Identifying At-risk Students Through Early Warning Systems And Use Of Data


Over the past several months the SEEC newsletter has highlighted the core strategies within the SEEC Succeed 2020 granting including: Standards-Based Instruction efforts geared to help with access to and success in rigorous academic and CTE prep aligning with the N.D. State Standards. In January we highlighted additional efforts to ensure College & Career Readiness through shared goals and expectations for the knowledge and skills students need to prepare themselves for the next step of college and/or career as well as life as a whole. These are 2 of the 3 focus areas of the SEEC’s Succeed 2020 grant.

The third and final area of focus is Targeted & Coordinated Supports: the development of processes to identify at-risk students through early warning systems and use of data. Two smaller projects have been implemented over the past two and a half years. Read below to learn more about these projects.


Successful Journeys – American Indian Education Project 

This program focuses on research-based strategies that increase academic achievement, reduce the dropout rate and increase attendance for American Indian students in Fargo and West Fargo schools. These two school districts have a joint Indian Education Program that we’ve partnered with to help implement Check and Connect, a comprehensive student engagement intervention. Over the past two years, this program has worked with over 125 students and has seen a tremendously positive result!

In 2008, the U.S. dropout rate amongst 16-24 year olds who are not enrolled in high school and who lack a high school credential as 8.0%; the rate for American Indian/Alaska Native’s was almost double that at 14.6%.[1]  A high school dropout is more than eight times as likely to be in jail or prison[2] and twice as likely to slip into poverty[3], compared to a person with a high school diploma. North Dakota had the second highest estimated rate of poverty in 2010, with 35-40 percent of American Indian families earning incomes below the poverty line. These disparities are not exclusive to reservations; they are also prevalent in urban North Dakota, and education is the link to empowering change for Native American youth.  In an effort to bridge the educational gap among the Native American youth in their community, the Fargo-West Fargo Indian Education Program collaborated with the SEEC to initiate a mentoring program.

Check & Connect is a data-driven mentoring program, established by the University of Minnesota, which improves student success by promoting relationship building, problem solving, and goal setting. The program focuses its efforts on students who are of high-risk of dropping out. These students are those with 85% or lower attendance, failing/near failing grades, and/or behavioral issues. Fargo-West Fargo Indian Education Check & Connect started mentoring students in October 2013, and has served 127 Native American students in the year and a half since it was first implemented. They currently have 5 mentors serving 69 students (44 returned from last year) in 8 schools between the two districts; 4 in Fargo and 4 in West Fargo.

Fargo-West Fargo Indian Education Check & Connect mentors serve as an advocate and liaison for the student and their family, and it’s this support from the mentors that encourage these high-risk students to overcome challenges in the face of adversity. Having a mentor helps to build a relationship between the student, school, and parent/guardian, is an essential step towards bridging the educational gap and promoting academic success and empowerment for Native American youth.

Read one of the program’s success stories and meet one of the Check & Connect program mentors.

[1] U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, 2010
[2] Bridgeland et al., 2006
[3] Iceland, 2003


Gearing up for Middle School Program –

Gearing Up for Middle School is designed to furnish support by improving transitions to middle school, providing learning activities and parent education opportunities, and partnering with local schools to work with incoming middle school children and their families.

North Dakota State University (NDSU) and the NDSU Extension Service, in partnership with the South East Education Cooperative (SEEC) and the ND Department of Public Instruction (DPI), have developed the Gearing Up for Middle School program as a pilot project in North Dakota. The program experienced its second pilot year in 2013-14. Gearing Up for Middle School is a family education opportunity for parents and their children who will be entering middle school in the following year. Families meet in three sessions during spring, summer and fall as a child prepares to transition to middle school. The number of classes offered during each session tends to vary by site location though the program design includes three classes for each session.

In 2013-14 the program operated at four pilot sites: Ellendale Public School, Lisbon Middle School, Maple Valley High School, Liberty Middle School-West Fargo. The grades targeted ranged from incoming 5th grade students to incoming 7th grade students. Between 10 and 21 families attended at each site. Among parents that attended the program, 63% indicated that the program increased their knowledge of growth and development at the middle school age a lot or very much; 71% said it increased their knowledge about the transition to middle school a lot or very much.

With the conclusion of the pilot phase, SEEC and NDSU Extension are determining how the curriculum will be made available to SEEC schools beginning in the spring of 2015. If your school is interested in implementing the curriculum or to learn more about the program, please contact Jolene Garty (, 701-446-3173) or Jennifer Glasheen (, 701-446-3172).




Schools and students have benefited greatly from the resources and programs made possible by the Succeed 2020 grant. The SEEC is committed to building capacity and engagement of key stakeholders to create and continuously monitor and improve systems and processes that provide efficient and effective education systems.

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