A Case Study Description of the Impact of Check & Connect with Students Returning from Alternative Educational Placements
Bartolotta, Robert Joseph
Leone, Peter E
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In this case study, the impact of Check & Connect on the first semester reintegration experiences of a cohort of high school students who had returned from a disciplinary alternative educational placement was examined. Archival data, surveys, and interviews were used to compare the students' experiences, academic and behavioral performance, and attendance, to a cohort of control students who returned to schools lacking the intervention and a group of students who remained at the alternative placement. Interviews were also conducted with the intervention implementers (monitors), a sample of the intervention participants' teachers, and the administrators who oversaw the intervention. These interviews allowed for a more thorough examination of the experiences, opinions, and perceptions of Check & Connect's value to the educational experience. Quantitative data collected showed that while both groups of students who left the alternative school experienced declines in their academic performance, the decline was greatest among students with longer established academic and behavioral difficulties. Students with IEPs or 504 Plans had a higher average decline than their nondisabled peers. Improvements in the number of absences and behavioral referrals were seen with the majority of the intervention students. Results among the control students were mixed. Interviews indicated that the intervention participants experienced a stronger connection to their school that was frequently attributed to the use of Check & Connect. Many felt that the intervention, particularly their relationships with the monitors, had provided them opportunities to succeed that they might not have had otherwise. Control students, and students who remained at the alternative program, expressed an interest in developing a similar connection with an adult in their schools. School staff interviewed believed that the benefits of Check & Connect may not be immediately evident in the quantitative data, but that the relationships made between the students and monitors were potentially beneficial. Teachers found the additional information provided helpful and frequently requested greater sharing of resources. Administrators believed that the positive adult relationships formed between the monitor and students reduced the likelihood of eventual school dropout.