About Us

We are a small startup dedicated to revolutionizing education. We specialize in the development of innovative tools and curriculum that empower and encourage middle school students to build and apply conceptual understanding in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

Vertical Learning Labs was founded in 2011 by David Ng. David has 15 years of experience as a middle school mathematics and science teacher and curriculum coordinator. He designed a complete vertical middle school mathematics curriculum for Boston’s Jewish Community Day School (JCDS) and led teams of teachers in the development of powerful curriculum units at the Robert H. Adams Middle School in Holliston, including vertical units in chemistry and linear functions. He has a B.S. in chemical engineering from Carnegie Mellon and a M.A.T. in mathematics education from Boston University.

A vertical curriculum leverages our current understanding to build new understanding. Learning is an active process. We learn by constructing theories about how the world works, testing those theories against reality, and then revising and extending those theories to make them fit better and cover more cases. Vertical learning emphasizes theories, or mental models, that are highly leveraged, grounded in intuition, and scalable. It encourages students to test and revise their own mental models rapidly by continuously applying and building on them, enabling students to develop general learning skills that will enhance their ability to construct a more rigorous understanding of any new subject they encounter.