To keep kids with disabilities in school

Check & Connect trains educators in student engagement

Navigating the road from high school to post-secondary life can be daunting. Teaching transition skills to students while still in school can help them be successful. While graduation rates are improving across the Unites States, there still remains a disparity in on-time graduation levels between students with disabilities and their non-disabled peers.

Photo of Janna Hallas Jana A Hallas

Project Coordinator

“When we expand the opportunities for students to become engaged in school and increase person-environment fit, every student wins.”

Check & Connect is a dropout prevention model developed at the Institute on Community Integration that provides a systematic framework to engage students with learning and in school. By working with school staff, families and communities, mentors achieve the person-environment fit which allows students to be engaged, and therefore successful, in a safe and affirming environment.

Image of a Check & Connect monitoring sheet

Mentors use data such as attendance, behavior and grades as gauges to know when to put in place interventions if students begin to slip and become at risk for disengagement.

Observable Engagement compated to Internal Engagement illustration
Observable engagment. Academic: e.g., time on task, credit accrual, homework completion, engaging in class activities. Behavioral: e.g., attendance, suspensions, participating in school activities, being on time. Inter engagement. Cognitive: e.g., perceived relevance of school work, personal goals and autonomy, value of learning, success in school. Affective: e.g., identification with school, sense of belonging, school connectedness.

Creating individualized plans for all students, and not limiting students due to their abilities or disabilities is key. Figuring out what drives the individual student and the cause of engagement (or disengagement) and then addressing the specific challenges the student is facing is critical to engaging youth.

Research done at the Institute on Community Integration determines engagement levels that lead to school success. Hallas, for one, is excited to see how Check & Connect can  be used with all types of students to increase engagement in school, retention and lead to graduation.

Contact Information

Institute on Community Integration

102 Pattee Hall, 150 Pillsbury Dr SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455

P: 612-624-6300 | F: 612-624-9344

ici@umn.edu

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