Project Connect is a program funded by a Neilson Foundation grant through the Bemidji Area Prevention Alliance (BAPA). Since its inception in 2010, Project Connect has successfully established a weekly homeroom program for more than 1,400 students at Bemidji High School (BHS) and Lumberjack High School. Students are assigned to a teacher/advisor when they enter the high school as freshman and they keep that same advisor throughout their high school career. Homeroom class sizes provide a lower student/teacher ratio averaging 18:1. All licensed staff and administrators in the building assist as advisors for students and meet with their group once a week. This arrangement builds student connections to adults and to fellow students in their homeroom. Connectedness and engagement
in school has been shown to boost resilience in teens.
Homeroom teachers link their students to support staff when issues related to mental health, behavior, substance use, or academic concerns are identified. Indicated prevention and selective intervention services for students are provided by Project Connect partners and Bemidji High School’s student support team. BHS and Bemidji Area Program for Recovery work collaboratively to conduct targeted intervention groups for identified students on substance abuse prevention.
Character development has been a focus for Project Connect activities since the program’s inception. Another major focus added in 2013-14 was post-secondary planning through the University of Minnesota’s Ramp Up for Readiness curriculum. In addition, over 200 students in grades 9-12 will continue their participation in the Students First program during Homeroom time.
Project Connect Contacts
BHS Social Worker
BHS Assistant Principal