11/13/19 – Homelessness and Chronic Absenteeism in Rural Communities

Title: Homelessness and Chronic Absenteeism in Rural Communities

Almost 8 million students were chronically absent from schools during the 2015-2016 school year. Unsurprisingly, research shows that economically disadvantaged students are more likely to be chronically absent than the overall student population—but studies also indicate that students experiencing homelessness are chronically absent at rates even higher than their housed, low-income peers. In many rural communities across the country, homeless students experience a unique set of challenges getting to school regularly and on time. During this webinar, we’ll talk with county-level education practitioners about those unique challenges in rural communities, as well as the resources provided to address barriers to attendance and collaborative strategies to support positive attendance for students experiencing homelessness.


  • Sheri Hanni – Student Attendance Coordinator
  • Meagan Meloy – Director, BCOE School Ties and Prevention Services

11/12/19 – Be Attentive to Attendance: How Chronic Absenteeism Affects Students Experiencing Homelessness

Title: Be Attentive to Attendance: How Chronic Absenteeism Affects Students Experiencing Homelessness

Students who miss 10 percent or more of days enrolled are defined as chronically absent–including both excused and unexcused absences. When students consistently miss school, it often is a sign of underlying challenges and may indicate a student is experiencing homelessness. How can we use available attendance data to help identify children and youth in crisis? During this webinar, we’ll talk with researchers, program administrators, and a school district homeless liaison about the significance of attendance data for homeless students, how we can turn data into substantive interventions, and trauma-informed supportive strategies at the school and district level.


  • Joseph Angaran, Training Director and National Trainer, Check & Connect, University of Minnesota
  • Jennifer Erb-Downward, Senior Research Associate, Poverty Solutions, University of Michigan
  • Sue Lenahan, Middle School Counselor, Homeless Liaison, Big Rapids Public Schools, Big Rapids, MI
  • Katie Brown (facilitator), Program Manager, Education Leads Home, SHC

8/29/19 – The Power of Relationship: How Mentorship Can Support Chronically Absent Homeless Students

Title: The Power of Relationship: How Mentorship Can Support Chronically Absent Homeless Students

Date: Thursday, August 29, 2019, 1:00 – 2:15PM ET

[Certificate of Attendance available upon completion]

Research shows that chronically absent students, especially those also experiencing homelessness, are less likely to meet grade-level proficiency standards and more likely to drop out of school–and that even absences in early grades have lasting impact. Research also indicates, however, that strong relationships can be a powerful protective factor in supporting improved school attendance and success. In this webinar, we’ll learn about the core components and foundational theories of Check & Connect: an evidence-based intervention used with students who show warning signs of disengagement with school and who are at risk of dropping out. Participants will also learn about the basic steps involved in implementing Check & Connect, and will hear from a school district homeless liaison about one district’s promising results implementing Check & Connect. Finally, participants will hear from a young person who experienced homelessness in high school and how mentorship supported her path to graduation.


  • Joseph Angaran – Training Director and National Trainer, Check & Connect – Institute on Community Integration at University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
  • Sarah Miller – McKinney-Vento Liaison – Spokane Public Schools, Spokane, WA
  • Tara MacKenzie – SchoolHouse Connection Youth Scholar, Keiser University Freshman

8/14/19 – How Improved Teacher Development Can Help Identify and Support Students Experiencing Homelessness

Title: How Improved Teacher Development Can Help Identify and Support Students Experiencing Homelessness

Date: Wednesday, August 14, 2019, 1:00 – 2:15PM ET

[Certificate of Attendance available upon completion]

For many students experiencing homelessness, school is the only place of stability in their life. Like many other support staff, teachers play a crucial role in creating a classroom environment that is safe and supportive for all students, especially those who are highly mobile and have experienced the trauma that often accompanies homelessness. It is therefore critical to provide teachers with comprehensive training and professional development to help them better identify and support the academic success of homeless students. In this webinar, two school of education professors will share their best practice strategies for training both pre-service teachers and those in the field to improve identification practices and supportive services for McKinney-Vento eligible students.


  • Patricia Popp, Ph.D. – State Coordinator, Project HOPE-VA; Clinical Associate Professor, William & Mary School of Education
  • Lisa Fiore, Ph.D. – Professor/Co-chair, Education, Lesley University; Director, Child Homelessness Initiative, Lesley University

6/11/19 – Building A Grad Nation Report Release 2019

The convening partners of the GradNation campaign—America’s Promise Alliance, The Alliance for Excellent Education, Civic, and The Everyone Graduates Center—invite you to learn more about the current state of high school graduation in our country.

The current national graduation rate now stands at 84.6 percent—a new all-time high—and more than three million more students have graduated from high school rather than dropping out, resulting in significant benefits for them, our economy, and our nation. But this year’s report comes at a time when graduation rate gains are slowing, and effort must be redoubled to close stubborn equity gaps and ensure students are leaving high school better prepared for college and career.

The event will highlight the release of the 2019 Building a Grad Nation report authored by Civic and The Everyone Graduates Center, and include two moderated panels conversation to address the key challenges facing homeless students, and how efforts at improving high school graduation rates must lead to stronger secondary and postsecondary outcomes for students, featuring voices from diverse leaders in the field. Speakers will include:

  • Robert Balfanz, Director, The Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University
  • William Brangham, Correspondent and Producer, PBS NewsHour
  • John Bridgeland, Founder and CEO, Civic
  • Deborah Delisle, President and CEO, Alliance for Excellent Education
  • Barbara Duffield, Executive Director, SchoolHouse Connection
  • Monika Kincheloe, Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives and Partnerships, America’s Promise Alliance
  • John B. King Jr., former U.S. Secretary of Education and President and CEO of The Education Trust
  • Stanley Litow, Professor at Columbia and Duke University, and Innovator in Residence at Duke; President Emeritus of the IBM Foundation
  • Kathi Sheffel, McKinney-Vento Homeless Liaison, Fairfax County Public Schools
  • Elaine Williams, SchoolHouse Connection Young Leader

Light refreshments available at 9:00, programming to begin promptly at 9:30am ET.

Live streaming details will be sent to registrants the week before the event.

About the Building A Grad Nation Report

The 2019 Building a Grad Nation report is co-authored by Civic and Everyone Graduates Center, and released in partnership with America’s Promise Alliance and the Alliance for Excellent Education. The report examines both progress and challenges toward reaching the GradNation campaign goal of a national on-time graduation rate of 90 percent. The report is supported by AT&T as lead sponsor and Pure Edge and the Raikes Foundation as supporting sponsors.

Questions? Please email emanspile@civicenterprises.net.

6/10/19 – Youth Voices: Homelessness, Hope, and The Road Ahead

SchoolHouse Connection invites you to:

Youth Voices: Homelessness, Hope, and The Road Ahead
In Coordination With
U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
U.S. Representative Steve Stivers (R-OH), U.S. Representative Dave Loebsack (D-IA), and U.S. Representative Danny K. Davis (D-IL)

Monday, June 10, 2019 | 9:30 – 11:00 A.M.
The U.S. Capitol Visitor Center – SVC 212-10
S Capitol St SE & Independence Ave SW, Washington, DC 20024

This briefing is a facilitated discussion among eleven youth from across the country who experienced homelessness in high school and throughout much of their childhoods. Youth will discuss the challenges that they experienced in their PreK and K-12 education – and those they are experiencing now in college – as well as the people, programs, and internal attributes that have helped them persist and achieve success. They also will address the connection between youth homelessness and family homelessness.

The conversation is relevant to federal policy related to Pre-K and K-12 education, higher education, housing and homeless assistance, child welfare, and health care.

Youth from California, Florida, Indiana, Montana, New York, North Carolina, Texas, Washington state, and Wisconsin will be participating in the discussion. The youth are participants in SchoolHouse Connection’s Youth Leadership and Scholarship Program.

Please join us for this unique opportunity to learn from young people.

RSVP required for individuals who do not work for a Congressional office.

Please note: This event will not be recorded or live-streamed.

5/20/19 – Identifying Students Experiencing Homelessness

Title: Identifying Students Experiencing Homelessness: How Small Changes in Email Communications Can Achieve Big Results

Date: Monday, May 20, 2019, 2:00 – 3:15PM EDT

[Certificate of Attendance available upon completion]

Schools often struggle to identify children and youth experiencing homelessness, but identification is a critical first step in providing the support needed for educational success. This webinar will share the creation and results of a pilot project and study executed by the Office of Evaluation Sciences (OES) within the General Services Administration. The project used insights from behavioral science to develop new email communication materials to share simplified information on homelessness with school district homeless liaisons and superintendents in New Jersey, New Mexico, and New York. These simplified emails were designed to help school districts accurately identify homeless students in their districts and schools. Throughout the webinar, one member of the OES project development team and representatives from the New York and New Mexico teams will share their insights and experiences so that practitioners in other school districts and states can replicate the project and improve the identification of students experiencing homelessness.


  • Daniel Shephard, President – Implementation Science and Communication Strategies Group; former member of the Office of Evaluation Sciences and the Obama administration’s White House Social and Behavioral Sciences Team
  • Emily Kramer, Senior Program Analyst – NYS-TEACHS
  • Dana Malone, McKinney-Vento Homeless Education State Coordinator – New Mexico Public Education Department
  • Katie Brown, Education Leads Home Program Manager – SchoolHouse Connection

5/6/19 – Improving School Attendance for Students Experiencing Homelessness

Title: Improving School Attendance for Students Experiencing Homelessness: A Model School-Shelter Partnership

Date: Monday, May 6, 2019, 1:00 – 2:15PM EDT

[Certificate of Attendance available upon completion]

This webinar will share the innovative model developed by the Improving School Attendance for Homeless Children (ISAHC) program in New York City, which provides new training and coordination resources to identify, address, and manage multiple systemic, intergenerational, and logistical barriers to improving school attendance among students experiencing homelessness.

Participants will learn how the program is data-informed and purposefully designed to rely predominantly on existing resources (adding only minimal new costs; use a team approach, and employ evidence-based practices at the individual and systems levels. The collaborative ISAHC team, the most significant feature of the model, brings together staff from the New York City Department of Education (DOE) and shelter provider staff to analyze and address the issues underlying school absences. Participants will also learn how to track student attendance progress using simple data analysis techniques and how to use attendance data as a tool for identifying families with complex challenges. Finally, participants will hear about methods for improving school attendance from the first day of homelessness at coordinated entry systems, schools, and shelters.


  • Katie Brown, Program Manager – Education Leads Home, SchoolHouse Connection
  • Henry Love – Gateway Housing
  • Judith Samuels – The Samuels Group