Culture and Community Context
The Lab School for Creative Learning is located in Fort Collins, Colorado off of Orchard Place and Taft Hill Road. The school is a part of the Poudre School District but is requires application for students to get in to the school. It is not a neighborhood school meaning there are no buses that run to the Lab School. There are no grades and are combined level classes. The Lab School also shares a building with Polaris which According to their website, “The Lab School for Creative Learning is an experiential, child centered school for children kindergarten through fifth grade. Here students are challenged to make the connections between the classroom and the outside world. Learning is hands-on, minds-on. The Lab School is a place where kids are encouraged to ask questions, think critically, and develop a love of learning.” It is a multi-aged, non-graded public school. They offer a non-traditional setting that is child-centered, developmental, and experiential. The curriculum focuses on literacy and hands-on science and math.
The Lab School is a small school with 129 students enrolled and each classroom has a ratio of about 16 students per teacher (16:1). The school is mainly Caucasian students.While no specific information could be found on the demographic breakdown of the Lab School specifically the breakdown for Poudre School District is as follows: Asian: 3.06% Black/African American: 1.37% Hispanic/Latino: 17.93% Native American: 0.53% Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander: 0.13% White: 74.31% Two or More: 3.15%. The specific class I have been placed in is 100% white students. Other breakdowns of school demographics:
- Participating in Free/Reduced Lunch: 30.79%
- Special Education Programs: 8.03%
- Gifted and Talented Programs: 11.57%
- English Language Learner Programs: 7.55%
Classroom Environment and Students
Tamara’s class is a class of 17 students. They behave as follows:
Student 1 has been known to get violent if he doesn’t get his way and has been known to be loud and disruptive. He focuses best with one on one attention and needs to move around and talk. He is extremely creative though and loves talking about art he creates.
Student 2 is very vocal and needs to interact with others. She needs to be challenged to challenge herself because she sometimes just takes the easy way out.
Student 3 is very independent and pushes herself on her own. Checking in while she works and allowing her to share what she is doing is vital to her process.
Student 4 loves art and works very hard on everything she makes and needs very little help with motivation. Every once in a while she does need to be told she is doing a good job
Student 5 works very hard on her own and loves to talk about her art
Student 6 works very hard on her art and thrives on her own with little help. She loves to share her art and be recognized for doing a good job.
Student 7 finds difficulty when asked to work on his own and is sometimes found wandering the room. It is important to challenge him when he makes his art.
Student 8 is self motivated and needs reassurance on her art occasionally.
Student 9 is helpful but very quiet. He is easily pushed around by some of the students and creatively is a little farther behind- he tends to draw scribbled lines for his art.
Student 10 is hard working and does what he needs to without being pushed. He thrives on challenge however and needs to be pushed to do extra at times.
Student 11 is hard working and needs very little extra attention.
Student 12 is easily distracted by what people are doing in the class. He likes to wander and avoid his own work on occasion.
Student 13 is quiet and reserved and needs some help getting started. Asking him questions allows him to get working more in depth on his own.
Student 14 does his work without being pushed. Is sometimes easily overlooked because he is so well behaved. Check in on on occasion to reinforce positive behavior.
Student 15 is quiet but thrives in art. Also needs positive reinforcement.
Student 16 is independent and works hard without any pushing. He is very quiet and is developmentally farther a long than a lot of the students in the class.
Student 17 is extremely independent and has a lot of unique ideas. Creatively, he thrives and is very articulate when talking about his art work- he can, however, be easily disrupted by other classmates.
School Wide Policies
The school follows the 6 P’s model: promt, prepared, polite, positive mental attitude, participate, and produce. These 6 P’s can be found around the school.
Policies for Management and Conflict Resolution:
Classroom management at the LAB School uses a three refocus structure:
1. First Re-Focus: ask about behavior in a friendly, respectful tone.
2. Second Re-Focus: name the behavior, tell desired behavior
3. Third Re-Focus/ In-Hall Conference: ask student to step outside of the room. Tell the student this is their third re-focus
4. Problem Solving Contracts
5. Admin Support in Office
Special Needs Program:
The LAB school doesn’t focus on any specific structure of a special needs program but facilitator who makes sure that students get the aid they need in each of their classes.
Poudre School District policies for safe schools:
1. A designated and trained crisis response team
2. Lockdown, fire evacuation and severe weather procedures
3. Access and building check-in procedures
4. Staff training and a plan for yearly drills of procedures