History of University Laboratory School


University Laboratory School was granted a charter on August 16, 2001. As a charter school, ULS assumed independence from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (UHM), but maintains its connections with the educational research and development community through a partnership with the UHM College of Education’s Curriculum Research & Development Group (CRDG). ULS long served as the real-world laboratory for CRDG research, development, and dissemination efforts; we continue to work in close partnership with our collaborators at CRDG, as well as engaging in research and professional development with other schools and organizations in Hawaiʻi, nationally, and internationally.

While the roots of ULS and CRDG go back more than a hundred years, the research partnership in its current form dates to 1966 when CRDG’s founding director, Arthur R. King, Jr., was given the charge of creating a center for curriculum research and development by College of Education Dean Hubert Everly. This was the beginning of the research partnership that has allowed ULS and CRDG to influence change in curriculum, instruction, assessment, and school systems by creating programs and practices that result in improved student learning.

Some highlights of our more extensive history:

  • The school has been associated with the University of Hawai‘i since 1931 and actually has roots back to the formation of a teacher training department at Honolulu High School in 1896.
  • Prior to 1931 the school was run by the Territorial Department of Public Instruction. In 1931, the Territorial Legislature transferred the school to the University, where it became part of the newly formed Teachers College (later renamed the College of Education in 1957).
  • In 1966, the school was downsized and became part of the Curriculum Research & Development Group in the College of Education, serving as a laboratory for educational research and development.
  • In 2001, ULS became a charter school with funding for its operation shifting from the University to the Board of Education and the Department of Education.
  • In 2009, ULS employees transitioned from being University employees to public school teachers and government employees.
  • In and through theses transitions from teacher training ground to public charter-laboratory school, the school continues to both serve its students by providing a high quality educational environment and program, and as a laboratory for improving learning, teaching and assessment.


University Laboratory School is located on the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Campus in Honolulu, HI. The school has shared use of facilities with the University of Hawai‘i-Mānoa College of Education, and as part of the Affiliation Agreement the school pays a Facilities Use Fee. These buildings include the University High School 3 (main school building 12 classrooms including 2 science classrooms/labs), Castle Memorial Hall (Elementary-3 classrooms, choir, art- 5 classrooms), Multi-purpose Building/cafetorium, Lab School Portables 1-3 (two general use classrooms, orchestra, athletic office, athletic training room, weight room), Locker Rooms (boys/girls), and outdoor playground equipment, gardens, athletic facilities- fields, basketball courts. The school also has access to the University of Hawai‘i’s library, athletic gyms, track, pool, and music and theater concert auditoriums


University Laboratory School is a charter school that serves its diverse student population as well as its research constituency while providing a model for school design that delivers a broad liberal arts education to its students and has compiled an outstanding record of success.

School Profile [PDF]


On behalf of the University Laboratory School (ULS) and the Curriculum Research & Development Group (CRDG) in the College of Education at the University of Hawai‘i, we have created this packet of readings to help orient you to the history and foundational ideas that guide our CRDG/ULS work.

ULS / CRDG History and Foundations [PDF]
From Laboratory to Charter-Laboratory