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

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

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

See you in 2019!

Check & Connect hosted 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 consisted 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

In addition, our national trainers facilitated networking sessions for those implementing Check & Connect during the breakout sessions, as well as presented on how to get started using Check & Connect's new web-based application that was unveiled at the conference.

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
11:20am Concurrent Sessions
12:30pm Lunch
1:30pm Concurrent Sessions
2:50pm Concurrent Sessions
4:00pm Adjourn

Day 2 • October 13, 2017

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

Full Schedule with Presentation Descriptions and Presenter Bios

See the Full Schedule.

Pre-Conference Training • October 11, 2017

A 1-day Check & Connect Preparation and Implementation Training was available for those attending the Student Engagement Conference. Community members and professionals interested in this training were also invited to attend. Limited to 30 participants.


The conference was held at McNamara Alumni Center on the campus of the University of Minnesota, 200 Oak St. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455.

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.

2015 Conference

For information on the first national Check & Connect conference, see 2015 Conference, Celebrating 25 Years of Student Engagement (1990-2015)

For More Information

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

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