CEHD Continues to Adapt the Check & Connect Model with Collaborative App

Since the 1990s, CEHD’s Check & Connect model has helped marginalized, disengaged students engage with school and learning.  Our basic premise arose from the University of Minnesota’s research on resilience advances the premise that by creating opportunities for strong mentor-student relationships will help engage students in school and learning. Check & Connect puts a caring adult, a mentor, in a student’s life that has a responsibility to “check” in on how they’re doing and, then, assesses and “connects” the student to the services and/or supports needed to be successful.

Check & Connect Core Model Holds True Across Applications

Over the years, the fundamental model of a strong mentor-student relationship has not changed, but we have adapted the model to fit a wide variety of students and learning environments. We recently have completed  studies in collaboration with Stanford Research International, American Institutes for Research as well as a study on truancy in the Chicago Public School System funded by the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This research has affirmed the effectiveness of our core model and given us insight on adapting the model to different environments, settings and types of students to maximize the effectiveness of the Check & Connect.

Check and Connect App

Recently, we’ve been developing a Check & Connect app—further extending the Check & Connect model by integrating it with mobile technology. The app will enhance the mentor experience while also providing exciting research opportunities for us to continue to develop the Check & Connect model. The app is scheduled to launch in Fall 2017.

The C&C app was developed to meet the needs of practitioners in the field. Mentors and supervisors saw the advantages of switching from paper-and-pencil monitoring system to a mobile digital system. Figures that used to be reported by hand like attendance, negative behaviors and course progress can be entered in the app instead, providing numerous advantages for programs utilizing Check & Connect. The software provides better opportunities to use the data, both in schools and across district and state lines. The App includes an admin feature, which allows schools and districts to better coordinate mentors in the program.

We developed the Check & Connect app completely in-house at the University of Minnesota. The collaboration between CEHD and the Educational Technology Innovations (ETI) department of the University of Minnesota created the maximum opportunity for continued research and development of the app. We were able to combine ETI’s technology expertise with our team’s deep knowledge about the Check & Connect model and process. Not only does this make for an improved experience with the Check & Connect intervention model, but it also provides CEHD with terrific research opportunities. The app will allow practitioners to more easily:

  • Keep students on track to graduate
  • Enhance fidelity of C&C implementation
  • Save time in data entry and analysis
  • Share visual trends in real time
  • Customize monitoring and reporting to suit their site

The University of Minnesota hosts the software on an internal server, which allows data that will provide powerful research and development opportunities for the college—both to continue the develop the app and to continue to adapt the Check & Connect program to a wide variety of schools and students.

Check & Connect Conference 2017

In addition to the launch of the app, Check & Connect is hosting its second national conference on October 12 and 13. The conference is intended for users of the C&C model and those interested in adopting the model to discuss best practices and implementation methods. Leading experts and practitioners across the country will discuss what they’re doing with the C&C model and app, as well as present research that’s being done at the University of Minnesota and around the country. The conference will also provide a forum for people who are using the C&C model to network and share their experiences.

To preview and pre-order the Check & Connect app, click here.

David Johnson

About the Author

David Johnson, Ph.D.

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