Our History

Conservatory Lab was chartered in 1999 out of the desire of two New England Conservatory professors to advance urban education. Over 14 years, the School has evolved into a pioneering Boston public charter school that fuses music and academics into a groundbreaking curriculum, Learning Through Music. Its disciplined music study program and inquiry approach propel our students to develop indispensable qualities that drive lifelong success: persistence, discovery, hard work, and the joy of learning.

In the 2010-2011 school year the Conservatory Lab took a giant step forward to build on its success in music education and deepen its impact on students by extending the school day from 2:30 to 5:30 pm and implementing El Sistema, an intensive, ensemble-focused music education program designed to effect social change and nurture promising futures for underserved communities. El Sistema has become a defining force in our school culture, significantly increasing our students’ musical and individual skill development and contributing to their excitement for school and learning overall.

Today, over 300 lottery-chosen students arrive by bus from inner-city Boston neighborhoods, including Roxbury, Hyde Park, Dorchester, and Mattapan. Nearly 70% of these students qualify for free or reduced-priced meals; 15% are identified as special needs and/or require a 504 plan; and 22% are English Language Learners. Conservatory Lab’s diverse student body, representing the city’s rich cultural and linguistic heritages, is at a Level 1 school – the highest performing category in Massachusetts.