Hamline News

Collaboration Between Two Hamlines Earns an A Grade

Minnesota’s newest and only university-affiliated public lab elementary school, Hamline Elementary, has completed the first year of an enhanced collaboration with Hamline University.

Hamline University and Hamline Elementary have been partners in education for over 125 years. Now, with funding from the Bush Foundation, the two institutions have reenvisioned their partnership with the lab school designation. A “lab school” is an elementary or secondary school operated in association with a university, college, or other teacher education institution to apply the most effective and progressive methods for teaching children.

The new format applies student-centered, inquiry-based learning to further enrich the training of current and future teachers, conduct educational research, and provide professional development around educational practices and a commitment to educational equity. Hamline Elementary students benefit from an approach focused on them.

“As students take the lead in their education, following their own sense of wonder, the curriculum becomes more individualized and relevant to them. This increases their engagement, sense of empowerment, and investment in learning,” said Hamline Elementary Principal, Kristin Reilly.

The University’s School of Education sees an equally exciting opportunity to continuously improve teacher preparation. Teachers and university professors use the same inquiry-based process as students to identify the most pressing questions related to student success and refine programming to meet student needs.

“In collaboration with mentors at the Elementary school and in partnership with real student learners, aspiring teachers ground and shape their professional practices in community, actively exploring and refining what it means to be an equity-oriented educator,” said Maggie Struck, a professor in the School of Education.

The response has been enthusiastic in both schools.

Inquiry-based learning has led to new programming like the STEAM after school program and other innovations including shared learning experiences between the college students and the elementary students. For example, Hamline sociology Professor Valerie Chepp’s youth activism class created digital media projects centered in Social Justice with fourth graders at Hamline Elementary. The college students in partnership with the elementary students defined shared concerns and developed videos about bullying, LGBTQIA+ issues, social media, racism, and climate change. They were shown in Sundin Music Hall on the university campus and attended by family, friends, and faculty.

Link to press release.

Written by staff.