JMU's Project CUSP:

College University School Partnership


Project Overview

In response to the request for proposals from the Virginia General Assembly, James Madison University has received funding for Project CUSP, a one-year planning project focused on the planning and development of a University-School partnership laboratory school. Dr. John Almarode, Assistant Professor in the Early Elementary and Reading Education Department serves as the project coordinator. Drs. Carmen Bosch, Laura Desportes, Allison Kretlow, Jen Newton, and Kateri Thunder are collaborators on the research team. JMU is also proud to partner with Harrisonburg City Schools on this endeavor.   

Conceptual Framework

The objectives for establishing a college/university partnership are a compilation of both Section 23-299 of the Code of Virginia and the goals of our College of Education and Teacher Education Unit.  This partnership will seek to: (a) Develop innovative teaching and learning programs for preschool through grade five students through a multi-tiered assessment and intervention model; (b) Foster an environment for evidence-based practices in instruction, assessment, classroom management, and school design; (c) Foster greater collaboration across content areas, between grade levels, between departments within the COE and with school leadership personnel; (e) Create an environment that fosters open communication and collaboration among the teacher candidates, in-service teachers, COE faculty, and the school community; (f) provide effective professional development to in-service teachers that is sustained and embedded within the context of their school culture through the use of instructional coaching models.

Research Goals

Project CUSP will include five research phases: (a) comprehensive literature review of best practices in university-school partnerships; (b) development of data collection tools based on results of the literature review to be used at targeted site visits; (c) systematic evaluation of a diverse sample of existing lab schools through on-site visits; (d) comprehensive program evaluation of proposed lab school sites in Harrisonburg City Public Schools; (e) analysis of data from site visits and program evaluation leading to the development of a comprehensive plan for a lab school partnership model with Harrisonburg City Schools.