Gateway Lab School

Our Mission/Philosophy


Our mission is to maximize each student’s academic ability and social growth through innovative arts-based learning in a safe and nurturing environment.



Gateway is an innovative school of excellence that prepares students for life.



Gateway Lab School serves students in grades 3-8 who might struggle to achieve academic success in a traditional classroom environment. 

GLS  models certain aspects of The Lab School of Washington®, a private school located in Washington, D.C., that serves students with learning differences and ADHD.

The Lab School of Washington® was founded and its curriculum designed by Sally L. Smith, former head of the Graduate Program for Special Education: Learning Disabilities at American University, author of numerous books and articles on the subject, and recognized internationally as a leader in the field of learning disabilities. For over 40 years, Professor Smith developed an innovative and rigorous teaching method specifically designed for students with learning differences/disabilities and ADHD known as the Academic Club Method™. Professor Smith's techniques emphasize the arts and hands-on experiential learning to help struggling students become active learners and achieve academic success.


The Gateway Lab School philosophy is based on the belief that children, who have struggled to achieve academic success in the traditional school environment and learn differently, have the capacity to achieve academic success and to realize individual learning potential.

The teachers and staff of Gateway Lab School are committed to developing a sense of inquiry and love of learning in each student. This is accomplished by focusing on providing interventions in the areas of reading, oral and written language, math and motor skills. The social studies and humanities areas of study provides a unique program that incorporates art, music, drama and hands-on learning experiences.

Our social skill/character development curriculum, Responsive Classroom equips students with the knowledge to build relationships and approach new situations with confidence. Students will learn to advocate for themselves by gaining an understanding of how they best learn.

We think that Sally Smith has summed it up best:

“Most of our students have very good minds; it’s just that they’re different minds. They don’t learn the same way as others. And different isn’t bad. Different is fine. For these children to be successful, however, we have to teach them to be very self-aware. Much more so than other children, children with LD have to understand how they learn. They have to pay attention to which things are difficult for them and which things are easy, because they’re going to have to advocate for themselves when they go on to college or into the workplace.
— Sally Smith, Founder of the Lab School in Washington D.C.

Annual Reports

Gateway Lab School's Strategic Plan