A new high school in Dallas is hoping to shape the city's future leaders.
City Lab High School will turn city streets in classrooms. The major focus: an innovative way to learning that'll make students college and career ready.
Amid the hustle and bustle of downtown Dallas, people are passing by, and many of the moments, which make the city work, are being missed.
That is why ninth graders – Adrian Howley, K.C. Vongvivittatana, and Dylan Zarrabi are among nearly 100 students making up the first freshman class of Dallas Independent School District’s new City Lab High School.
It is a choice school that will be extending the walls of the classroom outside and into the city.
“The fact that it’s a new opportunity to really start a new movement and try to change how high schools work in the City of Dallas," Zarrabi said.
Some may call the students, pioneers of sorts. They are leaping at the chance to make the streets of Dallas their interactive learning lab. The students will be hitting the streets and studying issues like urban planning, development, public policy, and architecture.
“Right now, I’m pretty excited that I’ll be, basically, helping make a school,” said student K.C. Vongvivittatana.
Their high school’s campus is in the core of downtown, just two blocks from City Hall.
"This is truly a game-changer in Dallas,” said City Lab teacher and architect Peter Goldstein.
He helped develop the school’s curriculum and says Dallas ISD is introducing an innovative program.
"In the education world, we call it project based learning. So, we’ll give the students open-ended questions, that have to do with real world challenges and issues," Goldstein explained.
This freshman class comes from diverse socio-economic backgrounds.
Principal Tammy Underwood says City Lab’s program will attract and retain young learners.
“We have to think out of the box now to get students in school and stay with us for four years,” Underwood explained, and to be prepared for what comes next for them when they walk across the stage in four years.
City Lab’s new students are wrapping up an orientation camp this week. The teens and school staff are eager to explore the possibilities inside and outside the classroom in a few weeks.