Our History

Conservatory Lab was chartered in 1999 out of the desire by New England Conservatory professor, Larry Scripp, to change urban education through music. In conjunction with a strong board, led by Katharine Pell and with committed philanthropic leaders, the school expanded and refined the initial model. Over 16 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 new Head of School, Diana Lam, lead Conservatory Lab to take giant step forward, building on its success in music education and deepening 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 400 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.