A Pacific island village with thatched huts and palm trees. The village is set in a green valley and the blue ocean is in the background.

ICI’s Check & Connect has signed a 10-year licensing agreement with New Zealand’s Ministry of Education to adapt the popular dropout prevention program’s core implementation manual as part of the country’s positive behavior support initiatives.

Under the agreement, New Zealand education officials will add specific examples and cultural context to the manual, Implementing with Fidelity. ICI staff will review the adaptations to ensure the guide retains the theoretical components and steps for implementing Check & Connect.

“New Zealand is one of our longstanding partners, dating back to an open enrollment training in 2012,” said Eileen Klemm, director of Check & Connect. For the last several years, after early results showed strong progress among schools using the program, education officials have been implementing the program widely as part of their Positive Behavior for Learning (PB4L) initiative. PB4L is similar to the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) framework used widely in the United States.

Check & Connect’s core principles of building relationships with students and their families to increase class attendance and critical thought about life choices fit well with New Zealand’s PB4L framework, as well as its goals of offering inclusive educational experiences for the nation’s Indigenous populations, Klemm said.

Under treaties with the British Crown, New Zealand’s Māori people must see their cultural values included in school curricula, among other areas of community life. Among those values is whānau, a word with several meanings, including the importance of an extended village, or family, being central to the development of children. Modern-day definitions of the term focus on an even wider circle of people, connected by a common cause to share knowledge and resources.

“We are thrilled our partners in New Zealand are taking Check & Connect to the next level by introducing into the manual culturally specific examples that support their expanded vision of family,” Klemm said. “Check & Connect has always been centered on the ideals of inclusion, and on families as key partners in supporting students to stay and thrive in school.”