Classes are now in session at the Indianapolis Public Schools/Butler University Laboratory Schools, and for the first time, two locations will offer the project-based learning environment. A 250-student waiting list prompted officials to open School 55 seven years after the launch of the original School 60 location. In an April interview on Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick, Butler College of Education Dean Ena Shelley says the results of the school have exceeded expectations and a second school wasn’t even in the initial plans.
Shelley says corporate partners have been "key ingredients" in the laboratory school’s success. "I think it has been a true learning community and a back-and-forth where we can bridge what is sometimes a gap between business and education of understanding how complex learning and teaching is," she said, "but then giving data that says this does work, and we must do that in education." Shelley says the results are resonating in ways that include discussions with Visit Indy on how the school could be used to help attract tourism to the city.
The Lab Schools use what is described as "a Reggio-inspired, project-based learning environment," which Shelley says boils down to an Italian-developed philosophy that children can learn "100 ways." The second location is expected to have around 300 students. The original IPS/Butler Laboratory School’s 2017-2018 enrollment was more than 550 students.