Using the Success Zone Model to Motivate Teachers

I’ve had a number of requests from educators asking if, while I’m working on motivating the students in Acellus, I could please come up with a way to motivate the teachers.

From my background in business, I know that if you monitor someone, performance improves. But monitoring teachers?

Then I realized we already had the key. We monitor students in Acellus so we can give them the help they need to succeed. Why not “monitor” teachers for the same reason – not to report on them, but to give them help. Help itself is motivational. Having the tools you need to succeed already motivates you to succeed. What we are doing is “motivating and empowering.”

The next thing was to determine exactly what we could do to help teachers.  This is what we learned:
1) Off-load mundane tasks: This would give teachers more time to teach, which would right away increase successful student learning outcomes.

2) Help their students succeed:  Providing the tools and prompts to take the legwork out of helping students become successful learners would empower teachers and provide motivation.


To help students succeed, we created the “Student Success Zone” – an education strategy that helps students succeed by getting into the right courses, at the right levels, to consistently progress. We call this being in their “Success Zone.” On the Acellus Learning platform, the following aids are provided to teachers:

1) Live monitoring of students as they work in the Acellus environment. Teachers can see exactly what every student is working on at any given moment, down to specific problems and the student’s responses

2) Monitoring of overall student progress within a course and notifications to the teacher when students need intervention

3) Data-backed suggestions of intervention options

4) Streamlined implementation of interventions selected by the teacher with a simple click of a button

Sometimes the intervention needed is just extra encouragement or help with a specific problem, which is performed by the teacher. However, in cases where students need more extensive intervention, such as having the difficulty of a course increased or reduced, or moving a student to a more basic or more advanced course, the Success Zone provides a “select and click” way to implement.

Now, all at once, the teaching gets fun. If the students are succeeding, teachers are succeeding, and we can measure that. The Success Zone generates a report to the teachers of the percentage of students in each of their Acellus classes who are succeeding.  Teachers are motivated by rankings in the system according to the following standard:

Exceptionally Outstanding – All active students are in their Success Zone

Outstanding – More than 90% of students are in their Success Zone

Above Average – More than 80% of students are in their Success Zone

Average – More than 75% of students are in their Success Zone

Low – Less than 75% of students are in their Success Zone

Acellus also sends a congratulatory notice to teachers whenever they raise their level. This not only gives teachers positive reinforcement, but more importantly, it focuses attention on the need for and the importance of individual student learning success.

In addition to reports to the teacher, Acellus makes reports available to principals, district administrators, and school board members so that student and school progress toward success are more transparent for all stakeholders. Administrators have access to monitor each teacher’s effectiveness and each student’s level of achievement.

Success Zone also provides feedback at a district level to indicate how well an entire school is performing. A principal, a district administrator, or a school board member may pull a report for the entire school that displays the ratings of each teacher along with an overall rating for the school. When an opportunity for improvement occurs, the system provides prompts to the teachers, as well as to the school and district administrators. This allows district and school personnel to work together in achieving the goal of getting all students into their Success Zone.