About the School

What is a lab school?

As a laboratory school attached to the university's College of Education and Human Services, Luhrs provides a setting for university students from many majors to observe and participate in elementary school activities. In conjunction with the adjacent Child and Family Center, university students majoring in education, early childhood, psychology, sociology, criminal justice, social work and counseling can engage in the study of children from ages one to eleven. University students can observe classes from observation booths, tutor students in core content areas of reading and math, or participate in whole-class activities.

Teaching Philosophy

The cornerstone of teaching is the focus and commitment on the growth and development of the whole child.

Teachers promote creativity, social development, cognitive skills, emotional health and physical growth.

Education progresses in a pace consistent with the developmental needs and abilities of each child.

Our open-door policy encourages families as active participants in school. Families, university students, and other volunteers contribute to all school activities.


The curriculum of the Luhrs School represents the partnership between the school district and the university faculty. The curriculum of the school district provides the basis of curriculum planning at the laboratory school. The Luhrs faculty may depart from the district curriculum as necessary to ensure:

  • Developmentally appropriate instruction
  • Family, community and university participation
  • Whole-school cooperative units
  • Research-based, best practices
  • Opportunities for faculty-directed research by university students
  • Opportunities to model best practices for university students and visiting educators

Luhrs Library Media Center

The Luhrs Library Media Center is home to the university's 11,000 volume children's literature collection. In addition to books and other instructional media, the center provides university and elementary students with wireless computer access, faculty support and a pleasant place to work and learn.


In order to carry out its mission as a laboratory school, class sizes are traditionally slightly smaller than in other public schools. Grace B. Luhrs University Elementary School is a full-service public school with grades K through 5, and enrolls approximately 125 students. Kindergarten applications for the upcoming school year will be accepted during an open period between January 1 and March 15 of each year. Parents and guardians will complete an application form which will become the basis for admission decisions. Children registered for GBLUES Kindergarten must meet all criteria for admission for school pursuant to Shippensburg Area School District Policy, as demonstrated by registration with the district in March. Given the school's mission, the following criteria will be used in the admission of students:

  • Preference is given to younger siblings of children currently enrolled in the school.
  • Dependents of university and Luhrs School employees who have not otherwise qualified for priority placement in kindergarten as siblings will be given next priority such that up to 9 positions in the class are filled by unversity dependents. Selection will be based on the parent/guardian's date of hire at Shippensburg University.
  • Any child not given priority placement through these first two steps will be added to a general selection pool, and selected at random until the class is filled. Those applicants not admitted will be placed on a waiting list in sequential order.
  • Selection of kindergarten students will be completed by May 15. In order to accomodate families who move to Shippensburg after the initial selection, up to two students may be added to the class, either before or during the school year.
  • Each application will be considered on its individual merits, with diversity considered as one factor.
  • Other than kindergarten, first consideration will be given to children of Shippensburg University employees and faculty of the Luhrs School.
  • Other than initial kindergarten enrollment, children will be placed on waiting lists by the date of receipt of the application at the school.
  • Every attempt is made to balance the demographics of the student body to accurately represent the population for the Shippensburg Area School District. As students complete the 5th grade at Luhrs, they go on to attend the Shippensburg Area Middle School. Lab school graduates have a strong record of achievement, both at the elementary school and subsequent levels.
NALS Logo Grace B. Luhrs School is a member of the International Association of Laboratory Schools (IALS).

Grace B. Luhrs University Elementary School Staff