Lab News

Listening for the grace note

Since its inception more than three decades ago, the National Association of Independent Schools People of Color Conference (PoCC) has grown to include thousands of attendees and this year marked the 25th anniversary of the related Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC). Last week, nearly 30 Lab faculty, staff, and students—twice as many as ever before—attended the conference. The theme, Equitable Schools and Inclusive Communities: Harmony, Discord, and the Notes in Between, anchored the 2018 plenary and other sessions.

Says Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Priyanka Rupani, "This year, we doubled the number of adult attendees to PoCC. We wanted to honor as many applications as possible and increase our presence at the conference." Ms. Rupani served as a faculty member helping to lead the entire student portion of the conference.

PoCC is designed to equip attendees "with knowledge, skills, and experiences to improve and enhance the interracial, interethnic, and intercultural climate in their schools, as well as the attending academic, social-emotional, and workplace performance outcomes for students and adults alike."

For the high schoolers, SDLC focuses on self-reflecting, developing cross-cultural communication skills, designing effective strategies for social justice practice through dialogue and arts, and learning the foundation of allyship and networking principles. Six U-Highers attended—Aman Arain, Mayher Kaur, Ioannis Nikas, Lea Runesha, Destiney Williamson, and Iris Xie—chaperoned by High School Dean of Students Ana Campos and Assistant Director of Schools Carla Ellis.


Following a very Deweyan model of presenting one's learning as a way of ordering, solidifying, and making meaning of knowledge, the High School students had a "teach back" session with the Lab faculty and staff who attended the conference about what they learned and the initiatives they would like to bring back to Lab as a result of their time in Nashville.

"During Saturday morning's student-facilitated conversation, many of us made commitments to bringing this work back to Lab. PoCC/SDLC has given us tools and resources to enact changes that make Lab an even more inclusive and equitable place," says Ms. Rupani.

Read more about Lab doubles the learners at NAIS People of Color Conference

You know this school very well. We are hoping that at least half of all parents will take this short survey. If you have not already done so: Click here to take the survey.

The survey will remain open through Monday, December 3 and is most easily and quickly done on a computer.

Why are we doing the survey?
In partnership with Dialogos, a strategy and leadership consulting firm, Lab is in the process of creating a new strategic framework that will guide us in the coming years. The survey builds on work that Lab began in June with Dialogos, involving interviews and focus groups with more than 450 people from all of Lab's stakeholder groups. We plan to share an executive summary of the survey results early in the new year.

Please encourage your Middle or High Schooler to complete the survey, too.
Completing this survey places student voice—ideally the entire Middle and High schools'—at the center of our strategic conversations. This is an important opportunity for young people to be heard and have agency in their school.

Read more about All parents, and your MS and HS students: please complete the strategic planning survey which closes end-of-day Monday, December 3

Our neighborhood partner, 57th Street Books, will bring books for all ages and books to fulfill teacher classroom wish lists. ESH families can take the shuttle to join us at the Historic Campus. The fair offers one-stop shopping for holiday gifts. Coffee, tea, cider and treats will be served.

The Bazaar, featuring student club and community fundraisers, runs after school:

  • Tuesday, December 4, 3:30–4:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, December 5, 1:30–4:30 p.m.

Please mark your calendars to come and support Lab, our neighborhood bookstore, student entrepreneurship and community service. For more information, please visit LabParents.org or contact Vanessa Copans, Andee Stacy, or Heather Tamburo.

Read more about Holiday Book Fair and Bazaar, Tuesday and Wednesday, December 4–5, 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m., Judd C116

Still looking for that perfect spirit wear gift? The PA will be selling Lab spirit wear at the following locations and times:

Holiday Book Fair and Bazaar, 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m., Judd C116:
  • Tuesday, December 4
  • Wednesday, December 5
ESH Lobby during drop-off:
  • Wednesday, December 5
  • Wednesday, December 12
  • Monday, December 17
  • Tuesday, December 18
  • Wednesday, December 19
Historic Campus Blaine Lobby during drop-off:
  • Monday, December 10
  • Tuesday, December 11
  • Wednesday, December 12
  • Thursday, December 13
  • Friday, December 14
  • Monday, December 17
  • Tuesday, December 18
  • Wednesday, December 19
Those who placed an online order, please make arrangements to pick them up December 17–19. To make special pickup arrangements or tell us your campus preference, email the Parents' Association.
Read more about Lab spirit wear sales and order pick-up in December

Thought for Food: The Human Experience Through the Culinary Arts welcomes Natalie Moore, author of The South Side, and Maya-Camille Broussard, creator of Justice of the Pies and contributing author to Feed the Resistance. The pair will speak together under the theme of food justice. Book-signing and pie-tasting will follow.

RSVP here.

About Thought for Food and the Kistenbroker Family Artist in Residence Program

Thought for Food is the umbrella under which the 2018–19 Kistenbroker Family Artist in Residence Program will bring culinary artists and experts to Lab.

At the most basic level, food is the foundation of human experience. If art is the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination then cooking—more formally the culinary arts—might be the most widely practiced art known to man.

Today, the culinary arts are not just about the Cordon Bleu. The culinary arts are a lens through which we can explore virtually every aspect of our existence from artistic expression and cultural history to sourcing, economics, and environmental issues.

Thought for Food will feature the beauty and the social/emotional power of the culinary arts. The goal is to connect to our mission, our community, the social sciences, and other art forms through the culinary arts, grounded by themes of place, culture, and justice. Experts who know food and its relation to people, history, and culture are excited to partner with Lab and we look forward to sharing details about future events.

Read more about Thought for Food: Food & Justice with Maya-Camille Broussard and Natalie Moore, Tuesday, December 11, 6 p.m., Gordon Parks Assembly Hall

As an update to concerns voiced over the early morning schedule for these routes, the University of CHicago has negotiated with CTA to adjust the schedule.

  • The new start times for the 171 and 172 will be 7:17 a.m. and 7:15 a.m., respectively.
  • This change will be effective December 16, 2018.

Questions? Email UChicago Director of Transportation and Parking Services, Beth Tindel.

Read more about Early morning CTA bus routes 171 and 172 to be reinstated December 16

ArtsFest is a student-run High School event when regularly scheduled classes are postponed for one day and students participate in a vast variety of fun and interesting workshops. We are currently seeking workshop proposals for ArtFest 2019 happening on February 28. If you have a special talent or interest that you'd be willing to share with High School students in a 45 or 90 minute workshop, please submit your proposals via the ArtsFest website (for those with a Labnet ID) or by email. Questions? Please contact Brian Wildeman, fine arts teacher and ArtsFest faculty sponsor.


Read more about Artsfest seeks workshop proposals

U-High and UChicago Woodlawn Charter students face the present to change the future


Recently, nearly 50 U-High students and another dozen of their UChicago Woodlawn Charter School colleagues spent a weekend attending events as part of the University of Chicago-hosted Clinton Global Initiative University. Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) convenes global and emerging young leaders to create and implement solutions to the world's most pressing challenges. Rather than directly implementing projects, CGI facilitates action by helping members connect, collaborate, and make effective and measurable commitments to action. This year's Clinton Global Initiative University meeting—hosted by President Clinton and Chelsea Clinton—convened 1,000 undergraduate and graduate students—and some very thrilled high schoolers—from 145 countries and all 50 states to discuss and develop ideas and proposals to address some of the most pressing social, economic, and environmental challenges facing the next generation. The weekend meeting focused on: education, environment and climate change, peace and human rights, poverty alleviation, and public health.

The high school students heard from national and local leaders about concepts of leadership, lessons about what forms of civic engagement are successful and which are not, and about the the systemic roots of the issues they are working to address. The U-Highers engaged on topics including gun violence in America and in Chicago, youth incarceration, the education of girls in refugee camps, destigmatizing disabilities—blindness, in particular, establishing dialogue between the Rohingya and other communities in Myanmar, and vaccinations to name a few.

Not only did President Clinton, Secretary Hillary Clinton, and Chelsea Clinton speak, students also heard from the mayor of Milwaukee, prosecutors, medical professionals, a student-leader from Parkland High School, and young student leaders from Chicago.

Says High School Principal Stephanie Weber, "It was a view into what we are preparing our students to do—how we prepare them to be not just exclusively college-ready, but life-ready."

Read more about Learning to solve world problems with the Clinton Global Initiative

Chicago's finest visit Lab in October

Author Blue Balliett

Former Lab teacher Blue Balliett returned to speak to the fourth and fifth grades. The renowned author of Chasing Vermeer, The Wright Three, The Calder Game, and The Danger Box based her acclaimed children's mysteries on her experiences teaching students at Lab. (Read one to get a great sense of life around Lab.) She talked about her new book, Out of the Wild Night, and, relatedly, about Nantucket, donuts, and old houses.

Author Andrea Beaty

Andrea Beaty, the Chicago-based author of the Questioneers series and titles like Ada Twist, Scientist gave a book talk to first and second graders. She read Rosie Revere, Engineer, and then read a selection from her new book: Rosie Revere and the Raucous Riveters, making the young Labbies the first ever to hear from that book. Ms. Beaty is a fan of doing, engineering, and making. Now the students are in the makerspace problem-solving for one of her characters.

Publisher Linda Johnson Rice

Linda Johnson Rice, '75, CEO of Johnson Publishing, served as this year's Mark Plotkin | Murial Rosenthal lecturer. The series brings alumni back to Lab to share their ideas and experiences with High Schoolers. See the talk online.

Columbia College student, nineteen-year-old Patricia Frazier, Chicago's first National Youth Poet Laureate (and only the second National Youth Poet Laureate ever) spoke to High School English and history students about her writing process and shared her work. Her new book, Graphite, is an ode to her grandmother and childhood home, the Ida B. Wells Projects.

Read more about How many famous authors and publishers visited Lab last month?

Lab ranked 10th of 64 teams in Midwest


The sailing team finished out the season the past weekend participating in 2-regional Fall championships.

The Varsity team made it into the Great Lakes Championships, (top 20 teams from the Midwest) We finished 12 of 20 in our regional championship.
  • In A-Division 15/20 Matteo Torquati, Alec Wyers, Giovanna Boffa
  • In B-Division 15/20 Benny Wild, Emerson Wright, Adler Wright, Alec Wyers
Lab was also able to put a second team in the Shepherd Championship, (reserved for the 21-39 ranked teams in our region). We finished 11 of 13.
  • In A-Division 11/13 Jason Tothy, Ben Luu
  • In B-Division 9/13 Philip Lengyel, Adler Wright, Ava Wilson
All in all, it turned out to be a great season for Lab with a strong showing at both Fall regionals.

2018 marks the 5th year of HS varsity sailing.

The Middle School sailing team finished its second year with 30 sailors on the team.

#MaroonPride
Read more about Sailing team finishes season with strong showings

As an update to concerns voiced over the early morning schedule for these routes, the University of CHicago has negotiated with CTA to adjust the schedule.

  • The new start times for the 171 and 172 will be 7:17 a.m. and 7:15 a.m., respectively.
  • This change will be effective December 16, 2018.

Questions? Email UChicago Director of Transportation and Parking Services, Beth Tindel.

Read more about Early morning CTA bus routes 171 and 172 to be reinstated December 16

ArtsFest is a student-run High School event when regularly scheduled classes are postponed for one day and students participate in a vast variety of fun and interesting workshops. We are currently seeking workshop proposals for ArtFest 2019 happening on February 28. If you have a special talent or interest that you'd be willing to share with High School students in a 45 or 90 minute workshop, please submit your proposals via the ArtsFest website (for those with a Labnet ID) or by email. Questions? Please contact Brian Wildeman, fine arts teacher and ArtsFest faculty sponsor.


Read more about Artsfest seeks workshop proposals