UL Lafayette Lab School
University of Louisiana Lafayette (UL Lafayette) has one of the strongest teaching programs in the State. Over four years, Dean Nathan Roberts of the Education Department worked diligently to revive the laboratory schools which had closed over 40 years ago on the then University of Southwestern Louisiana’s campus. The laboratory school was not only beneficial for the Education department students but also for the Acadiana community.
Laboratory schools are functional teaching institutions allowing teachers to test new methods of pedagogy and instruction for grades K – 12. Since the schools are associated with a higher education institution, it provides the opportunity for collegians to experience hands on educational learning.
One major component to the viability of this school was operational funding. The Picard Group was approached to assist in a strategy that the educational community would support.
During the 2018 Regular Louisiana Legislative Session, TPG worked diligently to advocate for UL Lafayette’s lab school to be eligible for Louisiana’s Minimum Foundation Program (MFP) through HB193 by Representative Jean-Paul Coussan. The MFP program funds public schools based off the minimum cost of educating public school students.
Due to the management structure of the school, the funding was limited to only the state portion of the MFP funding. The remaining funding will be established through a sliding scale tuition model, which allows students of all socioeconomic backgrounds equal opportunity to attend and ensures a demographic of students reflective of the diversity of the entire state of Louisiana.
TPG educated members of the Education Committees in advance of the hearings, testified alongside members of the UL Lafayette Education Department, and lobbied the floor to secure votes were in place for final passage.
Ultimately the bill passed through both chambers without a single vote in opposition and was signed into law by the governor. The UL Lafayette Education Department is working to identify a location for the school on campus, with the goal of opening grades kindergarten through second grade, adding a new grade level each year (as the class is promoted) to be a K – 12 school in ten years. This is a win-win situation for K -12 education students, collegians and teachers.