November 29, 2012
Our new blog, Attend-Engage-Invest, offers stories, perspectives, and resources on issues of dropout, student engagement, and related topics. Whether you’re concerned about student disengagement and dropout, you’re thinking about adopting Check & Connect in your school or organization, or you’ve been using Check & Connect for years, we hope you’ll find something valuable here. You may follow our blog via email or wait for our monthly e-newsletters for the links (see below):
In order for mentors to build the desired trusting relationships with students, they need to exhibit characteristics such as:
- Acceptance and accountability: Mentors are nonjudgmental and use non-blaming communication.
- Commitment and persistence: Mentors realize that trusting relationships require hanging in there with the student — even when the student’s behavior is not changing or the student seems directionless.
- Confidentiality: Confidentiality is key; students will not trust their mentor unless they believe that the mentor is trustworthy.
- Respect and expectation: Mentors hold clear expectations for students.
- Role modeling: Mentors model the desired behavior for students, such as how to problem solve, remain calm and professional, talk through situations, be optimistic, etc.
When having a conversation with students, remember these tips:
- The first few conversations with your mentees are all about building trust with the student and establishing a positive relationship.
- Share information about Check & Connect and ask if they have any questions in your first conversation.
- Ask questions regarding their interests outside of school, experiences at school, goals and expectations around graduating, and any career interests they'd like to share with you.
- Try to keep the conversation flowing naturally, and if the student wants to talk more about a particular topic, spend some time exploring that subject with him/her.
- Provide as much information about yourself as you are comfortable sharing. If you ask a student a question, be prepared to answer it yourself. Establish the two-way nature of the relationship early on.
- Keep conversations positive, particularly the first few times you talk with a student.
(Tips excerpted from the handout "Getting Started - Relationship Building" provided at Check & Connect Mentor Training.)
Overview Webinar • December 11, 2012 or January 15, 2012 from 1:00-2:00pm Central
This is a 1-hour introduction to the components, elements, and implementation of Check & Connect, held at your computer with an Internet connection. The presenter shares the basics of Check & Connect and highlights the importance of keeping students engaged in order to prevent truancy and dropout. Time provided for participants to ask questions regarding Check & Connect and its implementation. Ideal for representatives from schools and organizations that want a brief overview.
Cost: $30/registered computer - you may have multiple people at one computer (take note of registration deadlines below).
- December 11, 2012 • 1:00-2:00pm Central (registration opens Nov. 6 - register by Nov. 30)
- January 15, 2013 • 1:00-2:00pm Central (registration opens Dec. 4 - register by Jan. 4)
Go to http://checkandconnect.umn.edu/training_consultation/webinar.html for more information and to register.
Mentor Training in Minneapolis • February 7-8, 2013
A 2-day competency-based training designed to educate and support new or existing Check & Connect mentors.
Participants will learn about and understand—
- The core components and elements of Check & Connect
- The role and expectations of a Check & Connect mentor
- The competencies and skills needed to be an effective mentor
- How to implement the "Check" and "Connect" procedures with fidelity
- The population of students they are mentoring and how to best meet their needs
- How to build relationships with students, families and school personnel
Cost: Early Bird Registration: $730 per participant if registering by Jan. 4; $770 per participant if registering between Jan. 5 and Jan. 18 (registration deadline). The fee includes a copy of the new 2012 Check & Connect implementation manual and continental breakfast and lunch for both days of the training.
Go to http://checkandconnect.umn.edu/training_consultation/mentors.html for more information and to register.
Preparation and Implementation Training in Minneapolis • June 20-21, 2013
A 2-day training on the Check & Connect model with practical tools for helping students reconnect to school and get on track to graduation.
Participants will learn and understand —
- The core components and elements of Check & Connect
- The context for Check & Connect, including the process of disengagement and the risk factors associated with dropping out
- How Check & Connect was developed, including its theoretical underpinnings (particularly student engagement)
- The role of the Check & Connect mentor
- Steps for preparing for and implementing Check & Connect at their sites
Registration is not yet open, however mark your calendar and visit http://checkandconnect.umn.edu/training_consultation/implementation.html for more information.
MPR News: High school dropouts: Should we let them go?
MN Public Radio's Kerri Miller asks the controversial question: Should we allow high school students who are failing and truly don't want to be in school to drop out? This show was spurred by a theory posed by Peter Bell, former (MN) Metropolitan Council Chairman, that indeed we should, and that funds could be funneled back into the system via higher teacher salaries and more focused learning for the students who want to be there. Karen Stout, research associate with Check & Connect at the Institute on Community Integration, University of Minnesota, joined the program, along with Susan Bowles Therriault, senior researcher at the American Institutes for Research, in addition to Mr. Bell who defended his position. One big take away for us - and that all three speakers seemed to agree on - is the importance of working with students and their families at an early age, as early as PreK and elementary school. Listen to audio
Amicus, our partner in the "Making a Map" project, which will use C&C to support the reentry of juvenile offenders, is looking for both a C&C mentor and a coordinator (see links at the bottom of the left-hand column on the Amicus home page).
Ed.gov report: States Report New High School Graduation Rates Using More Accurate, Common Measure
The U.S. Department of Education released data [this month] detailing state four-year high school graduation rates in 2010-11 – the first year for which all states used a common, rigorous measure...."By using this new measure, states will be more honest in holding schools accountable and ensuring that students succeed," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. "Ultimately, these data will help states target support to ensure more students graduate on time, college and career ready." View press release and link to data
Building a Culture of Attendance: Schools and afterschool programs together can and should make a difference!
We usually think of after-school programs as a way to engage students in school, but here's an interesting recent resource about how they can do something even more fundamental: improve student attendance. Read full article
Latino Kids Data Explorer
The National Council of La Raza has just released its "Latino Kids Data Explorer." It includes many indicators on a variety of topics, including "Education & Language." Explore Latino Kids Data online
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