95 Percent Group began as a mission by Susan L. Hall, Ed. D. to help schools and school districts with their reading instruction and ensure success for struggling readers. Prior to founding 95 Percent Group, Susan was a consultant to various schools districts and State Departments of Education. During that time, Susan co-authored her first books with Louisa C. Moats, Ed.D: the award-winning book Straight Talk about Reading, published by NTC/Contemporary Books and Parenting a Struggling Reader, published by Random House in 2002. She was named by the US Department of Education as a member of the Reading First Review Panel. Dr. Hall became one of the first national trainers for LETRS and remains a national trainer today. In 2005, Susan wrote her best-selling book, I’ve DIBEL’d, Now What? and began providing workshops for educators on analyzing student data and providing differentiated instruction. While Dr. Hall was working with 8 school districts in Northwest Indiana on a long-term project, it became apparent that, while workshops can provide a good foundational knowledge for educators, a long-term, job-embedded model of professional development provided districts with best opportunity for sustained growth.
The Early Years
95 Percent Group began as a professional development company providing literacy expertise to schools and districts in order to help them improve reading instruction. The firm is privately-held by Susan and her husband, C. David Hall who serves as the company’s Chief Operating Officer. The company is certified as Woman-Owned Business, having been qualified by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBNEC) an approved Third Party Certifier for the United States Small Business Administration (SBA) Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Federal Contracting Program.
What began as a small professional development company quickly expanded to a professional development company that offered diagnostic assessments and instructional materials. Diagnostic assessments were developed to assist client districts in pinpointing student skill deficits and forming intervention groups for targeted instruction.
95 Percent Group consultants worked with client districts to use data from the assessments to form intervention groups. Once Intervention groups were formed the 95 Percent Group consultant would provide instruction using activities culled from different resources. It became apparent that what was needed was explicit instruction on phonological awareness and phonics.
95 Percent Group developed a lesson plan format that provided teachers with a guide for creating explicit phonics lessons. With the development of the Blueprint for Intervention:® Phonics lesson plan guidebook, the Blueprint for Intervention® series was born. The lesson plan format developed by 95 Percent Group was adopted by various State Departments of Education. Lesson plans created by teachers using the Phonics Blueprint are still being used today in districts across US.
While the phonics lesson plan format was extremely useful, our clients asked 95 PG to create and develop the full Phonological Awareness and Phonics lessons needed to provide effective intervention instruction. Educators didn’t have the time or the resources to dedicate to it – so we did. The result was the creation of the Phonological Awareness Lessons® and the Phonics Lesson Library™. Subsequent instructional materials were developed based on needs identified during our work in client schools. Although 95 Percent Group did not set out to be an education publishing company, today the company catalog features over 50 unique products and online courses for educators each developed in response to the needs expressed by our client districts and schools.
95 Percent Group has grown from one woman’s mission to help struggling readers into a national company serving schools and school districts in all 50 states as well as Canada and the USVI. 95 Percent Group employs a team of consultants who are experts in literacy instruction and passionate about helping schools improve student achievement. 95 Percent Group’s client base includes state departments of education, regional offices of education, several large urban school districts, and more than 1,000 districts and schools throughout the United States. From professional development workshop series to statewide, multi-year implementations, the firm provides focused professional development programs and coaching services for district leaders, trainers, principals, reading coaches and front-line classroom teachers. Recently the firm has expanded its online training capacity and now offers customized online training programs for schools and districts.