What is Check And Connect?
Check Connect is a comprehensive school based intervention implemented by Masibumbane Development Organisation in the Eastern Cape and funded by the DG Murray Trust as part of the Zero Dropouts campaign with learning for disengaged learners in grades 6 to 9 .It is a US based model established by the University of Minnesota. Check and Connect uses dedicate mentors to monitor learners’ engagement and improve learner outcomes.
Learner’s face many challenges that influence their academic success—at home, in school, and in the community. We know from research that dropping out of school is not a one-time event; it’s a process. When we review and respond to students’ data regularly and with care, we can course-correct those showing warning signs of early withdrawal using evidence based interventions like Check & Connect.
- 5 schools participating in the programme, 2 primary schools, 2 high schools and 1 comprehensive school.
- One full time trained mentor in each school. Mentors work hand in hand with Learner Support Agents.
- Target – Learners in Grades 6, 7, 8, and 9 identified as at risk of dropping out based on data and referrals by the teachers.
- Number – 30 learners in each high school and 20 learners in the primary schools.
- Weekly one on one sessions with each learner in the cohort.
ALTERABLE INDICATORS OF LEARNERS AT RISK:
- Indicators of disengagement viz. absenteeism, unacceptable behaviour, skipping classes, tardy, academic performance.
- Mentor – Builds relationships with the learners, teachers, parents and stake holders within the community.
- Check – Systematic monitoring of each learner in the cohort focusing on alterable variables.
- Connect with learners through problem solving, capacity building, personalised data based interventions, promoting participation and interactive interactions which may lead to referrals.
- Engagement with families by connecting, partnering and engaging with parents and families.
Interventions by mentors
- Individual sessions for building relationships, finding out about social, mental, emotional and behavioural problems, setting of individual achievable short term goals, empowering them with problem solving skills, discussing their personal problems and encouraging improvement in academic performance.
- Sessions with parents for problem solving, giving assistance in liaising with stake holders,
- Referrals to organisations within the community, Lathitha, NICRO,CMR, MASIMANYANE, Thuthuzela and University of Fort Hare for counselling and assessments
- Group sessions for therapeutic sessions for those with common problems and for complimenting and encouraging them to study and to take part in school activities.
- Extra cases looking atassisting learners and parents who are not in the cohort
The Check & Connect mentor
- Builds a strong relationship with the learner based on mutual trust and open communication focused on success at school and with learning.
- Systematically “Checks” warning signs of disengagement, such as attendance, behavior referrals, and course performance using school data.
- “Connects” or supports the learner by putting immediate interventions in place based on “Check” data; problem solving around influences of home, school, and community; and connecting them to local resources, as needed.
- Partners with parents/families, functioning as a liaison between home and school and striving to build constructive family-school relationships.