Welcome to Lab!

Information & Resources for New Families

We are thrilled that your child—and your family—will be joining our school community in the fall. It is an exciting time, we know that you may have questions, and we are here to help! Our goal is to make you feel welcome and ready by the time school begins.

This Welcome to Lab Guide should answer some immediate questions you might have, and help manage your expectations about what has to happen (and when) for your family and child to be ready for the new school year.

Having reviewed this Welcome to Lab Guide, please feel free to contact the Office of Admissions, should you still have specific questions.

Welcome to Lab Guide & Quick Answers

Health requirements: now is a good time to schedule necessary medical check-ups

Please make sure that your child has had the necessary medical, dental, or vision check-ups and that immunizations are up-to-date.

  • What medical information is required—by grade
    All newly admitted students are required to submit an Illinois Child Health Exam form, dated no earlier than September 1, 2017. Lab follows current State of Illinois guidelines for immunizations and collection of health records. On the right-hand side of this page you will find information for what is required at each grade level.
  • Links to necessary medical and athletics participation forms
    Also on the right hand side of this page are the standard State of Illinois forms you may need, and which are available from your pediatrician, dentist, or vision care provider.
  • For Middle and High School students (grades 6–12) who plan to join a sports team
    You will also need pre-participation forms that can be found on the right side of this page.

On August 1, as part of the Lab’s “Back to Lab” process, we will share additional health information you may need during the school year. In the meantime, please contact us should you have any questions about your child’s health and wellbeing:

Earl Shapiro Hall, Nurse grades N–2
773-702-4132, eshnurse@ucls.uchicago.edu

Blaine Hall, Nurse grades 3–8
773-702-9452, hcnurse@ucls.uchicago.edu

U-High, Nurse grades 9–12
773-834-2007, hcnurse@ucls.uchicago.edu

Enroll in Summer Lab, registration is open now

Summer Lab runs June 18 through July 27 and offers opportunities for students age 3 to 18 to learn, connect, and discover—from sports and theater to urban adventure and academics. More information, including dates and fees, can be found online here.

The “Planning/No School” calendars are online

Also known as “academic calendars,” these show all of the days that Lab has vacation breaks and days when school is not in session. You can access these at the bottom of every page of Lab’s website.

Key dates before the start of school

Below are some important dates to bear in mind:

  • Friday, June 1, 3:30–5 p.m., new N-3 families (children and siblings included) cookies and lemonade reception. Formal invitation to come.
  • Monday, August 6, autumn quarter tuition billed.
  • Wednesday, August 8, High School fall sports practices begin (with some exceptions)
  • Monday, August 27, Middle School fall sports practices begin
  • Thursday, August 30, 1–2:30 p.m., N–2 New Family Orientation
  • Thursday, August 30, Lower School New Family Orientation
  • Thursday, August 30, High School New Student and Parent/guardian Orientations
  • Thursday and Friday, August 30–31, U-High grade 9 overnight retreat
  • Friday, August 31, autumn quarter tuition due
  • Tuesday, September 4, first day of school
  • Saturday, September 15, 5–7 p.m., New Parent Welcome Event

Student Bus Service

Lab provides daily commuter bus service to an array of Chicago neighborhoods, primarily on the North Side. Registration for this service will open in late May. Before then, we will send new families a survey so we can learn more about your particular needs.

Registering students in grades 6–12 for fall athletics teams—encourage your child to participate in sports at Lab

Lab’s athletics program is committed to excellence while supporting the educational mission of the Schools. We meet student-athletes at their individual skill level and provide a challenging environment for skill development in both team and individual sports.

Middle School students are encouraged to experience the satisfaction and fun of being part of a team.

U-High’s program performs at a high competitive level and does so with a no-cut policy; a policy that distinguishes our program nationally and encourages students to play. And it works—nearly 65 percent of U­-Highers play on at least one team.

Register for Fall sports by May 22
If your child would like to join one of our fall teams, please call or email Gail Poole, athletics coordinator, at 773-702-2090 or gpoole@ucls.uchicago.edu. You will need to provide the forms linked to the right by August 1.

Fall Middle School Sports (grades 6–8), practices begin on Monday, August 27

  • Cross Country Coed
  • Sailing Coed
  • Soccer Boys
  • Volleyball Girls

Fall High School Sports, practices begin Wednesday, August 8, with exceptions noted below:

  • Cross Country Coed (Varsity), Monday, August 20
  • Golf Coed (Varsity, Junior Varsity)
  • Sailing Coed (Varsity, Junior Varsity), Monday, August 20
  • Soccer Boys (Varsity, Junior Varsity)
  • Swimming Girls (Varsity), Monday, August 13
  • Tennis Girls (Varsity, Junior Varsity, Frosh/Soph), Monday, August 13
  • Volleyball Girls (Varsity, Junior Varsity, Frosh/Soph)

Required forms for athletes
Families must complete and submit to Athletics Coordinator Gail Poole, gpoole@ucls.uchicago.edu, the pre-participation forms that can be found on the right side of the page. Students will not be allowed to join any practice without these.

Please visit the Athletics page of the Lab website to see the complete list of our sports offerings. And we hope to see you cheering in the stands!

David Ribbens, Athletics Director

Gail Poole, Athletics & P.E. Coordinator

Nursery and Kindergarten families: plan for childcare and parent schedules during week one

To families with students entering nursery or kindergarten: during the first week of school, hours are shortened and different classrooms will have different schedules on September 4 and 5. While you will receive detailed information on August 1 as part of the “Back to Lab” process, please be aware that you may need extra childcare or flexibility that week:

  • Tuesday, September 4: is a visiting day. NK children, accompanied by a parent, will visit their classroom for approximately an hour.. Exact times will be included in your teacher letter as part of the August Back to Lab information.
  • Wednesday, September 5: Nursery students will be in their classroom for approximately an hour in the morning. Specific times will be included in your teacher letter. Kindergarten students will have a half-day, 8:10 a.m.–noon. They will have a snack at school, and dismiss before lunch.
  • Thursday, September 6: All Nursery and Kindergarten students will have a half-day, 8:10 a.m.–noon. They will have a snack at school, and dismiss before lunch.
  • Friday, September 7: All Nursery and Kindergarten students will be in school from 8:10–2:10. (Half-day Nursery students will dismiss at noon.)

Regular school hours

Lab offers before- and after-school programs and enrichment classes through a program we call Extended Day

Learn more about what we offer at each grade level, and the hours the programs are in operation, here. Early enrollment materials will be sent to you in late May with regular enrollment opening with the Back to Lab process on August 1.

Where will my child have lunch? And more about “Café Lab” and ordering milk, juice, and meal plans

From full-day nursery until grade 5, children eat with their classmates and teachers in the classroom. The Middle and High Schools each have separate lunch periods in the cafeteria called the Café Lab Dining Hall (also known as The Caf). While many families send their children to school with bag lunches, Lab offers options to purchase beverages, bag lunches, and food on site.

You will be able to sign up for these services in early August as part of the “Back to Lab” process:

  • Annual Milk & Juice Plan, grades K–5: Milk and juice options (starting at about $100/school year) are distributed to classrooms each day at lunch time.
  • Bag Lunch Plan, grades N–5: The program offers online ordering and a variety of options. The student's lunch is then delivered to the classroom on the selected day. A standard bag lunch is currently priced at $6.
  • A la carte cafeteria and Café Lab dining plan, grades 6–12: Students (and parents!) may purchase food and beverages from the dining hall, snack bar, and coffee shop. Students may pay with cash, credit/debit card, or use their student ID like a debit card—families load money onto their student's card using “FreedomPay,” and then students receive a 10% discount on their purchases.

In mid-July, new families receive login credentials for PowerSchool, Lab’s student information system and website login credentials

  • “PowerSchool” is Lab’s password-protected access point to confidential student and family information—grade/progress reports, student schedules, and family emergency and other contact information. On July 16, you will receive an email from Lab’s registrar with instructions on how to create a PowerSchool account. If you do not receive instructions on July 16, please email the registrar.
  • About a week later, you will receive login credentials that will give you access to the parent section of the Lab website. The parent section of the website connects you to useful information and it is where you will go to do a number of things like: order lunch or milk from Cafe Lab; report an absence; find forms, including medical and athletics forms. These same credentials will allow you to access Lab’s learning management system, Schoology. Rather than overwhelm you now, Lab will share information about this later.

When will I learn about my child’s schedule and teacher assignments?

  • Nursery/Kindergarten and Primary School: Each year, our principals work closely with teachers and school counselors to create diverse, dynamic classes that represent the best fit for each child. You will learn about your child’s class placement as part of the “Back to Lab” process in August.
  • Lower School: Each year, our principal works closely with teachers and Learning & Counseling faculty to create well-balanced classroom communities. You will learn your child’s class placement as part of the “Back to Lab” process in August.
  • Middle School: Teachers and counselors review each new student’s academic record to determine placement in world language, math, and music courses. All other course placements are by grade. Administrators will contact you if they need more information. You will receive your child’s detailed schedule as part of the “Back to Lab” process in August.
  • High School: All new High School students/families were invited to spend a half-day at Lab learning about the Program of Studies and completing their course registration. Assessments to determine placement in mathematics and world language are given, as needed. If you have questions about your half-day visit, please contact Jeannie Grbavac in Learning & Counseling by email or call 773-702-9445. Starting July 16 in PowerSchool (see above) High School students can access a listing of their courses with instructions for ordering books. Detailed schedules including courses, teachers, and class meeting times will be shared as part of the “Back to Lab” process in early August.

Each new school year kicks off for new and returning families at the start of August

We call the process “Back to Lab.” You will receive an email prompting you to start the Back to Lab process through PowerSchool. Before you access your documents, you will be asked to update/verify your family and emergency contact information. Once you do that, you’ll have access to both “need to know” information you will you need to start the school year with ease and “nice to know” information that you can peruse at your leisure. As part of Back to Lab, available August 1, families receive teacher assignments, class schedules, and detailed information about arrival/dismissal times, drop-off/pick-up procedures, ordering textbooks and PE uniforms, and more.

If your student has a diagnosed learning difference or existing IEP that Lab should know about

Should you wish to discuss an existing IEP or learning difference with the Schools, please contact Director of Student Services Nicole Neal, nneal@ucls.uchicago.edu.

Tuition, billing, payment, and other fees you should expect

Tuition, billing, and payment
  • The University of Chicago Office of the Bursar collects tuition on Lab’s behalf. Information about accepted methods of payment, monthly payment plans, and remission and payroll deduction for University or Medical employees is online here.
  • Tuition rates and details about what tuition covers can be found online here.

Other fees you should expect
  • Some school expenses are not included in Lab’s stated tuition and fees, such as: textbooks, gym clothes in grades 5–12, musical instrument rental and accessories, or photography supplies. Additional fees may also be required for departmental activities, field trips, and Advanced Placement examinations. The total of these additional fees varies depending on your student’s grade level and participation in available school programs.
  • Other optional fees include, but are not limited to: Extended Day programs, foreign exchange programs, some athletic team equipment, cafeteria meal plans, and extracurricular club conferences and field trips (such as travel to Model United Nations or debate competitions).
  • Lab uses a separate system, FACTS, to collect payments for additional charges, including certain field trips, classroom materials, Extended Day, and other miscellaneous items and activities. If your family is new to Lab, you will receive an email from FACTS the very first time charges post to your account. Only then will you be required to set up your account to pay your bill.

About the Parents’ Association and the PA Mentor Program

Upon enrollment, all parents and legal guardians automatically become members of the Parents’ Association (PA). The PA advances educational excellence by fostering a spirit of community among parents, administration, faculty, and students. Throughout the year, its Board organizes a variety of activities to support and empower families, including matching new families with a mentor. The PA charges each family (not each student) $100 in annual dues to fund the activities they organize during the year. The $100 charge is included in the autumn quarter tuition bill. The PA welcomes you to Lab, and you can expect to hear more about the Mentor Program in late May/early June.