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Abstract

The Connections Project (Pristawa,2014) is designed to assist school personnel in identifying students at-risk for social-emotional concerns by examining students’ perceptions of connectedness with adults and peers in school. Currently used in several states, schools complete the screening measure as part of their use of the Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) framework. While many measures of connectedness are lengthy and designed for elementary grade children, the Connections measure is an efficient, straightforward assessment employed with middle school and high school aged youth and school personnel. The purpose of the current study was to examine student connectedness with adults (including advisory teachers) and peers in relationship to several student outcome variables (i.e., tardy arrivals, attendance, disciplinary referrals, failed courses, and school dropout) when controlling for SES and student qualification for IEP or 504 plan. Results indicated that students with higher levels of perceived connectedness to adults and peers in their school building had more positive school outcomes. Students with higher levels of connectedness had fewer instances of disciplinary referrals and fewer failed courses when compared to peers with lower levels of perceived connectedness. Further, students who named their advisory teacher as an adult connection had fewer instances of tardy arrivals, absences, and failed courses. However, student-perceived connectedness was not a significant predictor of dropout risk. Study limitations and future research directions are discussed.

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