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Our Lab Schools

We created two innovative and personalized high schools in partnership with two Pennsylvania school districts in Allentown and Philadelphia.

Now hiring for 2023-24!

We are hiring at Building 21 Philadelphia! Join our team of passionate and experienced educators who are committed to reimagining secondary education to create equity for all students.


Discover a new way to teach and learn at our lab schools

Our two lab schools are small district high schools. The only criteria to apply to our Lab Schools is that students reside in either Allentown or Philadelphia.

If you want to join either of our school communities as a student, parent, staff member, or partner, click on the links below!

What makes our Lab Schools unique?

Relationships are paramount.

We value and care for every student in our schools. Our advisory model provides each student with an adult mentor and a small group of peers to help them navigate their high school experience. The advisory program helps students graduate with a personalized plan and preparation for postsecondary options.

We create just, equitable, and caring learning environments.

We strive for culturally competent, trauma-informed, and restorative policies, practices, and procedures in our schools. By including diverse perspectives at all levels of the organization, we believe that we will build a stronger, more inclusive community.

We educate through competency-based learning.

Each level of mastery transparently defines what a student needs to do to get to the next level, eventually reaching college and career readiness. Students, teachers, and families can easily track learning and growth using Building 21’s competency framework.

Students engage in problem-based learning.

We believe that learning should be connected to the world around us. From global warming to immigraton policy, Students at our Lab Schools engage in Studios which are 6-10 week problem-based units where they try to solve a real world problem.

We are always learning and growing.

We believe that learning and growth are just as important for adults as they are for our students. Our Teacher and Leader Competencies guide the growth and development of adults in our schools.

We promote real-world learning experiences.

We encourage students to learn outside the classroom through career-connected studios, mentoring, and internships. Our community partners help create experiences for students that connect them to college and career pathways.