FAQs & FGAs (Frequently Given Answers)
What is the Futures Lab schedule?
Futures Lab offers two half-day sessions:
AM Session: 9:30–11:45
PM Session: 1:15–3:30
What about PSD late start days?
On late start days, we maintain the same schedule at the Lab:
AM Session: 9:30–11:45
PM Session: 1:15–3:30
Who is 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 provides opportunities to engage in deep, authentic learning around specific areas of interest that can complement and round-out your academic success.
- “I like to learn, but I don’t like school…” You’re in the right place. Futures Lab provides an experiential learning environment and a small learning community. We provide opportunities for students to rediscover their passions and their natural love for learning.
- “I feel disengaged and don’t know what I want to do…” 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 and learn more about yourself while developing the skills and experience employers and post-secondary schools are looking for.
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. Futures Lab is a place where all learners can find success.
How is Futures Lab different from other school experiences?
Futures Lab was built from the ground up as an experiential learning environment. Learning at the Lab is rarely “sit-and-get” and is primarily built around student-run projects. We live by our Design Principles.
We believe that the most powerful learning happens when students engage with the world beyond the classroom and work on authentic projects that impact our community. Futures Lab students benefit from frequent guest speakers, regular one-on-one check-ins with instructors, and opportunities to get off campus and into the community.
Our PSD community is fortunate to have so many outstanding, comprehensive and alternative high school options. Futures Lab is designed to complement, not replace, the courses and programs offered at our home campuses.
How does Futures Lab work with my existing school schedule?
This is our most frequently asked question by far and it’s simpler than you think! Futures Lab classes meet every day either in the morning or afternoon. We offer both full-year and semester-long pathway options to accommodate students' needs, interests, and schedules. 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.
Our classes run on a block schedule both our AM and PM sessions include two 90-minute classes. We have students enrolled at the Lab from all eight PSD high schools so we can make it happen for you!
I don’t want to commit to a half-day program. Can I just take a pathway class or choose my classes a la carte?
Futures Lab has been designed as a half-day program where students earn up to 20 credits each semester. The Lab is organized into pathways which consist of multiple classes that are bundled together into a 3-hour block. The lines between our classes are blurry and flexible and based on student and project needs. Work at the Lab is highly collaborative and we focus intentionally on building community. As a result, taking a standalone class on a “drop-in” basis is not optimal for students and is not an available option at the Lab.
Is Futures Lab a school?
Futures Lab is not a school; Futures Lab is a PSD program. We are similar to a school in that our classes all offer credits that count toward PSD graduation. 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.
Is Futures Lab a charter school?
No. Futures Lab is a program that is fully managed within the Poudre School District. Futures Lab students benefit from the resources that are available to a large, comprehensive school district.
Who are the teachers at Futures Lab?
Our teachers are lifelong learners who have found their way to the Futures Lab team either with extensive experience in PK-12 education (several have previously worked in adult learning and professional development), or with significant industry expertise in their pathway areas. The majority of our staff have advanced degrees or significant job-specific training. You can take a look at our team of professionals by visiting the Meet the Team page on our website.
Do I need to “School of Choice” into Futures Lab?
No. Opting in to Futures Lab is not part of the School of Choice process. Futures Lab is available to all PSD high school students regardless of their home campus. Our registration process typically begins in February and occurs alongside registration at home high school campuses.
What clubs or activities do you have?
Our existing secondary schools offer a wealth of extra-curricular and co-curricular clubs and activities for most students. As a program that brings together students from all PSD secondary schools, the focus at Futures Lab is on offering opportunities that may not otherwise be available to all students. We have a small number of specialized activities, including an esports team that is open to any student enrolled at the Lab. You can look at our current list of activities and organizations here.
What pathways and courses are available?
Take a look at any of the Pathways on our main page.
What happens if a pathway I want is full?
We encourage those who know they want to enroll at the Lab to register during Priority Registration which typically runs from late January through early March. If pathways fill during Priority Registration, we prioritize seats based on student grade level with seniors getting the first seats.
After Priority Registration closes, we will notify any learners for whom a seat is not available in their chosen pathway. Those learners will have the option to remain on the waiting list for their first-choice pathway while also having first priority to choose an alternate pathway that has space available.
Following Priority Registration, we will re-open registration for pathways with space available and registrations will be handled in the order they are received until the pathway is full.
I’d love to come to the Lab, but I still need to take Language Arts/Econ/Math/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. For 2023–2024, we offer courses that meet PSD graduation requirements in Math, Language Arts, Science, Economics, Personal Financial Literacy, and Humanities.
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. There are no “admission requirements” at the Lab and most of our pathways are open to any high school student. However, 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 does not mean that students are expected to function completely independently, however it does mean that successful Futures Lab learners demonstrate a certain level of maturity and intellectual curiosity, as well as a 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. With all of that in mind, if you feel strongly that your freshman would thrive at the Lab, let’s chat about how we might make that happen.
Can Futures Lab accommodate my student’s 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 environment at Futures Lab. We work closely with our Integrated Services and Student Support teams to make sure we are able to accommodate all learners. 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?
Beginning in Fall 2023, Futures Lab is located in the northeast corner of Poudre High School at 201 S. Impala Dr, Fort Collins, CO 80521.
Is Futures Lab part of Poudre High School?
While we are grateful to have the opportunity to share space on their campus, Futures Lab is completely separate from PHS. Futures Lab has its own administrator, counselor, faculty, and staff, and operates independently.
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, and UNC.
What if I don’t drive or have transportation? How do I get to and from Futures Lab?
Transportation should 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 home high school.
How can I participate in Futures Lab programs?
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.
I am a homeschooled student. Can I attend Futures Lab?
Yes, you can! Since Futures Lab is not a school, each of our students must be enrolled in a “home campus” prior to co-enrolling in classes at Futures Lab. Homeschooled students will first enroll in PSD Options as their “home campus” and then register for classes at the Lab. Give us a call or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we can help you navigate this process.
Are there grade point average or other admission requirements? What about course fees?
The Futures Lab is a zero-barrier program and we are proud that our enrollment is consistently 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 and, in many cases, we are able to cover testing fees for students who elect to sit for industry recognized credentials including their FAA Part 107 and other certifications.
Will Futures Lab offer any options for fully remote learning in 2023–2024?
Futures Lab will not offer any fully remote pathways in 2023–2024. For families who opt for a fully remote learning experience through PGA Virtual, Futures Lab pathways can serve 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.
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 email@example.com AND make sure you are cleared as a PSD Volunteer.
Where does funding for the Futures Lab come from?
PSD works with multiple sources of funding for this program, including PSD’s General Fund, recovered costs from the sunsetting of the FRCC Career Pathways program, federal funding made available to school districts through the Perkins Fund, the Colorado Career & Technical Act (formerly the Colorado Vocational Act of 1970, CRS 23–8–101), the Colorado Career Development Incentive Program, and other avenues.
The Futures Lab project does not divert funding from the 2016 bond. Those funds have been fully allocated toward $40 million in planned improvements to all PSD schools, and to construction projects including Timnath MHS, Wellington MHS, Bamford ES, a transportation maintenance facility, and a second PSD 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.
Woodward Manufacturing has provided an in-kind donation of equipment to Futures Lab to support our Advanced Manufacturing pathway as well as the P-TECH program at Poudre HS.