Butler/IPS Partnerships


In August 2010, Indianapolis Public Schools and Butler University signed an agreement to create the IPS/Butler University Laboratory School, a public magnet elementary school housed in the district's William A. Bell School No. 60, 3330 N. Pennsylvania Ave. The school opened one year later for kindergarten and grade 1. The program will grow a grade level each year to encompass grades K-5.

Led by Dean Ena Shelley, Butler College of Education (COE) helped design the Lab school concept, and has worked with IPS to oversee its curriculum and assessment development. The curriculum is inspired by the practices and inspirations of Reggio Emilia, an educational philosophy that Shelley has studied and helped introduce to numerous central Indiana schools.

Earlier, the COE and three local school districts interested in Reggio early education techniques formed the Indianapolis Reggio Collaborative. In 2009, the collaborative brought a traveling exhibit on Reggio education, "The Wonder of Learning: The Hundred Languages of Children," to Indianapolis for a six-month stay in the Indiana State House. The exhibit, and workshops and discussions based on it, inspired creation of the IPS/Butler Lab School.

In 2011, Butler received a $100,000 grant from the PNC Foundation to allow St. Mary's Child Center to offer preschool for children ages 3-5 at the Lab School. Later that year, the Roberts Family Foundation provided a $150,000 grant, also supporting the preschool program.