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The Pennsylania Department of Education's Bureau of Special Education is funding Check & Connect training and implementation as part of their State Systemic Improvement Plan (SSIP). The Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network (PaTTAN) is a project of the Bureau of Special Education, and charged with implementing Check & Connect. Seven high schools in seven different school districts began implementing Check & Connect in the fall of 2016 and are currently serving over 140 students with disabilities. These seven schools are part of a consortium of twelve learning sites for Pennsylvania's SSIP. Check & Connect is one intervention that the sites may elect to implement as part of their implementation framework.
When: Began implementation in the fall of 2016
Grade levels served: 9-12 (high school)
Student populations served: Students with disabilities
Referral criteria: Students are referred to Check & Connect based on the data of the Early Warning System (EWS). If students are off-track in the areas of attendance, behavior, and course performance in English and/or math, they may be referred to Check & Connect. The school selects which students will partictipate and designates mentors. In addition to the EWS data, some sites look at tardiness data and referrals from mental health providers working with the school site.
Mentors: The number and type of mentors vary for each site. In six of the seven sites, existing staff — primarily teachers, administrators, and counselors, but also special education directors or assistant directors, social workers, school psychologists, and attendance and homeschool reduction truancy officers — are mentoring a small caseload of students (1-3 students each). In one site, full-time dedicated mentors have a full caseload of students. The number of mentors in each school ranges from 7 to 25.
Use with existing initiatives: PA's SSIP is a comprehensive, ambitious, yet achievable multi-year plan for improving results for students with disabilities. When students are identified as being off-track for graduation using an Early Warning System, the school selects Coherent Improvement Strategies to match the students' needs and support them. Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) for Behavior is one of the Coherent Improvement Strategies that schools can select to implement who are participating in Pennsylvania's SSIP. Check & Connect is considered one the intensive interventions suggested within the MTSS-Behavior framework.
Outcomes: In the first 3 months of Check & Connect implementation, the following benefits have been reported:
Funding: Funding has been provided through a grant with the Bureau of Special Education with regards to supporting Pennsylvania's SSIP.