Fact Sheet

Remaking School: Fostering Innovation through Deeper Learning

At Community Lab School, we cultivate the intellectual and creative capabilities of each student by providing an empowering, inquiry-driven education that is both rigorous and student-centered.

  • An Active Learner and Scholar: We ignite not just curiosity but also a sustained spirit of scholarship. Students at CLS ask not only 'why' but venture further to explore 'what if.'
  • An Innovator and Critical Thinker: Our model places students at the center of complex, real-world projects. Critical thinking and creativity are more than just skills; they're the backbone of our integrative curriculum.
  • A Global Contributor and Open-Minded Citizen: Focused on international awareness, we prepare students to contribute positively to an increasingly global world by fostering flexibility, cultural understanding, and an appreciation for evidence.
  • An Empowered Individual with Choices: Agency is at the heart of our educational philosophy. Each student takes ownership of their time management, learning paths, and ultimately, their educational outcomes

Pioneering Education

As a flagship program within Albemarle County Public Schools, we serve as a hub for innovation, testing evidence-based, student-centered methods that can be applied across the wider educational landscape.

  • Research Partnerships: In collaboration with esteemed institutions like the University of Virginia and MIT, we aim to solve pressing educational challenges the ground up, emphasizing a deeper learning approach.

  • Mastery Transcript Consortium: We're leading the way in Virginia by embracing new, holistic ways to measure student success.

  • IB Program: The apex of our student-centered model, offering an International Baccalaureate Program in grades 11-12 that embodies rigorous academics within an innovative, inquiry-based framework. Learn More

In Alignment with ACPS and Virginia Standards

Innovative education thrives within a structured framework. We exceed and redefine state and district standards, serving as a dynamic lab for pedagogical innovation that enriches the educational landscape.

Academic Innovation

Want to dive deeper into our teaching and learning philosophy? Explore our Academics Section to understand the specifics of our student-centered curriculum, mastery-based grading practices, and integrative project work across grade levels.

Faculty Expertise

Our faculty are not just educators; they are university professors, published authors, and frequently requested presenters, bringing a wealth of knowledge, experience, and academic innovation into our classrooms.

Lab In The Spotlight

We're proud to be featured in a variety of publications that showcase our innovative approaches:

Your Path to Joining Us

Public schools in Albemarle County are divided into three “feeder patterns” according to geographical area: Northern, Southern and Western. A feeder pattern consists of the elementary, middle and high schools through which students progress.

Community Lab School is open to all Albemarle County residents through a lottery system, Community Lab School is the educational choice for families wanting a student-centered, hands-on, and inquiry-based approach to learning. Admission Details

View attendance area maps for our district »


Chad Ratliff


Ouida Powe
Assistant Principal

Principal History

Community Lab School

Chad Ratliff

Community Lab School was founded through the merger of Murray High School (Est. 1998) and Community Public Charter School (Est. 2008). The educational model was reimagined, honoring the foundational principles and contributions of its predecessor schools while pioneering new, innovative pathways in student-centered learning.

Murray High School

Ashby Kindler

Vicki Crews Miller

Harriet Morrison

Deborah Cooper

Rochelle Friedman