NYC Lab School for Collaborative Studies

An Insideschools pick
An Insideschools pick for Special Education
333 WEST 17 STREET
MANHATTAN NY 10011 Map
Phone: (212) 691-6119
Website: Click here
Admissions: selective/District 2 priority
Principal: BROOKE JACKSON
Neighborhood: Chelsea/ Greenwich Village
District: 2
Grade range: 9-12
Humanities & Interdisciplinary
Wheelchair Accessible
Screened

Buses: M11, M14A, M14D, M20, M23, M5, M7

What's special:

Challenging academics within a supportive environment

The downside:

Limited course offerings, drab building

InsideSchools Review

Our review:

It’s rare to find a high school as attuned to the peculiar charms and vulnerabilities of teen-dom as the NYC Lab School for Collaborative Studies, one of the most successful small high schools in the city. “When students are anxious, depressed, isolated or afraid, we believe they’re hijacked,” said principal Brooke Jackson, to an auditorium filled with middle school families embarking on their umpteenth high school tour.

Lab is a relief in so many ways, boasting stellar college acceptances to the likes of Princeton, Yale and the University of Chicago, yet offering a safe port where teens can truly be teens. A parent calls it “a mecca for quirky, smart kids who can handle the work.”

Inclusion is a centerpiece of Lab. Most classes are team-taught (one member of the team is certified to teach special education), and roughly five students in each have special needs, while other classes incorporate a few kids who receive tutoring from a special education teacher. The ASD Nest program brings in students from a feeder school in East Harlem who are on the autism spectrum. About three of these children are integrated into a given classroom in this growing program.

Students are integral to the workings of the school to an unusual degree, from the student-led clubs, which range from sporty and goofy (ping pong, cereal-tasting) to the serious-minded (HIV Action, Model United Nations). They oversee most aspects of Lab Theater Company’s three annual performances. Seniors tutor younger peers in math and lead small group advisories to help freshmen adjust to the school. Alumni love to visit and say they entered college ready to speak up, ask questions and work well with others, according to the administration.

Teens who choose Lab will make the most of it if they fully embrace “Labbie” culture. Some teachers, and the principal, choose to be called by their first names and most staff function more like coaches than lecturers, roaming the classroom and offering advice as teens work on their assigned tasks. It is common to hear the scrape of chairs and tables as students rearrange their classrooms to facilitate conversation. Teachers embrace teens in all their slouchy glory; it is part of the learning, the principal said, to learn how to use things like cell phones and iPods appropriately in school. If a child needs a break from class, she can “take a lap” around the drab building—fondly dubbed the “concrete donut” by students. A senior, who was unhappy in his middle school, said, “I have been loved here.”

Academics are rigorous and designed to prepare all students for four-year colleges. Yet Lab plans for the fact that children mature at different rates academically, as well as socially. The school offers unusual flexibility in math; if an 8th-grader did not take Regents’-level algebra in middle school, for example, it’s not too late to jump on the track leading to advanced placement calculus by taking both algebra and geometry freshman year.

All teachers have certification in their areas of expertise, and every student is required to take four years of math and four years of science. If a student doesn’t feel ready for the rigors of calculus or physics in senior year, however, he can choose forensics or an easier math class instead. Jackson said, “We try to find that sweet spot between anxiety and boredom.”

Lab keeps in mind that girls are at risk of dropping back in math and science in middle school; several female math teachers provide role models for them. In AP calculus we noticed about two-thirds of the students were female, while a computer coding class had the reverse male-to-female ratio.

Juniors and seniors undertake independent research projects. Juniors complete a college-style research paper and seniors do a year-long project that culminates in an "oral defense" before faculty.

Ninth-graders sample music, art and theater and then may choose a track to follow through all four years. The school offers about 15 sports with an emphasis on give-it-a-try fun, not pure competition.

One downside, according to a senior who has her sights set on an engineering degree in college, is the limited class choice due to the small size of the school. “I would have liked more computer science,” she said, “but it wasn’t offered until senior year.” Another downside is the fact that Lab is one of three schools sharing a common building, though they seem to make it work. The teen-friendly Chelsea location helps; there’s a pizza place right around the corner.

Admissions: Selective admissions with priority to District 2 residents. Lab Middle School students do not get priority in admissions. Open houses are conducted during the fall. Check the school's website for dates and times. (Lydie Raschka, October 2014)

InsideStats

Click tabs above to see school stats

At a glance

Shared campus? Yes

This school shares the building with its Middle School and the Museum School

Number of Students 599

Average Daily Attendance 94%

Uniforms? No

Metal detectors? No

Students at this school

Asian

  
29%

Black

  
8%

Hispanic

  
16%

White

  
44%

Free Lunch

  
34%

Special ed

  
15%

English Language Learners

  
1%

INCOMING STUDENTS' PROFICIENCY: 3.50 2.80 CITYWIDE AVERAGE


1 = Far below grade level 2 = Below grade level 3 = At grade level 4 = Above grade level

Safety & vibe

ARE CLASSES BIG?

Number of students in an average english class

27 25 CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO STUDENTS LIKE THE TEACHERS?

How many students say their teachers inspire them to learn?

74% 63% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO TEACHERS LIKE THE PRINCIPAL?

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?

91% 78% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

IS THIS SCHOOL SAFE?

How many students say they feel safe in hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?

94% 82% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

 
 

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained in the school?

82% 77% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

HOW IS
ATTENDANCE?

How Many Students are Chronically Absent?

15% 38% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Who graduates

Class of 2013

How many students graduated within 4 years?

95% 70% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many students graduated within 6 years?

98% 78% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Previous Years

How many students graduated within 4 years?

92% 66% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many graduates earned an advanced regents diploma within 4 years?

40% 12% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many students graduated within 6 years?

98% 75% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many graduates dropped out within 4 years?

0% 11% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

College prep

Does this school offer a college preparatory curriculum?

How many students took an AP or IB class and scored at least a "3" on the AP exam or a "4" on the IB exam?

43%

How Many Students took a College Course and Got a "C" or Higher?

5%

How many students passed a Regents exam for algebra 2, physics or chemistry?

67%

Are students ready for college?

How many students graduated in four years with test scores high enough to enroll at CUNY without remedial help?

82% 27% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

SAT reading scores

553
414 CITYWIDE AVERAGE 496 NATIONWIDE AVERAGE

How many students graduated in four years and enrolled in college?

91% 62% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

SAT math scores

583
425 CITYWIDE AVERAGE 514 NATIONWIDE AVERAGE

Is the guidance counseling helpful?

How many students say that this school provides helpful counseling on college or job-seeking?

79% 76% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Special ed & ELL

How well does this school serve students with disabilities?

How many special ed students graduated within 4 years?

88% 45% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many special ed students graduated within 6 years?

100% 53% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many students with disabilities spend most of the day with non-disabled peers?

100% 68% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers say students with disabilities are included in all activities?

91% 89% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How well does this school serve English language learners?

How many English language learners graduated within 4 years?

40% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many English language learners graduated within 6 years?

58% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Programs and Admissions

School admission priorities:

  1. Priority to District 2 students or residents
  2. Then to Manhattan students or residents
  3. Then to New York City residents

Source: High school directory

College Prep

Screened

Collaborative work and interdisciplinary projects; all courses are Honors or Advanced Placement.

Selection Criteria

  • English (85-100) , Math (85-100) , Science (85-100) , Social Studies (85-100)
  • Math Levels: Levels 3-4 ; English Language Arts Levels: Levels 3-4

There may be additional selection criteria, see the High School Directory for more information

Academics

AP COURSES: Biology, Calculus AB, Calculus BC, English Language and Composition, English Literature and Composition, Psychology, Spanish Language and Culture, Statistics, United States Government and Politics, United States History

Source: High school directory

Sports/Clubs

EXTRACURRICULAR: Asian Cultural Club, Black Alliance, Chorus, Classic Literature, Dance, Feminist Focus, Gay-Straight Alliance, Girls Learn International, Graphic Arts, Group Green Club, Instrumental Music, Jewish Cultural Club, Lab Theater Company, NY Learn Japanese, Literary Magazines, Middle East Studies, Model UN, Newspaper, Open Studio Art Workshops, Peer Advisors, Photography, Stand Up to Bullying, Social Action, Student Ambassadors, Student Government, Student Publications, Tech Team

BOYS PSAL SPORTS: Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country, Golf, Indoor Track, Soccer

GIRLS PSAL SPORTS: Basketball, Cross Country, Indoor Track, Soccer, Softball, Tennis, Volleyball

Other schools sports: Girls Flag Football, Bowling, Weight Training, Yoga

Source: High school directory

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