FCPS White Paper: INSIDE Instructional Services Department — Best Practices, Winter 2008

Newsletter by Hope Katz Gibbs with Peter Noonan
Design by Michael Gibbs
Fairfax County Public Schools

Click here to read the entire Winter issue of INSIDE

“We stand at a unique point in the history of U.S. education — a point which the potential for truly meaningful school reform greater than it ever has been,” write educators Robert Marzano, Debra Pickering, and Jane Pollock in their classic textbook, A Handbook for Classroom Instruction that Works.

Their research has been synthesized in the 378-page book, including the nine
categories of useful instructional strategies proven to improve student achievement:

1. Identifying similarities/differences
2. Summarizing and note taking
3. Reinforcing effort and providing recognition
4. Homework and practice
5. Representing knowledge
6. Learning groups
7. Setting objectives, providing feedback
8. Generating, testing hypotheses
9. Cues, questions, advance organizers

“This list is not new,” admits Peter Noonan, Assistant Superintendent for Instructional Services, “but it truly makes a dramatic difference in student learning when they are taught to take good notes, work in groups, and use graphic organizers as a means of keeping their papers—and thoughts—organized.”

What also impresses Noonan is that many FCPS principals and teachers have embraced the strategies and are incorporating Marzano’s “best practices” into
their Professional Learning Communities (PLC) meetings and everyday practice.

“I only wish these ideas were taught in every teacher-training program in the country,” he says. “In the Instructional Services Department we are confident that Marzano’s strategies are the key to student success. I’m thrilled that our educators are embracing and implementing these cutting-edge ideas.”

Following, you’ll learn how principals at three FCPS schools are incorporating Marzano’s best practices into their programs.