Back to School: Tupper schools emphasize research in 2012-13

— Even with the heavy hand of state government reaching down and forcing New York school districts to change their teaching and learning standards this year, Tupper Lake school officials are embarking on an ambitious plan to redefine the way they teach children and prepare them for the labor force after graduation.

Starting Sept. 6, education in Tupper Lake will change forever.

School Superintendent Seth McGowan says the philosophy of education needs to change in order to properly prepare students for a world that, more than ever, relies on technology for continued success. And the key to that success is research.

“I think we’re rethinking how we bring up kids through schools,” McGowan said. “We have to. You’re job, my job, everybody’s job requires an ability to do accurate research and relevant research, and it’s too late to start that in ninth grade. We have to start them thinking in those terms and actually physically doing those tasks at an age-appropriate level from the minute they walk into our school.”

In order to teach students proper research techniques, educators at the L.P. Quinn Elementary School and Tupper Lake Middle/High School will marry computer skills with library skills in a way that will cross traditional boundaries. In the future, it may be hard to tell whether a research project originated from a math class, art class or computer class, for example.

“So we’re really trying to intentionally blur the line between the research, the library, the computer and the curriculum itself,” McGowan said.

For example, at the elementary school, teachers have traditionally given computer lessons in a computer room independent of the library. That’s no longer the case. This year, computer classes will be taught with the library and research in mind. So instead of focusing on Microsoft Word or keyboarding alone, the library skills will be taught through the computer applications.

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