I have very mixed reviews about corporate run schools; especially those that are housed in inner cities. I am all for education. However, I feel that the best possible way for a child to learn is in a nurturing, understanding, and very fair environment. I also feel the children should have access to learning in different ways, thus affording them the opportunity to understand, appreciate, and gleen from the way he or she learns best. Academically this school seems to be strong. On the flip side character building, communication skills, fairness, integrity, and explorative learning are evidently lacking.
My children have been attending the Lab School for three years now and they love it. They had previosly attended a public school and were not getting challenged. When my daughter came home with a C in her report card, we knew that she was finally going to get the proper education. The school offers extracurricular activities that do not overwhelm the children but allow them enough time to come home and get homework done. As for parent involvement,the school communicates with letters, once a month with meetings, or a phone call. As a parent I have always felt that my children are safe and that communication with the teachers can be easily attained. My children love this school.
Although this school has great academics, they tend to lack in the area of socialization. The communication from the principal and teachers is disturbing. My son attended from K to 4th grade. I liked it until the fourth grade. Naturally the work got more complex, but their was no support, guidance or enthusiasm from administration. There is no afterschool activities, aside from a mandatory 3:30 to 5:30 session. It was supposed to be for studying Africa, but my son told me otherwise. While academics are very important, the kids need a break sometimes. There is no recess. I think the school is run very militant. School only cares about PSSA scores, they forget our kids are the ones getting the good scores making them look good. Very arrogant administration. They are not the only good charter school. My son will not return for 5th grade.
This school is not for everyone. It requires a strong dedication from the student coupled with an equally consistent involvement with parent(s). There is a high level of expectation such as weekly homework packets and quizzes/tests that will pay off down the road. My daugher who is entering 2nd grade is reading at a 4th grade level and is comprehending math, science and language (french and spanish) concepts for someone beyond her age. Her learning regiment is ingrained already and these fundamentals are so necessary. Students are challenged daily but it is preparing them for standardized tests and the demands of the 'Real World' at an early age. My son is about to enter kindergarten and I know he will benefit also from this rigorous program. The quality teachers are held at a high level and Terranova test scores clearly indicate that hard work pays off.
The principal is not accessible to parents or other members of the school community to address their concerns. Majority of the teachers do not communicate openly and clearly with parents or students due to reprisal from principal. Blanket policy of discipline(If you are in the class you are punished-silent lunch/or only 15 minutes to eat) What an inhumane way to treat children. Imagine reporting to work for 8-9 hrs a day and not being allowed to talk at lunch on a routine basis. Children are frowned upon for asking a question to clarify information. My son loved K-3 at school, however, over the past two years he literally hates school due to the constant blanket discipline and the disrespectful way the children are addressed when parents aren't around. Adults that work at the school have also confirmed this info. High staff turnover. No nurturing or well dones given.
Your child will acquire a quality education and so will you. Parental particiapation is a must. Monthly meeting with parents/teachers is mandatory. The school does offer music, art, an actual gym class, french and spanish are mandatory classes. It is best and an easier transition to have children enrolled by kindergarden. Children in the higher grades experience a difficult transition at first. The monthly status reports are a great tool in seeing your childs accomplishments and struggles. Probably one of the best public education schools in the area.
The academic programs at Lab Charter are top notch! However, the school is most concerned about children meeting their high expectations. My child struggled at Lab and I received absolutely no support. I had numerous talks with her teacher but no help was given. This school is recognized as a Blue Ribbon School but my child was left back in her classroom because she was not able to keep up with the accelerated curiculum. The school does NOT allow a PTA and places limitations on parent involvement.
I am extremely impressed with the academic program at Lab Charter. The faculty and staff are supportive and all of them function on one basic principle and that is to provide every opportunity to ensure that their students understand their work. This includes tutoring sessions, after school sessions, Saturday sessions or whatever is necessary to teach your child. It is a demanding school and as a parent I feel as though I have taken on a second job but it is well worth it when I see the results of their hard work. The extracurricular activities are academically oriented and leave little time for play. If you place your childs education at the top of your parent list then Lab Charter is a great place for your child. I highly recommend this school.
This is my son's second year at Lab School and I am very pleased with this school. He is mentally gifted and I looked very hard to find a school that could challenge him. Lab is better than the private school that I paid tuition. The classrooms size is small and the students are very close. They work very well together. My son use to have difficulties in other schools because he was academically advanced. In this school, he has found other students on his level. The students are taught to respect each other, thus creating an environment that the students can comfortably learn without major peer pressure. I recommend this school to anyone who is looking for the best education option, who are willing to support their student, and the staff. Interim reports are given monthly. It is a lot of work and the students are pushed to excellence.
The Lab School is a great find. In one year of kindergarten, my daughter has gone from not reading at all, to reading 3rd or 4th grade books, and quite a bit of Spanish and French as well. The teaching techniques used are different than I recall with my older child, and produce great results. There is truly a lot of homework, projects, recipes, etc. and a parent has to be willing to put in the work, but it is definitely worth it. It's amazing how much children can learn when the effort is made. As a charter school, the extra-curriculars are at a minimum of course, but with the money you save (not paying private school tuition), just invest in some after school lessons. Also worthy of mention, there are quite a few days off during the year(& half days), so keep a sitter handy.
This is my child's first year at the Lab School. She is in the first grade. The curriculum is second to none in the city of Philadelphia. I choose this school because I wanted my child to learn a foreign language in elementary school. The students receive French and Spanish instruciton everyday! My child really enjoys this school and I do as well. I don't think elementary school students can get a better education anywhere else in the city of Philadelphia.
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The Community Rating is the school’s average rating from its community members (e.g., parents, students, and school staff). The highest possible rating is five stars; the lowest is one star.
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