Partnering with AmeriCorps Promise Fellows at Minneapolis Public Schools

In school year 2021-22, chronic absenteeism increased sharply to a rate of 51% in Minneapolis Public Schools owing to a number of factors during the pandemic. Since its height in the 2021-2022 school year, chronic absenteeism has been declining in the district—falling 12 points to 39% last academic year and continued positive momentum this year.

To combat absenteeism, the district employed multiple strategies within an effective intervention system, leveraging a longstanding partnership with Minnesota Promise Fellows to implement and expand a Check & Connect program—an evidence-based strategy developed in Minneapolis Public Schools in partnership with the University of Minnesota highlighted in the U.S. Department of Education What Works Clearinghouse. With long-term sustained support, Check & Connect staff build relationships with chronically absent students that serve to connect them with a trusted adult, build a sense of belonging with their school community, and take pride in learning.

AmeriCorps Promise Fellows and Minneapolis Public Schools Check & Connect program have had a strong partnership for nearly twelve years resulting in growth and capacity building district-wide of the Check & Connect model with limited funding. AmeriCorps Promise Fellows work side by side with Check & Connect Monitors, school social workers, counselors, and teaching staff to build strong relationships and a sense of belonging with students who are struggling with attendance, academics, and persistence in learning.

In their roles, Promise Fellows add capacity to the district’s attendance strategy by implementing a variety of supports to keep students involved in their education: monitoring attendance, grades, credits, offer academic support and facilitating collaboration between the school, home, and community services to build student engagement in learning and a sense of belonging.

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