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, M14AD, M20, M23, M5, M7

What's special:

Bright, quirky teenagers thrive here

The downside:

Limited course offerings, drab building

InsideSchools Review

Our review:

The NYC Lab School for Collaborative Studies is one of the most successful and sought-after small high schools in the city. The academics are challenging, but the atmosphere is laid-back.  Kids who thrive there are high achievers who speak up, get involved and, in the spirit of the school's name, collaborate with others on projects and extra-curricular activities.

Founded as a 6-12 school, in 2007 Lab High School split from the middle school known as the NYC Lab Middle School. Though the two schools maintain a common vision of collaborative and inclusive learning, they are run by separate administrations, with separate admissions policies, teaching, and support staff.

Building and location: Lab is located in the upscale Chelsea neighborhood. The school shares facilities, including the gymnasium, auditorium, and library, with Lab Middle School and the New York City Museum School inside a large, square building that parents have described as drab, fortress-like, and institutional.  The building was in the midst of an upgrade during our visit.

Most of Lab High School is housed on the third floor. Classrooms are cramped, but nicely decorated with student work and stocked with supplies and books.

The school could benefit from more technology.  There are few SmartBoards or laptop computers, though the school is slated to get its own computer lab for the 2010-11 school year.

School environment and culture: The vibe throughout the school is collegial and relaxed. Walk through the hallway at anytime of the day and you're likely to find kids sprawled out on the floor chatting, studying, or working on projects.  "I want the school to feel like a college campus," said Principal Brooke Jackson, who draws inspiration from her own undergraduate experience at Wesleyan University.

Students in all grades can leave the building for lunch, and many do, but plenty also take advantage of the lunchtime clubs - choosing to stay indoors or return to school after grabbing a quick bite nearby. "We're ‘Lab' rats," one student said. "We never leave the building."

Teachers deliver lessons in a conversational tone; students are at ease participating, often speaking up without raising their hands.  In many schools such conduct would be disruptive, but at Lab it's all part of the seminar style of instruction that encourages vigorous give and take between teachers and students.

"The funny thing about the school is that it's very quiet during the day even though everyone is talking in class or doing something in the hallway," a parent said. "It just seems to work well at Lab."

Teaching and curriculum: Academics are very challenging, but students say that the work load isn't oppressive with roughly two to three hours of homework each night.  Teachers encourage students to delve deeply into issues and think critically about their work. In a 9th grade Global History class, students worked in groups to develop board games based on their study of the Silk Road. During a 10th grade English class's reading of Othello, students discussed words such as "venial" and "requite" and the context in which they arose in the play.

Math and science instruction are strong but there is definitely a progressive, liberal arts bent to the school. Seniors take a human rights seminar, studying such topics as the Milgram obedience experiment and the tensions between individual rights and the common good. The school hosts an annual HIV/Aids Action Day; summer reading includes selections like The Laramie Project.

Juniors and seniors undertake independent research projects. In the 11th grade, students complete a college-style research paper. In the 12th grade, students undertake a year-long project that culminates in an "oral defense" before faculty. "Trial by fire" was how a senior described his experience working on his own with support, but "no hand holding," from advisors to create a documentary on how work defines identity.

Lab students register for classes every semester and have the opportunity to tweak their schedule during a traditional drop/add period. Like all small schools, there are limits to what Lab can offer.  Students enjoy a large array of clubs, teams, visual arts electives, and a strong theater program. There is, however, no music instruction, Spanish is the only foreign language taught and there are few advanced math and science classes.

Beginning in September 2010, Lab will participate in an Advanced Placement enrichment program through iZone, a technology-based project that provides students with daily access to individualized on-line lessons. The school offers Advanced Placement classes in Calculus, English Composition and English Literature, Environmental Science, Physics, Spanish, Statistics, and US History.

Special education:  The school is a pioneer in the inclusion model of special education.  Nearly half of its classes use the Collaborative Team Teaching (CTT) model.  The school typically enrolls 80 - 90 students with special needs who are screened for strong academic ability.

Admissions: Selective admissions with priority to District 2 residents.  Lab Middle School students no longer get priority in admissions. Students must have a minimum average of 85 in core subjects English, math, science and social studies and a good record of attendance.  Open houses are conducted during the fall. Check the school's website for dates and times.

After graduation:  Nearly every student attends college.  For the class of 2009, 97 percent attended four-year colleges, including Ivy League and prestigious schools such as Johns Hopkins, Swarthmore, Tulane, Wesleyan, the universities of California (Los Angeles and Berkeley), Chicago, Michigan, and North Carolina (Chapel Hill).

Lab founded the annual Unique College Fair, where representatives from nearly 100 colleges congregate to meet with juniors from participating small, public high schools in Manhattan. All juniors and seniors attend weekly college advisory classes and the college counselor meets with every family individually to discuss options.(Laura Zingmond, May 2010)

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 2009 freshmen graduated within 4 years?

95% 70% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many 2007 freshmen graduated within 6 years?

98% 78% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Previous Years

How many 2008 freshmen graduated within 4 years?

92% 66% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many 2008 freshmen earned an advanced regents diploma within 4 years?

40% 12% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many 2006 freshmen graduated within 6 years?

98% 75% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many 2008 freshmen 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 2009 freshmen 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 2009 freshmen graduated in four years and enrolled in college?

91%

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 starting school in 2008 graduated within 4 years?

88% 45% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many special ed students starting school in 2006 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 starting school in 2008 graduated within 4 years?

40% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many English language learners starting school in 2006 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: 3-4 ; English Language Arts Levels: 3-4

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

Academics

AP COURSES: Biology, Calculus AB, English Language and Composition, Physics B, Psychology, Spanish Language, Statistics, United States History

Online: N/A

Language classes: Spanish

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, Learn Japanese, Literary Magazines, Middle East Studies, Model United Nations, 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: Dance Team, Pilates, Weight Training, Yoga

Source: High school directory

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