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Of the dropout prevention interventions reviewed by the U.S. Department of Education's What Works Clearinghouse, Check & Connect is the only program found to have strong evidence of positive effects on staying in school.
Check & Connect is an intervention used with K-12 students who show warning signs of disengagement with school and who are at risk of dropping out. At the core of Check & Connect is a trusting relationship between the student and a caring, trained mentor who both advocates for and challenges the student to keep education salient. Students are referred to Check & Connect when they show warning signs of disengaging from school, such as poor attendance, behavioral issues, and/or low grades.
In Check & Connect, the "Check" component refers to the process where mentors systematically monitor student performance variables (e.g., absences, tardies, behavioral referrals, grades), while the "Connect" component refers to mentors providing personalized, timely interventions to help students solve problems, build skills, and enhance competence. Mentors work with caseloads of students and families for at least two years, functioning as liaisons between home and school and striving to build constructive family-school relationships. See more about the Components and Elements of Check & Connect.
Demonstrated outcomes of Check & Connect include:
See Selected Findings from Check & Connect Research Studies for more information.
Since the 1990s, Check & Connect has been implemented across the United States in over 27 states, and internationally.
The following news and magazine articles discuss Check & Connect and its impact on students (for articles about specific Check & Connect sites, see Check & Connect Community Sites in the News page):
Keeping kids in school (November 2015)
From Connect, the magazine of the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Minnesota: "...In its 2015 annual update, 'Building a Grad Nation: Progress and Challenge in Ending the High School Dropout Epidemic,' the Alliance acknowledges several contributing factors, including national attention to the problem and a staggering realization of its implications. High school dropouts don’t go on to college and have less of a chance to land decent jobs or to become engaged or contributing members of their communities. One intervention that has proven to keep kids in school came out of the Institute on Community Integration in the College of Education and Human Development."
High school dropouts: Should we let them go? The Daily Circuit show, Minnesota Public Radio (November 5, 2012)
This hour-long conversation and call-in show on Minnesota Public Radio featured C&C researcher and trainer Karen Stout, former chairman of the Metropolitan Council Peter Bell, and senior researcher at the American Institutes for Research Susan Bowles Therriault.
Connecting Students to Learning: ICI's Check & Connect Expanding Its Reach (2012)
From an intervention profile in the Institute on Community Integration's fyi staff newsletter: "To prevent school dropout among K-12 students, in 1995 the Institute on Community Integration (ICI) launched Check & Connect, a research-based intervention to increase student engagement at school and with learning. Now, Check & Connect has launched an expanded suite of training and consultation options, its staff are conducting new large-scale research studies on its efficacy, and its new Web site has been unveiled."
Solving the Mental Health Crisis for Our Children (2010)
Huffington Post article by Rosalynn Carter. "In Minnesota, an innovative program called Check & Connect, developed by the University of Minnesota's Institute on Community Integration in Minneapolis, uses strategies such as social skills training and relationship building to increase student engagement with school and reduce dropout rates."
Keeping Kids in Class: Check & Connect Demonstrably Lowers Dropout Rate (2009)
From Connect, the magazine of the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Minnesota (see pp. 18-19): "Each year roughly 1.23 million students in the United States do not graduate from high school with their peers—an issue that has both societal and individual implications. Students who drop out are more likely to become unemployed, incarcerated, and/or dependent on social programs than those with a high school diploma. In response, educational psychology professor Sandra Christenson, in partnership with the Institute for Community Integration (ICI), researched and developed Check & Connect. This comprehensive, targeted intervention is designed to enhance student engagement at school and with learning through relationship building and problem solving."
Keeping Students Engaged With School: ICI’s Check & Connect (2008)
From an intervention profile in the Institute on Community Integration's fyi staff newsletter: "Each year roughly 1.23 million students in the U.S. do not graduate from high school with their peers. Students who leave school before graduation are more likely to become unemployed, incarcerated, and/or dependent on social programs than those with a high school diploma. The Institute on Community Integration (ICI) is responding to this problem by offering Check & Connect, a comprehensive, targeted intervention designed to enhance students’ engagement at school and with learning through relationship building and problem solving."
Check & Connect is referenced in several databases, including the following: