FAQs & FGAs (Frequently Given Answers)
Who is the Futures Lab for?
Futures Lab is for you if you recognize yourself in any of these:
- "I'm going to college and I know what I want to do..." Fantastic! Futures Lab will provide opportunities to engage in deep, self-directed learning around a specific area of interest.
- "I plan to go right to work after high school..." You're in the right place. Futures Lab offers the chance to build career skills in a hands-on setting. Whether you want to build a business, an app, a drone, or a net-zero tiny house, we offer pathways leading to industry-recognized credentials in a variety of in-demand areas.
- "I don't know what I want to do after high school..." We get it! If you are looking to try some stuff and see what clicks, you will fit right in at Futures Lab. Come explore your options while developing the skills and experience employers and post-secondary schools are looking for.
How does Futures Lab work with my existing school schedule?
This is our biggest question by far and it's simpler than you think. Futures Lab classes meet every day either in the morning or afternoon. We will offer both full-year and semester-long pathway options to accommodate students' needs and interests. Our counselor works directly with home campus counselors to make sure that students' class schedules are built to accommodate both Futures Lab and home campus classes. Most of our high schools are now on a 4 period day so Futures Lab is a perfect fit as you take two classes with us and two on your home campus.
Most of our classes run on a block schedule with two 90-minute classes in both the morning and afternoon sessions. Since we also know that much of our project-based work does not neatly fit into a 90-minute chunk of time, many of our classes offer opportunities for students to flex a portion of their learning time through a blended learning model. This varies by pathway and class.
Instructional time associated with blended and/or online learning will be scheduled directly into the student’s schedule in the District student information system. This instructional time is exactly equivalent to the brick-and-mortar in-class time for that course.
Is Futures Lab a school?
Not exactly. Futures Lab is a PSD program. We are similar to a school in that our classes all offer credits that count toward PSD graduation in multiple areas. However, we do not have full-time students which means we don't have a graduating class, we don't do standardized testing, and we don't offer the full complement of classes that would be required to issue diplomas.
We believe that Futures Lab offers the best of both worlds: Students remain enrolled in some classes at their home campus and spend half their day in their pathway at the Lab.
What pathways and courses are available? What's coming?
Take a look at any of the Pathways on our main page. In addition to the seven pathways we're offering this year, we have more pathways scheduled to launch in 2021 and 2022. Next year, we are excited to launch new pathways for Education, and Multimedia & Graphic Design, Coming in 2022-2023, be on the lookout for Architecture, Construction, and Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing.
I'd love to come to the Lab, but I still need to take Language Arts/Econ/Humanities/Finance. Is Futures Lab still an option?
To make Futures Lab as accessible as possible, we offer the opportunity for students to earn additional graduation credits while they're on our campus. We offer two unique Humanities courses: "Disruptive Technologies" and "Creativity & Innovation" that meet PSD's Humanities requirement. We also offer Economics and Finance, as well as a variety of Language Arts electives from Creative Writing to Popular Songwriting.
Several of our pathway courses offer core content credit as well. This varies by pathway so take a look at the Pathway page or reach out to us for clarification.
Is Futures Lab the right fit for freshmen?
Maybe. While there are no "admission requirements" at the Lab and most of our pathways are open to any high school student, classes at the Lab tend to operate a little differently than many traditional high school classes. In keeping with our Design Principles, learners at Futures Lab have a high level of autonomy in their work. This doesn't mean they are expected to function completely on their own, however it does mean that successful Futures Lab learners demonstrate a level of maturity and willingness to embrace failure on their learning journey.
In addition, many of our high schools have unique classes designed to "on-board" freshmen into their high school experience so in some cases scheduling Futures Lab classes around a 9th grade schedule can be a challenge. Having said all of that, if you feel strongly that your freshman is someone who would thrive at the Lab, let's chat about how we might make that happen.
Can Futures Lab accommodate my IEP or 504?
In many cases, we are able to offer accommodations. What we know about experiential learning and the hands-on opportunities at Futures Lab is that many students who struggle with the typical school routine thrive with the flexible learning environments at Futures Lab. We work closely with our Integrated Services and Student Support teams to make sure accommodations are met. If you have any questions at all about whether Futures Lab is the right fit for your learner, please connect with your student's case manager or reach out to us directly and let's start the conversation.
Where is Futures Lab located?
All pathways except Culinary and Hospitality meet at the Futures Lab campus at 1630 Stover St. We are just south of Lesher Middle School and share a parking lot with Poudre Global Academy. Our Culinary and Hospitality pathway meets in the culinary kitchen at Fossil Ridge High School.
Do students earn high school or college credit?
Students taking courses at the Futures Lab will earn high school credit. Many of our courses also offer Concurrent Enrollment opportunities through our higher education partners at Aims, FRCC, UNC, and CSU.
What if I don't drive or have transportation? How do I get to and from Futures Lab?
Transportation will not be a barrier for students who want to attend Futures Lab. PSD will provide transportation for students who need it to and from the student's base high school.
How can I participate in Futures Lab programs?
If you're already sold and ready to be a part of our community, you'll find everything you need on our registration page.
Futures Lab works closely with home campus counselors and, in most cases, you will be able to sign up for Futures Lab as part of your regular registration process.
Will Futures Lab offer any options for fully remote learning in 2021-2022?
At this time, there are no plans to offer any fully remote pathways in 2021-2022. Our hope is that school is much closer to "normal" next year, but in the event that the district shifts to remote or hybrid learning, we will follow suit.
Should you choose to opt for one of PSD's fully remote options next year, your learner may still enroll in a Futures Lab pathway as an in-person complement to that experience.
What about a Pathway in [area in which we don't currently have a pathway]?
We're glad you asked! Our Pathways are selected based three criteria:
- Industry needs, both locally and nationally
- Student interest based on ICAP and Xello data as well as student focus groups
- Multiple options for a post-secondary trajectory, including continued education through the workforce, 2-year college, or 4-year college.
Our Futures Lab Advisory Council meets periodically to review existing pathways for continued relevance and identify opportunities for additional options. If you have an interest and aren't seeing a pathway that aligns, remember that PSD offers career prep opportunities beyond the Futures Lab so feel free to reach out and we can point you in the right direction.
Are there grade point average or admissions requirements? What about course fees?
The Futures Lab is a zero-barrier program and we are proud that our enrollment is more diverse than PSD as a whole. For PSD students, there are no GPA, attendance, or other minimum requirements to participate in Futures Lab. If you have a unique situation, let's chat about how to make it work.
Currently, none of our classes require a fee to participate. Where applicable, there may be a testing fee at the conclusion of the course to earn a credential, however we have opportunities available through our community supporters that can help offset those fees. Let's chat.
I am a community member with an interest in supporting learners at the Lab with my time and talents. How can I help?
We are so grateful for community members who have a passion for giving back. We have a variety of opportunities depending on how much time you have to commit. Our learners appreciate anything from dropping in to teach a seminar for a day to mentoring a group of entrepreneurs. If you have something else in mind, we can discuss that, too. Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org AND make sure you are cleared as a PSD Volunteer.
Where does funding for the Futures Lab come from?
PSD is working with multiple sources of funding for this program that may include a portion of the 2016 bond premium. All projects included in the original 2016 bond program will continue to be fully funded. The Futures Lab project has not diverted any funding from the $40 million in planned improvements to all PSD schools, or from construction of futures projects that include three new schools, a transportation maintenance facility and an athletics complex.
We also rely on support from our industry partners who generously provide both monetary and in-kind donations.
The PSD Foundation provided $70,000 in startup funding for the launch of our MobileMakersEDU™ iOS App Development. The donation covered initial implementation costs including hardware for students, curriculum development, and teacher training.