University of Minnesota
Check & Connect Student Engagement Intervention | Institute on Community Integration
Institute on Community Integration CEHD

Photo of mentor with student, representing Check & Connect Student Engagement Intervention.

2017 Student Engagement Conference:
Connection to School, Motivation to Learn

October 12-13, 2017 • McNamara Alumni Center • Minneapolis, MN

Registration now open

Early-bird deadline: July 14
Standard deadline: September 19

photo of interior of McNamara Alumni Center

Engagement strategies • current research • perspectives from experts and practitioners

Check & Connect is hosting its second biennial conference, Student Engagement: Connection to School, Motivation to Learn, to bring together leading experts and practitioners from around the country and overseas to address the topic of student engagement among at-risk youth. This two-day event will consist of both keynotes and concurrent presentations addressing at least one of four topics:

  1. Strategies and components to engage students
  2. Site-level leadership strategies to foster a fully engaged student body
  3. Scaling up and sustaining practices across multiple schools, districts, and states
  4. Current, relevant studies on Check & Connect and other student engagement strategies

Keynote Speakers

Hedy Chang, Ph.D., Attendance Works

Hedy Nai-Lin Chang directs Attendance Works, a national and state level initiative aimed at advancing student success by addressing chronic absence. A skilled presenter, facilitator, researcher and writer, she co-authored the seminal report, Present, Engaged and Accounted For: The Critical Importance of Addressing Chronic Absence in the Early Grades, as well as numerous other articles about student attendance. Deeply committed to promoting two-generation solutions to achieving a more just and equitable society, Hedy has spent more than two decades working in the fields of family support, family economic success, education and child development. She served as a senior program officer at the Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Fund and as co-director of California Tomorrow, a nonprofit committed to drawing strength from cultural, linguistic and racial diversity. In February 2013, Hedy was named by the White House as a Champion of Change for her commitment to furthering African American Education.

Amy Reschly, Ph.D., University of Georgia

Amy Reschly is a professor of Educational Psychology and coordinator of the School Psychology Program at the University of Georgia. Her scholarly work focuses on student engagement, dropout prevention, and working with families to promote student success.  She was co-editor of the Handbook of Research on Student Engagement with Dr. Sandra Christenson, and a co-author of the Student Engagement Instrument and its extensions. She worked as a Check & Connect mentor from 1998-2000. 


Day 1 • October 12, 2017

8:00am Registration/Breakfast
8:30am Welcome Remarks
8:45am Keynote by Hedy Chang, Ensuring an Equal Opportunity to Learning By Reducing Chronic Absence
10:00am Concurrent Sessions 1
11:20am Concurrent Sessions
12:30pm Lunch
1:30pm Concurrent Sessions 2
2:50pm Concurrent Sessions 3
4:00pm Adjourn

Day 2 • October 13, 2017

8:00am Breakfast
8:30am Keynote by Amy Reschley, Lessons Learned in Student Engagement and Dropout Interventions
9:45am Concurrent Sessions 4
11:05am Mentor/Mentee Panel
12:15pm Lunch
1:15pm Concurrent Sessions 5
2:40pm Closing Remarks & Evaluations
3:00pm Adjourn

There are 4 tracks of 5 breakout sessions. In response to feedback from the 2015 conference, each breakout session will be an extra 10 minutes in length to allow more time for Q&A (70 minutes total); several sessions will be repeated to provide more choices for attendees.

Location & Lodging

The conference will be held at McNamara Alumni Center on the campus of the University of Minnesota, 200 Oak St. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455. We have a limited number of rooms blocked out at The Commons and The Dobbletree hotels. Please call and tell them you would like a room in the Check & Connect Conference Room Block to receive the discount.

Pre-Conference Training Option

In addition, Check & Connect will be hosting a 1-day Preparation and Implementation Training on October 11, 2017 (the day prior to the conference) at the McNamara Alumni Center. This training is only open to those attending the conference. Registration is only open to those attending the Student Engagement Conference. See more information about Check & Connect Preparation and Implementation Training.

Registration & Fees

Register early as space is limited and registrations are taken on a first-come, first-served basis.

Register for... Early Bird Rate
Register by 7/14/17
Standard Rate
Register between 7/15/17 & 9/19/17
Conference Only $325/participant $350/participant
Pre-Conference Training AND Conference $615/participant $645/participant


Please register online using the link provided. We accept payments by credit card and purchase order. If paying by purchase order, see instructions below. Group registration is allowed.

Register now

Early-bird deadline: July 14
Standard deadline: September 19

If paying by purchase order (PO):

Cancellation and Refund Policy

To cancel or edit your registration, please contact us at or 1-866-434-0010. If your registration is cancelled within 3 business days after the registration deadline, you will receive a refund of your payment minus a $100 administrative fee. Note that if you are not able to attend, you may substitute another person without incurring the administrative fee by editing your registration here online or contacting us at or 1-866-434-0010. If you cancel your registration more than 3 business days after the registration deadline, your registration fee will not be refunded.

Stay in the Loop!

To receive updates regarding the 2017 Student Engagement Conference: Connection to School, Motivation to Learn, sign up to receive our monthly Check & Connect Implementation Resources Newsletter.

Conference logoCelebrating 25 Years of Student Engagement

Check & Connect's First National Conference

October 7-8, 2015
McNamara Alumni Center
University of Minnesota
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Thank you for attending our 2015 conference!

View Keynote Presentations | View Models of Implementation Panel | View Presentation Slides | View Photos

Check & Connect celebrated 25 years (1990-2015) by hosting our first national conference to bring together leading experts and practitioners from around the country and overseas to address the topic of student engagement among at-risk youth. This event was geared towards both professionals implementing Check & Connect's evidence-based student engagement intervention model and those interested in learning more about student engagement in general and Check & Connect specifically. Participants came to learn from experts in the field, share lessons learned, and gain tools for implementing Check & Connect with fidelity and sustaining their site's implementation to support at-risk students in reaching their goals and graduating high school.

Here are some of the highlights as reported by our national Check & Connect trainers:

“I really enjoyed having people who I have trained and worked with around the country all together on the University of Minnesota campus!  The connections they were able to make with other Check & Connect practitioners around the country – to learn from and share each other’s experiences – was so beneficial for all, and fun for me to watch! It was delightful to meet new mentors and coordinators as well, and learn other ways Check & Connect is being implemented around the country!” – Jana Hallas

“It was wonderful to see newly certified Check & Connect trainers soaking up information and networking with others. This experience will be valuable to them as trainers. Certified Check & Connect trainers from Florida, Iowa, and Utah joined us at this conference. As we continue to develop our train-the-trainer process, I see the national conference as a great professional development opportunity for even more Check and Connect certified trainers.” – Eileen Klemm

“One of the best experiences I had at the conference was sharing a meal with the Check & Connect teams I have worked with. We were able to gather together 14 people, representing Check & Connect implementations from one coast to another, and share an evening together discussing how Check & Connect is implemented and the successes and challenges we have. What a great and inspiring group!” – Sharon Mulé

Stay tuned for our next Check & Connect conference, tentatively scheduled for the fall of 2017!

      View Twitter posts using hashtag #CC_conf2015

Check & Connect Founders

Research on Check & Connect began in 1990 with five years of funding support from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP). The principal investigators on this grant were Robert Bruininks (now former University of Minnesota President), Martha Thurlow, and Sandra Christenson, while David Evelo was the school-based project coordinator at Minneapolis Public Schools and Mary Sinclair served as the university-based project coordinator. We will acknowledge this core team of researchers and practitioners during the opening of our conference.

In addition, many professionals from Minneapolis Public Schools were instrumental in obtaining the initial funding. Most importantly, the development of Check & Connect (1990-1995) was a collaborative effort between researchers at the Institute on Community Integration (ICI), University of Minnesota, and school-based professionals in Minneapolis Public Schools.

2015 Conference Endorsers

We'd like to thank the following organizations for endorsing the Check & Connect conference!

Search Institute: Discovering what kids need to succeed.

Florida's State Personnel Development Grant
PACER Center   National Dropout Prevention Center/Network
National Mentoring Partnership   The Arc Minnesota
Attendance Works   Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development Vocational Rehabilitation Services
Minnesota Alliance with Youth  

Ramp-Up to Readiness


For More Information

For more information on the Check & Connect national conference, please contact us.

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