Hawthorne LAB School sets innovative approach to learning

Author: Carroll University

Published Date: 9/29/2017

Categories: Education University News


Beginning fall of 2017, Carroll University’s Education Department and Hawthorne Elementary School are set to launch their new and innovative Hawthorne LAB School project. This partnership is designed to bring together Hawthorne faculty and Carroll faculty and education majors to create a research-focused learning environment which places the children of Hawthorne first.

The “LAB” in Hawthorne LAB School stands for Learn, Analyze and Build: Learn Together, Analyze Thinking and Build on Strengths to foster curiosity. With this in mind, Hawthorne LAB will look to achieve its mission of inspiring a passion for learning to create positive changes in our shared community.

This partnership took its course in fall of 2016 when Duy Nguyen, Principal of Hawthorne Elementary, invited Carroll University faculty to discuss the benefits a LAB school partnership may bring, including increased student engagement, learning, and achievement at Hawthorne and the increased clinical placement opportunities for Carroll students. After months of meeting regularly to plan and articulate the LAB school model, the School District of Waukesha approved the model in March of 2017. According to Carroll education professor, Dr. Kerry Kretchmar, this is the first LAB school partnership of its kind in the state, in true pioneer fashion.

Planners involved hope to see benefits that stretch far beyond a semester or school year. The LAB school gives Carroll education students the resources and support to develop curiosity about student’s thinking thus providing strong teaching practices. In addition, Dr. Kerry Kretchmar says “this embedded model for developing teachers provides the opportunity for pre-service candidates to see education from a broader, systemic perspective.”

The advantage for Hawthorne students is simple- more adults in the building, working side-by- side and focused on creating the best outcomes for the school’s students will translate into increased personal attention for each student. It will also build upon the expertise, knowledge and passion of Hawthorne’s faculty and teachers, allowing them to become collaborators as they employ the best practices for their students.

Because this model is a first of its kind, many unique and innovative practices will be utilized in a LAB classroom. The following five foundational practices will be used to translate in the LAB school:


Action Research Co-teaching and Co-serving Professional Development  Collaboration  With the Hawthorne LAB School in full swing, Carroll students and faculty are now able to apply their research results to further advance teaching practices with the end goal in mind of improving student development and retaining excellent teachers.