By Dr. Mary Moss Brown, Founder of Charlotte Lab School
While Charlotte Lab School welcomed its founding class of 290 students just a few months ago, the idea for the school has been many years in the making. Drawing on her experience as the founding co-principal of the NYC iSchool, a public high school in Manhattan, Dr. Moss Brown wanted to bring her vision for innovative education to elementary school children. And so began Charlotte Lab School.
Why Charlotte Lab School?
It is becoming more widely accepted that schools must adapt to meet the needs of our changing society and 21st century learners, however many educators continue to focus on small-scale and short-term improvements with the narrow goal of higher test scores. At CLS, we wanted to create opportunities for children to learn not only the academic skills that lead to achievement but also the social/emotional and 21st century skills that will enable long-term success and personal fulfillment. We do this through a combination of meaningful learning through real world projects, a strong student advisory program, and access to the city’s resources as part of our expanded classroom.
Meaningful Real-World Learning
At the core of our model is teaching through projects and real-world challenges. A smaller school size, smaller class sizes, and the determination and structures to know your child well enables us to provide individualized learning and flexible grouping in classes so that students work at just the right level. We also have a commitment to providing a college prep curriculum, which means we are thinking about where your child needs to be by junior year of high school and mapping our curriculum backwards from that goal to ensure that every child is well prepared.
Personalized Learning and Knowing Our Students
The Advisory Program is foundation for everything else we do. This is the structure that enables us to know your child well. Beginning in kindergarten, students will be in groups of 12-13, led by a faculty member who will become their primary advocate at school and who will become the family’s liaison with the school. In addition to the valuable relationships that will be formed, our advisory curriculum will include a variety of topics – from helping your child better understand him/herself as a learner, to making positive decisions, to talking about mindfulness and peer interactions. We know that supporting students as whole individuals – socially, emotionally, and developmentally – is the only way we can ensure their success academically.
The City as Our Expanded Classroom
Our students will engage in projects that require them to interact with the world outside of the classroom, providing students with a window into the real world, enabling them to better see the connections between school and the real world, providing exposure to different career fields, and pushing the rigor of their work to match professional quality. Through partnerships with a variety of Charlotte cultural resources, such as Discovery Place, Children’s Theater, and local businesses and professionals, our students are exposed to what’s possible.
Parents are invited to visit the school during one of our Fall 2015 Open Houses.
Please RSVP here.
Charlotte Lab School
301 E. 9th Street
Charlotte, NC 28202
Charlotte Lab School is a tuition-free public school that opened in Uptown Charlotte in the fall of 2015. In its first year the Lab School will serve 288 students in grades K-4, ultimately growing to serve 540 students in grades K-8. Using the resources of the city as an expanded classroom, Charlotte Lab School provides a rigorous, project-based curriculum in a small, nurturing setting, where students also learn a second language.