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.

A Leadership View: Successes & Pitfalls of a Large District’s Application of Check & Connect

Thursday, October 12, 2017 • 10:00am
Friday, October 13, 2017 • 9:45am


This presentation will focus on the implementation of Check & Connect in a large urban school district across 36 schools serving more than 2,000 students. Specifically, presenters will address leadership efforts to facilitate the implementation of Check & Connect with students who are (a) at-risk of failing or dropping out and (b) are from predominately culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Specific strategies include increasing mentors’ capacities and ability to implement with fidelity. Presenters will also discuss successes and challenges from the first two years of implementation and lessons learned that will guide year three of implementation with a new student cohort.

Presented by DeKalb County School District and the University of ConnecticutLeadership Track

Darnell T. Logan, Ed.D.

Dr. Logan is an alumnus (B.S. in African-American studies, sociology, and youth studies; M.A. in educational psychology; and Ed.S. in school psychology) from the University of Minnesota. He also holds an Ed.D. in executive leadership from Lincoln Memorial University (Tennessee). After completing his bachelor’s degree, he worked at the Institution of Community Integration (U of MN) as a mentor for Check & Connect in Minneapolis Public Schools. He has worked as a school psychologist for Fulton County Public Schools (East Point, GA) and a coordinator for psychological services for Atlanta Public Schools (Atlanta, GA). His primary areas of interest include dropout prevention, student engagement, and culturally competent psychoeducational assessment. He serves on the National Diversity Advisory Board at the University of Minnesota. He is a special education assistant director for the DeKalb County Schools (Atlanta, GA). Currently, he assists with district’s efforts on reducing the disproportionate suspension of African-American students.

Michele R. Sumerlin, Ed.S.

Michele Summerlin, Ed.S., is a special education assistant director for the DeKalb County Schools in Atlanta, Georgia. Currently, she serves as a coordinator for Early Intervening Services with a primary focus on the successful implementation, supervision, and monitoring of the Check & Connect model, which supports 2,000 DeKalb County students who have been identified as at-risk. For over 2 decades, Ms. Summerlin has worked in various urban counties within the metro Atlanta area as a special education teacher, lead teacher for special education, special education coordinator, and assistant director for special education. Ms. Summerlin completed her master's in education from Georgia State University and received her Ed.S. in educational leadership from Cambridge College. She holds certifications in special education, early childhood education, and educational leadership. Ms. Summerlin is also a certified local Check & Connect trainer, teacher support specialist, as well as a certified youth mental health first aid instructor.

Tamika La Salle, Ph.D.

Dr. La Salle received her Ph.D. in school psychology from Georgia State University (Atlanta, GA) and joined the faculty at University of Connecticut in 2013. Her primary areas of research interests include culturally responsive education practices, school climate, and the interrelationships between cultural and ecological variables, including the community, family, and school on student outcomes. Dr. La Salle serves as a member of the National Association of School Psychology Minority Scholarship Board, co-chair of the International School Psychology Association Research committee, and as an ex-officio on the Association of Positive Behavior Support Board in the Equity seat.

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