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Educator FAQ’s About 8 to Great

Can 8 to Great changes lives from the inside out. How?

…It offers internal motivation The external motivator of “Do this because if you don’t you’ll be punished” is no longer effective. Students do, however, change their behaviors when it brings them closer to their dream. In 8 to Great language: “Are you running to or running from?”

…It teaches a positive attitude formula. The patented 8 to Great FGH Formula is simple enough to remember and therefore to use. Students love it…and live it.

…It’s easy to implement because it’s user-friendly. This flexible curriculum consists of 6 Levels of scripted 20-30 minute engaging activities. You can use it with one grade level or with every grade from 7-12 without repetition!

…It’s relevant. Students go from flunking the pre-test to acing the post-test because they apply the material every day. Also, Student Handbooks highlight heroes that are on Facebook!

…It teaches a decision-making process students and staff use their entire lives. By asking ourselves one question, we can make the best, most courageous decision every time.

…It’s affordable. You’ll use 8 to Great year after year to help students succeed. Training fees are $695 per person for the two-day training, which includes sixty 20-minute activities. (See below for group discounts.) Trainers may return for refreshers as many times as they’d like for FREE! Inservices, retreats, assemblies and parent programs are also available.

Can 8 to Great help with the transition into High School?

Yes! Over 50% of our schools use it to help students navigate high school. Grades 7-9 are when students are developing skills needed in the larger world and discovering the direction they want their lives to take. So why leave the transition into this phase to chance? The 8 to Great High-Ways can help educators guide their students into high school successfully.

How else can it be used? Does it work as part of a health class?

Yes. 8 to Great could be a 9-week unit, an 18-week class, or taught once or twice a week all year. It is commonly used as part of advisory, in FCS classes, in health classes, or as part of psychology or leadership courses. Once a faculty member is trained, they use the material throughout the week, i.e. in English class: “In which High-Way was the protagonist stuck?”

Is it simple to use?

Yes. First, because it is a process with only 8 steps. Secondly, because all the steps of the process are defined in simple one-sentence phrases (“run to, not from”) that students and staff remember easily. Finally, all 8 to Great 20-30 minute activities are scripted to the point that substitute teachers can teach them when a teacher is out sick.

How can we be sure it’s effective?

First, we know it’s effective because 4 and 5 years after graduation, students are still using the concepts. Meanwhile, 8 to Great has more schools turning in research each month, as well as an outside study done in 2005 by the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. Check out the testimonials page on the website, In just a few years, through word of mouth, it has been adopted in 18 states. (Just added Alaska!) For more, go to the How 8 to Great Prevents Bullying document.

What is the best way to implement the process?

8 to Great is amazingly flexible. Some schools use it throughout the year as activities for advisories/homerooms. Other schools use it with just one course, such as part of health class or Senior Seminar or an incoming Freshman Orientation program to build basic life skills for what’s ahead. Still others use it as a one-day retreat, psychology class, or as part of their Alternative Ed program. With the 6 Levels Curriculum, you can use it with different grade levels and not worry about overlap.

If it is used in homerooms/advisories, who teaches it?

We have found through years of research that the only way to guarantee the effectiveness of this process is to have certified trainers teaching it. Whether that’s two of your counselors or your entire Freshman team, having it taught by certified trainers is the only way to protect the emotional well-being of students, as many of the activities are very personal and require
a strong skill base.

Yesterday at Cross Country one student said, “Coach, I really liked our class today. It meant something to me.” Now the parents are asking me to write a column based on this program. It’s amazing!

– Rick Marez
Gering HS Counselor

Which grade level is it best for?

8 to Great was originally written for juniors and seniors in high school. Out of over 4,000 students in those pilot programs, 99% recommended the program be offered again the following year. Many suggested it be “required for graduation.” Today it has been proven to be successful with both middle and high school students when taught by certified trainers.

What research do you have supporting the effectiveness
of 8 to Great?

In addition to the thousands of anecdotal success stories from our 150+ schools, independent research on 8 to Great was done by the University of Nebraska. In a year-long study, they found that students improved in 11 key areas. In addition, 8 to Great offers an amazing pre-test and post-test. (See the curriculum page of this site.) Schools wanting to validate improvements will find that no students pass the pre-test and almost all ace the post-test. Why? Because the skills make sense, are simple and relevant, and are therefore used!

What kind of follow-up do you offer?

Some of our follow-up resources include:

  • A “Key-Mail” to faculty members each month (free)
  • A “Teaching Tips” email each month with new activities (free)
  • FREE return trainings for all certified trainers for life
  • Over 50 YouTube videos of success stories and teaching techniques updated weekly
  • Follow-up workshops by MK Mueller or one of her Certified Trainers
  • Videos, CD’s, music, posters, and polo shirts
  • Free e-mail coaching to all faculty and students by MK or one of her Certified Trainers

How does 8 to Great compare to programs such as Strengths Finders©, Character Counts© or Challenge Days?

8 to Great is the perfect complement to StrengthsFinders© or any program that helps students know their gifts. We teach a positive attitude definition, resilience, communication skills and a decision-making formula.

As for Character Counts©, our research shows that it is focused on rewarding students who exhibit certain behaviors. Rather than just listing end results and rewarding “what it looks like when you have it,” 8 to Great offers clear definitions and processes for how to help every student find the motivation and empowerment within themselves. It is the difference between internal motivation (I want) and external (I should). Our research shows that internal is the only sustainable motivation.

Challenge Days are a very emotional experience. 8 to Great prepares students for dealing with strong emotions for the first 3 High-Ways, then helps students to express their emotions as Challenge Days do in High-Way 4, Feel All Your Feelings, and finally, brings the students back to a place of Gratitude and Hope with the last 3 High-Ways.

Are there curriculum threads for subject areas such as English
and Social

We have dozens of suggestions for projects and papers incorporating the 8 High-Ways into subject areas. These are available upon request. Simply tell us the age of the students.

Does it address the 40 Assets?

The bolded assets below are the ones 8 to Great addresses: 6 out of 8 directly. The other two are affected positively as well.

External: Support, Empowerment, Boundaries and Expectations, Constructive Use of Time.
Internal: Commitment to Learning, Values, Social Competence, Positive Identity.

Does it work well with PBIS?

As a consultant with the Kansas City Missouri School District noted, it works beautifully with PBIS: “It fills in a gap that exists in that program by directly addressing the needs of the 5% most challenged and challenging students, as well as empowering the rest of the student body.”

Does it align with Love and Logic?

Beautifully. Love and Logic is all about High-Way 3: Full Responsibility. It teaches how to handle whining or complaining from students. It focuses on positive discipline. 8 to Great significantly decreases the need for discipline by getting to the root causes of acting out: Low self-esteem, lack of direction, fear and anxiety, and rage and depression. Principals report ¼- ½ the office referrals once 8 to Great is implemented by trained staff.

What if there is faculty resistance?

With 8 to Great only selected faculty are responsible for teaching it, everyone else is simply asked to model it, which saves time rather than takes it. (Fewer office referrals, etc.) MK can be brought in to offer a staff in-service to help the faculty embrace and refer to the concepts, and many schools use the 8 to Great book as a professional development tool.

Is it cost-effective?

Rather than the $40,000 per year to keep a student in prison for one year (more than a year at Harvard), if you decide to train 4 or more Trainers, your cost will be just $550 each. For 8 Trainers, $4,400. Certified trainers can return for refresher trainings for free for life. Principals often call it, “One of the best investments we have made as a school.” 8 to Great builds character and teaches success skills that last a lifetime.

To get more details about 8 to Great for education, please contact us directly at (828) 242-9033.