Malcolm Price Laboratory School has been educating since 1883. It is vital not only for the preK-12 students, but for the 1,200 UNI students given authentic experiences each year that cannot be replicated in a virtual school. UNI students are provided the opportunity to work not only within a classroom setting but with a family of students who are ready to help them become successful teachers. This is what many forget; not only do Malcolm Price Lab teachers instruct pre-service teachers. Many of us have been subjected to participants at an early age. We have learned how to teach them as well. Yet, in terms of our educators, pre-service teachers receive one-on-one attention with their mentor teachers who have extensive training in pre-service education. As the university decides what programs will be dismissed due to budget cuts, our fear is that they are viewing this in terms of a quick fix, not realizing or contemplating the after-effects that will undoubtedly occur in this sudden decision. In terms of the bigger picture, we feel there has been considerable oversight. What will monetarily save us now, will be of great detriment later. This has the potential to set a spiral downward for this state once put into motion.
Although the facts were initially misquoted in the Waterloo Courier, we would like to clarify. Currently, MPLS educates 366 students and is anticipating 406 students the following year. During a recent Webinar with international, leading expert in education, Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond, it was explained that Malcolm Price Lab School with its research and development component resembles highly successful, global model schools such as those in Helsinki. She further pointed out that MPLS’s teacher training within a research school, taught by master teachers, is similar to Finland’s model. This model is not only effective but necessary to the future of education in the United States. This assists preK-12 students in the state of Iowa because if they are highly trained, teachers will stay in the profession longer, which will then impact more students in a very positive manner. In addition to teacher education, MPLS is a leader in research. Adding the research component provides an even richer resource for Iowa. Some of our innovative initiatives are as follows: the 1:1 program, literacy, project/problem-based instruction, projects that fuse national standards and content to public service, real-world and purposeful connections to multiple U.S. schools as well as those in Argentina, Senegal, Burundi, France and Chile.
We would like to continue to explain that MPLS is not only a place where excellent education is provided, but the students who attend MPLS feel a sense of community. They are part of a family that is amazingly welcoming and strong at Malcolm Price Laboratory School. The students who attend MPLS experience something that is not present in most schools. This welcoming family is not only there for the new students and faculty, but the UNI students are welcomed and come to find out that MPLS is always a place that they can feel comfortable teaching their very first lessons.
The walls of Malcolm Price Laboratory do not stop the students from going out and helping the Cedar Valley. Recent projects such as Hyperstream, the Strength Project, Merge and The Library Project are just a few of the many projects the students are working on. They have not only taught vital 21st Century Skills, but they have also made an impact on the community around them, proving to students the importance of helping others. Social action that meets Iowa Core Standards BELONGS in the classroom.
The curriculum development that occurs with MPLS is shared with others around the state. For example an online/blended curriculum module, Mathematics of Voting, developed in collaboration with MPLS faculty was distributed via the Statewide Moodle Repository for all high school math teachers for free. Examples of other outreach activities in January and February of 2012 include on-site visitations by Iowa teachers, providing sustained professional development (over the course of three years), video teaching exemplars for national projects, and consultation for districts implementing the Iowa Core. These are examples from a single department of MPLS which effected approximately 300 Iowa teachers in at least 11 different outreach activities. This is not unique to one department, but typical of the outreach of the entire school.
Malcolm Price Laboratory School is now transforming into Iowa’s Research and Development School, and justifiably so. If you believe in social action, technology to fuse humanity, progressive research, quality pre-service training for teachers likely to stay in Iowa, project-based learning with global purpose, and many other initiatives, then you agree to keep Malcolm Price Laboratory School open. Please sign to keep innovation and research a priority, and to keep the MPLS family together.