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.

Frequently Asked Questions

How was Check & Connect developed and when?

Research on Check & Connect began in 1990 with five years of funding support from the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), U.S. Department of Education. The principal investigators on this grant were Drs. Bruininks, Thurlow, and Christenson, but many professionals from Minneapolis Public Schools were instrumental in obtaining the initial funding. Most importantly, the development of Check & Connect (1990-1995) was a collaborative effort between researchers at the Institute on Community Integration (ICI), University of Minnesota, and school-based professionals in Minneapolis Public Schools. All subsequent research on Check & Connect has been based at ICI.

Where is Check & Connect being implemented?

We do not currently track exactly where Check & Connect is implemented, however we do track our training and manual sales. As of 2020:

What is the evidence for Check & Connect?

Through rigorous research, Check & Connect has been found to lead to increased credit accrual, persistence rates, graduation rates, and perceived parental participation in school; and reduced absences, tardiness, dropout rates, and behavior referrals for students with and without disabilities (Lehr et al., 2004; Sinclair et al., 1998; Sinclair et al., 2005). 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 for staying in school.

How does Check & Connect fit with existing initiatives (PBIS, RtI, etc.)?

Check & Connect is a Tier 2 and/or Tier 3 intervention designed to complement universal strategies in your school. A guiding principle of Check & Connect is to use existing services in schools and communities whenever possible to enhance protective factors for the student/family and maximize scarce resources. Check & Connect, although designed as a stand-alone program, has also been used with Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS), Response to Intervention (RtI), Early Warning, Credit Recovery, and other support models. See Using Check & Connect with Other Initiatives for more information.

In what grades is Check & Connect typically implemented?

Check & Connect can be used with K-12 students — students in elementary, middle, and high school. Research has found that Check & Connect can have an impact on literacy at the elementary level, and many researchers and educators have argued that addressing truancy at an early age is critical to later school success.

Has Check & Connect been implemented with students from diverse backgrounds?

Yes. Check & Connect's components and core elements were developed with the idea that they are elements which transcend cultural, racial, language, economic, and ability variables. Check & Connect has been and is currently being implemented with students from diverse backgrounds including, but not limited to:

To learn more about how Check & Connect is being used with American Indian students, see our blog post Service Learning: One Way to Foster Student Engagement.

To what contexts has Check & Connect been adapted?

Check & Connect can serve students in contexts besides traditional K-12 schools, such as after-school programs, juvenile justice facilities, community programs, and college. See Adaptations for Other Contexts for recent Check & Connect adaptation projects through the Institute on Community Integration.

What training is available for sites implementing Check & Connect?

We offer the following training options for sites interested in implementing Check & Connect:

These trainings are available on-site (site contracts with U of M to provide team training) or off-site (individuals register for a scheduled open-enrollment training as listed on the respective webpages). Participants receive the 2012 Check & Connect manual, Implementing with Fidelity, printed resource materials, and electronic forms. In addition, Check & Connect coordinators at schools or organizations that contract for on-site training receive limited follow-up technical assistance through the first year to assist with implementing Check & Connect with fidelity.

For sites interested in follow-up assistance, we offer a 1-day Fidelity of Implementation Follow-up Workshop geared towards administrators and Check & Connect mentors to help ensure ongoing fidelity.

For more information, visit our Training & Consultation page.

Is the manual alone sufficient for implementing Check & Connect?

Yes, the Check & Connect manual provides complete information for implementing the program; however, training is encouraged to assist sites in implementing with fidelity. The manual is $50 per copy, or $45 per copy if purchasing 20 or more in a single order.

Who can serve as Check & Connect mentors?

ThumbnailSites may hire new staff dedicated to the task of mentoring Check & Connect students full- or part-time, tap existing staff to serve as mentors, or use community volunteers as mentors (see Check & Connect Implementation Options and Tips PDF).

The important factor, regardless of who you use as mentors, is that the mentor embodies the personal characteristics of an effective Check & Connect mentor. Of the ten characteristics listed in the Check & Connect manual, three are listed below (see page 12 of the manual for the full list):

Mentors should —

When hiring new staff, we recommend targeting individuals who have completed an undergraduate degree. This recommendation also applies to community professionals serving students outside of school and community volunteers supervised by school district staff. See below for information on using existing staff as mentors.

How can a site use existing staff to implement Check & Connect?

Existing staff can serve as Check & Connect mentors and as coordinators at the district or building level. Coordinators are typically central district administrators, building administrators, or student support professionals such as counselors, school psychologists, or social workers. The amount of time a coordinator will need to devote to Check & Connect will depend on the number of mentors he/she is supervising and the number of students participating in Check & Connect. In smaller-scale implementations, the coordinator may also serve as a mentor.

Existing school staff such as counselors, school psychologists, social workers, teachers, paraprofessionals, office staff, and school district personnel can all serve as mentors. Existing staff should not be required to serve as mentors; staff must be willing to serve as mentors. When adding mentoring duties to staff members' existing duties, it is suggested that other duties be removed and reassigned or that the staff be compensated monetarily for their time. Staff can be relieved from duties such as lunchroom duty, study hall, or bus duty and use the freed up time to mentor up to 5 students, depending on the needs of the students and the staff member's availability. Teachers may also be released from one section of a course to take on a caseload of students. If duties are not removed, staff may be compensated with a stipend for taking on additional duties.

At some sites, matching existing staff mentors to students can be based on prior relationships. For example, a teacher could mentor a student he/she has previously had in class.

In addition, data collection will be easier if sites have a student portal or some other way of giving existing staff an opportunity to carry out the "check" activities.

What is the cost of implementing Check & Connect?

The cost of implementing Check & Connect is site-specific and depends on many factors such as who is serving as mentors (existing staff or newly hired dedicated mentors), numbers of mentors used, number of students served, and training conducted.

For a training cost estimate, please contact us at 1-866-434-0010 or

How can sites fund Check & Connect?

ThumbnailFunding Check & Connect at your site will depend on whether you hire dedicated part-time or full-time mentors, use existing staff, or enlist volunteers. See page 2 of Check & Connect Implementation Options and Tips (PDF) for funding tips.

If you have a question that is not answered here, please email or call 1-866-434-0010.

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