Check & Connect: New Country, New States, New Community Partners
Eileen Klemm (second from left) and Maureen Hawes (second from right) from ICI's Check & Connect (C&C) program are on the Pacific island of Yap in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) this month, meeting with lead special education staff for Yap and FSM about conducting a needs assessment of student engagement levels for C&C training and implementation. The C&C school engagement model, developed at ICI in the 1990s to assist K-12 students who show signs of disengagement from school and learning, has been implemented by educators in 45 U.S. states and several foreign countries, and the partnerships continue to grow. "It's encouraging that Check & Connect's reach is expanding to improve student engagement and ultimately increase graduation rates for students in new locations," says C&C Program Manager Klemm (pictured in Micronesia with staff from the Yap Special Education Department). C&C's current work in Yap follows earlier ICI visits to Micronesia in support of early English literacy (see story on ICI website).
The current project in Micronesia is part of a growing number of international partnerships for C&C. It has trained mentors to implement the program in schools in Canada, South Africa, and Australia. In addition, C&C has a growing number of statewide implementation projects in the U.S., with cohorts of trainers within states becoming certified local C&C trainers. There are over 200 local certified C&C trainers in Florida, Iowa, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Utah, and Washington, and Georgia became the newest state by adding two cohorts of trainers in August and September of 2018. And at the local level, many community-based organizations (e.g., Boys & Girls Clubs, Communities in Schools) have chosen the C&C model to meet their goals of improving student engagement and graduation rates. Newly expanded community partnerships include that with the Minnesota Alliance for Youth, which places Americorps Promise Fellows in local school districts, often in the role of a Check & Connect Mentor.
Whatever their location, the program introduced the Check & Connect App to clients last year. Launched in October 2017, the Check & Connect App is a web-based application that replaces the paper or Excel version of the Check & Connect monitoring form. In early December, C&C showcased the key features of the app in a free webinar and fielded questions from the online audience about using the app to support Check & Connect implementation. Beginning in January 2019, these free webinars will be planned monthly. Registration is on the C&C website.