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 Components and Elements of Check & Connect

Check & Connect has four main components and three main elements:

Components of Check & Connect

  1. The Mentor: A person assigned to a specific student(s) who builds a strong relationship with him/her based on mutual trust and open communication, nurtured through a long-term commitment focused on success at school and with learning. This person may be called a mentor, monitor, graduation coach, intervention specialist, etc.
  2. "Check" Component: Systematic monitoring of student performance variables (warning signs of disengagement such as attendance, grades, and behavior referrals) using data readily available to school personnel.
  3. "Connect" Component: Timely, personalized, data-based interventions designed to provide support tailored to individual student needs, based on the student's level of engagement with school (“check” data), associated influences of home and school, and leveraging of local resources.
  4. Parent/Family Engagement: Mentors partner with parents/families. They 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.

Elements of Check & Connect

  1. Relationships: Are based in mutual trust and open communication and nurtured through a long-term commitment focused on promoting a student’s educational success.
    • Focus on alterable variables: Refers to systematic monitoring (i.e., "checking") of indicators of disengagement (attendance, grades, behavior) that are readily available to school personnel and can be altered through intervention.
    • Personalized, data-based intervention: Refers to “connect” interventions, which are supportive interventions that are personalized, not prescriptive. Mentors use data—including information on the student’s needs (“check” data and student perspective), family circumstances, and availability of school and community resources—as the basis for intervention design. It is expected that different students on a mentor’s caseload will receive different interventions.
    • Long-term commitment: Means that interventions are implemented for a minimum of two years. Mentors make a two-year commitment, which may involve following highly mobile youth and families from school to school and program to program within a district.
    • Participation and affiliation with school: Means that mentors facilitate student access to and active participation in school-related activities and events.
  2. Problem Solving and Capacity Building: Means a cognitive-behavioral approach is used to promote the acquisition of skills to resolve conflict constructively, encourage the search for solutions rather than a source of blame, foster productive coping skills, and diminish dependency on the mentor.
  3. Persistence Plus: Refers to persistence, continuity, and consistency. The mentor is a persistent source of academic motivation, is familiar with the youth and family (continuity), and conveys the message that “education is important for your future” (consistency).

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