The New York City Lab School for Collaborative Education is a unique learning environment with a distinct philosophy that is predicated on four defining principles:
Academic Rigor - Compassion - Diversity and Pluralism - Collaboration
The following is quoted from a review of the school at insideschools.org:
The Lab School for Collaborative Studies is a selective middle and high school that consistently ranks in the very top in reading and math scores citywide. A demanding curriculum and creative instruction combine to draw students, and the middle school has increased in size in recent years to accommodate more of the many talented applicants.
The curriculum centers on the notion that students learn best by working in groups—hence the name "collaborative studies." On one of my visits, a father (who is a professor of African-American studies at Columbia University), helped lead a discussion of the U.S. Constitution in his daughter's 8th-grade American history class. Then, working in groups, students wrote their own ideal constitution, based on their research.
Kids have opportunities for various imaginative projects, and the Lab School encourages children to take an active role in their education and their community --students may petition the administration for electives of their own choosing, and are expected to take part in community service projects. Every junior works 6 to 10 hours a week as an intern at places such as a day-care center, a hospital, an architectural firm, or a judge's office.
High-schoolers work hard at Lab -- and some are as sleep deprived as their counterparts at the specialized high schools. But the school is less intense, the size is intimate, and many kids feel they can count on grown-ups for help and encouragement. The middle school always loses part of its class to Hunter College High School in 7th grade and to the specialized high schools in 9th grade. But increasingly, kids who pass the exams for specialized high schools are choosing to stay at Lab.
Departments are organized into the major disciplines:
Language Arts - Mathematics - Music & Art - Physical Education & Wellness - Science - Social Sciences