The Way We Teach

“My dyslexia actually makes me feel very gifted because Lab School has taught me how to use it to my advantage. Sometimes I think I have a secret weapon others don’t have.”

— Lab School Student

Imagine a world without Albert Einstein, Leonardo Da Vinci, or Steve Jobs. Each of these innovators struggled with a learning difference. At The Lab School of Washington, we know that thinking differently is the first step to achieving extraordinary things. We offer the gift of fearless learning for students with learning differences so that they have the academic and social tools needed to become the next Einstein, Da Vinci, Jobs … or someone who achieves something we have yet to imagine.

The Lab School transforms the way students think about themselves and about learning. We understand that our students’ challenges have nothing to do with intelligence, but come from differences in the way they learn. And because we know that, The Lab School is different in how we teach.

In partnership with some of the country’s top researchers in the field of neuropsychology, Lab offers children with language-based learning differences and ADHD an innovative, arts-centered education that recognizes their talents, capitalizes on their strengths, builds their skills, and shows them how their non-traditional approach to problem-solving and achievement is truly an advantage. In fact, we help students turn differences into advantages every day.

Lab’s approach is what makes us a category of one as a school for students with language-based learning differences and as a thought leader in the field of learning differences education. Our approach is rooted in our history, the five tenets that together represent our philosophy and methods, the profile of our students, the mentoring and professional development we provide to our faculty and staff, and our safe and welcoming culture.

Lab’s Core Tenets

List of 5 items.

  • 1. Student experience and hands-on learning as the primary driver

    The Lab School was founded to create a safe and nurturing place to teach children with language-based learning differences in ways that work most effectively for how they learn, for how their brains are wired, not how tradition tells us every student learns. Lab’s program is guided by the principles put forth by John Dewey who promoted a progressive education based on a variety of authentic learning experiences that engage the natural curiosity of children.
  • 2. Arts-based learning as our central pathway for students across all academic subjects

    At Lab, the arts are not electives. Lab recognizes that an education based in the arts is often the pathway to deeper learning for students who are inefficient learners in the print world. Students become analytical thinkers who approach problems and tackle projects from all directions. They use their own unique view of the world to arrive at unique solutions.
  • 3. Positive psychology as the critical mindset

    Lab understands that the social and emotional well-being of our students is vital to their ability and desire to learn. We don’t use the word “disability.” Our kids aren’t broken; they do not need to be fixed. They have different brains, and they learn differently from students for whom mainstream education is designed.
  • 4. Technology as transformative tools to mastery

    By mastering innovative technologies like voice to text or coding in robotics, our students learn to articulate their strengths and challenges and become experts at implementing what works best for them. Multi-sensory, interactive methods help students develop conceptual understanding and increase their engagement with whatever material is before them — now and as they head to college and into the work force.
  • 5. Expert teachers and specialists as the translators for students finding pathways for success

    Lab School students have experts in the field of learning differences education to teach them how their individual brain works and how they learn best, now and going forward. All of our teachers are specialists in learning differences and more than 80 percent have advanced degrees, many in special education. Lab also provides Occupational Therapy, Speech-Language, and Psychological Services for our students in individual and small group sessions and within their classrooms. By embedding this support into our program, our students get the help they need, when they need it.

Lab students blossom in classrooms that offer multi-sensory, experiential, and progressively vigorous learning, and our programs are designed to cultivate self-esteem and global social responsibility. Our myriad extracurricular activities and opportunities in the arts, athletics, and community service enhance what they are learning academically and socially.

Lab School’s faculty is adept at understanding learning differences and skilled in unleashing our students’ capacity and passion for knowledge. We have in-depth knowledge of the brain and its fascinating complexities. We also integrate up-to-the-minute teaching strategies (many pioneered here at Lab!) and cutting-edge research to help our students reach their fullest potential.

Upon graduation, our students leave our campus as “solutionaries” — creative, analytic, empathetic, and big-picture thinkers.

In compliance with the District of Columbia requirements, The Lab School of Washington has academic policies for all students. These policies vary by division. Some of these policies are described in the Parent/Student Handbook and reviewed annually. In addition, division specific information is disseminated to parents at Back to School Night and throughout the year when necessary. The Lab School uses an online learning management system for Junior High and High School students where parents and students are able to log on to the LSW website to view class syllabi, assignments, and grades throughout the year.
The Difference is Extraordinary
The Lab School of Washington
4759 Reservoir Road, NW | Washington, DC 20007-1921 | 202-965-6600