The Lab School of Washington

  www.labschool.org
  www.labschool.org
Work in HR? Unlock Free Profile
There are newer employer reviews for The Lab School of Washington

1 person found this helpful  

great place to learn about and see innovative teaching methods for children with learning disabilities

  • Comp & Benefits
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Senior Management
  • Culture & Values
  • Career Opportunities
Former Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Washington, DC
Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC

I worked at The Lab School of Washington as an intern for less than a year

Pros

great kids to work with; lots of new, exciting, and innovative ways to integrate the arts into teaching; great facility with many resources

Cons

administration lacks organization; promised letters of recommendation, but never gave it to us and did not respond to emails or phone calls after leaving (in regards to volunteering or letters of recommendation)
if you are okay with disorganization with management/administration and enjoy working with kids, then this is a good place to look into. however, if you need more structure, you may want to check out another place.

Recommends
Positive Outlook

3 Other Employee Reviews for The Lab School of Washington (View Most Recent)

Sort: Rating Date
  1. 3 people found this helpful  

    The late founder would be turning in her grave.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at The Lab School of Washington full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    The students are absolutely wonderful, and were the best part of the job. If I had to list another "pro," I would say that employees are given adequate access to resources.

    Cons

    The Lab School decided to dig up the memorial garden for its late, great founder, Sally Smith, and gave away the plants, in order to build its new high school. Who needs a memorial for the woman who devoted so much of her life to the mission of the school that she founded?! Digging up Sally Smith's memorial garden in such a nonchalant way is just the tip of the iceberg.

    Unfortunately, the cons of working in this institution greatly outweigh the pros. First of all, education appears to be less of a priority, and marketing the institution and generating money seem to be more of a priority (which is interesting, given the institution's non-profit status). This was painful for me, as an individual who was extremely committed to providing a quality education.

    If you are planning to work at Lab, you should know that the head of the school earns over $300,000 (this is in public records), while employees who work 12-hour days and take work home on the weekends earn approximately $40k along with some nice verbal compliments about how they are valued. I was asked on several occasions to donate money to the annual fund, and was even offered the opportunity to have automatic deductions taken out of my pay check each month (yes-- automatic deductions from my $40k salary!). I understand that "business is business," but I donated a great deal of time to working with my students, planning, and writing reports, and collaborating with other professionals, and I felt that the donation of my time was quite sufficient given the below-market salary I earned for individuals in my field (which is a minimum of $60k per year).

    Obviously, I did not go into working in a private school for the money, and I could have tolerated the low salary because I enjoyed working with my students so much; however, I reached a point where I could no longer do my job because of the lack of support and lack of respect I received from the administration. The administration did a nice job of feigning interest in my concerns, but when I voiced my concerns, all of which were in the interest of the students (in some cases, to even advocate for and protect the students), my suggestions and comments fell on deaf ears. There is a pecking order in this institution. If you have been there a long time and hold enough responsibilities, you are not held accountable for your actions, and if an individual raises concerns against those higher on the pecking order, those concerns are quietly ignored.

    Ironically, the students had more insights into how to improve the school and their own experiences than the administration did. Did you know that students with attention deficits sit on wobble stools, in a circle facing one another during class, AND are given iPads?! Yes, this is true-- and professionals complain about behaviors and having to redirect the students, but the proxemics were such that the students were not set up for success. The students knew why they couldn't concentrate, but administration has yet to get the memo. Did you know that the students don't use textbooks? Yes, this school is for children who have learning "differences," but ultimately, the goal is for them to go to college, right? In college, one must read textbooks. In college, one can't make excuses for handing in late work. In college, students are responsible for completing their assignments independently. Unfortunately, Lab does not set them up for success, but rather, insulates them in a culture of complacency, mediocrity, and allowance of excuses. Standards are awfully low for the students, and when standards are raised, they are often not raised in a structured way. It was frustrating to see so many problems, and furthermore, to see that the students, themselves, saw the problems, but nothing could possibly be done about it because suggestions were repeatedly ignored. There was only so much I could do for my students because of the culture in which they were immersed.

    The Lab School of Washington has been riding on the reputation that Sally Smith built, and unfortunately, it seems as though the place is falling from grace and is imploding under the weight of administrative egos. An institution is only as good as the people that it can hire and retain.

    Even if I were to be promised the head of school's six-figure salary, I would not return to work at the Lab School of Washington.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Ask yourselves why there is such great turnover. People leave in droves for a reason. You need to treat your employees better, not by providing long-winded speeches about how great they are, not by conducting presentations on pseudo- or pop-neurology to "educate" them (right-brained people/left-brained people-- really? Please have a professional discuss this, or brush up on your neuroscience before conducting these lectures) but by paying them adequately, and most importantly, by respecting AND ADDRESSING their concerns and suggestions.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
  2. 2 people found this helpful  

    once a fantastic place to work at or bring your LD child to, now not so much

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at The Lab School of Washington

    Pros

    The children are the best part of working at Lab, along with some of the hardworking and dedicated staff

    Cons

    Where to start? Things started to go downhill in terms of not valuing the staff, going away from embracing the Sally Smith approach to learning and towards distancing the institution and its new head of school from all that Sally did and accomplished to help children and towards building up a new high school in order to feed the head's ego, squeezing every drop of energy and effort out of the staff while also increasing their work load but not their salary, and basically not giving a crap about morale, what would help staff do their jobs....as well as continuing to be even more disorganized in terms of failing to establish a clear curriculum that transitions well from division to division, failing at the higher divisions to provide the structured and consistent set of expectations and guidelines/support for the students, and continuing to show favoritism towards those who are "yes men/women" to the head rather than those who are committed to providing the best education the students deserve. Lots of talk about "valuing" the employee but in practice, doing anything but. Not at all the great school that it once was and now just gliding on the "brand" or past reputation of the Lab School under Sally Smith. In my own dept. where there was a change in director, we went from a director who cared greatly about both the students and the staff working under her, to one who smiles and says one thing, and then stabs you in the back with the other. I agree with the other poster that Sally would be rolling over in her grave.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Try to be more respectful, kind and considerate towards the staff instead of undercutting them and making their jobs even harder. If you did, maybe the turnover rate of staff would start to slow down....previously, people loved working here and so would put up with a way below average salary. Now they just move on with their talents to another learning institution or private practice.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
There are newer employer reviews for The Lab School of Washington

Worked for The Lab School of Washington? Contribute to the Community!

Your response will be removed from the review – this cannot be undone.