From the Director

Director of Schools Victoria Jueds

October 1, 2022

Fall has always been my favorite season; the thrill and excitement of starting a new school year can’t be beat. The fall of 2022 promises another year of discovery, exploration, and connection at the Laboratory Schools. 

As a school and a community, I have found Lab impressive in its resilience. Lab educators are talented and innovative; Lab students are curious, creative, independent thinkers; and Lab’s program is both time-tested and infinitely adaptable. This issue of LabLife will be read by alums all over the world, as well as parents, students, and educators throughout the Chicagoland area. Wherever you are, you are doubtless contending with a variety of stressors these days, not only caused by the ongoing pandemic, but also by economic, cultural, political, and environmental uncertainty. Be assured that our Laboratory Schools are built and equipped to withstand any challenge. Our commitment to scholarship, honoring diversity, and exhibiting kindness is well-nigh unshakeable. The expertise and creativity that drove Lab’s pandemic response was only one of a myriad of examples.

The coming year will find us preparing 2,200 children and teens for impactful careers, healthy relationships, and meaningful contributions to the betterment of democracy. Our students will discover and develop new skills, find opportunities and the support needed to explore their unique gifts and passions, deepen their sense of identity and belonging, grow their respect for others, and expand their understanding of the challenges that await them in the world. Since I stepped into the role of Director last year, three themes of our work have been prominent and consistent:

Director Jueds with students working on their chicken-hatching project

Lab ensures that students feel seen and heard. Across our schools, Lab educators genuinely value the voices, backgrounds, contributions, and unique gifts of our diverse student body. Daily we work to ensure that they feel our appreciation and develop a rock-solid sense of belonging through equity and inclusion programming, collaborative work, independent play in the early years and independent research among older students, leadership opportunities, service learning, and co-curricular endeavors. 

Lab students learn incomparable critical thinking and analytical skills. The fundamentals of good scholarship—the ability to assess the validity of sources, analyze information for useful conclusions, remain open to new perspectives, and respectfully debate and discuss ideas from an informed perspective—have never been more important in our world. To watch our students in and beyond the classroom is to watch them develop a passion for scholarship and a growing commitment to lifelong learning that they will carry with them long after they leave Lab.

Kindness prevails at Lab. Our Laboratory Schools are renowned for the quality of our academic program. Just as important—and just as impressive—is our commitment to kindness. It is inspiring to see parents and educators model warmth and connection for our young people, and to watch children and teens pick up these lessons and employ compassion and care even in times of conflict or disagreement.

I hope that wherever you are, reading this issue of LabLife will fill you with newfound appreciation for Lab’s resilience and commitment to our mission. Be well, and thank you for reading.

Tori Jueds
Director of Schools