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.

Supporting Fidelity of Implementation: A Discussion in Leadership at the School and District Level

Thursday, October 12, 2017 • 2:50pm

Strong leadership is key in ensuring fidelity of implementation in order to make Check & Connect successful in increasing student engagement. This panel discussion will give insight into the challenges and strategies used by Check & Connect leadership within a school and district level. Emphasizing the importance of having strong administrative support, school and district based leadership will share how they work together to address barriers and challenges, as well as facilitate success and support mentors as they implement Check & Connect with student in St. Paul Public Schools.

Jana Hallas, Institute on Community Integration, U of M (moderator)
Linda Smaller, St. Paul Public Schools
Gail Ghere, St. Paul Public Schools
Joan Gudorf, Harding High School, St. Paul Public Schools
Duane Dutrieuille, Harding High School, St. Paul Public Schools

Presented by St. Paul Public SchoolsLeadership Track

Jana Hallas (Moderator)

Jana Hallas, M.Ed., is a project coordinator for the Institute on Community Integration, University of Minnesota where she provides training and technical assistance to districts on Check & Connect around the country. She has been working with St. Paul Public Schools for the last three years to build and grow their C&C implementation across general ed, special ed, Indian ed, and transition from juvenile justice.

Linda Smaller

Linda Smaller serves as the St Paul Public School (SPPS) district Check & Connect specialist. Ms. Smaller has worked in the field of special education for over 35 years, and in three states, four districts, and with students ages 3-22. She has served as a special ed teacher and school psychologist, and has supported numerous district initiatives and grants. Ms. Smaller received a Bush Educator Fellowship and a Bush Leader Fellowship, where she focused on school climate and dispute resolution. It is the goal of SPPS's Check & Connect program to achieve positive outcomes for students through a strong and sustained implementation. Ms. Smaller values the close collaboration with the U of MN, SPPS sites and district leaders, the SPPS Indian Education C&C program, PACER, and our SPPS families. What we do matters, but how we do it matters as well. 

Gail Ghere

Gail Ghere is the Interim Director of Specialized Services at the St. Paul Public Schools. She received her Ph.D. from University of Minnesota in educational policy and program evaluation and her educational psychology (Special Education). She is the co-author of several publications on reflective practice, collaboration, program evaluation, and paraprofessional development. Her belief in equitable outcomes and inclusive learning opportunities for students has guided her work throughout her career.

Joan Gudorf

Ms. Gudorf has worked in the St. Paul Schools system for almost 18 years. Currently she coordinates the Positive Behavior Intervention Systems (PBIS) program at Harding High School which involves collaborating with administrators and teachers to develop school-wide policies that reinforce the positive behavior they seek from all students at Harding. She is also responsible for the Check & Connect mentoring program that pairs Harding staff mentors with students to promote positive school engagement and decrease school drop-out.  

Duane Dutrieuille

Duane has over 20 years of experience with St. Paul Public Schools and is currently an assistant principal at Harding High School. He has mentored students, teachers, and colleagues for numerous years and has supported the Check & Connect program at Harding for the past two years. Duane has a wealth of experience as a school leader and administrator: he worked as an administrator at St. Paul Central High School, a director for the State of Minnesota at the Perpich Center for Arts Education, and an assistant director at Dunwoody Academy Charter School in North Minneapolis. Duane believes that all students should be given the learning opportunities they need, in order to live the life, they deserve.

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