiring annotation?" she said the students were not allowed to write in the books. They could write notes in Google Docs. Basic teaching of critical thinking and good writing instruction is missing. I have to hire a tutor to teach my child writing and also to complete the essays because the teachers are not preparing them in class for the essays.
I have been a Lab parent for 8 years and I truly love both schools. It was a shame that the founders, Sheila and Rob split them up right before they retired... My oldest child has graduated, and is loving college. He thrived at both the middle and high school. My other child is entering 10th grade, and he also has had an amazing education, and experience so far. I think that the high school has stayed true to the philosophies of Lab, which are kindness, compassion, academic rigor and collaboration. The middle school has become more test score focused, perhaps bowing to the pressure of standardized tests and the desire to get into specialized high schools. Regardless, they are both amazing schools, and I couldn't be happier with my children's experiences. Fyi, most of the original teachers are still at the high school...
Lab is a fantastic school that really puts much of its emphasis on creating a safe environment for all students from different socioeconomic backgrounds and orientations. However, the academics is not good. I can say Lab has a very strong and challenging math curriculum, but everything else sucks. Not enough essays are being written and the science curriculum is a joke. I don't understand why drafting is even offered as a course. The english dept. needs to make its students read more novels and write more essays with feedback from teachers. The sciences are a joke because the teachers are awful. The only good history teacher was Ms. Taylor who was kicked out by the school for failure to meet new NYC DOE requirements. The academics at this school, except math are a joke. I really regret coming to Lab because it did not prepare me for college at all. But I think Lab can do a lot better if there were better teachers and a more rigorous curriculum. It can be very cliquey and because its a small school, it can be very dramatic with all the gossip and etc.
NYC Lab School lost originality, drive and academic rigor once the founding directors and original teachers left. Now it is a "regular" school, with mediocre offerings, particularly in Foreign Language and Science. I had all 3 children attend in a 15 year span and I saw the gradual decline. The magic of the school was palpable and the students were interested in being part of a creative environment. Now, its 7th place ranking is reflective of the second rate leadership and third rate currriculum.
My daughter is a freshman at LAB High School. She came from a small academically rigorous private school. She was well prepared, but the high school transition was challenging. She is thriving at LAB. The teachers are engaging, smart, and in-tune.The curriculum is insightful, demanding, yet inspiring. She has made lovely friends and I trust the adminstration 100% with her education and social prowess.I made the best decision I could have!
I graduated Lab two years ago but I must say I miss it terribly. I entered Lab in 2006 as the only student from my middle school on the upper west side but was welcomed with open arms and am still friends with the same people I met my first day. Though my first two years were utterly amazing filled with projects like learning about social issues in Romeo & Juliet that we later turned into raps, my creative and amazing education came to a halt my junior year when the principal decided to take out the Junior Internship program in which students would gain real world experience and get to know what fields they were interested in and created a curriculum called Junior and Senior Inquiry in which we were supposed to write a research paper (which we were required to do as seniors anyways so that was a waste of time.) All and all I personally believe the school went down hill when former co-principals Rob and Sheila left and I honestly wish they would've stayed longer. I chose to go to Lab because of the creative and fun atmosphere, I actually enjoyed learning in. Instead my final years of high school was probably like any other city school who's reputation isn't as pristine as Lab's.
I am a student here. I consider Lab to be my second home! However, It is a school where you can easily sink or float. If your child is hardworking and driven, then they will undoubtfully succeed with a rich education and strong support. If your child decides to slack off, then they will suffer. The school will match what you have to offer. Lab's strengths lie in its teachers, particularly those of humanities departments. With emphasis on drawing connections, collaboration, and other life skills, we learn how to really think and comprehend, rather than just memorize. Additionally, Lab's extra curricular programs are stellar. If you participate and hone your personal interests, you'll make fantastic friends, be part of a family. Nearly every student participates in an extracurricular of some kind. Also, if you don't see it there, make it! The fact that creating your own club or program is so easy is really encouraging. It's true, Lab's detriments lie in its size. Classes can vary by the semester, wonderful teachers are laid off due to budget cuts, and we students suffer from the irregularities. But, like anything, you need to know what's right for. Lab is perfect for me!