Prior to the 1970s, there was minimal alternative education curriculum to support students who were not thriving with traditional schooling methods. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, dropout rates among high school students were as high as 27% in the 1960s. Struggling students needed more growth opportunities, tailored support, and resources. Unlimited Potential responded to these challenges by creating a new academic curriculum for students of all aptitudes. The curriculum identified new goals and objectives for students, including building confidence and collaboration skills.
Cindy Herbert took what she had experienced and learned by working with Unlimited Potential and the pilot program at Milam Elementary to develop the Learning Laboratory through Learning About Learning. For five years Herbert and Jarrell co-directed the lab school at 411 East Mulberry. This all-day experiemental classroom for children was chosen by the National Endowment of the Arts as a model alternative classroom for arts in education.
Cindy's journals illuminate her and LAL's thought processes as they developed this new curriculum, revealing how they posed and addressed questions about community and self-identity in order to help students thrive and problem solve.
The lab school objectives were to:
- Develop a system of classroom instruction that begins with the strengths of the individual.
- Teach any academic subject (language, math, science, history, and social studies) through the arts.
- Develop indviduals who can enter the mindset of any field/social group and function as creative problem solvers within it.
- Develop a process that can link almost any person to any field.