High School

Remaking High School Through Deeper Learning & Mastery

At Lab, high school is more than a precursor to college or career; it's a transformative experience that redefines the boundaries of learning. From the exploration-based approach in grades 9-10 to the globally recognized International Baccalaureate (IB) courses and Diploma Programme in grades 11-12, we prepare students to be lifelong learners, thinkers, and doers.

The 9-10 Experience: Foundations for the Future

Our Interdisciplinary Approach

Much like our Middle School model, the 9-10 curriculum revolves around projects, intellectual curiosity, and real-world problem-solving. During Project Time, students explore science, social studies, math, and English through cohesive projects that emphasize research, writing, and authentic audience engagement. They have the opportunity to address standards from various disciplines through writing, presenting, creating, and connecting with the community.

  • Project-Based Learning: Real-world scenarios that ignite curiosity and context, integrating multiple academic disciplines. Projects, inquiries, and case studies form the basis of instruction, allowing students to work through real-world problems and issues.

  • Collaborative Learning: Rigorous research and project work that fosters team building, communication, and interdisciplinary skills.

  • Authentic Assessment: Standards-based grading and mastery learning, providing a well-rounded understanding of each student's capabilities.

The courses students will receive credit for during this portion of their school day include: VA/US Government, English 9 or 10, Biology, Data Science, and Freshman Seminar.

Standalone Courses: Deepening Skills & Expertise

In contrast to Project Time, students have the opportunity to deepen their expertise in more specialized areas during the other half of their school day. These courses run in a more traditional format:

  • Math: A dedicated period for advanced mathematical studies and problem-solving.
  • Creative Arts Electives: Options in Art, Design, and Music Production to express creativity and hone skills.
  • Spanish: An opportunity to broaden cultural understanding and language proficiency.

These standalone courses offer a balanced educational experience, blending both innovative and traditional pedagogical approaches. They allow students to enrich their skills in specific subjects while preparing them for the intellectual stretching of the IB program in grades 11-12.

The 11-12 Experience: An Interdisciplinary Journey for Deeper Learning

The International Baccalaureate (IB) Program

As students transition into grades 11 and 12, they step into an Interdisciplinary International Baccalaureate (IB) environment. All students are required to take IB English and IB History, with options to expand into a full IB Diploma Programme. These courses, while not fully integrated like in earlier grades, are designed to be interdisciplinary, offering a holistic view of subjects and their global implications.

For a deeper understanding of our IB program and ongoing updates, visit our comprehensive IB @ CLS Google Site or explore our IB Page for more general information. 

While IB English and IB History are mandatory, students have the flexibility to expand their academic pursuits further by choosing additional IB courses or even undertaking the full IB Diploma Program.

The Three Core Components of the Full IB Diploma

For students pursuing the full IB Diploma, they will engage with three core components that bring a unique, comprehensive depth to their educational experience:

  1. Extended Essay: A self-directed research project that allows students to delve deeply into an academic subject they are passionate about.

  2. Theory of Knowledge: A course that explores the nature of knowledge across various disciplines, challenging students to think critically about the different ways of knowing.

  3. Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS): A framework for experiential learning, involving students in a range of activities alongside their academic studies that focus on creative expression, physical activity, and service to the community.

Specialized Culminations in Math, Creative Arts, and Spanish

Building upon their experiences in grades 9-10, students in grades 11-12 have the chance to take their studies in Math, Creative Arts, and Spanish to an advanced level, aligned with IB expectations.

Assessment Philosophy for Grades 9-12: Standards-Based Grading and Mastery Learning

As our students advance through the high school years, our commitment to a holistic and individualized assessment system remains unwavering. In particular, our 11-12 program employs standards-based grading and mastery learning, a system that resonates with both the interdisciplinary rigor of the IB courses and the educational philosophy that underpins all grades at Community Lab School. This approach ensures a seamless integration between our distinct 9-10 and 11-12 models, and provides a coherent framework for academic development, from foundational skills to advanced mastery.

Toward a Mastery Transcript

At Community Lab School, we are continually pushing the boundaries of educational innovation. We are proud members of the Mastery Transcript Consortium, an organization that re-envisions how student learning and achievements are captured and communicated to colleges, careers, and beyond. Our alignment with the Consortium reflects our commitment to standards-based grading, mastery learning, and an educational experience that values the whole child. We are actively working toward adopting a Mastery Transcript to even more accurately represent our students' unique skills, accomplishments, and readiness for the future.

To delve further into our Mastery Transcript initiative, explore additional details here.

CLS Student College Acceptances Since 2017 (Partial List)

  • University of Alabama
  • Baldwin Wallace University
  • Ball State University
  • Christopher Newport University
  • Coastal Carolina University
  • East Carolina University
  • Emerson College
  • George Mason University
  • Indiana University
  • James Madison University
  • Mary Baldwin University
  • Muhlenberg College
  • New England Conservatory of Music
  • New York University
  • Ohio University
  • Old Dominion University
  • Pennsylvania State University
  • Piedmont Virginia Community College
  • Roanoke College
  • San Francisco State University
  • Sweet Briar College
  • Temple University
  • Virginia Commonwealth University
  • University of Virginia
  • West Virginia University