During Lab Day every Wednesday, students have the opportunity to do real-world learning, bringing the city into the classroom and going out into the city as classroom. Lab Day gives students flexibility and freedom to explore their own interests, create the culture of the high school, and contribute to the life of the community.
In 9th grade, there are four required Lab Studies courses: Orientation to High School, Community and Diversity, Health and Wellness, and City and Sustainability. Students take two of these courses in the fall and two in the spring. In addition, students choose two out of six Lab Studies electives: Economics, Global Politics, Urban Studies (fall semester); Culture and Media, Food and Society, Law and Justice (spring semester).
Lab Day also provides time for student-run clubs, student government, and service learning. The afternoon of Lab Day is spent in Tutorial (academic extra help, enrichment, independent study) and Studio (arts projects, student activities, research projects, service learning work) based on each individual student’s needs and interests. Students, in consultation with their advisors and grade deans, plan their weekly Tutorial and Studio time for each quarter during the year.
Students are required to keep a Lab Studies Portfolio that documents the work they have done, charts their accomplishments, and reflects on their growth and development. Students share their progress in Lab Studies at the end of each quarter in Advisory, followed by an end of semester Lab Studies Assessment where students present their lab studies work to a panel of their peers and teachers.