N.Y.C. Lab School for Collaborative Studies

Grades: 9-12
Staff Pick Staff Pick for Special Ed
333 West 17th Street
Manhattan NY 10011
Phone: 212-691-6119

Our Insights

What’s Special

Challenging academics within a supportive environment

The Downside

Drab building

It is 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, and so unable to be present and engage in the work at hand," said principal Brooke Jackson.

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. Almost all the classes are team-taught. One member of the team is certified to teach special education and the other is an academic content area specialist. Roughly five students in each class have special needs and they are fully integrated into the class. An ASD Nest program brings in about five students each year from the borough and integrates them into classrooms as well. These children are on the autism spectrum. "The novelty is that we are at once a school that screens for academic readiness AND we mainstream/fully include students with learning disabilities, social/emotional struggles, students on the autism spectrum (ASD nest program), and students with physical and intellectual disabilities (Access program)," Jackson said.

Students are integral to the workings of the school to an unusual degree, from the student-led clubs, which range from the sporty and goofy (ping pong, comic books) 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 come back 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 iPads and skateboards appropriately in school. If a child needs a break from class, she or he may take a lap around the drab building. 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 is not too late to jump on the track leading to advanced placement calculus by taking both algebra 2/trigonometry and geometry sophomore 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. In addition to physics and AP calculus, students may choose from statistics, forensics, AP environmental science, robotics, AP computer science and AP psychology. 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; the school's several female math teachers serve as role models for them. The school recently added a chapter of Girls Who Code to address potential gender disproportionality in classes, and invested in a four-year computer science sequence to expose all students to coding. 

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.

Students in grades 9 to 11 have art and music in their programs. They may opt to include additional coursework in the visual and performing arts and may take advanced art and music classes junior and senior year.

Lab is one of three schools sharing a common building, though they seem to make it work. The teen-friendly Chelsea location is a plus; there's a pizza place right around the corner. (Lydie Raschka, web reports and interview, September 2018.)


Read more

School Stats

Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Is this school safe and well-run?

From 2019-20 NYC School Survey

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
75% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
86% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
37% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
79% Citywide Average

From 2019-20 NY State Report Card

How many students were suspended?
2% Citywide Average

From 2019-20 School Quality Guide

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
76% Citywide Average
Years of principal experience at this school

How do students perform academically?

From 2019-20 School Quality Guide

How many students graduate in 4 years?
82% Citywide Average
How many students graduate with test scores high enough to enroll at CUNY without remedial help?
48% Citywide Average
How many students take a college-level course or earn a professional certificate?
41% Citywide Average
How many graduates stay enrolled in college for at least 3 semesters?
67% Citywide Average

Who does this school serve?

From 2020-21 Demographic Snapshot

Free or reduced priced lunch
Students with disabilities
English language learners

From 2019-20 School Quality Guide

Average daily attendance
87% Citywide Average
How many students miss 18 or more days of school?
38% Citywide Average

How does this school serve special populations?

From 2019-20 School Quality Guide

How many students with disabilities graduate in 4 years?
66% Citywide Average

For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data · More DOE statistics for this school

Programs & Admissions

From the 2021 High School Directory

College Prep
Admissions Method: Screened
Program Description:

Collaborative work and interdisciplinary projects.

N.Y.C. Lab School for Collaborative Studies ASD Nest Program
Admissions Method: ASD/ACES Program


Language Courses


Advanced Placement (AP) courses

AP English Literature and Composition, AP Psychology, AP Spanish Language and Culture, AP English Language and Composition, AP Computer Science Principles, AP U.S. Government and Politics, AP Calculus AB, AP United States History, AP Environmental Science


Boys PSAL teams

Baseball, Basketball, Indoor Track, Soccer

Girls PSAL teams

Basketball, Cross Country, Flag Football, Golf, Soccer, Softball, Tennis, Volleyball

Coed PSAL teams


Read about admissions, academics, and more at this school on NYCDOE’s MySchools
NYC Department of Education: MySchools

Contact & Location


Chelsea (District 2)
Trains: 1 Line to 18th St; A Line, C Line, E Line, L Line to 14th St
Buses: M11, M12, M14A, M14D, M20, M23-SBS, M55, M7, X1, X10, X10B, X12, X17, X27, X28


Brooke Jackson
Parent Coordinator
Theresa Della Valle

Other Details

Shared campus?
This school shares the building with its middle school and the Museum School
Metal detectors?

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