Fairfax County Public Schools

About INSIDE — In 2008, Fairfax County Public Schools’ Director of the Instructional Services Division, Peter Noonan, approached Hope Gibbs to create a quarterly newsletter that would communicate the with principals and teachers about the programs, goals, and objectives that his organization was creating.

How Inkandescent PR Helped — Starting with the Summer 2008 issue, Hope and Mike wrote and designed a 6-page newsletter that made its debut at the district’s annual Leadership Conference. The topic, Ahead of the Curve, focused on cutting-edge educational thought leaders and the FCPS principals who have incorporated their ideas into their schools.

Success Story — “Everyone loved it,” said Noonan, who moved forward with subsequent issues. The Fall issue, about the district’s innovative testing program eCART, was distributed at another leadership meeting in October. The Winter issue, came out in February, and focused on Best Practices.

FCPS White Paper: INSIDE Instructional Services Deptartment — Best Practices for Teaching and Learning, Fall 2009

by Hope Katz Gibbs, communications specialist
and Peter Noonan, FCPS Assistant Superintendent for Instructional Services

Creating a set of clear and consistent best practices for student learning has long been a priority for Fairfax County Public Schools. Last fall, the Instructional Services team accomplished that goal by identifying a set of research- based Best Practices for Teaching and Learning that have been proven to increase student achievement and help every FCPS child reach their academic potential.

“We knew that each best practice would need to be applicable from PreK to 12th grade,” explains Diane Kerr, the Fairfax County Public School ESOL coordinator who helped spearhead the initiative.

“We also wanted to concretely define the concepts and terms, so that every teacher, principal, staff member and administrator throughout the entire county has a common understanding.”

Click here to read the Fall 2009 issue of INSIDE.


In the News: Peter Noonan named a "Top Educators Under 40" by Scholastic Administrator magazine

Scholastic Administrator Magazine, February 2009 — Educator Peter Noonan, Fairfax County Public Schools Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Services, was named a one of the “Top Educators Under 40” this month by Scholastic Administrator magazine.

In the article, reporter Caralee Adam discussed how a younger generation is changing the face of education. Among other things, Noonan shared his education policy wish: “We need to take a hard look at NCLB. The intent and spirit was good. But we have some outstanding educators and schools that have been labeled as failing, and that has a devastating effect on the community.”

Read the entire article here.

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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

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White Paper: INSIDE ISD, Fall 2008 [Fairfax County Public Schools]

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

Read this issue of INSIDE

“When it comes to maximizing student performance, concepts like data-driven instruction are often bandied about in education circles as the ‘new thing,’ writes Fairfax County Public Schools Assistant Superintendent Peter Noonan in the Fall 2008 issue of INSIDE, a quarterly newsletter for his Instructional Services Division. “This suggests that perhaps the idea isn’t sound, or it will likely go out of favor when another educational fad becomes more popular.”

Nonetheless, he adds, he has long been a proponent of this concept, and knows that with technological tools such as eCART principals and educators can successfully use data to help all students master the curriculum. “A tool like eCART helps educators thoroughly and concretely understand where students stand in the core subjects so they can intervene in the areas where kids are struggling, and enhance learning opportunities in the areas that they have already mastered,” he explains.

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White Paper: INSIDE ISD, Summer 2008 [Fairfax County Public Schools]

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

Read this issue of INSIDE

This newsletter is a quarterly publication for Peter Noonan, assistant superintendent of instructional services at Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS). Its mission is to share thoughts and ideas about curriculum and assessment that are fundamental to the work that principals and teachers are doing to improve student achievement.

This first issue, entitled “Staying Ahead of the Curve,” was published in the summer of 2008. It focused on how three FCPS principals adopted strategies from the cutting-edge book on assessment (by the same name) edited by education expert Douglas Reeves.

“The 268-page hardback, published last year by Solution Tree, features essays by a dozen authors who I consider to be the greatest minds in assessment,” says Noonan, who selected three chapters to have his principals focus on.

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