Common Core close-up

TUPPER LAKE – Cameras are rolling this week at schools in this town.

Last year three L.P. Quinn Elementary school teachers, Brittany Teele, Juli Dukett and Bridget Callaghan, submitted video clips to the state Education Department’s Engage New York video project. Department officials liked the videos and selected the Tupper Lake Central School District to participate in the project.

Starting Monday, 13 teachers had a five-person, state-hired film crew busily documenting their classrooms as they taught lessons that align with the state’s Common Core Standards, which went into effect in fall 2012. The Common Core standards focus on math and English language arts, but the crew also filmed an art class, a social studies class and two staff meetings.

“They saw evidence of the practices they’re trying to reinforce across the state,” said L.P. Quinn Principal Carolyn Merrihew. “The other subjects would have been aligned with those (Common Core) learning standards, which are also in line with New York state learning standards.”

Once complete, the videos will be posted online at with other videos from schools across the state.

Tupper Lake students aren’t the only ones doing the learning.

The state hired School Works, a Boston-based education consulting group that sent two coaches to Tupper Lake to upgrade teaching within the district. The coaches started working with the participating teachers last spring on Common Core classroom practices and lesson planning. Merrihew noted that some of those lesson plans are now almost 20 pages long.

“It’s an intense fine-tuning, getting teachers to up the rigor of their questioning, to assure that every student responds to a posed question and that students are engaged with sufficiently challenging text so they’re challenged constantly,” Merrihew said. “We’re looking to improve our student outcomes, and that’s the real benefit of this project to the school district.”

The Vital Source Media film crew also helped prepare each class by giving students tips on how to act naturally on camera.

Once posted online, the videos can be accessed by anyone, including other school districts looking for guidance implementing the Common Core standards.

Contact Shaun Kittle at 518-891-2600 ext. 25 or