Measured Daylight: GCE Students Map an Illuminated Future

In the spirit of real-world learning, two students were on-site to audit available daylight on the third floor of the Randolph Street location we are pursuing for the new home of fGCE Lab School. Using a photometer to measure the intensity of light, a tape measure to identify points of fall off, and a camera to record visual contexts, they created a map to identify locations optimal for classrooms in the 16,000 sq. ft. floor plan. Architects and general contractors were also on-site, giving students first-person insight to how their work and perspective impacts our campus design project.

Rock On! 4th Annual GCE Fundraiser was a Hit!

A most epic night, last Friday’s 4th Annual GCE Fundraiser had it all; a mouthwatering spread, totally killer auction and raffle prizes, poetry performances from GCE’s LTAB team, live music from Chris Corsale, an unforgettable performance from Nordic Thunder, and a brilliant community raising money to support students at GCE, where a real-world high school education prepares them for their futures through collaboration and compassion across diverse communities.

We raised over $11,000 to support our mission to deliver dynamic, relevant, and real-world learning experiences to a diverse student body!

A very special thank you to all of our event sponsors:

Field Experience

A Test of Endurance

Seniors in Endurance are investigating the journeys of endurance of historical fictional and non-fictional heroes. They are tasked with answering the guiding question, How do you endure mental and physical challenges? by actually facing enduring tests. As a part of this investigation, the students embarked on a transformative journey within themselves with the help of Preston Klik, who demonstrated instruments used for sound meditation and led the meditation for the group.

Field Experiences: We Experience the World

On Wednesday, October 17th, we invited field experience partners to join us for breakfast so we can say thank you for being a partner in education. It meant so much to us to open up our space, for a change, and to share our hopes for the field experience program. The work we do to impart the importance of real-world learning is brought to life with the partneships we cultivate and foster with organizations, companies, and individuals dedicated to providing purposeful and relevant edcuation to students.

GCE Fun'raiser Photo Gallery

Home Run! 3rd Annual GCE Fun’raiser was a Great Success

An incredible night, last Friday’s 3rd Annual GCE Fun’raiser had it all; pizza, hot dogs, an auction, raffle, poetry, live music, Cracker Jack, and a brilliant community raising money for GCE’s food program.

We were able to raise over $10,000 for the food program — that’s 5 months of food service for the entire school!

Help GCE Close the Opportunity Gap for High School Students in Chicago

It’s Live!

We just launched our IndieGoGo campaign to fund scholarships in support of our 50/50 model

Our 50/50 model ensures that 50% of our students receive need-based scholarships to attend GCE. This diverse learning environment unites students and communities across Chicago with amazing success. Over the past five years, our graduates have been awarded an average of $100,000 each in merit-based college scholarships.

Support Our Campaign Here

Go read about GCE on DNA Info right now!

We’re always thrilled to share our story with the community and ecstatic when the community becomes part of our voice. On Tuesday, DNA Info published an article in the Lincoln Park & Old Town, Education section about our incredible new facility and real-world learning model. Go read it on right now!

Small Private High School Expands,
Unveils New Facility In Lincoln Park

The Dawn of a New Day

Dear GCE Students & Families,
I’m grateful and honored to write this letter to you. It is a testament to the evolution of GCE Lab School and our commitment toward each of you and the school’s future. I’ve been blessed with the chance to pursue my dream, to see a vision into reality. Every day for the past six years this has been made possible through the presence, purpose, and potential of our students, families, staff and board.

May 30, 2016, was officially my last day as Head of School. Today I report to duty in support of Kate Klein, our new Head of School. Oh fret not, I’ll remain engaged with GCE Lab School, and certainly, GCE will always be part of me. My new role with GCE is to provide strategic support, fidelity to the model and its purpose, to drive breakthroughs in learning & teaching, and to continue to aid our team in providing every possible opportunity for our students. Beyond GCE, I will use the lessons learned to help public and charter schools build the GCE model within their systems, to extend the reach of our model so that more students have experiences like ours.

If you’ve ever talked “leadership” with me, then you know what our soon-to-graduate seniors have learned in their Entrepreneurship class: first, I believe that leaders of organizations must change; second, I design organizations for others to run beyond me. We’ve been steadily working toward these two realities. We are ready for GCE Lab School v.2.0. The model exists; YOU are proof of concept. You, students and staff in particular, make GCE Lab School what it is, and more importantly, what it will become.

Over the past 6 years, your kids have become ours, each other’s, and mine. From the core of my being I thank you for believing in the Global Citizenship Experience, for giving me a chance to practice what I preach, and above all else, I thank you for trusting me.


Eric Davis

Eric Davis
GCE Lab School Founder
Global Learning Models Co-Founder & Chief Learning Officer

Final Presentations Photo Gallery

2015 Graduation & Final Presentations

GCE staff and students invite you to join us for 2015 Graduation & Spring Term Final Presentations at Goodman Theatre on June 4th, from noon-2pm.

Experience what our students have been learning this term, and join us in seeing our 2015 graduates off into their next adventures.

Many thanks to Goodman Theatre for their partnership and support as well as Amazing Edibles for food and beverage.

RSVP for Spring Term Final Presentations & Graduation

The Future is Not Satisfied By Today’s Education

We Are Not Satisfied.

Download the presentation here

Eric Davis, founder of GCE Lab School, emboldens students and families by affirming GCE’s commitment to an educational model that equips students to thrive in today’s complex world through an innovative approach to education—one that hones relevant skills, incorporates adaptive technologies, and embraces the inspiration and practicality of real-world learning.

GCE Lab School is a private high school located in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. Our inquiry and project-based curriculum cultivates global citizens through experiential learning.


GCE Summer Immersion Classes

Summer Immersion Courses for Creative and Independent Thinkers

With temperatures already dropping into the teens, let’s dream on warmer weather and summer plans.
Please consider GCE’s Summer Immersion courses for rising 7th-12th grade students. Specifically, we aim to enroll students who are creative and independent thinkers, who care about learning in and beyond school, and who want to experience a vibrant and experiential summer program.

See below for more information on Summer Immersion, and be sure to RSVP for Elective Term Final Presentations on January 22, 2015.

RSVP for Elective Term Final Presentations Here!

Summer Immersion

Are you interested in learning about issues that are important to you? Would you like to work with passionate teachers and students from around Chicago? Pre-register for one of GCE’s Summer Immersion courses.

Participants sample our Model for Learning — purpose driven, integrated curriculum, differentiated instruction, field experience, digital portfolios, and a focus on global citizenship. For rising freshmen and transfer students, the Summer Immersion is a great way to infuse your learning experience with a jolt of purpose and inspiration and to determine if GCE Lab School is an appropriate high school choice.

Pre-register for a Summer Immersion course

Elective Term Final Presentations:
January 22, 2015

Plan ahead and mark your calendar to attend Final Presentations on January 22nd, 2-3pm, at Thalia Hall in Pilsen. Experience our unique Elective Term courses through the lens of our students, who will guide us through the courses they study and the transformation their lives undergo in a matter of weeks.

At Elective Term Final Presentations, students will showcase their learnings from courses including Ollywood, FARE, Five Faces, and Stage Chemistry. Here are some brief descriptions of the courses:

Ollywood focuses on film critique through the study of pre-, post- and production.

FARE/Eatalian approaches Italian language and culture through the lens of what we eat.

Five Faces of Genius brings Firemark’s original content to GCE, calling on students to discover and reveal their creative genius.

Designed in partnership with the Goodman Theatre, Stage Chemistry features the STEAM magician’s tools that are used to create theater.

RSVP Today!

Online Installations

GCE's Integrated Curriculum Digital Portfolios
Animal Exhibit:
A Population Online Installation
Check out GCE Voices

GCE Voices (our school blog) is a series of “Online Installations” which artistically reveals student work in interactive ways. We hope you dive into the installations and feel inspired by our motto: “Reinvent Possibility.”

Check Out GCE Voices


Happy Thanksgiving
We hope that you eat well, drink well, rest well, and enjoy the bounty of love, family, and friends.

The End… or just the Beginning?

Dear Friends & Families:

The 2013-14 school year draws to a close, and while we celebrate closure and the significant experiences of this year, we also set an eye on the 2014-15 journey. Thus we look at four+ items in this news blast:

  1. Final Presentations & Graduation 
  2. Summer Programs 
  3. GCE Lab School’s New Website
  4. 2014-15 Enrollment 
  5. Bonus: Beachstravaganza

1. Final Presentations & Graduation (June 4 @ 4pm, at the Midwest Buddhist Temple)

2. Summer Programs (Monday June 23 – Wednesday July 30, 9:30am-1pm; no classes Friday) 

Hiu To, GCE instructor extraordinaire is teaching Public Art & Its Social Impact. This course will lead you on an investigation of famous and not-so-famous public artworks in Chicago and how they tell the History of our city. We will be out in the field examining sculptures and murals in order to replicate their artistic styles and techniques. You will re-tell historical events from your own perspective using wire sculptures, paintings, or mosaics.

BEGIN registration by emailing us today. Credits: 0.75. Cost: $1,000 (Financial Aid available)

3. GCE Lab School’s New Website Officially Unveiled at Final Presentations
A new website which more accurately reflects our innovative program is available for sneak peaks now, and it officially goes live at Final Presentations & Graduation on June 4th. Please take a look at two key pages and scroll from there:

4. 2014-15 Enrollment 
Enrollment happens, and there are just a few spots remaining for 2014-15. Apply now if you’re interested, or tell a friend so they don’t miss out.

Thank you. Warm regards and enjoy the gorgeous weather! We hope to see you at Final Presentations!
p.s. if you made it this far … a couple photographic treats from the Beachstravaganza 5/28
       –not as warm as we would have wished 🙁

3 more inspiring installations of student work!!!

It’s time for more inspiration friends! Please enjoy samples of student work:

Sophomores in Global Stories: Drama: How would you give advice as a sonnet?

Dear GCE Friends & Families:

GCE Lab School students will present project based learning ideas at the May 19 #TutorMentor Conference in Chicago. See This conference is intended to connect leaders and supporters of volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs along with people who support them.

I’ve attended Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference often in the past. The next is May 19th at Metcalfe Federal Building, and I (Eric) along with 3 students from GCE Lab School will be sharing information during a mid day presentation.  

Visit to learn about the conference or register.

PBL + CCSS + MDGs + C2C = OnIn

Recently, GCE was visited by a group of foreign delegates and one of the women asked me how we are different? Her challenge provoked a different response than my typical elevator speech because she did not speak much English, and I had to provide the simplest answer possible. 
My response: “The education GCE offers is real, relevant, and it changes lives. We break down the walls of school and subjects, exposing students to the lessons that come from life itself.” 
Since then, I’ve thought a lot about our City2Classroom design as a key differentiator between GCE and other schools. Our students are themselves the examples of City2Classroom learning — their courses are dynamic, relevant, and their learning is transparent. They immerse themselves in skill development, exposures that test credibility and doubt, and they demonstrate mastery which they share through digital portfolios. 
We are the lucky ones. Each GCE student will experience upwards of 150 exposures in their 4 year high school career. But every student cannot attend GCE, so how does this model scale? How may students in other schools and other programs achieve similar experiences that result in similar gains — 100% college enrollment, 71% merit aid, and more importantly, purpose-driven ownership of their education and their lives.
GCE produces a blog that features Online Installations (OnIns) of student work. Each installation (blog post) is structured to include the course title, guiding question, problem scenario, samples of student work, CCSS & MDG alignment. In sum, we are demonstrating how inquiry and project-based learning may be showcased and highlight student education and quality of life standards without dumbing down student work or creative curriculum.
In our presentation at the Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference on May 19th (click the link to register), Eric Davis (Executive Director) and 3 GCE students will provide the lunchtime keynote. Hear directly from them why our Model is designed this particular way, how it impacts student desire to learn, and what we do to showcase their inquiry and project based discoveries. The workshop will include 3 distinct stages: an introduction to GCE and our model for learning (why we do what we do); 3 student presentations of individual work that is work representative of the whole; and we will close with Q & A.

By sharing what we do at GCE we hope that others working with youth, in non-school, volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs, or in other schools in the Chicago region, will look for ways to add project based learning into their own learning activities and that at some point we’ll be getting new ideas from some of them just as we hope we’re inspiring them with our ideas.

Lastly, we hope that you will have some fun in the session which turns acronym-heavy education conversations into real-world discussions and opportunities for improving your programs: after all, PBL + CCSS + MDGs + C2C = OnIn.
Thank you.