The Lab Way » The Lab Way

The Lab Way

Since our founding in 2015, Charlotte Lab School has been committed to adopting and modeling a habit of innovation - keeping the changing needs of our students at the forefront of all decisions related to curriculum, programs, and policies. Grounded in this student-centered approach are the principles that guide how we approach our work and each other. We call it The Lab Way.

Student-Centered Focus on the Whole Child

Students are supported in their development socially, emotionally, physically, and academically, through a student- centered, personalized approach.

  • Learning is personalized. Students have the opportunity to learn at their own pace, at the level that is right for them. This extends from kindergarten through middle school, where students have the opportunity to earn high school credit in math and world languages into upper school. Lab Upper School students have the opportunity to participate in internships and earn college credit, ensuring their readiness for higher education and career.
  • Lab provides an Advisory Program. At a frequency based on the needs of their age group, students meet weekly in small groups (10-14) with a faculty Advisor who guides them through a character education curriculum designed to support students’ development of social emotional skills, mindfulness practices, and metacognition. Lab’s Advisory Program ensures that every student is known, loved, and supported.

Diverse by Design

Twenty-first century schools must reflect the modern world and workplace, with a diverse student and faculty population, opportunities to engage with the outside world, and skills that enable them to communicate and collaborate with diverse groups of people. Our school intentionally mirrors the make-up of the city of Charlotte. 40% of our lottery seats are allocated to socioeconomically diverse students. Our students become Global Citizens who work effectively with people from all different types of backgrounds. 

An integrated school environment enriches the learning experience for ALL children and better prepares students for a global future.

  • Diverse schools promote equity by ensuring that students from different backgrounds have the same high-quality educational opportunities.
  • Learning in a diverse school better prepares children to be successful in the global workplace.

Diverse representation is important. Children need to learn from both those who look like them as well as those who have different backgrounds.

  • Achieving diversity often requires deliberate efforts through recruitment, enrollment policies, and school design. Lab’s enrollment lottery is structured such that our student body reflects the makeup of the city of Charlotte.
  • Diverse schools provide greater opportunities for students to learn from one another.
  • Diversity is an effective method of boosting achievement of all students.
  • Diverse schools promote the celebration and understanding of other cultures and viewpoints.
  • Diverse schools invigorate and strengthen urban neighborhoods by bringing community members together.
  • Charter schools can and should contribute to solving the historical challenge of creating integrated, equitable and inclusive school communities.

Charlotte Lab School strives to demonstrate that diverse, equitable and inclusive public schools work for all children.

A Rigorous & Engaging Approach to Teaching & Learning

We have a rigorous and innovative approach to teaching & learning. Students are exposed to current events, history and science content, math and literacy skills, and valuable life skills through challenge-based courses, called Quests,  that are inherently interdisciplinary and enable students to discuss and collaboratively develop solutions for age-appropriate real-world challenges. Students develop mathematics understanding through solving real-world problems; because students develop mathematical abilities at different paces, our  program is highly individualized. Students develop reading and writing skills by reading authentic literature and writing original work as part of the Columbia University Teachers College Reading and Writing Workshop model approach. Students become fluent in either Spanish or Mandarin Chinese through a partial immersion dual-language program that is supported by students’ language acquisition readiness. 

Each of Charlotte Lab School’s programs is designed to evolve with the students, beginning as introductory, exploratory opportunities in the lower school, leading to greater independence during the middle school years, and finally culminating in self-directed learning experiences at the high school level. For example, Quests transition from whole-class projects in the lower school to self-designed in-school “Passion Projects” and small group career immersion experience in the middle school, and to offsite internships in high school.