Frequently Asked Questions

Below is a list of frequently asked questions about the Collins Writing Program and the services we provide. If you don’t find the answer to your question low, please contact us. We’re always happy to help.

    • How do I select FCAs that will work effectively for my students, including ELs and special needs students?

      View the FAQ by Kristine Gibson, consultant, Collins Education Associates.
    • How do we get students to check their work more carefully before they turn papers in?

      View the FAQ by Gary Chadwell, consultant and author, Collins education Associates.
    • For which grades is the Collins Writing Program appropriate?

      Collins Writing is designed for grades K−12. While some client schools use Collins Writing only in the elementary grades or secondary grades, most of our clients use the program in all grades. The core tenets of Collins Writing—frequent writing, clearly defined goals, focused teaching, and specific, strategic feedback—are relevant for all developmental levels and content areas.
    • Is Collins Writing a standalone program, or can it be used in conjunction with other writing approaches and writing resources?

      Collins Writing provides a consistent approach to writing instruction for use throughout the school or district. It offers a common language and a model of writing across the curriculum for teachers in all grades and content areas to follow. Many schools that already have writing initiatives in place add Collins Writing to bring cohesion to their school-wide efforts. Typically, these schools look to Collins Writing to bring more focus to writing instruction and to increase the amount of meaningful writing done in non−language arts classrooms. Our program is used in conjunction with a wide variety of other writing approaches. Collins Writing doesn’t displace other initiatives or resources. Instead, it helps teachers focus their teaching and use their time more efficiently.
    • Is it advisable to implement the program in grades K−12 all at once? Is it better to start with the program in the lower grades and expand up or start at the upper grades and gradually involve lower grades?

      In our 25 plus years working with schools, we have seen highly effective implementations of all types. Some districts have successfully involved all grades, K−12, right from the start. Others have effectively started at the high school, elementary, or the middle school level and then expanded. Where you implement the program does not seem to determine its potential success. The most important variable in a school’s or district’s implementation is its commitment to follow-through and support for the teachers. Affecting something as important and far-reaching as how writing is used in a school doesn’t happen by doing one workshop for the staff—no matter how engaging, substantive, and energizing the session is. Changing a school’s writing culture requires a thoughtful, ongoing plan for supporting teachers. That support must be tailored to the staff’s needs and the school’s specific goals. It may involve advanced training for the entire staff or for the writing coaches. It could include in-class demonstrations or observations. It may also affect the focus of professional learning communities. While the ways to effectively implement the program vary, the common feature of a successful Collins Writing Program is a commitment to the staff’s professional development. Collins Education Associates is first and foremost a professional development organization. We can help you design an implementation plan that fits your school’s needs and budget.
    • Does the Collins Writing Program work with English Learners?

      Absolutely! Please see the blog by Erick Herrmann, consultant, Collins Education Associates.
    • What is the cost of implementing the Collins Writing Program?

      While CEA publishes a number of resources that help teachers use the program effectively, we are primarily a professional development organization. That means that starting costs will vary according to the scope of the implementation and the professional development plan. A Collins Associate can help you design a plan that fits your needs and budget. The basic costs of any implementation plan are as follows:
      • In-District consulting services are billed at $1,500 to $1,700 per day plus travel-related expenses. The rate depends on whether overnight travel is required of the Collins Associate.
      • Institutes are another training option. If you host an Institute you earn a credit toward the cost of the day for each person who attends from outside your district. In some cases, outside district registration fees can offset the cost of the day. Please contact us for more detail on pricing.
      • Introductory books that offer elementary and secondary teachers the basics of the program along with many management tips and ideas for daily writing tasks are $20 each. Other valuable teacher resource books, ranging from $15 to $30, are also available.
      • Our most popular classroom resources are very affordable. Student writing folders ($0.80 per student), student guides to the most essential writing conventions ($0.80 per student), and informative classroom posters ($5.00 each) are used by most of our schools. See our full array of publications in our online web store.
    • Are there ongoing costs to implement the program?

      Most schools have a two- or three-year implementation plan that involves some aspect of ongoing support for teachers, so there may be professional development costs beyond the initial year. Materials costs are minimal. Student writing folders and Check Mate guides to Essential Conventions are $0.80 per student. Those are the only consumables involved in long-term implementations. We also offer a broad range of books and materials that support and extend the program such as Open Response Writing, Seven Sentence Building Activities, and a book just for math teachers, How Did You Get That?
    • Is there a typical type of school that succeeds with Collins Writing?

      We are very proud of the wide range of schools that have succeeded with our program. We have worked successfully in:
          • Public and private schools
          • Urban, rural, and suburban schools
          • Career and technical schools
          • Parochial schools
          • Jewish day schools
          • Charter schools
      What all these schools have in common is a commitment to transforming the way writing and thinking skills are approached in their schools. None were looking for a quick fix. Instead, they realized that making writing an integral part of teaching and learning in all classrooms would require a sustained effort. (See User Profiles to learn how other districts and schools implemented Collins Writing.)
    • How can I find out if Collins Writing is a good fit for my school?

      Contact us and we’ll happily arrange a call with one of our associates. Our associate will review your school’s needs with you−for free−and provide information to help you determine if the Collins Writing Program is a good match for you.