The City as a Classroom- CityLab High School Plans to Take Learning into Dallas’ Downtown and Neighborhoods

on November 29, 2016 / by Downtown Dallas Inc. / in Blog Posts, Clean and Safe, Economic Development and Planning

The Dallas Independent School District (Dallas ISD) has approved plans to open CityLab HS, a new high school for students interested in architecture, urban planning, environmental science, and community development.  The school will open in August 2017 and will be located near City Hall in Downtown Dallas at 912 S. Ervay St.

CityLab is an open enrollment Transformation School that is part of the Dallas ISD Public School Choice program that aims to create a range of options so that all Dallas ISD students can attend a “best-fit school.” A “best-fit school” is a school where educators can more meaningfully and more deeply engage students by tapping into their specific interests, aspirations, and preferred learning styles.

The goal at CityLab HS is to allow students to use the city itself as a laboratory, and have students engage in hands-on, community-based projects with a host of industry partners and partner institutions.  At CityLab HS, students will develop a multidisciplinary understanding of the processes of the natural world, the built environment, and the social and economic systems of the city.

CityLab HS will provide a unique educational experience where learning extends beyond the classroom walls, allowing students to explore the community and the neighborhoods where they live, learn, work, and play.  Through real world, hands-on projects, students will develop their critical thinking and creative problem solving skills while focusing on character development and citizenship skills.

The new school was identified through the Dallas ISD’s annual Public School Choice proposal process that was open to educators nationwide.  The CityLab proposal was led by architect and veteran Dallas ISD teacher Peter Goldstein and local architect Lorena Toffer.

CityLab HS will be open to all incoming ninth-graders for the 2017-18 school year, and similar to other Dallas ISD Choice Schools, there are no academic entry requirements. Enrollment will be based on socioeconomic status, using a blind, randomized, computerized selection process. The admissions process is weighted based on a student’s socioeconomic status using federal and state guidelines – half of the seats at CityLab HS will be reserved for economically disadvantaged students, and half of the seats will be reserved for students who are not economically disadvantaged. To further encourage a diverse student population, thirty percent of the seats at CityLab HS will be open to students living outside of Dallas ISD boundaries.

The window for applications to CityLab HS and other Dallas ISD Public School Choice programs will be open from Nov. 28 to Jan. 31, 2017. Applications are available online at

For more information about CityLab HS, parents and students are invited to attend the information events listed below.  Or, contact Peter Goldstein at or the Dallas ISD Office of Transformation and Innovation at (972) 925-3306.

You can also follow them on Facebook and Instagram at citylabhs.

CityLab HS Information Events

CityLab Information Night, Monday, Dec. 12


Pegasus Building, 912 S. Ervay St, Dallas, TX  75201

CityLab Information Night, Wed. Dec. 21


Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity, 2800 N Hampton Rd, Dallas, TX 75212

CityLab Information Night, Wed. Jan. 25


DISD Administration Building, 3700 Ross. Ave., Room 105, Dallas, TX 75204

Discover Dallas ISD, Sat. Dec. 3  (DISD School Choice and Magnet School Fair)


DA Hulcy STEAM Middle School (across the street from Ellis Davis Fieldhouse) 9339 S Polk St, Dallas, TX 75232

CityLab Summit!

Thur. Jan 12


Keynote Speaker- Lorena Toffer, AIA

Latino Cultural Center, 2600 Live Oak St, Dallas, TX 75204

Sat. Jan. 14


CityLab Summit! family activities and panel discussion

Pegasus Building, 912 S. Ervay St, Dallas, TX  75201

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