About

Mission & Fast Facts

The Lab School of Washington was founded by Sally L. Smith in 1967 as a day school for The Kingsbury Center, a diagnostic and tutoring resource for children with learning disabilities. For 15 years, the school was located on Phelps Place, NW in Washington, DC. In August, 1982, The Lab School of Washington was incorporated as an independent non-profit educational institution with its own Board of Trustees headed by Ann Bradford Mathias.

In 1983, the Trustees of The Lab School bought the former Florence Crittenden Home and 3.6 acres of property at 4759 Reservoir Road, NW, in Washington. The Lab School moved into its present home that fall with an enrollment of 123 students. In 2008, The Trustees acquired the long term lease on the former Hardy School at 1550 Foxhall Road, NW and the 65 Elementary Program students moved to that location.
  • Transition and Growth

    Sally L. Smith remained the Director of The Lab School until her death in 2007, just after the school’s 40th anniversary. Interim Director, Sally Seawright, led the faculty and staff while the Board of Trustees embarked on a nationwide search for new leadership. In January 2009, Chairman of the Board Robert Mathias announced the appointment of Katherine Schantz as the new Head of School, and she began her tenure in July of that year.

    Today, The Lab School of Washington enrolls approximately 350 students from first through 12th grade, on two campuses. An Elementary program for grades 1-4 is located at the Foxhall campus; Intermediate, Junior High, and High School programs, Clinical Services (occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, and psychotherapy) are located at the nearby Reservoir campus.
  • Teaching Teachers

    In 1976, The Lab School formed a partnership with American University, forming what is now known as the Master’s Degree Program in Special Education: Learning Disabilities. That program and its relationship with The Lab School continue to flourish. Each year, American University graduate students serve their practicum under master teachers at The Lab School. Additionally, a number of Interns are selected and enrolled in a program that offers in-classroom experience with students while assisting in the Elementary and Intermediate classrooms.
  • Baltimore Lab School and Other Replications of the Lab Educational Model

    In September 2000, Baltimore Lab School opened with 18 students, ages 6-11. In 2004, they moved to historic Goucher Hall, and in 2007 expanded through 12th grade; the first class graduated in June 2008.

    Other schools have replicated The Lab School model. In 2006, The Academy in Manayunk, outside Philadelphia, PA, opened with 23 students; it has expanded to serve students in grades 1-12 and will have its first graduating class in 2012.  In the Fall of 2011, The Gateway Lab School in New Castle, DE –Public Charter School – opened with 180 students in grades 3 -7.
  • Academic Club Teaching Service

    The Academic Club Teaching Service (ACTS) was developed to guide teachers and schools around the country in implementing the Academic Club Teaching Methods.

Other Important Dates in Lab’s History:

1984  Night School for Adults with Learning Differences opened its doors
1985  First Outstanding Learning Disabled Achievers Awards Gala held
1986  First Lecture Series for Parents and Professionals launched
1988  First class of seniors graduates
1994  Robert Rauschenberg Power of Art Workshop held for the first time
2000  Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Arts and Athletic Center opens
           Baltimore Lab School opens
2005  Academic Club Teaching Service begins
2006  Academy in Manayunk opens (school modeled after the Lab School)
2008  Elementary Division moves to new campus on Foxhall Road
           Sally Seawright begins service as Interim Head
2009  Katherine Schantz is appointed new Head of School
           Dorothy Proctor Adams Library opens
2010  Edith and Herbert Lehman fellowships for faculty professional development established
           Students travel to Costa Rica - the first international student trip
           New Commons opens – gathering space for Lab School students
           Board of Trustees approves the Lab School Strategic Plan
2011  High School students travel to China
           Gateway Lab School opens in Newark, Delaware
2012  High School students travel to France and England
The Difference is Extraordinary

The Lab School of Washington