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Applying to Lab


Review our Open House Presentation for Prospective Families!

We have updated our FAQ's for Admitted Families.

What are your school hours and calendar?

Lower school hours are 8:15am to 3:30pm. Middle school hours are 8:30am to 3:45pm. Early drop-off begins at 7:45am. After school programs run through 5:30pm. Our school calendar can be found here.

What is a charter school?

A charter school is a public school that follows state guidelines but operates independently from local school districts. Charter schools promote the use of innovative teaching methods, school structures and programs to improve the learning experiences of their students. These schools have open enrollment with no discrimination or religious affiliations and therefore provide parents with additional choice in the education of their children. For more information about North Carolina charter schools, please visit The charter school movement is one that is often misunderstood and politically charged. To read more about the original intentions for charter schools, and the purpose to which we subscribe, here is a great editorial from the NY Times.

How much does it cost to attend a charter school?

Because charter schools are public schools, they are funded by federal, state and local taxes. This means that they are tuition free.

How is a school granted 'charter' status?

Since the lift of the cap on the number of charter schools in the State of NC, the application process for charter schools has changed each year. This past year was the most rigorous selection process; Charlotte Lab School is one of only 11 schools across the State (out of 71), and only one of three in Charlotte, that was approved by a State Board of Education-appointed Charter School Advisory Board If you'd like to learn more about the process and review our complete application, you can find it here.

Do charter school students have to take North Carolina standardized tests?

Charter school students are required to take all of the mandated NC State assessments such as the mCLASS Reading 3D assessments for K-3rd grade students, the Ready End-of-Grade tests (EOGs) in Reading and Math for 3rd-8th grade students, and the Ready EOGs in Science for 5th and 8th grade students. Charter schools are not required however to conduct the interim and benchmark assessments used by local districts.

What sets Charlotte Lab School apart from other charter schools?

The mission of the Lab School is to redesign the school experience to better prepare students for success in college and career and to become, through community partnerships, a model for innovative practices in teaching and leadership. The Lab School is a charter school which opened in the fall of 2015 with 288 students in grades kindergarten through fourth. The school will expand over five years to serve 540 students in grades kindergarten through eighth. Located in Uptown Charlotte, the Lab School is one of few schools accessible to an abundance of resources in the metropolitan area including museums, libraries, field experts and working professionals, as well as transportation to and from the greater Charlotte area. With an engaging student-centered, 'real-world' curriculum, a smaller, more nurturing community, and specific programs designed to support students' social, emotional, and metacognitive development, Charlotte Lab School's model is unique.

What is a lab school? How does Charlotte Lab School function as a lab school?

Lab schools historically are those operated in association with a university, college, or other teacher education institution and used for the training of future teachers who are practicing educational innovation and professional development. They often follow a model of experiential learning and are a place where the students and teachers are using direct experience to interact with the learning environment to gain an understanding of the content. Charlotte Lab School serves as a lab school by collaborating with Discovery Place, Children's Theatre, Levine Museum of the New South, and other local partners, field experts, and universities to create a community of learners among students, teachers, families, volunteers and the community; in essence, the city of Charlotte is our educational 'lab'.

How can I find out more about Charlotte Lab School’s curriculum and unique approach to teaching and learning?

Please visit our website and join the mailing list to receive school updates. Pages and documents that will be most helpful in describing the curriculum include those listed under The Lab Way, particularly the Day in the Life at Lab documents.

What does the school day look like for Lab students?

Students change classes daily for content area instruction and rotate through a variety of Physical Education classes including: Taekwondo, AlignedKids, and Sports Skills. View sample schedules for students in Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade, and 3rd and 4th grade.

Where is the Charlotte Lab School located?

Given that part of our mission is to utilize the City of Charlotte as our expanded classroom and to attract a diverse population easily accessible to all, our lower school is conveniently located in Uptown Charlotte at 301 E. 9th Street. Our middle school is located at 600 Seigle Ave.

What are Charlotte Lab School’s school hours?

The Lab School’s lower school hours are from 8:15am - 3:30pm. Middle school hours are from 8:30am to 3:45pm. Students may be dropped off as early as 7:45am and should be picked up by 4:15pm.

Does Charlotte Lab School have extended day programs and child care?

The Lab School strives to provide a very working-family-friendly environment. We offer a daily afterschool program on-site until 5:30pm. The Lab School also coordinates an after-school pick-up with local YMCAs and daycare centers so that parents can take advantage of existing after-school programs until 6-6:30pm. In addition, throughout the year, the Lab School offers afterschool enrichment clubs and activities for specific days of the week. We expect these offerings to grow over our first few years and will be very much driven by student need and interest.

What is Charlotte Lab School’s school calendar?

The Lab School has tried to align school vacations as closely as possible to CMS and to the local private schools. The Lab School will also have additional scheduled days off throughout the school year for professional development. Our school calendar can be found here.

Does Charlotte Lab School provide transportation?

The Lab School has contracted school buses through an outside company who provides bus transportation to and from neighborhood stops in the Central, East, West and South Charlotte areas. Additionally, our school will be located along LYNX light rail and CATS bus lines so that we are accessible to families. The Lab School will also organize a carpooling system among families who are traveling from outside of these areas. As a NC charter school, we are not required to provide transportation; however, THE LAB SCHOOL WILL WORK WITH ALL FAMILIES TO ENSURE THAT TRANSPORTATION DOES NOT PREVENT ENROLLMENT AND ATTENDANCE.

How does the lunch program work at Charlotte Lab School?

Students may bring a bagged lunch each day. In addition, the Lab School offers an optional daily lunch through a local catering company. Families can choose which days and meals they wish to order by filling out a monthly lunch form and depositing money into their child’s school lunch account. For those families who qualify, based on income, the Lab School will provide the catered lunch at reduced-price or no cost. THE LAB SCHOOL WILL WORK WITH ALL FAMILIES TO ENSURE THAT LUNCH COSTS DO NOT PREVENT ENROLLMENT AND ATTENDANCE.

Is Charlotte Lab School a uniform school?

The Lab School is a uniform school. Students are required to wear a solid color (any color) collared shirt or long-sleeved shirt or dress, and either khaki or navy shorts, skirts, pants, or leggings. Due to frequent outings students are also required to wear sneakers to school daily unless otherwise specified.

How are students admitted to Charlotte Lab School?

As a charter school, students are admitted through a lottery system. Before completing an application we encourage all prospective parents to attend a Lab information session to ensure that our school is a good fit for your family. For more details on the application process and lottery please visit our Applying to Lab page.

Does the Charlotte Lab School follow the Common Core Standards?

As a charter school with greater autonomy than district schools, the Lab School designs its own curriculum. However, the curriculum is aligned to NC State Standards and Common Core Standards to ensure that our students are well-prepared for required State assessments. The Lab School views these standards and tests as the starting point for our curriculum and is developing a program of study that will prepare our 8th grade graduates to enter and succeed in any high school of their choice and to be on the right path to perform well on college admissions tests.

What kinds of teachers are you hiring and from where are you hiring them?

The Lab School launched a national recruitment effort to identify faculty members who are aligned with the school's missions and beliefs about teaching and learning. Our teachers come from the local Charlotte area, surrounding counties, and some from out-of-state as well. We are working with Northeastern University to develop a "Next Generation Teaching and Learning" certificate that will enable our teachers to earn graduate credits for our professional development, as well as a ladder of advancement opportunities within our school. We also offer compensation packages that are higher than local districts and that include incremental increases for performance. Happily, we find that our small size, willingness to consider part- and flex-time positions, and our professional culture brings us talented, highly experienced, and innovative teachers.

NON-DISCRIMINATION POLICY: Charlotte Lab School admits students of any race, color, gender, national or ethnic origin, sexual orientation, religion and ability to all the rights, privileges, programs and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. Charlotte Lab School does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, gender, national and ethnic origin, sexual orientation, religion or disability in administration of its educational policies, admission policies, and other school programs.

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