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Check & Connect

Florida Check & Connect

The Florida State Personnel Development Grant (SPDG) is working with districts across Florida to implement the Strategic Instruction Model (SIM), and/or Check and Connect.

Over the last four years, Check & Connect has been implemented in 17 districts. Additionally, many districts in Florida have reached out to Check & Connect, with several districts implementing without SPDG funding. Within those 17 districts, 73 schools serve as sites.

The 2016-2017 school year marks the beginning of the fifth year of a five-year grant. Districts are working on ideas around sustainability and aligning Check & Connect with the many projects within their sites and district.

Train the Trainer brings its final push to build training capacity to implementing districts in Florida. When the grant was developed, the goal was to provide a cadre of trainers for Florida’s Check & Connect. This cadre is built from those within districts, sites, discretionary projects or state level positions having a commitment to Check & Connect implementation in the state of Florida.

Resources have been provided below for interested districts seeking to learn more about Check & Connect or who want to speak with staff about Check & Connect.

Online Resources

National Check and Connect website
The Institute on Community Integration, University of Minnesota, is home to Check & Connect. The website has excellent introductory information for administrators, videos, online resources, information on communities of practice and research about Check & Connect.

Florida Check & Connect website
The Check & Connect project in Florida is part of the Transition Education Project (Project 10) which is focused on implementation of Check & Connect in secondary schools. Nationally, Check & Connect is implemented in grades K-12. Lael Engstrom is the Check & Connect Project Director and can be located on the campus of the University of South Florida, St. Petersburg.

Contact Information
Phone: (727) 873-4369

Check & Connect Training

The State Personnel Development Grant provides trainings to Check & Connect sites; a one-day Preparation and Implementation session and a two-day Mentor training to name the two original Check & Connect Trainings. The Preparation and Implementation session is targeted for school and district leadership teams. This session walks the team through an 11-step planning process to prepare for implementation at a specific local site. Mentor training prepares the individual mentors to implement the Check & Connect model. SPDG offers this training in locations throughout the state. Additionally, SPDG has developed trainings for Coordinators as well as an additional refresher training for Mentors after their first year of mentoring.

For those districts interested in Check & Connect, without the SPDG funding, there is no cost for the training for non-SPDG schools. The training is on a space-available basis. For information about upcoming sessions and training opportunities, contact Peg Sullivan, Director SPDG Administration Project, at

Check & Connect Overview

When a district is invited to consider Check & Connect as a resource for student engagement and school success, we provide the following Overview.

What is Check & Connect?

Check & Connect is a model of ongoing, systematic intervention and support to promote students’ engagement at school and with learning.

Each student participating in Check & Connect is assigned a mentor. Check & Connect mentors seek to build long‐term, sustained relationships with participating students that will connect them with their school and help them make academic progress.

  Key Features of Check & Connect

  • Preventive: Check & Connect focuses on watching for signs of withdrawal and providing timely interventions to keep students engaged.
  • Builds Capacity: Check & Connect works with students to build new skills such as problem solving and goal setting.
  • Efficient and Adaptable: Check & Connect builds on existing programs, services and resources within the home, school and community.
  • Provides Outreach: Check & Connect creates long‐term trusting connections between schools, youth and families.
  • Individualized: Check & Connect uses a systematic and organized approach, focusing on the needs of each individual student.

Grounded in Research

Check & Connect is a nationally recognized program with proven success. 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.

Check & Connect was developed through a partnership between the University of Minnesota’s Institute on Community Integration and Minneapolis Public Schools. Since its inception in 1990, Check & Connect has been studied and implemented with K–12 students with and without disabilities, in suburban and urban settings. Check & Connect is currently being implemented by schools and community organizations across the U.S. as well as abroad.

For more information, contact Florida’s Check & Connect Project Manager or visit

Florida Check & Connect
Lael Engstrom, MSW, Project Director
Phone: (727) 873‐4369


The development of this website was funded by the University of South Florida St. Petersburg
through a grant by the Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services,
Florida Department of Education (2010 - 2011, 291-2621A-1C008).

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