Topics: Burris, Muncie

May 10, 2024

Burris Laboratory School recently set a new standard in collaborative research, hosting the 2024 annual conference of the International Association of Laboratory Schools (IALS).

With unprecedented international attendance, this year’s event, held April 24-26 on the campus of Ball State University, gathered educators, researchers, and professionals from 13 states, one territory, and seven countries spanning four continents, marking a significant milestone in the history of IALS.

"Hosting the IALS conference was a testament to the dedication and collaborative spirit of the Burris community,” said Dr. Abigail Comber, principal and chairperson at Burris. “We are proud to have showcased our commitment to research, innovation, and global engagement."

This year’s conference served as a platform for sharing best practices, fostering cross-cultural understanding, and forging partnerships among educational institutions worldwide. Workshops, presentations, and panel discussions covered a wide range of topics, from inquiry-based learning to the integration of technology in education.

Nicolás Ramos, IALS executive director, emphasized the significance of the conference in advancing global education initiatives.

"The 2024 IALS conference at Burris Laboratory School exceeded all expectations, showcasing the transformative power of collaborative research in laboratory schools,” Mr. Ramos said. “This gathering has not only inspired new ideas but also strengthened our global network of educators committed to educational excellence and innovation.

“We hold conferences at different locations yearly, but this year was different,” Mr. Ramos continued. “Since the planning stages, we knew that the team at Ball State was giving more. We were getting more direction, more spaces to share ideas, more visibility to our member schools, and more benefits to IALS and our membership.”

Dr. Eric Kirkman, principal of the Kilby Laboratory School at North Alabama University and president of IALS, also lauded Burris' dedication to excellence and collaboration.

"Burris Laboratory School has redefined what it means to host a truly inclusive and impactful international conference,” Dr. Kirkman said. “The depth of engagement and the breadth of perspectives represented here demonstrate the power of collaborative research in shaping the future of education."

Students played a central role in the conference, with performances by various musical ensembles and active participation in leading tours, workshop sessions, and presentations. Elementary and middle school students shared their year-long projects during a poster session, showcasing their research alongside educators and professionals.

Reflecting on the conference, Burris students expressed gratitude for the opportunity to engage with international peers and professionals.

"IALS was an amazing opportunity for all involved,” said Adam Stout, a seventh-grade student at Burris. “It provided great exposure to Burris and a stronger sense of community by bringing people together from all over the world."

In addition to fostering student involvement, the conference facilitated meaningful collaborations among educators. Plans for lab-school partnerships emerged, including differentiated math instruction support between Burris and Shevington High School in the United Kingdom, and a teacher exchange program with Thammasat University in Thailand.

The success of the conference was made possible by support from Ball Brothers Foundation, whose grant funding contributed to its planning and execution.

Burris was founded in 1929 by Ball State’s Teachers College. It is now operated and managed by Ball State as a laboratory school for the University. In April, U.S. News & World Report recognized Burris as the 12th-best high school in the state of Indiana in its annual “Best High Schools Ranking.”

For more information about Burris Laboratory School, visit the school website or call 765-285-1131.