Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is Success for All?

A. The Success for All whole-school improvement model weaves together four essential strategies to help you ensure the success of your students:

Leadership for Continuous Improvement:
School leaders, teachers, and other school staff work in collaboration to set quarterly goals, select leverage points for improvement, measure progress, and celebrate success. An online data-management system makes data accessible to all.

Schoolwide Support and Intervention Tools: Proven strategies focus on attendance, parental involvement, positive school culture, family needs, health issues, and individual student support and intervention to make sure that students are in school and ready to learn.

Powerful Instruction: All instruction in Success for All is built around a cooperative-learning framework that engages students in rich discussion and motivating challenges every day. Detailed lesson resources for reading make planning easy and include rich media supports to develop vocabulary, background knowledge, fluency, and discussion skills. Computer-assisted tutoring tools provide individualization and extra time.

Professional Development and Coaching: Implementation is supported by extensive job-embedded professional development and coaching that enables teachers and school leaders to make the most of the research-proven approach. 

Q. How does it work?

A. Success for All makes reading the cornerstone of the curriculum. For children to succeed in school, they must be reading on grade level by the end of the third grade and keep building reading skills through secondary school. They also need effective teachers, so SFA includes intensive professional development, ongoing coaching support, and data tools to give teachers feedback on how students are learning and where they need additional instruction or extra help. SFA involves the whole community in implementing effective instruction that is based on the best research on what works. Success for All makes learning fun and engaging for kids and helps teachers become knowledgeable, skilled instructional leaders.

Q. How is SFA different from everything else out there?

A. Success for All is unique in so many ways!
• Cooperative learning is used all the time. Students work together productively to learn and take responsibility for one another.
• Technology is deeply embedded in daily teaching and learning.
• Students are highly motivated, engaged, noisy, and on task.
• The pace of instruction is fast, and the kids keep up with it.
• Every minute of teaching is well planned, exciting, and engaging.
• Learning is constantly monitored, and problems are solved the right way.
• Teachers teach the whole child. Social and emotional learning, behavior, and cooperation are as important as academics.
• Professional development is top notch and going on every day. Teachers know their craft and apply it with intelligence, adapting it to their students' needs.
• Everyone is involved in support of student success—teachers, parents, community members, and the kids themselves.
• A facilitator from the school’s own faculty works with teachers every day to help every teacher succeed and grow in skill and sophistication.
• There is a strong research base in every component of SFA and in the program as a whole.

Q. I’ve heard Success for All is expensive. What’s the story?

A. The average cost of Success for All for a school receiving our $50,000 i3 grant opportunity is just $104 per child, per year—or just 60 cents a day. And costs are even lower after the first three years of implementation. Title I funds, including funds from SES waivers, professional-development budgets, and school-improvement grants, can all be used to fund Success for All. Research documents that cost savings from reductions in special-education services and grade repetition more than pay for ALL the costs of Success for All within a five-year period. 

Q. How do I pay for Success for All?

A. Success for All can often be implemented using existing resources, such as:
• Title I funds, school-improvement grants (SIG), and professional-development budgets;
• In states with waivers, funds previously set aside for supplemental educational services (SES);
• And now, eligible elementary schools are receiving $50,000 from SFA to offset start-up costs as a result of our i3 award.

Q. Is my school/district eligible for a $50,000 i3 grant from SFAF?

A. SFAF provides $50,000 grants toward SFA start-up costs for Title I elementary schools with 200 or more students and 40% of the students eligible for free and reduced lunch. If you don’t meet these criteria, contact us and we’ll see if there’s another funding opportunity available for you.

Q. If we’re eligible for the $50,000 i3 grant, what costs does it cover?

A. The grant covers up to $50,000 of start-up costs towards professional development and materials. While the grant covers a significant amount of the SFA program, there are additional costs such as your school’s choice of textbooks. With the i3 discount, SFA is less than half the cost of other programs that claim to change school culture and raise achievement. It’s one of the most effective investments that you can make to change the schoolwide culture. With the $50,000 i3 grant, SFA costs about 60 cents a day per student.

Q. Is Success for All aligned with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS)?

A. Yes! All Success for All instructional resources are aligned with the Common Core. The Success for All model has always featured the engaging instruction and frequent feedback that are cornerstone requirements of the new standards. SFA lessons use a balance of informational and literary texts and demand a more complex level of reading, thinking, speaking, and writing. Click here to find out more about SFA and the Common Core.

Q. Is Success for All just a reading program?

A. No. Success for All is a whole-school reform strategy that engages students and transforms instruction, learning, and school culture. SFA uses reading as its cornerstone because research shows that if kids are not reading on grade level by the end of third grade, they are more likely to continue to struggle in school, repeat grades, act out, and eventually drop out of school. SFAF also offers proven optional programs in math and writing.

Q. Is Success for All a one-size-fits-all program?

A. Absolutely not! Success for All adapts to the needs of all learners in all kinds of schools. SFA includes proven strategies for English learners, response-to-intervention strategies with computer-assisted tutoring to help struggling students, and accommodations for urban and rural schools to meet their own specific needs. It provides a solid structure for effective instruction, while allowing teachers to use their knowledge and skills to deliver a dynamic and engaging learning program. There are even lessons adapted for whiteboard technology and multimedia activities with humorous puppets and appealing actors to help build students’ skills.

Q. Is Success for All just for low performers?

A. Success for All supports teachers as they offer highly engaging instruction for a wide range of students and put supports in place schoolwide to make sure that every student succeeds. The carefully designed systems that ensure success for struggling students also ensure that high-performing students are challenged and continue to grow. Research studies have examined growth for low and high achievers and for schools as a whole. The results confirm that students at all levels of SFA show significantly more growth than similar students in a traditional program.

Q. Is Success for All a scripted program?

A. Success for All introduces a consistent, structured instructional model throughout the school and helps teachers improve how they teach and manage their classrooms, with strategies like our highly effective cooperative-learning model. We provide teachers with detailed lesson guides for a ninety-minute reading block and supports that allow them to use the proven instructional practices embedded in Success for All throughout the day. Success for All relies heavily upon teacher judgment and teacher involvement.
Q. Does Success for All take instructional decisions away from teachers?

A. No. Teachers are involved in the Success for All experience from the start. Without their active support, the school can’t move ahead with Success for All. In Success for All schools, teachers are active, engaged professionals in the classroom. SFA gives teachers a proven set of tools that makes it easier for them to meet the needs of all students and provides the structure, curriculum, and coaching support that helps teachers help students gain skills and knowledge. Teachers work collaboratively to set goals, monitor progress, and organize resources to maximize learning for all students.
Q. Can we still use the reading texts and other materials that we purchased?

A. Absolutely! Success for All helps schools develop effective standards-based instruction, using the instructional materials that the district has already adopted. SFAF provides innovative materials for kindergarten and first grade, but then builds around commercial basals and trade books for grades 2–8. Success for All is aligned with prevailing state standards and the Common Core State Standards for the states in which it operates.
Q. What basals does Success for All support?

A. Success for All can be used with Houghton Mifflin Reading 2005/2006/2008, Harcourt StoryTown 2008, Scott Foresman Reading Street 2007, Macmillan/McGraw-Hill Treasures 2007, Houghton Mifflin and Harcourt Journeys 2011. In addition, a school can choose to build their reading around a list of trade titles that includes a range of informational and narrative texts rather than a basal series.

Q. How is our elementary school supposed to fit a ninety-minute reading block into the schedule?

A. Elementary schools usually spend ninety minutes or more on a range of literacy activities, including phonics, partner and individual reading, listening, and writing. Our staff will sit down with you to review your current activities and address how the time can be organized to allow for implementation of the reading-instruction process in Success for All.

Q. I've heard it’s a lot of work to implement Success for All.

A. Change of any kind takes work, but when the result is greater success for students, the work is worthwhile. The schoolwide collaboration during the change process also makes the work easier. We often receive feedback that the resulting culture and unity among school staff is one of the best, unexpected outcomes of an SFA implementation. We provide extensive professional development, job-embedded coaching, and online resources to support administrators and teachers at implementation and throughout the school year. And SFA coaches are always available via e-mail or phone to provide individual support.

Q. Is Success for All just another fad?

A. On the contrary, Success for All schools have used our approach, on average, for more than ten years each. SFA is research proven and has consistently demonstrated its effectiveness with more than two decades worth of data showing that Success for All gets results. Recently, Success for All was the highest-rated scale-up winner in the U.S. Department of Education’s i3 competition, which identified best practices that can be taken to scale based on demonstrated success.

Q. Success for All has been around for twenty-five years. Is it dated?

A. Success for All has continued to grow and develop during its twenty-five years of partnership with schools. New data tools for tracking student progress and setting schoolwide goals for continuous improvement have been added this year. A new guide for school leaders has just been released, and updated materials, including videos to develop background knowledge and vocabulary, are available for classroom use in grades K through 6. All classroom materials are aligned with Common Core State Standards and individual state standards. Success for All continues to be on the cutting edge of whole-school reform!