The “Lab” Experience: A Decidedly Different School for Students in Grades 3-12
Kent Laboratory Academy (formerly Kent Mountain View and Phoenix Academies) is an innovative school providing students and families with an option in public education. In partnership with the University of Washington Tacoma, our academy provides a more richly staffed and resourced school to actualize a personalized learning environment by enriching our curriculum, instruction, and assessment.
To honor a whole child approach, we are committed to build on the strengths of our students and their families to meet their needs. We are home to ten grade levels and five distinct programs that are rooted in personalized learning. At Kent Laboratory Academy, each program provides a decidedly different school experience for students and families who are seeking an alternative to their boundary school. Our small school size fosters authentic, meaningful relationships and mirrors the district’s demographics to pilot and innovate. Coupled with our unique structure, student learning is anchored in programs and environments that support a focused identity and clear outcomes.
It is important to keep in mind that our unique school structure and size also makes us decidedly different than the traditional boundary school experience in other ways. If you are considering if the Laboratory Academy is right for you, here are other key requirements in the “Lab” experience:
Laboratory Academy students are enrolled full-time. Students who qualify for Running Start may participate their junior and senior years.
Laboratory Academy students participate in all district and state-mandated assessments within the state or district designated testing windows to ensure we have Academy data that accurately reflects our student learning. Assessment data allows us to plan appropriate instruction and ensures we are able to compare our student achievement and growth to other district student performance.
Laboratory Academy students are excited to share common spaces or events with students across grade levels because our campus has ten grade levels (grades 3-12) serving students ages 8 to 18. This means our older students agree to serve as positive role models for our younger students.
Laboratory Academy students and families are open to working with our partner university to further our mission to improve teaching practices as a research-based school. Part of our mission is to learn together.
Laboratory Academy students know that our campus is closed at all times, even during lunch. Students may not leave campus during school hours. We care about our students’ safety and building community during lunchtime and throughout the day.
Laboratory Academy students are eligible and encouraged to participate in extra-curricular activities like athletics and clubs, at their KSD resident boundary school or the student’s public school of record.
Laboratory Academy parents and guardians are aware that we don’t have a traditional PTA, but they can access other opportunities such as cultural fairs, student-led conferences, and volunteering on field trips, support, and contributing to the Laboratory Academy community.
Laboratory Academy families acknowledge that limited KSD transportation is provided for in-district students only, and families transporting their students to/from the academy agree to the designated drop-off and pick-up times and location before and after school.
Laboratory Academy Connect students are at least 16 years old and behind in high school credits. The intent of the Connect program is to assist students with credit retrieval to get them back on track for on-time graduation. Students may apply to the Connect program year-round. Twelfth-grade students receive priority admission.
Laboratory Academy high school students entering grades 10, 11, and 12 may be no more than 2-6 credits behind at their respective grade levels in order to build a schedule in a small school with limited course offerings.
Laboratory Academy students in grades 6-12 are enrolled in eight classes each semester in a block schedule (four periods each day) which includes a required class for instructional and social-emotional support. Eight classes increase our students’ access to elective offerings and credit opportunities.
Apply to Attend the Laboratory Academy
The Laboratory Academy provides an innovative educational option for students who are seeking academics in a small school, family-friendly environment. Students and their siblings can attend school on one campus for the duration of their school careers (grades 3-12).
Applications are accepted for current Kent School District students and for those outside of the district.
Criteria considered for student enrollment include (but are not limited to):
- Space availability
- Priority consideration is given to current Kent School District students and siblings of our current academy students
If the number of applicants exceeds available spots, a lottery with priorities above factored, will be held.
Step 1: Submit an Application
Now accepting applications for the 2024-2025 School Year and Second Semester
- Applications for Fall 2024 (August 2024) accepted through March 15, 2024
- Applications for Second Semester (January 2025) accepted through January 15, 2025
Complete the Kent Laboratory Academy Application Form to submit your application to Kent Laboratory Academy for the 2024-25 school year and second semester.
2024-25 school year and Second semester admissions are by lottery and space availability at each grade level.
Applications for the 2024-25 school year must be received by March 15, 2024. Decisions for next school year will be made by March 31, 2024. Until placement decisions are determined, students should register for classes at their boundary school. Accepted students must remain enrolled and attend at their boundary school until their start date with Kent Laboratory Academy.
Applications for second semester must be received by January 15, 2025. Admission decisions for second semester will be made by January 20, 2025.
Email additional paperwork required to KentLabAcademyAdmissions@kent.k12.wa.us.
An information session and interview may be scheduled after receiving the application and depending on anticipated space at the student’s grade level. For those who would like to learn more about KLA, an Admissions Information Event will be offered February 28, 2024, from 1:30 – 2:30pm in our MPR. Currently, an RSVP is not required.
Step 2: Notification of Admission Decision
All families who complete an application will be notified if your student is admitted for the school year. Placement is not based on a first-come, first-served basis. Admissions is by lottery and is based on space availability at each grade level.
Upon acceptance, all enrollment forms should be completed within seven days to secure your student’s enrollment in the Kent Laboratory Academy. If out-of-district, a Choice Transfer Request form is required to be submitted to the Kent School District before a student will be enrolled.
If you have questions about this process, please contact the main office at (253) 373-7322.
To appeal an enrollment decision, schedule a meeting with the principal to discuss the decision. If the parent/guardian and/or student wishes to appeal the principal’s decision, please contact Student and Family Support Services at (253) 373-7235. Appeals can only be initiated when the transfer denial is for reasons other than space availability. A district administrator will review the decision and respond to the parent/guardian in writing. Appeals from decisions under this procedure will be in accordance with RCW 28A.645 to the extent applicable.
Small School Offerings
The Kent Laboratory Academy offers:
- Demographics that represent Kent School District and inclusion of all students.
- Partnership with University of Washington Tacoma educators and resources.
- Flexible, collaborative learning spaces.
- Cross grade-level learning opportunities on a grade 3 – 12 campus
- Multipurpose lunchroom with hot lunch offerings
- Classes designed for 21st Century Skills and college readiness
- Access to community partners including Communities in Schools and Kent Youth and Family Services
- High school scheduling that allows for increased credit-earning opportunities
- Social-emotional learning built into weekly schedules using the Compassionate School Framework
- Leadership opportunities for students
- Collaborative teaching and co-teaching instruction
- “Push-In” support for students with IEPs, 504s and Multilingual Learner needs
The Kent Laboratory Academy doesn’t offer:
- Large, full-service cafeteria.
- Secondary band and orchestra.
- Facilities to support large performing arts.
- AP/IB courses
- Traditional PE
- WIAA Athletic teams or ASB after-school clubs
- Off-campus privileges (we are a closed campus)
Information for the 2025-2026 School Year
Check our website after January 30, 2025 for updates.