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Teachers' Responses to Success for All: How Beliefs, Experiences, and Adaptations Shape Implementation

Amanda Datnow and Marisa Castellano
American Educational Research Journal
Vol. 37, No. 3 (Autumn, 2000), pp. 775-799
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1163489
Page Count: 25
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Teachers' Responses to Success for All: How Beliefs, Experiences, and Adaptations Shape Implementation
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Abstract

Success for All (SFA) is a whole-school reform model that organizes resources to focus on prevention and early intervention to ensure that students succeed in reading throughout the elementary grades. In this article we use qualitative data gathered in extensive interviews and observations in two SFA schools to examine how teachers respond to SFA and how their beliefs, experiences, and programmatic adaptations influence implementation. We found that teachers fell into four distinct categories ranging from strong support for SFA to resistance. Support for the reform did not directly correlate with teachers' personal characteristics such as experience level, gender, or ethnic background. Moreover, teachers' levels of support for SFA did not necessarily predict the degree of fidelity with which they implemented it. Almost all teachers made adaptations to the program, in spite of the developers' demands to closely follow the model. Teachers supported the continued implementation of SFA because they believed it was beneficial for students. At the same time many teachers felt that the program constrained their autonomy and creativity. Implications of this study for the future successful implementation of SFA and other externally developed reform models are discussed.

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