Fanny Edel Falk Laboratory School

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Fanny Edel Falk Laboratory School
Falk School Seal
Allequippa St
Pittsburgh, PA 15261 Coordinates: 40°26′49″N 79°57′35″W / 40.4470°N 79.9597°W / 40.4470; -79.9597

United States
Type Private
Established 1931
Head of school Jeff Suzik, Ph.D. (Director)
Grades K–8
Enrollment 380

The Fanny Edel Falk Laboratory School, or simply the Falk School, is a private kindergarten through eighth grade laboratory school of the University of Pittsburgh. It is located on the University of Pittsburgh's upper campus on Allequippa St., Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.


Falk Laboratory School was established in 1930 under a charter agreement between the University of Pittsburgh and benefactors Leon Falk Jr. and his sister, Marjorie Falk Levy. The school was named in honor of Leon and Marjorie's mother, Fanny Edel Falk.[1] It features individual, experiential, and inquiry based instruction and develops and refines its own curriculum.[2]

Originally chartered as a progressive experimental school for demonstration purposes, Falk School's charter was amended in 1946 to include practice teaching as one of the school's functions. It is the only known laboratory school to have a legal charter that stipulates its purposes and functions. Over the years the faculty added to the school's original functions to incorporate educational research and to integrate new educational practices as they are developed. Teachers are in charge of, and responsible for, developing their own curriculum. [1][2][3]


Progressive laboratory child education at the University of Pittsburgh was established when a laboratory school for children four to seven years old was opened by the School of Education on October 6, 1913.[3] The original school grew into two schools, collectively known as the University Demonstration Schools, composed of the School of Childhood, for children up to second grade, and the Elementary School for grades three, four, and five.[4] Following a reorganization within the School of Education, the University Demonstration Schools became independent and continued as a private project known as the Community School until the establishment of the Falk School in 1931,[4] at which time it reabsorbed the Community School.[5]

The Falk School opened on September 14, 1931[6] with 78 enrolled children, a principal, seven full-time teachers, and a part-time teacher from the Department of Physical Education.[7] The school at first was placed in temporary quarters in the Stephens house of the university until its own dedicated facility opened a few weeks later.[6] Martin P. Chworowsky served as its original director. Falk School facility had an original capacity for 155 children and included a nursery, kindergarten, and classrooms for first through sixth grades. It originally admitted children from two and one-half to twelve years of age.[7] A health program was directed by the Women's Medical Adviser of the University of Pittsburgh. The three lower grades had sessions between 9am and noon, while the upper grades met from 9am to 3:15pm.[7]

By the end of Falk School's sixth year, it expanded to eight grades with full training for high school.[8] Ongoing expansion and renovations are due to increase the current enrollment of 275 students to 410 by the 2009-2010 school year.[4]

Tuition for Falk School was originally $200 a year for lower grades and $275 a year for upper grades.[7] Current tuition for 2010-2011 is $11,038 per year.[9]


The Falk Laboratory School at the University of Pittsburgh was built in 1931. (Picture is not up to date)

A Tudor-style gray stone school house with Old English slate shingle roof, the Falk School building was design by Janssen and Cocken and built in 1931 at an original cost of $200,000.[6] The cornerstone of Falk School was laid in August, 1931 and contains, among other papers, a speech read by Majorie Falk Levy in which she described the life and charter of her mother, and the school's namesake, Fanny Edel Falk.[7] The building was designed to initially accommodate 155 students in its eight classrooms.[7]

Expansion of the Falk School, from the 28,000-square-foot (2,600 m2) facility to a 65,000-square-foot (6,000 m2) facility occurred in 2008 and renovations of the original building were completed in 2009. The $21.1 million expansion and renovations, designed by architectural firm Perkins Eastman,[10] features several green building components and will allow for increased enrollment of up to 403 students by 2012. The new 38,000-square-foot (3,500 m2) academic wing for the school includes 14 classrooms for Kindergarten through eighth grade, a new computer classroom, art room, library, cafeteria, science room, and support areas. The outdoor play area was relocated to the west side of the building and a new play area was constructed on the gym roof.[5][6] [7] [8][9] The front facade of the new addition is designed to match the stone finish of the old building with a circular drive to enhance student safety during drop-off and pick-up. The back of the building has a more modern look with red siding and two walls of windows that enclose the expanded cafeteria and library space. The back also has two outdoor terraces and a sidewalk for easy access to the renovated ground-level play spaces. The new addition was completed in 2009.[11]

Preceded by
Cathedral of Learning
University of Pittsburgh Buildings
Falk School

Constructed: 1931
Succeeded by
Heinz Memorial Chapel


The Director of the University of Pittsburgh's Falk School is Department Chair in the School of Education and the Chair of the Falk School Board is the School of Education's Dean. Falk School teachers are faculty in the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education and the Director holds the rank of Associate Professor at the University. Falk is a teacher-training site for education students at the University of Pittsburgh with as many as 30 Master of Arts in Teaching candidates per year.

Notable alumni[edit]

Several graduates of Falk School have gone on to distinguish themselves or have been children of famous parents.[10]


  1. ^ "Falk Laboratory School: History". University of Pittsburgh. Retrieved 2010-10-10. 
  2. ^ "Overview of Falk School". University of Pittsburgh. Retrieved 2010-10-10. 
  3. ^ Starrett, Agnes Lynch (1937). Through one hundred and fifty years: the University of Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press. pp. 428–429. Retrieved 2010-08-26. 
  4. ^ a b Starrett, Agnes Lynch (1937). Through one hundred and fifty years: the University of Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press. p. 429. Retrieved 2010-08-26. 
  5. ^ Starrett, Agnes Lynch (1937). Through one hundred and fifty years: the University of Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press. p. 441. Retrieved 2010-08-26. 
  6. ^ a b c "Plan for Falk School Opening". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 1931-08-31. Retrieved 2010-08-26. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f "Report of the Chancellor to the Trustees 1930-1932". University of Pittsburgh Bulletin (Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh) 29 (1): 63–64. 1932-10-15. Retrieved 2010-08-27. 
  8. ^ Starrett, Agnes Lynch (1937). Through one hundred and fifty years: the University of Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press. p. 442. Retrieved 2010-08-26. 
  9. ^ "Falk School: Tuition & Fees". Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh. 2010. Retrieved 2010-10-10. 
  10. ^ a b "Falk Elementary School Goes Green and Expands". Pitt Chronicle (University of Pittsburgh). 2009-09-14. Retrieved 2013-02-11.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  11. ^ Hart, Peter; Barlow, Kimberly K. (2009-09-03). "What's New? Places". University Times (Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh). Retrieved 2013-02-11. 
  12. ^
  13. ^

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