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Lab School earns a top honor in education

Riana Braselman

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Interim Director of the Southeastern University Laboratory School poses with students after the school earned the title of “Top Gains” school. Zachary Araki/The Lion’s Roar

The Southeastern University Laboratory School on campus is currently the only A-rated school in Tangipahoa Parish. The tuition-based school on campus was recently titled as a ‘Top Gains’ school and aims to educate children ranging from kindergarten to eighth grade.

 Interim Director of the Lab School Pat Williams explained the process that was created to measure student growth. The school developed performance scores to notify parents whose children are in grades three through eight about the school’s success. 

“The state believes that in order for the Louisiana Department of  Education to really look at the progress of students, from kindergarten all the way through when they graduate from high school, there’s gotta be some kind of accountability program so we can check that progress and make sure that as educators, we’re providing the optimum academic successful program that we possibly can.”

The students are tested on English, math, science and social studies. The Lab School offers high school credits for algebra 1, English 1, computer literacy, keyboarding, health and journey to careers. The school’s previous score was 110, and that score has now risen to a 118.

The mentor teachers at the school that oversee student teachers have master’s degrees and seek out staff development programs. Williams explained how they gain expertise. 

“Our teachers are very good in what they’re researching,” said Williams. “They attend professional development activities throughout the year on their own, outside of the school or during the summer, on the weekends. It’s not mandatory, they chose to do it because they want to keep that high level of skills. We want to learn new things that we can bring to our classroom because our children are ever changing.”

Senior middle school education major Bailey Terrell who is also a part of the residency program feels the environment of the Lab School is “close-knit” and explained what she will take away from learning at the Lab School and bring into her future teaching experience.

“The main thing I see here is it’s not a traditional classroom setting,” said Terrell. “You’re not just up there teaching, and they’re sitting. We’re always doing hands-on activities, hands-on things outside. We’re doing team building stuff and fun activities, and it’s a different direction than many of the schools.”

Williams feels that the Lab School has “the best teachers in the whole state.”

“They’re just quality people,” said Williams. “And with the fact that every day they try to provide challenging activities for our students that keep them engaged, the level of expectation is extremely high.”

Past students have expressed to Williams how the Lab School has prepared them for their future education.

“The feedback we get from the students who are going into high school or going into college who went to the Lab School has done a fantastic job of preparing them for the next level,” said Williams. “That’s who we want to be known as the school that is fun to come to. We’re going to learn every day. We’re going to enjoy being at school, but most importantly when we leave the lab school, we’re prepared for the next level. That’s why our teachers get so excited, and that’s why we’re so thrilled with our ‘A’ performance. The fact that we grew so much, we just didn’t have that expectation. That was like the cherry on top of the hot fudge sundae.”

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