The Science Behind Local Lab


Savvas Varitimos, Editor

This Thursday, April 25, was another successful Local LAB day for Pingree. This spring the trips offered a variety of new and exciting options ranging from a trip to Boston Public Market, doing community service at Appleton Farms, or going behind the scenes at the local News 7 station. These offerings were aimed at broadening the scope of students’ real world experiences; in the words of Mrs. Moore who runs the program, “The intention here [is] to get students off campus and take advantage of what is here… there is just so much.” These new endeavors have received the attention of the student body, though one question does remain in mind: what was the inspiration behind Local LABs?

After having the opportunity to sit down with Mrs. Moore who has been a key contributor and advocate for the program, I had the chance to answer a few of my lingering questions. She first answered the previous question by saying, that the program was led as a teacher initiative. A few years ago, many in the student body felt that, overall, Pingree’s teachers didn’t often take students to learn out of the classroom setting. After a few teachers in the English Department expressed the same sentiment, a few individuals: Mrs Moore, Ms. O’Neill, Ms. McCoy, and others came up with a proposal to give the students what they wanted. In the 2016-2017 school year, the first few Local LAB trips began. According to Ms. Moore, in the English curriculum students “already had class-based field trips,” in the fall, so they expanded this by adding one experiential learning day per trimester.

Students find the Local LAB program meaningful to Pingree. “Whereas other schools may offer a project week, we have this, something much more immersive and hands-on,” says Mrs. Moore. I was interested in also getting to know more about the process of creating these trips. As it was explained to me, the process begins every year as Mrs. Moore asks for informal suggestion from teachers. Next, Mrs. Moore sends letters out to alumni and parent-groups, requesting contacts and anything they do for work that would be of interest to students. Throughout this drawn-out process, Mrs. Moore and Ms. O’Neill reach out to organizations throughout the greater Boston area. They spend this time evaluating whether or not proposed workshops would be an appropriate fit for students, and then going forth with planning the events out for that day, something that includes scheduling buses, ordering lunches, and finally placing students in each workshop. The Advancement Office also plays a crucial role in carrying out this process, as they help connect teachers with alumni who are interested in hosting a trip.

In closing, Mrs. Moore exclaimed her gratitude for the Local LAB Committee on behalf of their dedication to enhancing the program, through giving and relaying feedback on workshops which catch the interest of students. If she were able to communicate one thing, and one thing only, it would be that “we’d love to hear students propose more trips.” Since the program has been created, two students have proposed off-campus trips, and both have happened.