Lab School to Be a Center of Learning, Teaching, and Education at UL Lafayette Campus

It was recently announced via this informative article from The University of Louisiana at Lafayette, that the school has found a home for the ULL Learning Lab. The Learning Lab will be a laboratory school that will be housed in a two-story, 70,000-square foot building in UL Lafayette’s Research Park.

The building that will host the ULL Learning Lab was originally occupied by the National Marine Fisheries Service, which is a federal agency of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, but it was recently announced that the building would be transferred to the University by U.S. Senator John Kennedy.

The Interim Dean of the ULL College of Education and Human Development, Dr. Paula Montgomery, spoke about the Learning Lab saying, “beyond a cutting-edge learning and teaching environment, the Learning Lab will be a hub for teaching practice and theory, education-based research and interdisciplinary collaboration. Acquiring a home for the lab school moves us that much closer to opening its doors.” Dr. Montgomery mentioned that the Learning Lab will offer students an expansive education that will feature the following: model teaching methods as well as an innovative curriculum that will encompass both interactive and outdoor learning experiences.

While there is not a set date on when the Learning Lab will be opened, ULL professor and the college’s former dean, Dr. Nathan Roberts explained that “renovations to convert the building into a space for innovative learning, teaching, and research is one of the priorities.”

Dr. Roberts was instrumental in the implementation of the lab school. He explained that initial proposals for the Labwould call for pre-kindergarten through fifth-grade students to enroll at the school with the eventual expansion through Eighth grade during the first several years. Eventually, this would lead to a high school, as the framework is based on “substantial interest from parents of potential students, school administrators, public officials, and community organizations. So, we’re excited to have the capacity to serve a wide range of people and foster partnerships.”

Essentially, the Learning Lab will be operating as an independent school district in the same manner as LSU andSouthern University’s lab schools. Additionally, it will be funded with a blend of tuition and state support. Furthermore, donor support will also be an essential aspect of the creation of the Learning Lab and its activities. UL Lafayette plans to fund the Lab School as a part of the largest comprehensive funding initiative in the history of the University. UL Lafayette plans to raise $500 in its campaign, which is titled “Together: The Campaign for the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

One of the aims of the Learning Lab will involve it being a place for the majority, if not all, of ULL students studying and training to become teachers to be able to gain valuable classroom experience by observing and participating in the lab school in addition to their field experiences in local area school districts. Dr. Aimee Barber is an assistant professor in ULL’s Department of Educational Curriculum and Instruction, and she also co-chairs a faculty and staff committee that oversees the establishment of the school.

Dr. Barber explained, “the intent will be to immerse our teacher candidates in a space that enables them to not only learn about global best practice, but actually implement best practice as part of their teacher preparation. So, in their junior year, they will be immersed in laboratory school classrooms in preparation for their final year, which is a year-long residency in area public schools.”

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