The Ready to Extend a Caring Hand (REACH) program is based on the Check and Connect model. This model is a mentoring program that aims to reduce the number of student absences from school and increase academic engagement. Students who are at risk of disengagement or dropping out of school are assigned a mentor. Mentors monitor school attendance and academic performance and connect assigned students with resources through one-on-one meetings or in small groups.    

Study Goals:
The goal of this evaluation was to use a quasi-experimental design (QED) with a matched control group created post hoc through multi-variate matching. The QED study compared absences and behavior incidents among students in the program with those in the control group.

Research Questions:
The research questions were:

  1. To what effect does the REACH Corps program improve school attendance for students who participate in the program? 
  2. To what effect does the REACH Corps program reduce the number of behavior incidences for students who participate in the program? 


  • The effect of the REACH Corps program on absenteeism varied based on the grade of the participant (p = 0.01). 
  • The REACH program was more effective when working with older students (d at grade 8 = 0.18, or 2.39 fewer unexcused absences). However, the REACH program was not effective in reducing the number of behavior referrals.

For more information, download the full report.

Full report

Further information

REACH Corps: Check and Connect Model
Implementing Organization
Jefferson County Public Schools
AmeriCorps Program(s)
AmeriCorps State and National
Age(s) Studied
6-12 (Childhood)
13-17 (Adolescent)
Focus Population(s)/Community(s)
Outcome Category
K-12 success
Economic Opportunity
Study Type(s)
Study Design(s)
Quasi-experimental (QED)
Level of Evidence
Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS)
Published Year
Study Site Location (State)