Continuing Connections at Hutchinson High School
By Juliana Delgado, School Counselor, Hutchinson High School
Hutchinson High School has a handful of support programs that extend services and supports to students that need them. In 2016, we started a student mentoring program for students called Check and Connect. This program was developed and supplied to us from the University of Minnesota and the Institute of Community Integration.
Check and Connect has served over two dozen students at the middle school and high school. Over a dozen faculty, teachers, and support staff have been trained each year on how to be engaging, supportive, and solution-focused Check and Connect program mentors. Each mentor is paired with one student and is committed to that student and their progress and achievement in high school for the course of two years. We hope to help younger students in the freshman and sophomore levels build a strong educational experience as they continue through high school.
Mentors check in with students once a week and provide constructive feedback on grades, attendance and overall student behavior. The goals of Check and Connect are to improve student attendance, engagement, and investment in school by showing students how to “own” and positively drive their educational experience while at Hutchinson High School. Mentors connect with the student, family, and resources in the community if needed. It is a program that looks to serve the whole student and provide connections to solutions and build student success in and out of the classroom.
Students in the program have experienced a great range of success. It’s been achieved in all ways, big and small. Students are problem-solving, building resilience, and improving their connection to school. Some students have gone from passing one class to passing all of them and getting involved in sports and activities. Others have greatly improved their attendance and make efforts to not miss school. Whether it’s figuring out that morning routine to be on time in the morning, or learning effective study habits and passing all classes, students are learning strategies that they can use not just in the classroom, but in life. This year we plan to work with another cohort of younger students to help them tackle the challenges to academic success.