Douglass High School is one of the partner schools in our Memphis Freshman Success Network. During the Q2 FSN convening, the Douglass team shared their unique system for keeping freshmen on track. Called “Check and Connect”, the new system provides a framework for the Douglass Freshman Success Team to identify and champion specific ninth-graders to help them improve their grades.
Check and Connect was created after the school guidance counselor and reset coordinator noticed an increased number of freshmen students with failing grades in two or more subjects due to the ongoing COVID pandemic. These and other at-risk students were assigned mentors from the administrative and teaching staff who then set up regular check-ins to determine the student’s needs. The mentors work hard to build relationships with the students to help them reach their academic goals and also provide a sounding board for life in general. From hard copies of class assignments to extra-credit opportunities and even daily wake-up calls, mentors do whatever they can to assist the students in bringing up their grades.
Once students are back on track – defined as having no more than one failing grade – students are removed from the priority list, and mentor check-ins move to a less frequent maintenance schedule. This system of one-on-one support has been instrumental in helping Douglass ninth-graders mitigate the effects of the pandemic and keep moving toward their dreams.