The Lab School of Washington

4759 Reservoir Road, NW 20007 Washington, DC
Phone: 202-965-6600

Learning More, and Changing with the Times: Lab’s work around sustainability and inclusivity

The world seems to be changing at a faster pace these days. Technologies outdo themselves daily, and with all the unsettling disruptions in our social fabrics, economies, and moral standards here and around the globe, it seems more necessary than ever to be a school that helps our students reflect upon, interpret, and analyze all that is swirling around them.

To this end, our faculty and staff have been focusing on our school-wide initiatives in sustainability and inclusivity/diversity, which will involve the whole Lab community.

For our summer book read, the entire faculty and staff read The World Becomes What We Teach by Zoe Weil, a book that asks, ruminates on, and presents answers to such questions as “How can we create a just, healthy, and humane world?”; “What is the path to developing sustainable energy, food, transportation, production, construction, and other systems?”; “What’s the best strategy to end poverty and ensure that everyone has equal rights?”; and “How can we learn to resolve conflicts without violence and treat other people and nonhuman animals with respect and compassion?” Our Sustainability Committee, headed up by High School Biology Teacher Beth Frattali, presented on new and ongoing projects designed to create a community of “solutionaries” — young (and older) people with the knowledge, tools, and motivation to create a better future. The possibilities are exciting. (See Ms. Weil’s Ted talk here.)

During two days of our orientation week, faculty and staff met with Dr. Derrick Gay, consultant, educator, author, and public speaker, to frame our work around inclusivity, equity, and diversity. We had prepped for the workshops with community reads of Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do by Claude M. Steele and Blindspot by Mahzarin B. Banaji and Anthony G. Greenwald. During the meetings, we engaged in exercises to delve into our identities, gain a better understanding around cultural nuances of language, explore the construct of race, and become more aware of our “blindspots.”  Dr. Gay will be working with our students, faculty, and staff and will be setting up meetings with parents to bring their voices to the table as well. There is enormous energy around this important work; we are just beginning to capitalize on all that we have to gain.  (See Dr. Gay’s Ted talk here.)

Here’s to a great year of thoughtful discussions and actions as we help our students — and our whole community — take on the daunting job of keeping our planet a humane, balanced, and sustainable place for years to come. 
The Difference is Extraordinary
The Lab School of Washington
4759 Reservoir Road, NW | Washington, DC 20007-1921 | 202-965-6600