SPONSORED: Working Together To Revive A 40-Year-Old Educational Program

Another win for Lafayette and UL Lafayette! After closing 40 years ago, UL Lafayette’s lab school is another step closer to being revived. 

A lab school is an experimental teaching institution where teachers test new methods of pedagogy. Since these schools are usually associated with private or public colleges, it provides an opportunity for collegians to experience hands-on educational learning. This is a win-win situation for K–12 education students, collegians and teachers. Both Southern University and LSU offer K–12 education through lab schools.

UL Lafayette Dean of Education Nathan Roberts has diligently worked for four years to revive this program. Roberts attended the LSU Laboratory School and has first-hand experience with the program. And now, as dean of UL Lafayette’s College of Education, he’s bringing that experience to Lafayette.

 

“The laboratory school is a proving ground,” said Roberts. “It is a proving ground of character, intelligence, and teaching personality. It is the proving ground for sound academic learning and for mastery of subject matter in the particular area under study. It is the proving ground which exemplifies the history, philosophy, organization, purpose, equipment, materials, and methods of the American school at its best. It is where living youth – not children of theory or fiction – live, grow develop, and learn through innovation.  In brief, the laboratory school is a laboratory where prospective teachers bring together, under expert guidance, everything that contributes to the education of the child.”

 

Director of Policy at The Picard Group Nic Walts worked diligently during the 2018 Regular Session to advocate for UL Lafayette’s lab school to be eligible for the state’s Minimum Foundation Program through Rep. Jean-Paul Coussan’s HB 193. The program funds public schools based off the minimum cost of educating public school students. 

“It was a great funding solution,” said Walts. “By using only the state portion of MFP, the cost to the state is neutral, as it is based on the price per student in Lafayette Parish, but UL Lafayette would maintain operations of the school. This was a team effort, supported by multiple stakeholders including Lafayette Parish School Board and the University of Louisiana System.”

Coussan and Senator Gerald Boudreaux championed the issue for UL Lafayette, but a thank you goes to the entire Lafayette Delegation for their unified support.

The next step is to find a location for the lab school. Roberts is currently looking for space on and around UL’s campus to house the program temporarily. Once established, the school will begin with grades 1–3 and slowly build the program over the years.

Children in the laboratory school will develop pride in the fact that they are every day making a fine contribution to the education of thousands of others. The laboratory school will serve as a “catalyst” for growth in the area. “It’s going to be a shining beacon, I think to all of us, that says Lafayette and the Acadiana area is on the move,” said Roberts.

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