Check & Connect Approaches New School Year with Range of Supports for Student Engagement

Publication date: 
August 21, 2019

Staff of ICI’s Check & Connect K–12 student engagement program have been busy this summer preparing and sharing resources that will help educators identify early signs of student disengagement with school and learning, and intervene to keep students on track with their education. Check & Connect, which began at ICI in 1990, is an evidence-based student engagement intervention that has at its core a trusting relationship between the student and a caring, trained mentor who both advocates for the student and challenges the student to keep education salient. 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 on staying in school. Among the many supports for student engagement offered by Check & Connect are the following:

  • Check & Connect’s biennial conference. The 2019 National Student Engagement Conference: Solutions for Success, was held July 24–25 on the University of Minnesota campus. Approximately 140 attendees participated in this event focused on best practices for keeping struggling K–12 students engaged and in school. The presentations will be posted on the Check & Connect website in the next few weeks. “It was great to see so many educators from across the country and around the world together with a shared goal of increasing student engagement at school and with learning. I look forward to the upcoming school year and our next conference in 2021!” says Check & Connect Program Director Eileen Klemm. The call for papers and registration information for that conference will be available in early 2021.
  • In 2018–19 Check & Connect provided training and technical assistance to more than 1,300 individuals affiliated with educational and other youth-serving organizations to support their implementation of the model across the U.S. and internationally. It also delivered train-the-trainer workshops and consultation in collaboration with state education agencies in seven states that are using the program statewide: Georgia, Iowa, Missouri, Washington, Utah, Pennsylvania, and Florida. A wide array of on-demand training opportunities will be offered this year for an anticipated 1000+ participants at local, district, and state level sites.
  • The Check & Connect team is expanding training opportunities for the upcoming year to include the Engage SEI Online Student Engagement Instrument, released in spring 2019. Engage SEI measures what students think and feel about school, delivering a survey via an online platform and providing data for educators to use to identify early warning signs of disengagement and develop personalized interventions. The instrument is available for purchase, and the purchase price includes onboarding assistance, the Digital Implementation Guide and training resources, and application maintenance and troubleshooting for one year.