Our Rancho Lab School, which launched in 2018, is a startup-like environment that allows for close collaboration among students, teachers, parents, and our education community. This space provides a dynamic personalized learning opportunity through which students can learn in the ways that are most effective for them as individuals and also help us gain lessons that are useful across the district. Teachers in the lab school co-create lessons across the curriculum and involve students in the development of their own educational challenges. The lab school also provides us opportunities to explore new and effective ways to utilize physical space in the context of learning.
Project-based learning is a strong theme in the lab school. For example, some students are tackling standards through coding while others are approaching them through art. There is also a lot of teacher/student collaboration and collaboration among students on projects.
Students were selected for the current iteration of the lab school through a multi-step process:
A broad variety of students were selected to be part of the program. Teachers for the program were already part of our Teacher On Special Assignment coaching program.
While we plan to keep the lab school itself relatively small, the lessons that we learn in the lab school can be scaled throughout the district. The hope is that we can learn from the lab school at a smaller scale and then share out the ideas and implement them, as is beneficial. Each year, we will evaluate what group may be part of the lab school and which topics we want to tackle.