The Campus School at Buffalo State_1871-1991_Lee



*School of Practice Campus School College Learning Laboratory College Learning Laboratory/Campus West Campus West School

Completed in 2014 Richard J. Lee, Ed.D








Normal School Development in New York State



Development of Schools of Practice



History of the Campus School at Buffalo State College






Campus School Notes


VII. Frequently Asked Questions


VIII. Campus School Seal












Several documents have been written outlining the development of Schools of Practice in the United States, later renamed Campus Schools or Laboratory Schools. The information contained in this document was abstracted from the existing articles and papers which have been written through the years, as well as information garnered from previous instructors and administrators at the Buffalo State College Campus School. It should be noted that information regarding the origins and development of the Campus School at Buffalo State College is quite sparse. Very few documents regarding the history of the school have been maintained. Perhaps, due to a water main break and flood in 1987 that caused serious damage to the Campus School building and resulted in closure of the building for several months, information that might have been useful for this document was lost. Also, when the school was no longer an active department in the Buffalo State College teacher education academic program and it became a Buffalo Public School, records were inadvertently destroyed. Any information that was salvaged and transferred to the Buffalo State College Archives was, mostly, student transcript information and information regarding the deactivation of the school. Much of the actual development of the Buffalo State Campus School was linked to the development of Buffalo State College which was, originally, named the Buffalo Normal School. The Buffalo Normal School, developed in 1871, was developed, primarily, as a training program for aspiring teachers. A School of Practice was established as an integral part of the academic program. The School of Practice afforded Normal School trainees the opportunity to learn educational teaching strategies through actual, “on- hands” experiences with young children. These experiences were monitored by “Critic” teachers. The tremendous impact that the original School of Practice had on the overall development of the comprehensive liberal arts college now known as SUNY Buffalo State cannot be denied. In the beginning, teacher education was the primary focus of the institution and this emphasis on educating teachers remains as a major drawing card for students applying for admission to the college. Today the academic programs in the School of Education continue to attract large numbers of aspiring teachers enrolled in a wide spectrum of teacher education programs.


Whether it was called a Normal School, School of Practice, Training School, Demonstration School, Campus School, College Learning Laboratory, Campus West/College Learning Laboratory, for 120 years teacher education majors at Buffalo State College observed master teachers, practiced their teaching skills, and conducted invaluable research in this highly acclaimed school setting. Also, it should not be forgotten that countless children in Western New York benefited from the state-of-the-art educational programs offered in this unique non-public school setting. Many of the City of Buffalo’s leading citizens received their primary, elementary, and secondary education in this unique setting. Since the Campus School at SUNY Buffalo State is pivotal in the development of the college, this document will attempt to outline the history of the Campus School using the history and development of SUNY Buffalo State as a basis.



In 1839, the first state normal school for the education and training of teachers was opened in Lexington, Massachusetts. Requirements for entrance to the school were few and not very demanding. Completion of elementary school was required and, in the first school, successful completion of an examination in reading, writing, orthography, English grammar, geography, and arithmetic was required. The candidate was required to be at least 16 years old and in good health. The curriculum consisted, mainly, of a review of elementary school subjects. Completion of a course of study lasted one year, sometimes two, if necessary. At the time, financial support for the development of public teacher education programs was slow to be accepted. It was widely accepted that the education of young children was the responsibility of the church, the family, and the individual – not the state. New York State was among the first states to give financial support to teacher education. Because there were no public training institutions prior to 1827, however, the monetary appropriations were given to private teacher education institutions. For several years there was deliberation regarding the development of a normal school in New York State. Much has been written regarding the debate concerning the responsibility of the State to provide funds for public education programs. For more information regarding the development of normal schools, the reader is directed to New York State Teachers College at Buffalo, A History, written by Grabau, Messner, Rockwell, Wofford in 1946. Finally, on May 7, 1844, the Governor of New York State signed into law the establishment of the first Normal School in the State of New York at Albany. The establishment of the first normal school was met with great public hostility. The general public did not favor the establishment of a normal school. Newspaper reports were quick to ridicule and denounce the development of normal schools and the New York State legislature attempted to abolish the Albany normal school. Private academies continued to exist since one normal school in Albany could not supply the necessary teachers across the state. However, as acceptance of normal schools slowly increased, the private academies began to either close or be absorbed into the public school systems.


In the city of Buffalo, New York, the first normal school was approved by the State legislature in 1867 and the Buffalo State Normal School opened its doors in October, 1871. The first local board of managers of the school was appointed by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Abram B. Weaver. Members appointed were:

John B. Skinner Francis H. Root

Buffalo, NY Buffalo, NY Buffalo, NY Buffalo, NY Buffalo, NY Buffalo, NY Buffalo, NY

Honorable Grover Cleveland

William H. Greene Albert H. Tracy

Dr. Thomas F. Rochester

Joseph Warren

Allan Potter

East Aurora, NY

Dr. Henry Lapp

Clarence, NY

Henry B. Buckham, from the state of Vermont, was elected by the local Board to be the first Principal of the school.

By 1930, two New York State Colleges for Teachers and nine State Normal Schools existed in New York State and these colleges and normal schools assumed the responsibility for the education of teachers for public schools in New York State. Again, for a more complete history of the development of the Normal Schools in New York State and, particularly the history of the development of Buffalo State College, the reader is directed to New York State Teachers College at Buffalo – A History, 1871-1946, written by the faculty committee mentioned above, appointed by President of the College, Harry W. Rockwell. The committee was composed of the following members: Andrew W. Grabau, Alumnus of the College and member of the English Department Charles A. Messner, Head of the Language Department Kate V. Wofford, Director of Rural Education Harry W. Rockwell, Ex-officio and President of Buffalo State Teachers College A distinctive feature of the normal school was the establishment of a model school where students enrolled in the normal school could observe good teaching practices provided by “master” teachers as well as practice the learned teaching skills. This was the forerunner of the School of Practice and later became known as the Campus School.



Providing laboratory experiences for prospective teachers has always been thought to be a valuable aspect of a comprehensive teacher education program. It was believed that observing and working with a master teacher in a demonstration setting was invaluable to the training and education of students planning to enter into the teaching profession. For many years, many colleges and universities thought that this experience could and should be provided in a facility located on a college or university campus and staffed by college or university based professional educators. As early as 1600, there has been evidence that the Franciscan Friars in the territory that has become known as the state of New Mexico, established student teaching experiences for prospective teachers. (Williams, 1942). It is believed that in France, Abbe de la Salle was the first person to establish a normal school for practicing teachers. It is believed that this first school was established in Rheims, France in 1685. (Cubberly, 1920). The term “normal school” comes from the French ‘ecole (school) normale (normal) and the school was intended to be a model. Normal is derived from a lesser known definition of the word normal which meant conforming with, adhering to, or constituting a norm, standard, pattern, level, or type. From that time, the idea of providing prospective teachers with laboratory experiences burgeoned with schools emerging in Germany and Switzerland during the late 18 th and early 19 th centuries. The first schools of practice established in the United States were privately owned and operated. The first private school was called “Mother Seaton’s Teacher Training School” and was located in Emmetsburg, Maryland. In New York, David Page opened a normal school in Albany, New York in 1845. A room in the school was designated as a “model” or demonstration center and a second room was designed for practice teaching. Each room was assigned a supervising teacher. (Perrodin, 1955). Reports from the United States Commissioner of Education state that by 1875, there were 47 state normal schools that had laboratory schools attached to them. (Perrodin, 1955). Originally, schools providing experiences for prospective teachers were known as “practice schools” or “demonstration schools.” As the schools developed and became more integral to teacher education programs, terms such as “campus schools” or “laboratory schools” emerged. Just such a school emerged in Buffalo, New York.



In 1867, the New York State Legislature approved the purchase of 5 ½ acres of land, which was part of the Jesse Ketchum estate, for the purpose of building a state normal school. The school was developed for the training of prospective teachers for the State of New York. The original school was built at Jersey and 13 th Streets (now Normal Avenue) in Buffalo, New York. More recently, the building which is on that site, became known as Grover Cleveland High School, a secondary school owned and operated by the City of Buffalo Board of Education. Currently, the building houses the International Preparatory School of Buffalo, New York and, again, is operated by the Buffalo, New York Board of Education. Construction of the original Normal School began in 1867 and the building was constructed in the French Renaissance style. The original School of Practice which was part of the Normal School program, was designated as a regular city public school and was designed to house nine grades of 40 students per grade. A kindergarten was also included and was operated by State management. Each classroom contained a regular teacher who was a critic of his/her grade level and each critic teacher supervised Normal School students who were practicing teachers. Much of the actual teaching was done by the practicing teachers who were seniors enrolled in the Normal School (see appendix 4) The grand opening of the school was on Wednesday, September 13, 1871 with an enrollment of 86 Normal School students who were being trained to be teachers (75 women, 11 men). The Normal School had 15 faculty members. The School of Practice was a part of the educational program and 195 children were enrolled in the School. A high school diploma was not required to enroll as a teacher trainee in the new school. It wasn’t until 1901 that high school graduation became a requirement for state normal school admission. The new school was called the State Normal High School and was operated by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction and the local Board of School Trustees. It is interesting to note that Grover Cleveland was one of the members named to the original board. The first class of graduates was in 1873.


The original faculty members of the Buffalo Normal School were:

Harry B. Buckham, A.M., Principal William B. Wright, A.M., Ancient Languages

Calvin Patterson, Mathematics’ George Hadley, M.D., Chemistry

David S. Kellicott, B.S., Natural Science Mary J. Harmon, Education and Rhetoric

Sarah Bostwick, Elementary Methods of Instruction Laura G. Lovell and Susan Hoxie, General Assistants Charles W. Sykes, Singing Mary M. Maycock, Drawing and Penmanship

The original faculty members of the School of Practice were:

Miss Ada M. Kenyon Miss Mary M. Williams Miss Flora E. Crandell Miss Isabelle Gibson Miss Nellie E. Williams

According to information found in a 1912 Elms yearbook, “The School of Practice was organized for the purpose of affording an opportunity for daily observation and teaching of the ordinary school subjects in a regular graded public school by those preparing to become teachers.” (see appendix 5). It is interesting to note that in every article referring to the original School of Practice, the critic teachers were always referenced as “her”. However, after careful research, it did appear that there was one male critic teacher, Mr. L. W. Lake, an ex-school commissioner. His tenure lasted for one year. Henry B. Buckham, A.M., who was Principal of the Normal School, also served as principal, ex-officio, of the School of Practice and Miss Flora E. Crandall was named principal of the School of Practice. Although many of the critic teachers became principals of the School of Practice, it should be noted that the President of the Normal School always served as principal, ex. officio. As previously stated, the first principal of the Buffalo Normal School and the first principal, ex. officio, of the School of Practice in the Normal School was Henry B. Buckham. It should be noted that in 1995, the current building on the SUNY Buffalo State campus that housed the College Learning Laboratory/Campus West School was named the Henry B. Buckham Campus School.


At the time the original Normal School opened, Buckham was responsible for selecting the faculty, outlining the course of study, proposing an organization of alumni, and providing stability for the school. As the Normal School grew, so did the School of Practice. Some of the School of Practice critic teachers and principals in the first years of the Buffalo Normal School School of Practice were as follows:

Miss Isabella Gibson Miss Ada M. Kenyon (Served as principal for several years.) Miss Anna K. Eggleston (Served as principal for one year.) Miss Adella F. Fay (Served as principal for two years.) Miss Franc. E. Oliver (Served as principal for a short period.) Mr. L.W. Lake (Served as principal for one year.)

Miss Gertrude M. Bacon (Served as principal and became method teacher and head critic teacher in the Normal School. She was also a lecturer at teachers’ institutes and in the State Summer Schools. When the school moved to the current site of Buffalo State College, the Campus School was named in her Honor and is now known as Bacon Hall.) Miss Edith L. Huson (Served as principal for a brief period.) Miss Carrie Benson (Served as assistant principal for several years and, then, was promoted to principal.) In 1886, the Normal School was enlarged and the number of critic teachers in the School of Practice was increased. In 1893, the school was, again, enlarged to accommodate approximately 200 students and more School of Practice critic teachers were added. Following the resignation of Henry Buckham in 1886, James M. Cassety was elected principal of the Buffalo Normal School. During Cassety’s tenure as principal, the School of Practice was expanded to accommodate additional practice teachers. The course of study was changed to conform to other normal schools in New York State. In 1895, he established a three-year primary and kindergarten course. Drawing and manual training courses were added to the curriculum. During Cassety’s administration, a science building was constructed and connected to the original building by a second floor bridge. A separate residence was built for the principal. Cassety resigned in 1909 and Dr. Daniel Upton, the former supervisor of drawing, became the principal of the Buffalo Normal School. By 1910, it became apparent that the original building was not adequate to service the growing enrollment and it was believed that a new building should be developed. Upton is credited with proposing the development of a new building. Funds were obtained through a bill introduced to the New York State Legislature. Construction of a Georgian revival style building was


completed in 1914 and the building opened, officially, in September, 1914. It was a three-story, brick building which had three bay wings projecting from the center block culminating in a U-shaped plan. As mentioned earlier in this document, the building is, now, a Buffalo Public High School (see appendix 4). During Upton’s tenure as principal, Home Economics and Industrial Arts departments were developed, summer sessions and Saturday extension classes were developed (see appendix 3). Upon Upton’s resignation, Dr. Harry Rockwell was appointed principal of the Buffalo Normal School and, later, Dr. Rockwell became the first President of what was to become The New York State College for Teachers and is now called SUNY Buffalo State. New York State College for Teachers at Buffalo. again, increased enrollment and the need for updated, state-of-the-art facilities necessitated a larger space. Consequently, the State of New York offered the City of Buffalo the Normal School building in exchange for twenty acres of land located on Elmwood Avenue, the current site of SUNY Buffalo State. Along with the offer, the State of New York provided $1.5 million for the construction of a new campus. Construction of the new campus was completed and the new New York State College for Teachers at Buffalo opened in 1931. It is the site of the current SUNY Buffalo State. At the same time, the old school building on 14 th Street in Buffalo was re-named Grover Cleveland High School and was operated as a Buffalo Public High School. The new campus consisted of four buildings which formed the original campus quad and the buildings are located at 1300 Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo, NY. Also, a residence for the President was built. The four original buildings continue to be part of the college campus and, currently, are named Rockwell Hall, Ketchum Hall, Bacon Hall, and the Savage Theatre Arts Building. When the original campus was built, the Savage Theatre Arts Building was the college gymnasium and for many years was simply called the “Gym” and, following the completion of Huston Gym, the “Old Gym”. Also, at the same time, a house for the President was built and it is located adjacent to the college quad. The original President’s residence is now the college faculty club and is known as Campus House.


In 1931, the School of Practice opened on the new campus in what is now known as Bacon Hall (see appendix 4). The school offered programs for children from nursery school through grade 8. Since the college did not have an appointed Dean of Education at the time, the responsibility for the School of Practice was assigned to the Chairperson of the Elementary Education Department, Charles C. Root. The Principal of the School was Harry J. Steel. The Upper Grade Critic was Gertrude Bacon and the Lower Grade Critic was Grace A. Allen. In 1935, Chester A. Pugsley was named Principal of the school. Students attending the Campus School consisted of children of college faculty members and of children from fairly affluent, politically connected families in the Western, New York area. The school was considered a prime, high demand educational facility and was ranked with the elite private schools in Western New York. Although many thought of the Campus School as a private institution, the Buffalo State College Campus School was, actually, listed by New York State as a non-public school. New York State education law defines a non-public school as a privately operated, publicly funded school that specializes in providing educational services for students. As a non-public school, it was generally accepted that Campus School was considered a high ranking school for education of children and was competitive with other highly rated public, non-public, and private schools in the area. By 1937, a Dean of Instruction had been appointed to the college and at that time the responsibility for the School of Practice was assigned to this new Dean. Although the title of the Dean changed several times through the years, this college administrative assignment remained with the Dean responsible for college education programs until 1991. By 1953, the name of the school, The School of Practice, was no longer considered an appropriate name for the school and, therefore, after considerable thought, the name was changed, simply, to The Campus School. In 1966, following a reorganization of the Faculties of the college, the responsibility for the Campus School was assigned to the new Dean of the Faculty of Professional Studies (which included education programs). The Dean reported directly to the college Vice President for Academic Affairs. For a complete list of the former Principals and Deans, please refer to the list attached in appendix 1 of this document.


From the very beginning, faculty members hired to work in the School of Practice, later known as the Campus School, and finally known as the College Learning Laboratory, were appointed to the college as regular college faculty members and were granted all rights, privileges, and voting rights of any faculty member assigned to a Faculty Dean. Therefore, faculty members were hired at a college faculty rank and were addressed as either Instructor, Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, or Professor. Because faculty members assigned to the Campus School held academic rank, faculty members working at the Campus School served on college committees, held representation on the College governing body, and were evaluated using the same process that was accepted by the Faculty to which they were assigned. Through the years, the School of Practice (Campus School) served as a demonstration center for “cutting edge” teaching methodologies. As a demonstration school, it provided programs that focused on attention to individual difference as well as the implementation and demonstration of innovative educational programs and exemplary teaching practices. Curriculum development, educational, and child development research studies were encouraged and supported. Education majors from the college were placed in the school classrooms for volunteer work, observation and participation classes, and student teaching assignments. Various education departments at the college assigned department faculty members to supervise college students in various practicum programs. As time progressed, it became increasingly apparent that, if the school was to continue to be a model education program and, also, be competitive with other schools in the Western New York area, it would have to either be renovated or a new “state-of-the-art” facility would have to be constructed. Deliberations ensued regarding whether the existing building that housed the Campus School (Bacon Hall) should be renovated, or whether construction of a new facility would be a more feasible option. The final decision was to grant approval for the building of a new, modern, state-of-the-art complex to educate children (see appendix 6). Faculty members in the school and faculty members in the college education programs were asked to provide input regarding specific needs in the classrooms which would insure that the school would be designed to reflect current, modern technology. As part of the renovation of the school, it was decided to expand the existing school programs to include a comprehensive high school program. Another addition to the Campus School program was a comprehensive Special Education program starting at the primary grades and culminating with a high school work-study program (see appendix 12).


Another innovation included in the new building was the provision of sound- proof observation booths for each classroom. The booths provided college students the opportunity to observe carefully developed classroom teaching strategies prior to embarking on their own practice teaching experiences. In addition, these sound-proof booths allowed for immediate student/professor discussions regarding teaching methodologies which were being observed. A private office for the Campus School instructor was attached to each classroom. Each office contained an outside phone line which provided the instructor with easy access to other college instructors, as well as easy access to parents of Campus School students. The new facility was completed in 1967 and was located at what was considered the back (Grant Street) of the SUNY Buffalo State campus. The new facility consisted of five interconnecting buildings with many landscaped, grassy areas and a full-sized playground. The new complex, with the addition of a high school and a comprehensive special education program including a state-of-the art Speech, Language, Pathology Clinic, opened with great fanfare in 1967 (see appendix 6). Through the years, parents who wanted their children to attend the Campus School had to apply for admission. Decisions regarding admission were determined by space availability and admissions decisions were made by a school faculty committee. A college faculty member who wanted their child to attend the school was, often, given priority for admission. Consequently, for many years, the school population consisted of Buffalo State College professors’ children and children from fairly prosperous families in the Buffalo community. However, along with the new building, a new system was developed for admission of students to the school. New York State school laws pertaining to admission to non-public schools changed and, consequently, a lottery system was developed for admission of students to the school. The institution of the lottery system was, also, in response to accreditation standards which required that college teacher education students be exposed to a diverse population of children reflecting the population of the country and, particularly, the population of the Western New York area. Now, all of the applications for admission were placed in a lottery and each year new students were admitted to the school based on space availability and the results of the lottery selections (see appendix 13).


Class sizes were to be kept at 25 students per class and there were to be two classes at each grade level. It was widely advertised that all families in the Western New York area were eligible to apply for admission of their children to the Campus School. Admission applications would be placed in the lottery giving an equal chance for all to be admitted. A public lottery was announced to the Western New York community and the lottery was held in the school prior to the beginning of each academic year. The change in the admission policies brought about a change in the student population. It gave students from all areas of Western New York an equal chance to be eligible for admission to the school. The addition of a comprehensive special education program provided an opportunity to maintain a Campus School summer school education program wherein graduate students from the Exceptional Education Department at the college would be allowed to complete a required student teaching experience. In 1970, this summer school special education program was expanded to include the Board of Cooperative Educational Services I (BOCES I) summer school programs. These programs were moved into the Campus School during the summer and the BOCES classes were taught by regular BOCES special education teachers. Student teachers from the SUNY Buffalo State Exceptional Education Department were assigned to each BOCES classroom. A college supervisor observed and evaluated the college student working in the program. This program was quite successful and continued operation for three years. As time progressed, as teacher education accreditation standards became more complex, and as budgetary concerns mounted, much discussion ensued regarding the continuation of a Campus School at SUNY Buffalo State. The question regarding the ability of the college campus to continue supporting a one million dollar budget item for the operation of a school to educate non-collegiate students was frequently brought into budget and finance discussions. Also, because Buffalo State College teacher education programs have maintained accreditation from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education since 1953, concern was expressed about the ability of a Campus School to adhere to the rigorous accreditation standards that must be met to continue receiving national accreditation. To maintain national accreditation, the college must be evaluated periodically by a special team of educators appointed by NCATE to determine if the programs adhere to the stringent NCATE regulations.


The ever changing national accreditation standards required that college education majors must be introduced to and learn to teach a much broader spectrum of children who come from various socio-economic backgrounds. Consequently, college student practicum experiences had to be expanded to include this broad spectrum. Accreditation standards now required that student practicum experiences were required in urban, suburban, and rural settings. Although the lottery system allowed all to apply, many parents were unaware of the opportunity and, therefore, the students selected often did not reflect the entire Western New York community. Questions concerning the ability of a Campus School to provide this composite of experiences were raised. Because of these discussions, many efforts were made to try to maintain the integrity and viability of the Campus School. In 1969, the Campus School became part of the Research and Development Complex which, also, included the Child Study Center and an Instructional Resources Center. This was an effort to increase the college faculty research that might be done in an actual school or laboratory setting. Often, this research could not be done in regular public schools due to restrictions imposed by the district. Oversight responsibility for the Campus School, including the new additions, remained with the Dean of the Faculty of Professional Studies. Unfortunately, this arrangement did not result in the hoped for ongoing research which would support the necessary viability of the school and the arrangement was dissolved in 1973. At the time of the dissolution of the arrangement, the oversight responsibility of the Campus School was removed from the Dean of Applied and Professional Studies. The oversight of the Campus School was, temporarily, assigned to the Vice President of Academic Affairs. This arrangement continued until 1976 when a major college reorganization plan was approved. In 1976, following the reorganization of the college academic programs, the responsibility for oversight of the Campus School was, again, placed with the new Dean of the Faculty of Applied and Professional Studies. Once again, because of the continuing change in accreditation standards for colleges offering teacher education programs, it became apparent that some changes must be made if the Campus School was to remain a viable entity on the SUNY Buffalo State campus. NCATE continued to question whether students from the college were receiving a more global education that would assist them in teaching children from many different socio-economic backgrounds. As mentioned earlier, NCATE regulations required college education majors to have experiences in urban, suburban, and rural settings


and, as mentioned earlier, the Campus School was rather limited in the type of experiences that it could provide.

At this time, SUNY Buffalo State was the only SUNY institution with teacher education programs that earned accreditation from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). This was a major “drawing card” for attracting and enrolling students in SUNY Buffalo State teacher education programs. There was growing concern, expressed, from many areas of the college, regarding the ability of Campus School to meet the regulations and, consequently, jeopardizing the NCATE accreditation awarded to SUNY Buffalo State. According to NCATE standards, if one area of the overall teacher education program failed to meet the accreditation standards, accreditation for all teacher education programs at the college would be jeopardized. Campus School was included as part of the teacher education programs offered by SUNY Buffalo State and if it was found to be in non-compliance with NCATE regulations, all other teacher education programs would face the possibility of not receiving national accreditation. Because of the large budget allocation necessary for the operation of a Campus School; because less and less research was occurring at the school; because fewer college education majors were being assigned to the Campus School for observation, participation, and student teaching experiences; college faculty and administration were, again, questioning the rationale for maintaining the school as part of the overall SUNY Buffalo State budget. By 1969, the President of the college, Dr. E. K. Fretwell, Jr., appointed an all- college committee to review the overall mission of the Campus School. This special committee was charged with the responsibility of reviewing and revising the mission of the Campus School. For a complete report of the findings and recommendations of the Special Committee, please refer to the attached April 23, 1970 Report of the Mission of the Campus School. (Also, the reader is directed to various documents that were written from 1963 through 1977 regarding restructuring the Campus School located at the end of this document). The Committee felt that, “the Campus School should become a newly envisioned component in education: a center of inquiry whose mission is to encourage positive educational change and serve generally as an interacting innovator and change agent – a producer and transmitter of knowledge – through its unique affiliation with all facets of the educational enterprise.” Specific recommendations were made in the following areas. (April 23, 1970 Report of the Mission of the Campus School)


1. General Considerations: The School’s functions and operations should undergo a rigorous and continuous examination leading to appropriate changes. The appropriateness and effectiveness of the Campus School’s mission should be reassessed through a follow-up study within five (5) years. 2. Priorities and Functions: There should be a concerted effort to initiate ways in which the Campus School can serve and be served by various departments and programs on campus. An effort should be made to establish a College research complex affiliated with the Campus School. 3. Dissemination and Implementation: Ways of disseminating and implementing research findings and innovations which may emerge from Campus School projects need to be identified and cultivated. 4. Base of Control and Articulation: Find ways to broaden the Campus School base of control to include representatives of affiliated groups on and off campus. 5. School Organization and Programs: Examine the present admission policies to determine whether they coincide with the changing mission of the school. Review the admission policies to assure that they provide a satisfactory population for conducting planned educational research. Form a graduate committee to examine ways graduate students and faculty can become more involved in the Campus School. Experiment with new approaches in school organization and, in particular, examine ways to restructure the secondary school so that it better serves teacher education programs and other off-campus programs. 6. Interaction on Campus: To facilitate effective interaction between the Campus School and the college community, a coordinating framework and channels of communication must be established and strengthened. 7. Interaction with the Larger Educational Community: Determine feasible ways to establish a statewide or national framework for coordinating the School’s projects with related activities in other institutions. Establish a consortium with the other Campus Schools in New York State. Form an advisory committee composed of nationally prominent figures to provide information and counsel.


8. Interaction with the Regional Community: Establish new ways for the Campus School to interact with professional and lay groups in the geographic region. Investigate the possibility of contractual relationships with other off-campus entities to determine if the facilities/staff might be used for special research projects. Following the recommendations of the Special Committee developing the new Mission of the Campus School, and in keeping with the emphasis on research, the official name of the Campus School was changed to the College Learning Laboratory. It was hoped that the new name would better reflect the mission of the Campus School. An aspect of the Campus School that was continually examined was the viability of maintaining a comprehensive high school program. It became increasingly apparent that the high school did not seem to be a feasible entity to be operated by the college. In 1973, because of these concerns and because of the expense of operating a competitive, comprehensive high school, it was determined that the Campus School secondary program would be deactivated and the school would revert back to a K – 8 elementary school. The much hoped for changes listed in the findings of the special all-college committee, did not seem to come to fruition and, again, the Campus School (now known as the College Learning Laboratory) was being questioned as to the viability for continuing the operation of the school as part of the college budget. Following further examination, it was decided, in 1977, that the College Learning Laboratory would be expanded to include 450 new students coming from the Buffalo public schools who were part of the Buffalo Public School “Magnet School” program. This was an increased effort to address the concerns cited in the NCATE evaluation regarding the ability of the College Learning Laboratory to provide college student practicum experiences with a more diverse public school population, thereby adhering to accreditation standards. This new effort was made to provide a school population that reflected the population of public schools in the Buffalo area. However, the school would continue to be administered by the College and it would continue its education practicum programs, as well as on-going research projects.


Because of the addition of the 450 students from the Buffalo Magnet School program, it was decided that the name should, now, be expanded to reflect the new population of students. Consequently, the School was renamed the College Learning Laboratory/Campus West. However, the responsibility for the administration of the school continued to be assigned to the SUNY Buffalo State Dean of the Faculty of Applied and Professional Studies who, later, became known as the Dean of the Faculty of Applied Science and Education. Though this was a laudable effort to address a major problem faced by the school, it didn’t achieve its intended goals. During this period of time, many of the SUNY colleges that maintained Campus Schools were beginning to close (deactivate) the schools. As was mentioned earlier in this document, once again Colleges were beginning to question the need for a Campus School to be supported in the SUNY budget. There was a growing belief that the schools had outlived their usefulness to the overall teacher education programs at the colleges. Due to the enormous expense of maintaining these schools, because of changing NCATE accreditation standards, and because college education programs were utilizing other non-SUNY elementary and secondary schools for practicum placements and research opportunities, it was determined that the budgets allocated to the Campus Schools could be better utilized in other aspects of the SUNY colleges. At the time that the new Campus School was built, laboratory schools were thought to provide a premier classroom environment for nurturing collaborative research projects, and best-practice teaching experiences for practicing college education majors. The College Learning Laboratory/Campus West program was one of the last surviving elementary school programs to continue providing educational programs in the SUNY educational system. At this point, it should be noted that the demise of the laboratory schools on a college campuses was not just a result of lack of collaborative research opportunities or because of select population of students enrolled in the schools. It was a more complex problem. The heavier emphasis on providing programs for at-risk students, the expanding numbers of college students enrolling in education programs necessitating a broader spectrum of practicum placements, the conflicts, sometimes, occurring when parents desired traditional educational programming for children rather than innovative practices stemming from college research, and the ever expanding requirements from accreditation agencies were some of the more pronounced reasons for the lack of support for laboratory schools.


As college education majors increased, college education programs were in the process of reaching out to the community at large to develop partnerships with public schools. These partnerships became what are, now, known as Professional Development Schools. Increasing numbers of university instructors were spending large amounts of time supervising college practicum students in these Professional Development Schools and were doing on-site teaching of seminars in these PDS sites. Though the PDS movement is constantly expanding, Buffalo State has been a leader in the PDS movement and, currently, has developed approximately 45 PDS sites throughout the Western New York area. While the PDS movement has met with tremendous success, it still has to contend with the many issues regarding the needs of teachers, the school district, teacher unions, parental desires, etc. For a more complete analysis, please refer to the attached study entitled, “Laboratory Schools to Professional-Development Schools: The Fall and Rise of Field Experiences in Teacher Education” written by Sam Hausfather, Ph.D., fall 2000 (see appendix 14). Once, again, the Campus School – now known as the College Learning Laboratory/Campus West – was being examined to determine if it should remain part of the educational program at SUNY Buffalo State. It is widely accepted that SUNY Buffalo State made valiant efforts to insure that the Campus School student population mirrored the population of public schools in the Western New York area by instituting the lottery system and by admitting the Buffalo Public School students. Efforts to expand research opportunities were encouraged as a result of the college-wide committee appointed to examine the mission of the Campus School. However, even with the efforts to comply with state and federal mandates, it became increasingly difficult to justify the reasons for maintaining the school as part of the overall college education program. In April, 1991, SUNY Buffalo State President, F. C. Richardson, announced that the State University of New York would no longer support the $1.5 million that was the SUNY portion of the funding necessary to continue the operation of the College Learning Laboratory/Campus West. The overall operating budget of $4 million was the total operating budget necessary to maintain the College Learning Laboratory/Campus West program. Consequently, the College Learning Laboratory/Campus West program would cease to be a part of the SUNY Buffalo State educational program (see appendix 15).


Arrangements were made between SUNY Buffalo State and the Buffalo Public School system for the College Learning Laboratory/Campus West to become part of the Buffalo Public School program. It would be the responsibility of the Buffalo Public School system to find the necessary $1.5 million that SUNY would no longer contribute to the operating budget to prevent the loss of some special programs and some staff members. The Buffalo Public School system would lease the building from the college but the academic program would be staffed by Buffalo Public School teachers and administered by the Buffalo Public Schools. This new arrangement would bring an end to the end of the SUNY Buffalo State program known as the Campus School which began in 1871 and which had such a profound effect on the development of the College. For 120 years, the school, which has gone through many transitions, was an integral part of the internationally recognized SUNY Buffalo State teacher education programs. Again, there was an outcry from the community at large regarding this change in the operation of the school. Community leaders were contacted and continued discourse ensued regarding the efficacy of the proposed change. Perhaps the strongest support for the college to maintain control of the school came from the United University Professions and its New York State affiliates. A strong support document was developed by Edward J. Alphonsin, President of the State University of New York United University Professions and Geraldine Bard, President of the Buffalo State College chapter of United University Professions. The document urged that the New York State legislature continue to support and adopt categorical aid to restore funding for the operation of the Campus West/College Learning Laboratory at Buffalo State College. Although the document provided some strong evidence of the value of the school to Buffalo State College, it was, nevertheless, determined that the building would be leased to the Buffalo Public Schools and the operation of the school would be maintained by the Buffalo Public School system. From 1991 until 2011, the former Campus School building located on the corner of Grant Street and Rockwell Road was leased to the Buffalo Public School system and was known as Campus West School. The school was staffed by Buffalo Public School teachers and Buffalo Public School administrators.


Decreased enrollments in the Buffalo Public Schools, the availability of existing space in the public school buildings, and the ever expanding programs at SUNY Buffalo State requiring more classroom/office space, necessitated a re-examination of the efficacy of the Buffalo Public Schools continuing to pay the cost to lease the College Learning Laboratory/Campus West building. In June, 2010, the newly appointed President of SUNY Buffalo State, Dr. Aaron Podolefsky, in conjunction with the Superintendent of Buffalo Public Schools, Dr. James Williams, announced that Campus West School would be closed at the end of the 2010/11 school year when the lease between SUNY Buffalo State and the Buffalo Public Schools expired. The 700 students enrolled in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade at Campus West School would be transferred to other schools in the Buffalo Public School system. The building would revert back to SUNY Buffalo State and would be renovated for use by various Buffalo State College programs (see appendix 17). After a long and much heralded tenure as a viable entity in the SUNY Buffalo State community, it was time for the School of Practice/Campus School/College Learning Laboratory/Campus West to close its doors as a school connected to SUNY Buffalo State. As mentioned earlier, the Campus School was a corner stone for the development of what is now known as SUNY Buffalo State. For many years it was a strong and valuable source for the education and training for practicing teacher education majors at the college as well as an invaluable resource for research and development of teacher education programs at the college. The innovative programs developed and maintained at the school, provided a superior education for many children in the Western New York community. Of course, through the years, the school was fortunate to have some of the most capable, talented, and caring master teachers and staff who worked tirelessly to provide outstanding educational programs for young children. The professionalism, dedication, and care of these superb educators, not only provided progressive educational programs for young children, but they served as unmatched model teacher educators for countless college students who were practicing teachers. A testimony to the ability of these professional educators is that, through the years, many became college department faculty members, chairpersons as well as college deans, vice presidents, and presidents.

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