Education professors conduct research on lab schools

First grade teacher Mandy Wicks works with students in her classroom at Kilby Laboratory School.

Two UNA professors are traveling with a group of faculty members from Kilby School at UNA to Model Laboratory School at Eastern Kentucky University to complete a study on laboratory schools.

Drs. Lisa Clayton and Katie Kinney, two elementary education faculty members, are completing the study to look further into lab schools.

“Both Kilby Laboratory School and Model Laboratory School have been in existence for over 100 years,” Clayton said. “During our visit to Model School, we will observe innovative practices and conduct interviews with administrators, laboratory school faculty, university faculty, students and parents.”

The team will be analyzing trends and practices of lab schools with a specific emphasis on Kilby Laboratory School and Model Laboratory School, Kinney said. Kinney and Clayton initiated communications with Model School’s administration and planned the trip to Kentucky.

Kinney and Clayton both said the purpose of their study is to research the impact that 21st century laboratory schools have had not only on preschool, elementary and high school students, but also on the value the laboratory school provides to the university student with whom it partners.

The two professors hope to dig into the interactions between universities and their respective laboratory schools.

“Many lab schools follow John Dewey’s model of experiential education,” Kinney said.

Dewey was a philosopher and believed that students majoring in education should have a laboratory to experience things in just as students in the sciences do, Kinney said.

Kilby Lab School, located on UNA’s campus, has been the topic of discussion at many meetings held by the university administration as well as the board of trustees.

The lab school in the UNA College of Education has received a subsidy of funding from the university in years past, and administrators are looking at ways to feasibly fund the school.

Model Laboratory is similar to UNA’s Kilby Lab School in that both of their programs offer education students the opportunity to research and observe in the classroom setting. Model, unlike Kilby, offers kindergarten through 12th grade, whereas Kilby offers kindergarten through the 6th grade.