AAPS, UM to Open “Lab School”

The Ann Arbor Public Schools board of education’s planning committee heard a presentation this morning on a “lab school” partnership being planned between the University of Michigan and Mitchell Elementary and Scarlett Middle schools.  The Mitchell/Scarlett/UM lab school, as it’s currently being called, has been under development for six months.

At today’s meeting, Mitchell principal Kathy Scarnecchia described the lab school as creating an integrated K-8 campus between the Mitchell and Scarlett buildings, as well as extending the function of the schools to serve as a community center for local families. She also noted that the lab school will use a year-round, extended-day academic calendar. Scarnecchia highlighted the professional development opportunities that the lab school will create, including those for intern teachers, AAPS teachers, and university faculty.

Roberts explained that the impetus for the lab school came out of conversations with UM in connection with School of Education dean Deborah Ball’s goal of improving teacher education.

Board members Susan Baskett, Glenn Nelson and Andy Thomas, who sit on the planning committee, were uniformly enthusiastic about the partnership. Though it’s likely that the lab school partnership will end up being cost-neutral for AAPS, superintendent Todd Roberts said the board would also be involved in approving any program costs that do arise as part of developing the district’s 2011-12 budget.

The Mitchell/Scarlett/UM lab school will pilot two projects during this school year, then begin its full program in the 2011-12 school year.