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About Lehman Alternative Community School

The Lehman Alternative Community School is a nationally renowned public middle school/high school in Ithaca, New York. LACS enrolls 305 students by a random lottery evenly spread across grades 6-12. The school emphasizes student choice and responsibility, with each student planning their schedule and helping to run the school. 

LACS school governance includes Family Groups, Committees, and the weekly All School Meetings. Students graduate by exhibition through portfolios and performances, demonstrating mastery in essential skills and knowledge. Classes are small and explore subjects in-depth with an emphasis on student engagement and close student/staff relationships. The school values learning outside of the classroom including community service, Tuesday and Thursday projects, and spring “Trips Week.”

Students are evaluated through quarterly narrative evaluations and self-reflections. They are supported in taking responsibility for their learning and for contributing positively to the school community and greater society.

 
Lehman: Dave Lehman was the founder and principal of the school from 1974 until 2004, in collaboration with his wife, Judy Lehman, the school secretary.

Alternative: We are an alternative to traditional schools, in our curriculum, our school governance, our structures, our philosophies, and our culture.

Community: We believe in being both a community within our school and in contributing to the larger Ithaca and global communities.

School: Students demonstrate essential skills and knowledge through portfolios and performances rather than credits and reflect on their learning through written evaluations rather than grades.

 

Equity Statement

LACS firmly supports and advocates for the human rights and dignity of all our students, families and colleagues, including refugees, immigrants, women, native peoples, people of color, people with disabilities, people of all faiths, all economic backgrounds, all sexual orientations and gender identities, and people with or without a police record and regardless of citizenship. We believe the integrity of our educational system depends on this explicit action and commitment to equity.