Frequently Asked Questions

Rancho Lab School

Rancho Lab School Frequently Asked Questions


Is Rancho Lab School a “real” school?


“The Ranch” or Rancho Lab School is a program under the umbrella of Rancho Learning Center in Arcadia Unified School District.  In addition to the lab school, Rancho Learning Center has several programs including Rancho High School 9-12 Independent Learning, Home Independent Study 1-8, Opportunities Program 7-12.  All of these programs are housed at the Arcadia Education Center.


What is the purpose of the Lab School?


The purpose of the Lab School is to provide families another choice of middle school settings.  The Lab School is a small, close-knit community that may be a better fit for some students.


What grades does the Lab School serve?


In the 19-20 school year, the Lab School is a 6th-grade classroom, and it will be a 7th-grade classroom in the 20-21 school year.


What curriculum is followed?


The Lab School follows the same curriculum as the other 3 middle schools using the California Common Core Standards,  Next Generation Science Standards and the California History Social Science Standards. The Lab School does not use specific texts.  Most materials are Open Educational Resources. Subjects are often integrated, and students are involved in real-world problem solving activities.


How will I know how my child is doing?


Students at the Lab School do not receive traditional letter grades or percentage marks.  Students are given narrative feedback on most assignments and are given the opportunity to work until they are satisfied with their progress.  These assignments with teacher notes are shared with parents via an online platform. Quarter progress reports are sent home via an online platform and contain narrative reports of students’ progress in each of their subject areas.


Who attends the Lab School?


In 2019, all 5th-grade students were invited to be part of the 19-20 Lab School class; an alternative choice from their home middle school.  We are excited to invite any interested current 6th-grade students to fill out our interest form.


What is the weekly schedule like?

School begins at 8:15 and ends at 2:50 p.m.  There is an early release day on Wednesdays at 1:45 and the middle school schedule is followed for minimum and collaboration days.

Will there be daycare after school? 

Unfortunately, before and after school care cannot be provided at the Lab School.

Is hot lunch served?

Students have the option to purchase a refrigerated breakfast and/or sack lunch.

Are there elective classes?

There are no specific elective classes at the Lab School.  Extra opportunities such as art, music, theater, makerspace, and computer coding are integrated into class instruction. 

Are there extracurricular sports teams at Rancho Lab School?

There are no extracurricular sports teams however students participate in daily PE classes.

Is there a counselor on campus?

There is a full-time counselor on campus available to students.  The counselor also helps run special groups and programs and teaches classes such as leadership and mindfulness.

What’s the teacher-student ratio like?

The teacher to student ratio is similar to the other schools.  

How will students be prepared for the transition from 8th grade to 9th grade? 

Regardless of where a student goes to middle school, there is a big transition between 8th and 9th grade.  Teaching students to think critically, communicate, collaborate, and create, along with giving them tools for student agency, will help them to have their needs met as they move onto 9th grade.

Do the students take the state test? 

Students at the Lab School take the SBA test just like all middle school students.