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.

The Evolution of Check & Connect at Treehouse

Thursday, October 12, 2017 • 10:00am


As the Check & Connect Community Spotlight in 2014, it is very important to us that we share our discoveries with others who are in the early stages of adopting the model, gearing up to implement, or currently implementing. Since we began implementation in the 2011/2012 school year, we have continued to grow, learn, and ask questions to determine best practices for working with our youth in foster care. We will share the operations and outcomes of our Graduation Success program model through the lens of executive and program leadership, direct service staff, in-school mentors, and students.

Presented by TreehouseSystemwide Application Track

Angela Griffin

Angela Griffin provides strategic leadership for Treehouse’s educational programs throughout Washington. Under her guidance, the organization helps foster youth unlock their potential, graduate from high school and pave a path to achieve their goals for the future. She is a former school board director and serves on several committees as an advocate for better educational outcomes. Her 25-year background includes managing early learning, childcare, and youth development programs in the nonprofit sector.

Christian Madruga

Christian Madruga is the Program Analysis Manager at Treehouse and a certified Check & Connect Trainer with a degree in Anthropology from San Diego State University. He has served numerous roles while working for Treehouse, from direct service to managing a team of direct service staff that covered five school districts and 150 youth. Christian was a key stakeholder in the early expansion of Treehouse services from six schools to over 150 schools.

Dawn Rains

As COO, Dawn Rains serves as strategic and operational leader for Treehouse. She has 25 years of experience in nonprofit management and fund development. In her role, she oversees policy and program development, implementation, and evaluation. Dawn holds a Master of Public Administration and Certificate in Fundraising Management from the University of Washington. She is also a former foster parent.

Jamie Burns

Jamie Burns is a Senior Education Specialist at Treehouse. After pursuing her masters in teaching from Seattle University, she joined Treehouse and has since been an integral part of the expansion into new districts. In addition to her daily work as a mentor and advocate for youth in foster care, she is passionate about equity and working to better outcomes for youth through Check & Connect, student-centered planning, and trauma-informed care.

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