Our Lab Schools
Transforming Local P-12 Learning
Butler is investing in our neighborhood’s public education, providing innovative project-based learning for local P-12 students. The IPS/Butler University Laboratory Schools (60 and 55) and Shortridge High School: An IB World School operate as partnerships between Butler and the Indianapolis Public Schools district. Our College of Education faculty teach methods courses in all settings. Other Butler colleges lead school projects in science, ecology, theatre, creative writing, multicultural awareness and other subjects.
Butler’s collaboration with a public school district is designed to improve local high school completion rates, and serve as a national model for advancing successful learning and engaged citizens. Additional partners representing foundations, corporations, individuals and the community also support these schools and their students.
Overview and History
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; adding a grade each year until ultimately the Lab School will serve grades K-8.
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.
Cooperate and community partners are integral aspects of the Lab School success. For example, 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.
In addition, students in a Butler course on educational leadership won grants from Dow and the National Gardening Association to develop an Edible Schoolyard project at Lab School, which includes a vegetable garden and three chickens.
Energized Early Learning
Problem solving and instruction infused with the arts and science are hallmarks of the curriculum at the Lab School. Plus, it is truly a place to practice what we teach, for nearly all of the school’s hold Butler education degrees. This provides an optimal learning space for both the K-8 children in the building as well as preservice candidates in the College of Education to learn from and with each other.
November 3, 2015: Stories of Impact: A Different Approach to Learning at Butler’s Lab School
July 8, 2015: Insect Hotel in Indianapolis
January 30, 2016: Butler Lab School: Inspiring Children to Transform the World
October 20, 2016: Member Voices: Listen to the Children
March 13, 2017: Yoga Gives Lab School Students Time to Breathe
April 7, 2017: Reggio Approach is a Success at Butler Lab School 60
August 24, 2017: IPS, Butler Look to Replicate Successful Lab School
September 20, 2017: IPS and Butler Plan to Create a Second Lab School (text and video)
SALT Project | Emmy award-winning production company
“I See: A Poem by Raki” (video)
“Kid Advice for the Next President” (video)
“The Hundred Languages” poem by Loris Malaguzzi (video)
Overview and History
The IPS/Butler Lab School 55 opened in 2018. It is named for the founder of the school that eventually became the Butler College of Education, Eliza A. Blaker, therefore making the selection of this school serendipitous. 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. Teachers receive continued professional development from Butler, and the Lab Schools also serve as a classroom to current Butler education students. Lab School 55 serves grades K-5 and has a capacity of about 300 students. The application and selection process is the same as Lab School 60.
Press | Media
August 23, 2017: With Another Butler Lab School in the Works, the North Side is Unofficially a Magnet Magnet
August 24, 2017: IPS, Butler Look to Create 2nd Successful Lab School, Eliminate Student Waiting List
September 27, 2017: IPS and Butler Plan to Create a Second Lab School (text and video)
July 13, 2018: Rebirth at School 55
August 6, 2018: Demand Prompts Second Lab School’s Launch (text and video)
October 24, 2018 An Emerging Type of Learning in Central Indiana (podcast)