The foundation of C&C is the student-mentor relationship. The “Connect” meeting is a time to build that relationship, as well as to discuss students’ school experiences. Research shows that having a relationship with one caring adult at school acts as a protective factor for students who are otherwise at risk of dropping out.
Protective Factors are elements in a student’s life which act as buffers against the effects of status risk factors in a student’s life. Please see the table below to compare protective factors and alterable risk factors predictive of school dropout (from Implementing with Fidelity, p. 23).
Since your relationship with your students is a protective factor, it is essential that you intentionally build and nurture a relationship based on mutual trust and open communication.
Alterable risk and protective factors associated with school dropout
Alterable Risk Factors
High rate of absences
Poor academic performance (e.g., course failure)
Working many hours
Coming to class prepared
High locus of control
Expectations for school completion
Low educational expectations
Permissive parenting styles (i.e., lack of supervision or monitoring)
Few educational resources and support at home
Academic support for learning (e.g., help with homework)
Motivational support for learning (e.g., high expectations, talk to children about school)
Availability of educational resources
Weak adult authority
Large school size (>1,000 students)
High pupil-teacher ratios
Few caring relationships between staff and students
Poor or uninteresting curricula
High rates of truancy
Limited parent outreach
Orderly school environments
Committed, caring teachers
Fair discipline policies
Relationship with one caring adult
Opportunities for participation
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