Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Eric S. Glover

Committee Members

Catherine H. Glascock, Jack Rhoton, Virginia P. Foley


The purpose of this study was to identify and analyze patterns of institutional strategies and processes that promote the sustainability of laboratory schools housed and managed by institutions of higher education. First, a comprehensive analysis of the development, growth, decline, and current status of the laboratory school movement was conducted by means of a review of relevant literature. Next, an interview with the Director of the International Association of Laboratory and University Affiliated Schools (NALS) was conducted to gather information regarding the changing role of laboratory schools in the modern educational landscape of America. Subsequently, a survey of laboratory school directors was conducted to assess the current status of laboratory schools, examine the changing function of laboratory schools, and consider the effects of these changes. Open-ended interviews were conducted with laboratory school administrators whose schools had successfully transformed their mission to better serve the 21st century needs of their parent institutions and communities. Concurrently, document analysis was performed in order to triangulate findings with interview and survey data.

The data showed that laboratory schools were originally designed for the purposes of testing educational theories, developing innovative practices, and training teachers. Modern laboratory schools serve those same functions. They are clinical teaching facilities, demonstration facilities, research and development schools, and curriculum development centers. Their current and future challenges are: (1) to find innovative roles or niches that serve the diverse and sometimes divergent needs of their parent institutions and (2) ensure that staff have adequate resources (e.g., training, partnerships, and time) to fulfill those roles. Findings from this study describe schools that have failed and succeeded in undertaking complex change processes to promote sustainability.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.