Friday, May 17, 2013

Common Core Research Roll-out from NYSED

For the last four days, I have been at our NYS State capital as NYS Education Department rolled out their research model which addresses the lack of authentic research going on in our schools. KUDO's to Commissioner John King who stated in his opening address that he would love to see a model where "First grade writes a 1 page paper; Second grade writes a 2 page paper;Third grade writes a 3 page paper; etc....building capacity to the secondary level where they would be research-ready."  

My heart skipped a beat when I heard that, and I almost clapped out loud as a lonely  librarian in a crowd of 1000 educators.  Instead, I tweeted to the world.   For once, change is coming top-down!   State Ed spent two days building our capacity for  "inquiry,"  modeling choice-filled, student-centered learning activities wherein students investigate, evaluate, synthesize, investigate some more, synthesize, and conclude until they are write or present knowledge (A cyclical cycle as long, as synthesis is necessary).

Although NYSED rolled out a different schematic, here is my interpretation of the NYS Inquiry model presented.  This in theory, aligns with the Stipling model which teaches lifelong learning skills. 

This model also aligns with our locally developed WISE model where students:  wonder, investigate, synthesize and express. 

Reach out to a teacher offering to brainstorm an Inquiry based learning activity. This can be an  extension to their lesson.  After all, they should be "researching to build and present knowledge."  Otherwise, how are they meeting the CCSS writing standards 6,7,8,9, and dare we say...10? 


  1. Paige, this sounds awesome! But... what exactly does it mean? Is this now a mandate that will be presented to classroom teachers, or just a general "Hey, this would be a good idea" kind of a thing? Did anyone there "at the top" specifically address the role of librarians? And did they address the fact that so many schools have eliminated library positions?
    As I'm reading over my questions, I'm realizing that they may come across as less than a positive response, but that's not how I feel at all - this would be terrific! I'm just wondering if they've made the connection to librarians, and if they're prepared to truly support it. I don't want to get my hopes up if we still have a way to go on this. Finally, to that point, is there anything we can do "in the trenches" to help make this happen?

  2. All your questions are valid. CCSS are our state "standards" but you're saying if no one hears this, they won't know...? In NYS, there seems to be an annual "focus." Last year was the "shifts." This year you are likely to see a top-down focus on fostering independent reading AND "researching to build and present knowledge." They are serious about this. 1000 ELA secondary teachers were trained in Inquiry with the specific focus on using "evidence" or "information" to support a claim. So teachers are likely to "hear" this one. I say get ready ahead of time. Make some pro-forma planning templates, or keep your eyes out for the state's postings on You can also brainstorm alternative "projects" that are better than what is currently being done.
    If the secondary requirement goes through, they will need to build capacity vertically aligning the curriculum. Your concerns are sooo true. This initiatives can only help, however.

  3. Thanks, Paige. That's exactly the sort of response I was hoping for. :)
    But again, while it's good that the teachers are going to hear this, I hope that State Ed actually uses the words library and librarian (or whatever!) in focusing on this. Sometimes when things like "inquiry" and "research" are talked about outside our library world, if we're not included as part of that discussion, some forget that this is our curriculum and area of expertise, and rightfully feel overwhelmed that they now have "another thing just added on top of everything else."
    So, that said - I absolutely agree that it's important to be prepared for when they (hopefully) come knocking! This will hopefully provide new opportunities to pump up collaboration!
    Thanks again for doing good for libraries, as always! You are a great advocate.