University Laboratory School (ULS) is a unique and special organization.
Our charter school serves two interlocking missions: to design and deliver the best possible education to our own students, and to serve the educational research and development community as a seedbed for curriculum research and development. We are the only school in Hawai‘i focused in part on supporting educational research and development, and disseminating educational materials and improvement strategies. With our purposive enrollment, heterogeneous classes, emphasis on innovation and research, and provision of ongoing professional development for in-service and pre-service educators, our school serves as an experimental site for teaching, learning, and assessment in grades K–12.
ULS rates high among the state’s schools in academic achievement and participation in extracurricular activities. Our students consistently earn awards in competitions in the arts, music, writing, and speech, and also earn consistently high scores on standardized and other tests. Almost all of our graduates go on to post-secondary education.
We operate in close partnership with the Curriculum Research & Development Group (CRDG) in the University of Hawai‘i (UH) College of Education (COE), serving as a laboratory for researching, developing, and evaluating innovative approaches to improving teaching, learning, and assessment. ULS and CRDG conduct systematic research, design, development, publication, teacher training and related services for elementary and secondary schools in Hawai‘i and elsewhere. Over the past 40 years, the ULS-CRDG partnership has produced exemplary programs in science, mathematics, English, Pacific and Asian Studies, marine studies, environmental studies, Hawaiian and Polynesian studies, Japanese language and culture, music, nutrition, art, drama, technology, health and computer education that are used by schools in Hawai‘i, the U.S. and other countries.
ULS is a special focus school of choice, and parents must be willing to accept the mission of the school and agree that their child will participate fully in all components of the ULS-CRDG research and educational programs. All products produced by students, imagery of all types, and data concerning all Laboratory School students belong to ULS and CRDG and may be used for research, publication, dissemination, and recordings.
A quality education program for all students.
An optimal setting for organized curriculum research and development.
A demonstration site for exemplary working curriculum model.
A site for graduate and undergraduate research and training.
FEATURES OF UNIVERSITY LABORATORY SCHOOL
Heterogeneous grouping in all classes from across a diverse, purposive lottery of students to represent a demographic cross section of Hawai‘i. We enroll a cross-section of students who reflect the ethnicity, socio-economic status, and school achievement levels of Hawaiiʻs public school system.
Teaching, Learning & Demonstrations of Knowledge
Teaching, learning, and demonstrations of knowledge based on disciplinary practices and habits of mind are the modes of interaction in every class, every day. We create a community of learners that cast all students in the role of authentic practitioners of the disciplines of knowledge. The school’s instructional methods emphasize direct experience, hands-on activity, and higher order intellectual processes; include experimentation and inquiry, simulations, role-playing, and cooperative learning groups; and use constructivist approaches as well as direct instruction where appropriate.
Common Curriculum by Grade-Level Cohort
All students enroll in a common curriculum by grade-level cohort that includes daily instruction in English language and literature, history and social science, natural science, mathematics, visual arts and performing arts. Students are taught in common classes without tracking. All students engage in a challenging comprehensive curriculum that includes English, mathematics, science, social studies, art, music, performing arts, and foreign languages in non-segregated classes and graduate ready for college, work, and responsible citizenship.
The school’s emphasis on education research and role in the research and development community makes it possible for us to achieve our mission and vision. ULS faculty members and CRDG partners work with and serve as principal investigators on a wide range of research projects with a variety of partners, both short-term and longitudinal.