Edith Bowen Laboratory School's History
Edith Bowen Laboratory School (EBLS) is a K - 6 public charter school located on the campus of Utah State University and is a unit in the Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services (CEHS). The school has provided quality education for more than eight decades to students from all across Cache Valley. The original 1928 site for the campus was the old Whittier School in Logan, Utah. This facility served as a teacher training site for the College of Education until the laboratory school was moved to the campus of USU in 1957 and was formally named Edith Bowen Laboratory School. A new facility was completed on campus in 2004.
Edith Bowen served as principal of the Whittier School and worked intimately with Emma Eccles Jones, the school’s first kindergarten teacher. Both of these great educational leaders received degrees from Teacher’s College at Columbia University and were mentored by John Dewey. The influence of democracy, freedom, and learning through experience have continued to shape programs and instructional delivery at EBLS over the years. EBLS continues to be an essential component of a teacher education program in which professors and scholar practitioners collaborate to accomplish its mission of developing, measuring, and disseminating evidence-based practices in elementary education.
In 2006, EBLS became a charter school through Logan City School District, renewing its commitment to fostering a diverse, interactive, and inviting school environment where the community of learners extends from kindergartners to adults. The school commits itself to building capable, life-long learners through developmentally appropriate education, applied research, and innovative educational practices.
Entrance to Edith Bowen Laboratory School is determined through random selection. This process ensures that the population of the school is culturally, socially, and economically diverse. As a matter of fact, the school is a Title I school with 35% of the students on free and reduced lunch. In addition, 16% of the students at the school qualify for and receive special education services. The faculty and staff value this diversity greatly.
Nearly 250 pre-service teachers come to the school each year as part of the teacher education program at USU. They have the opportunity to see how powerful instructional practices actually influence learning on various levels in a typical school environment. Master teachers at the school use a constructivist approach to teaching as they provide students exposure to a wide variety of learning options that are hands-on and inquiry based. Whether in the classroom or in the field, students are given the opportunity to engage with an experience, reflect upon it, form meaning, and then apply their learning to new or novel situations. EBLS is sensitive to educating the whole child. Therefore, personal and social development are facilitated through students’ participation in The Leader in Me program which is based on The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. In this program, every student in the school has a leadership job to perform.
In 2014 the EBLS Journey Plan was developed and implemented in the context of a Professional Learning Community (PLC) to help insure that teachers and leaders stay true to the school’s mission. This road map for the future provides a way for the school to achieve state and federal accountability without resorting to scripted programs that are often contrary to a progressive-constructivist approach to teaching and learning. Faculty at EBLS have the capacity to unpack the USOE Core Curriculum standards. Using a collaborative process, teachers embrace the autonomy they have to identify achievement targets, write common formative assessments, select appropriate materials and resources, and to choose among powerful evidence-based teaching strategies. They are empowered to monitor student progress using data from mandated and teacher-created assessments to group and regroup students for Response to Intervention (RtI). In the Journey Plan, teachers use an iterative process as they look at student results to reflect upon their instruction and lesson design. Furthermore, as an important element in our look to the future, teachers utilize computers in a 1:1 technology environment to expose students to 21st century tools and to enhance student achievement. A high water mark for EBLS has been the integration of content across multiple disciplines including drama, art, fitness and movement, media, music, and foreign language.
Every year the U. S. Department of Education seeks out and celebrates great American schools, schools demonstrating that all students can achieve to high levels. In September 2016, Secretary of Education John B. King, announced 329 schools from across the nation who were selected as Blue Ribbon Schools. The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program recognizes public and private schools based on their overall academic excellence or their progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. Edith Bowen Laboratory School is one of just two schools selected from the state of Utah for this honor in 2016.
We have discovered that professional development, place-based education, project-based learning, service learning, STEM initiatives, and the use of technology tools and related software applications, are preparing students for college, career readiness, and life. As a faculty, we are working diligently to skillfully guide Edith Bowen Laboratory School into the future.