We are ready for another great year at Dennis Lab! We work hard to provide a challenging educational atmosphere where children have the freedom to be creative, innovative, and take a leadership roles in their education all the while learning how to make their school and community the best possible place. Dennis Lab School has undergone an incredible amount of change and we have responded with tremendous academic growth and a progressive shift in culture! Project Based Learning has been integrated into our curriculum and we are transforming our instructional practice to prepare our students to meet the rigor associated with the Common Core and 21st Century learning.
The affiliation with Millikin University and Illinois State University has provided opportunities that are second to none for our students. These opportunities allow our students to take the theory of what they have learned in the classroom and experience it through authentic, real-world applications. Dennis Lab strives to use the community as a classroom while also bringing outside resources into the classroom to help make learning real for our students. Millikin and ISU professors, Millikin and ISU students, experts from the community, and Dennis faculty all collaborate with one another to enhance DLS students education by taking advantage of ISU and Millikin's resources and knowledge; whether that is meeting a NASA astronaut, conducting experiments in the Biodiversity Lab, experiencing theatre and dance activities, working with engineers to design and print 3D images, 8th grade Capstone Overnight Immersion, or Dennis faculty learning with college professors. The human capital gained from the collaboration with Millikin and Illinois State University allows for a lower student to adult ratio in the classroom allowing faculty more opportunities to truly differentiate instruction and meet the needs of the enriched, on target students, and students who are in need of intervention.
Project Based Learning has changed instruction and student learning at Dennis Laboratory School. Students are challenged to answer a driving question that focuses on an engaging, real world problem using student directed inquiry (voice and choice), research, and creativity to solve the issue. Project Based Learning integrates all curricular areas (Language Arts, Mathematics, Writing, Science, and Social Studies) into the projects. Projects work by letting students choose how they want to answer the driving question maximizing student interest and engagement. The teacher becomes a facilitator of student learning. It has been amazing to see the power of Project Based Learning and the positive impact it has had on student growth and achievement. 21st Century Learning skills are taught and used in conjunction with Project Based Learning. Critical thinking, innovation, collaboration, communication, and effective use of technology are all essential skills our students will use the rest of their lives.
I am so proud of the hard work that our students and faculty have put into their learning and look forward to what this year will bring. DLS students are working hard to make positive changes in our school and community. Amazing things are happening at Dennis Lab!
Principal, Dennis Laboratory School