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This case study examines the implementation of an early alert intervention system designed to enhance retention and student course engagement at a large suburban, public two-year degree-granting college. The focus of the study was to investigate the work-flow process and labor requirements for operationalizing the in-house intervention protocol, utilizing a Success Coach model. This paper documents the intervention procedures and reports findings pertaining to faculty time commitment and participation, frequency and prevalence of raised alert flags, and labor requirements for conducting student outreach. Cost efficiency and effectiveness are discussed, as are alternative approaches for implementation, including the use of automation and commercially available early alert software solutions. Implications of findings for the operationalization of the success coach model are considered and suggestions for further investigation are discussed.

This case study investigated preservice teachers’ perceptions of their use of “backdoor praise” (BDP)—praise that is simultaneously delayed, indirect, and embedded in teacher comments—during their final internship. Three participants representing elementary, middle, and high schools, were observed to collect baseline data on their natural use of BDP. The researcher then explained BDP and conducted two more observations of each preservice teacher and their use of BDP. Twenty-eight incidents involving 21 students were recorded; 16 students maintained long-term on-task behavior ranging from three minutes to nearly 60 minutes post-BDP. The preservice teachers were interviewed after each observation, and they all reported positive student and whole-class reactions to BDP; in addition, the student teachers reported that their use of positive comments increased while their use of negative comments and reprimands decreased. These results suggest that direct instruction in BDP helped the preservice teachers to become more aware of their own praise talk.