Music-focused charter school will open in Laboure building

The Laboure College building on the campus of Carney Hospital will be converted into space for the Conservatory Lab Charter School.

A Brighton-based charter school that focuses on a “music-infused education” will move into the old Laboure College building on the campus of Carney Hospital this summer with plans to open for classes in September. The Conservatory Lab Charter School will house grades 2-8 in the now-vacant building at 2120 Dorchester Avenue.

Details of the lease agreement between the charter school and Steward Health Care, which owns the building, were discussed at last week’s meeting of the Lower Mills Civic Association.

According to Bill Howland, a spokesman for Carney Hospital, “renovations are under way and classes are scheduled to begin in the fall.”

The charter school, which was founded in 1999, will continue to house its kindergarten and first grade classes at its current location on Arlington Street in Brighton. The rest of the student body – about 250 students – will relocate to Dorchester, along with its administrators and teachers, totaling about 40 people.

“Our goal is to be a contributing member of the community,” said Cecilia Soriano, the school’s director of external relations.  “We feel it is our mission to share what we know and love and to bring joy to the community.”

Soriano said that students would be on campus from 7:15 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. The school selects incoming students via a lottery that has already taken place for the upcoming academic year. However, Soriano said, they anticipate some new openings in the upper grades due to some attrition due to their move. “If people are interested in applying, they can go on our website, get on the waiting list and begin that process,” she said.

Conservatory Lab emphasizes “rigorous academic and music education” using the principles of “expeditionary learning,” which emphasizes longer, project-driven lessons. Students also perform together in an orchestra together to “develop an emotional bond with their community, which shapes their attitude and behavior.”

“We presently have four orchestras, two smaller ensembles - 1 brass and one string,” said Soriano. “We love to give concerts.”

The school has steadily been adding grades and students, according to a document provided by Soriano. In the 2013-2014 school year, they served students in grades K-1 through Grade 7 for a total of 313 students. Over the next three years, Conservatory Lab intends to expand to the 8th grade and increase to 444 students.