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January 31, 2018

Our Vision for Lab Schools

Sam Franklin, VP of Schools

The vision for our lab schools starts with a set of beliefs about the future of learning. These beliefs inspire the features we explore in our schools as well as the ones we build in our technology. We believe the future of school will be:

  • More about learning how to learn;
  • More flexible;
  • More mobile and connected to community;
  • More attentive to developing the whole child;
  • More personalized, and driven by student agency;
  • Deeply impacted and enabled by technology; and
  • Led by educators and centered around human relationships.

How our beliefs impact the student experience

These beliefs manifest in many of the features students in our lab schools experience every day. For example, our belief that school will be more about learning how to learn leads us to pursue a more project-based approach to learning that values depth, and encourages students to follow emerging interests. Projects follow our learning cycle, and culminate in the exhibitions that showcase students’ learning at the end of each trimester.

Read about a learning exhibition: A Hero’s Journey to Developing Grit and Reading and Writing Skills.

Our belief that schools will be more flexible means we are exploring ways to ensure all students master essential knowledge, skills, and habits—but can do so in different amounts of time, with different amounts of support. Today, this manifests in features like multi-age groupings, and the pursuit of competency-based milestones that replace traditional grades.

What it means to be a lab school  

Many of these features are evident in our lab schools today, but we haven’t “solved” any of these areas yet. As we progress, we are increasingly creating the learning conditions that lead to the outcomes we want for every AltSchool student:

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This is why we call our schools lab schools. Not because we are experimenting, collecting data, or building technology (although that is an important part), but because we are figuring out how to bring these beliefs to life in a way that is meaningful, rigorous, and possible to scale with the help of the AltSchool platform.

Learn more about our lab schools and our partner school program.

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Now accepting applications for pre-K through 8th grade for our lab schools in New York and San Francisco, and for schools looking to join our partner program.
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