Check & Connect is a dropout prevention model designed to engage students in their schools and curtail the common factors that lead to high school dropouts—academic failure, truancy, and behavioral problems.
The national program was developed in 1990 by the Institute on Community Integration at the University of Minnesota and has successfully met dropout prevention standards set forth by the U.S. Department of Education’s What Works Clearinghouse.
Check & Connect’s objective is to build relationships between mentors and students and, in doing so, systematically monitor grades, attendance, and other potential warning signs of withdrawal (“CHECK”). For those students in need of support, mentors step in and design appropriate interventions that keep students involved in their education (“CONNECT”).
Based on each student’s indicators of engagement, mentors formulate interventions at one of two levels: Basic and Intensive. The Basic Intervention involves structured weekly conversations between the mentor and student that discuss the importance of education and staying in school, plus regular feedback on the student’s educational progress.
The Intensive Intervention, meanwhile, emphasizes collaboration between mentor, parents, and school staff to develop an individual strategy that will promote each student’s participation with the school and improve their performance academically, socially, and behaviorally.
The strength of the mentor-student relationship allows for interventions to be personalized, flexible, timely, and relevant. Ultimately, Check & Connect works as a support system for students by identifying trouble behaviors and fazing them out through positive reinforcement and reconnection with their family, peers, and school.