By Maggie Power
Faculty from James Madison University (JMU) called Indianapolis Public Schools/Butler University Laboratory School a “win-win” for the school district and the university, following a fact-finding visit Oct. 29 and 30.

Dr. Jen Newton, JMU professor of early childhood special education, and graduate assistant Julie Sproul traveled from Virginia to learn more about how Butler and IPS have worked together to create the Lab School.  James Madison’s College of Education received a grant from the Virginia Department of Education to investigate the possibility of opening up their own lab school, and the pair has been visiting university lab schools across the country as a result.  

“We have not seen any other lab schools like the Butler/IPS Lab School,” Newton said. “This school is a true link between university and school, and it is a win-win.”

Newton and Sproul met with four parents of Lab School students, Butler College of Education faculty Cathy Hargrove and Ryan Flessner, Lab School principal Ron Smith, and Director of International Baccalaureate and Inquiry School for IPS Christine Collier for lunch and discussion.  Newton and Sproul also observed classrooms and met with Lab School teachers. 

Newton commended the way Butler has organized its classes taught in Lab School and the professional development opportunities that Butler COE provides for Lab School teachers.  Additionally, she praised the diversity of the Lab School student population.

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