The Weekly “Connect” Meeting

Why focus on relationship building?

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

Protective Factors


  • High rate of absences
  • Behavior problems
  • Poor academic performance (e.g., course failure)
  • Grade Retention
  • Working many hours
  • Completing homework
  • Coming to class prepared
  • High locus of control
  • Good self-concept
  • Expectations for school completion


  • Low educational expectations
  • Mobility
  • 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
  • Parental monitoring


  • Weak adult authority
  • Large school size (>1,000 students)
  • High pupil-teacher ratios
  • Few caring relationships between staff and students
  • Poor or uninteresting curricula
  • Low expectations
  • High rates of truancy
  • Limited parent outreach
  • Orderly school environments
  • Committed, caring teachers
  • Fair discipline policies
  • Relationship with one caring adult
  • Opportunities for participation