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Routine Rapid Check Ins


  • Routine Rapid Check Ins (RCIs) provide an opportunity for teachers to check in with students on an informal basis.
  • The routine RCI is a conversation between a teacher and each student in the teacher’s class over a set period of time such as two or three weeks. During the time period, the teacher checks in with each student.
  • For the majority of students, this will be a brief conversation about things of note in a student’s life such as the athletic team they are on, the most recent school dance, the band concert that will be held next week, the show that they are currently streaming, their grades, or an assignment or topic in the course.
  • Teachers use this opportunity to build rapport with students in this classroom.  Studies find that these brief interactions have powerful impacts on students’ sense of belonging in school.

A student shows a classmate how to complete a challenging math problem. Photo by Allison Shelley/The Verbatim Agency for American Education: Images of Teachers and Students in Action


  • Routine RCIs are a routine that teachers engage in with students where they make a commitment to “check in” informally with each student in a set class, study hall, or personalization period.
  • They are intended to build rapport with a student, build trust and help a student know that they are being “seen.”
  • By building this rapport, the teacher establishes a connection with the student in the event that the teacher needs to conduct an exploratory RCI to provide the student with more support.


  • Teachers should establish their own system for RCIs.
  • It is recommended that teachers keep track of each interaction over a set period of time (two to three weeks) to ensure that every student has been “checked in” with.  This provides personal accountability to make sure that no student is missed.

A teacher helps a student with a physics assignment. Photo by Allison Shelley/The Verbatim Agency for American Education: Images of Teachers and Students in Action


  • Routine RCIs take multiple forms. It is important that they are authentic to each individual teacher.
  • Topics of RCIs can range from something related to the course (“How is your progress on the project?), extracurricular (“I heard that the basketball team won last night and you scored 8 points”), to current or cultural events (“I know you watch Jeopardy, did you see who won last night?).
  • Some teachers meet students at the door as they walk in, saying hello to each one of them and exchanging a greeting of some sort.
  • Some teachers conduct their check ins with students when students are doing work at their desks.
  • Other teachers call students up to their desk to have a quick exchange about how things are going.
  • Some teachers describe focusing on a section of their class a week to make sure that over a set period of time all students have been checked in with.  Some teachers make this explicit and students know that the teachers are conducting a RCI; other teachers conduct their check ins without students knowing they are doing them.

         Documenting Routine Rapid Check Ins

  • Schools take different approaches to the documentation of RCIs.
  • Some schools have teachers develop their own systems of documentation.
  • Teachers can make a check in a spreadsheet (paper or online) to document that they have interacted with the student as a form of personal accountability and to make sure no student is neglected.
  • Other schools centralize the process, with teachers denoting their interactions in a common database accessible by other teachers who might want to better understand a student.
  • Data collected during Rapid Check-Ins may include students’ grades, behavior, attendance, participation in school clubs, sports, and other activities, students’ reported social-emotional well-being and feelings of belonging, etc.

Connection to other components

  • Routine Rapid Check Ins are enhanced when paired with Goal Setting Activities, as this provides teachers with more information to connect with individual students, know students’ goals and interests as well as their activities in and outside of school.
  • RCIs provide data that helps to document and track student progress.
  • They give teachers more information about students when they meet in Educator Teams that, in turn, helps them provide better support to students.
  • Rapid Check Ins are the fundamental building block for building a Culture of Personalization in the classroom and in the school.


  • Spreadsheet with student names either on paper or online to denote when the RCI occurred. Refer to Intentional Use of Data page for possible templates.

Download full document here: Routine-Rapid-Check-Ins (pdf); Routine-Rapid-Check-Ins (doc)