This book tells the story of a community of teachers, parents, and students who thoughtfully took charge of their very conventional circumstances and created a very unconventional school. With authority and liveliness, Nehring, a veteran teacher who led the development of the school, describes the many challenges faced and overcome in The Bethlehem Lab School from its inception as a proposal in 1988 to the graduation of its first senior class. Working on the fault line between theory and practice, Nehring and his colleagues built a school on performance-based assessment in a state resurgent with standardized testing. Committed to small scale in a suburban community with a typically large high school and wide elective offering, the Lab School - which functions as a school within a school - offered a highly focused, integrated curriculum, culminating in a senior internship program and thesis project. With students and parents closely involved, the school developed a democratic culture attuned to many voices and a high degree of collaboration. Throughout its development, the Lab School faced skepticism from colleagues and community members but continually proved them wrong as it raised private foundation money, won crucial faculty votes, attracted a diverse student population, succeeded with competitive college admissions for its graduates, and won strong support from students and parents.