On July 22 and 23, Education Leads Home (ELH) hosted the six state grantee teams of the State Partnerships on Student Homelessness Project in Tacoma, Washington for its first-ever in-person convening. Practitioners from state education agencies, school districts, higher education institutions, nonprofits, and early childhood education programs from Hawaii, Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, and Kentucky gathered at the University of Washington-Tacoma to learn from one another and share out on their work to date.
Since the fall of 2018, ELH’s State Partnerships on Student
Homelessness Project has brought together dedicated professionals from around
the country to take action toward overcoming child and youth homelessness
through education, resulting in measurable progress toward one or more of the
three ELH goals:
Reaching equitable participation in quality
early childhood programs for young children experiencing homelessness;
Increasing high school graduation rates for
students experiencing homelessness;
Increasing postsecondary attainment of young
people experiencing homelessness;
These six state teams have researched and begun implementation
of new approaches to address the most urgent needs of children and youth
experiencing homelessness in their respective communities, creating an
innovative and collaborative “learning lab” of best practices that will promote
educational achievement and help break the cycle of poverty and homelessness. Project
content areas range widely, including improving access to early childhood
education programs, growing existing host home programs to facilitate high
school graduation, and increasing Title I set-aside funding to support the
academic success of homeless students.
The two-day convening kicked off with a discussion about the
vision and scope of the ELH campaign and how each project is representative of and
integrated into ELH’s long-term objectives. Teams then had ample time to both
reflect and strategize internally and to problem-solve across state lines,
sharing what has worked and—just as importantly—what hasn’t worked in their
respective efforts to support some of the country’s most invisible children and
Katara Jordan from Building Changes in Washington State shared that, “Our populations [children and families experiencing homelessness] are often hidden. To support students experiencing homelessness in Washington State, the state legislature established a statewide workgroup to develop a plan for students experiencing foster care and homelessness to help them reach educational equity with their general student population peers by 2027. The great thing about the work group is that state agencies and nonprofits are both at the table and committed to following through on implementing the plan.” She continued, “At every single level, every person is a policymaker, which is why it’s important to have government and nonprofit organizations at the table. The only way to do this work is to ensure systems are working together in meaningful and concrete ways. I don’t think it’s possible if you’re operating in silos.”
Despite the differences in goals addressed, teams reported that they benefited tremendously from the opportunity to connect with one another in person and meaningfully reflect on their accomplishments, unanticipated barriers and challenges, and plans for sustainability. “That was one of the best and most diverse conversations I’ve had at a work-related convening,” noted Jordana Ferreira from Early Childhood Action Strategy in Hawaii.
The ELH team extends special thanks EducationCounsel for their unparalleled
support in the strategic planning of and facilitating this inaugural convening.
We look forward to supporting each state team and
facilitating cross-state learning in the weeks and months ahead.
This piece by Homeless Education Program Coordinator Catherine Knowles is the second in a series of blog posts that, in five questions, captures some of the most pressing challenges, inspiring triumphs, and innovative strategies experienced and implemented by practitioners supporting students experiencing homelessness around the country.
Catherine Knowles is the Homeless Education Program Coordinator with Metro Nashville Public Schools, which serves the city of Nashville, Tennessee and Davidson County. More than 82,000 students are currently enrolled in the district’s 73 elementary schools, 33 middle schools, 25 high schools, 18 charter schools, and eight specialty schools. Over 3,400 of those students have been identified as experiencing homelessness. Catherine has served in this role for 22 years, and also participates in many community working groups related to homeless issues. She is a member of both the local Housing and Urban Development Continuum of Care Planning Council and Nashville’s Youth Homelessness Demonstration Project Steering Committee. Says Catherine, “I love that no day is ever the same.”
What is one of the
most helpful strategies you have learned in a homelessness-related
I’ve been through lots of trainings, but I’d say the most helpful tip I have picked up along the way is the importance of offering professional development (PD) to school and community partners often, and in both large and small doses. For years, I employed a traditional PD model and held annual one-and-a-half-hour training sessions for my school building contacts, as well as school social workers and counselors. Although this approach fulfilled the compliance portion of training school staff, it rarely had the real impact I was looking for–which was to create understanding, compassion, empathy and “buy-in” in the importance of my work. As a homeless liaison, I need school staff and community partners to fulfill their required responsibilities to serve students experiencing homelessness–but in order for our district to fully meet the needs of our students and families, I also need these partners to want to be part of the solution, or to at least acknowledge the valuable role they can play in connecting families to services.
Accordingly, we have created a variety of professional
development offerings ranging from a ten-minute McKinney-Vento 101 prerecorded
PowerPoint to a 90-minute, in-person training more heavily focused on the
social and emotional aspects of homelessness. Because our target audiences are
so varied and school staff is so pressed for time, we also send out targeted
emails with brief handouts and two-minute video clips, and we take advantage of
every opportunity to speak casually with the building staff with whom we need to
connect to better serve our students. We realize that a one-size-fits-all
approach doesn’t work, and we can have a significant impact through our
informal interactions with staff and the community.
What is your most successful
This seems a lot like asking a parent which child is the
favorite…We have more than 25 community partners that support our work and our
families in a variety of ways and we could not do the work we do without any
one of them. Each partnership fulfills a vital need for the families that we
serve and I consider all of them to be successful–but as I think about the
newest partnerships and our most recent successes, I tend to highlight our
partnership with Purposity because it is a great example of community members responding
directly to the needs of their neighbors. We launched with Purposity in
January 2018. At the time, Purposity was a text messaging service (now it is an
app) that allowed individuals to sign up for a weekly text listing the needs of
students and families experiencing homelessness. The response was OVERWHELMING!
We quickly jumped from 250 to 500 community users, and we reached 1,000 users
within the first year. This partnership enables us to assist families with
brand new household items or bedding once they get housing of their own, or
personal items that might otherwise take weeks to locate. For me, the
partnership is such a great success story because it is about neighbors helping
neighbors in need, as opposed to grant funds filling those gaps. The power of
Purposity is the ability to connect generous donors with the real and immediate
needs of others in our community.
One Purposity request that really generated a huge response from
the community was a posting of needs for a high school senior who was
experiencing homelessness and camping outdoors with his uncle in February. They
had been in a local hotel for several years, but had to leave there when the
uncle’s health declined and limited his ability to work. They could not go to
any of the family shelters because the student was over 18, and neither the
student nor the uncle felt comfortable at the adult shelter–so they camped and
retreated to a relative’s home when weather was severe. Through our generous
Purposity donors, they received sleeping bags, a cooler, campfire cookware,
boots, jeans, coats, and other supplies needed for camping out in the elements.
Can you give us some examples of how
you use data at the school district level to better serve students experiencing
After 21 years of begging for more staff, I used data as a
justification to add an additional full-time employee to our team this year! At
the end of the 2017-2018 school year, we took a hard look at our data. Our rate
of chronic absenteeism among students experiencing homeless was continuing to
climb, and was more than double the rate for our housed students. Transportation
is the most commonly cited barrier to regular attendance. With this
information, I made a case for the need to hire one staff person to oversee
transportation arrangements for our McKinney-Vento students, since we provide
transportation to nearly 30% of our McKinney-Vento students to keep them stable
in their “school of origin” (the school they attended when they were
permanently housed, or the school in which they were last enrolled). We were
thrilled to see a 7.2% decrease in chronic absenteeism among our McKinney-Vento
students at the end of this year, and the district has committed to funding a
part-time position in the Transportation Department so that we can work
together to continue reducing absences related to transportation.
What do you consider your biggest barrier
to helping homeless students?
From my perspective from the portable building that serves as my
office at the Board of Education in the “It” city of Nashville, the biggest
barrier to serving students and families experiencing homelessness is the
current lack of affordable housing options in our community—and, relatedly, the
difference between the HUD and McKinnney-Vento definitions of homelessness. For
many years, I had a laser-like focus to my work and looked only at the
educational component of the struggle my families faced, but I ultimately
realized that I was not serving my students and their families well with such a
narrow focus. Access to a free and appropriate education–along with
school stability and services to promote school success–will always be the
primary focus on my work, but I also recognize the importance of the
educational system working alongside all the other systems of care that impact
our students and families.
As a native Nashvillian, many parts of the city are unrecognizable
to me—long gone are the affordable rentals and modest family homes that
provided stable places to raise children. They have been torn down and
replaced by tall skinnies with roof-top patios and often serve as weekend
rentals to bachelorette parties or country music fans. I am not opposed to
growth and prosperity, but I do think that in Nashville, it has come with a
cost. To me, the cost seems to be hitting our most vulnerable families the
hardest as they are pushed out of our community because they can no longer
afford to live in the place they once called home.
year, about 80% of the students I serve are doubled-up–and therefore not
eligible for HUD homeless services. As our community works to fully implement
our Coordinated Entry System (CES), the gap between these definitions is
problematic and confusing to families.
The strict HUD definition used by CES leaves the majority of my families
outside of that system, and they become frustrated by that. It is hard for
families facing a housing crisis to be told that they are not the “right kind
of homeless” and cannot receive assistance from a program promoted as the entry
point for homeless services.
I believe education leads to opportunity, and that opportunity is
the best path out of poverty and homelessness. I speak that message to school
staff, to the community, and to my students and families. It is this belief
that guides my work and has kept me in the field for more than twenty years—it
is also this belief that takes a hit and shakes a bit every time I talk with
another family that has to seek education and opportunity someplace else because
their community no longer has a place for them.
What is one of your greatest
accomplishments as a McKinney-Vento liaison?
Without a doubt, the greatest sense of accomplishment I have felt comes from the state policy work I have participated in over the past two years. With the guidance and expertise of Patricia Julianelle, SchoolHouse Connection’s Director of Programs Advancement and Legal Affairs, we convened a community work group in November 2017 and had two successful pieces of legislation in the past two years. In 2018, the bill that passed allowed homeless unaccompanied youth to obtain birth certificates and state IDs without parental signatures. The bill that passed this spring requires all postsecondary institutions in the state to designate a specific point of contact for students experiencing homelessness. This state policy work will have an immediate and long-lasting effect on students experiencing homelessness throughout the state and it serves as a prime example of the tremendous impact homeless liaisons can have if we dare to work beyond the school walls.
Destiny Dickerson is a 19-year-old graduate of Rancho Cucamonga High School in Rancho Cucamonga, California. She currently attends San Diego State University, where she is majoring in Psychology in pursuit of a degree in Clinical Psychology. Destiny explains, “Having had to silently deal with so many mental health issues and watching others struggle in their own ways, I have developed a passion to want to help those struggling to find inner peace.”
Destiny was awarded a SchoolHouse Connection Scholarship in the fall of 2017. The SHC Youth Leadership and Scholarship Program provides scholarships to youth who have experienced homelessness to ensure their completion of a postsecondary education program. The program assists youth with financial aid processes, mental health advocacy and referrals, and professional legal advocacy and referrals. It also provides assistance in locating and establishing local contacts for general support and services; builds a stable peer and adult support network for recipients, before, during, and after their college careers, and into their transition into the workforce; and offers young people meaningful opportunities to engage in advocacy, while providing sustained support services to help ensure graduation and success in life. During the summer following their receipt of the scholarship, Young Leaders travel to Washington, DC for the annual DC Summit, where they share their wisdom, insights, and experiences with congressional and U.S. Department of Education policymakers.
Here, Destiny explains how education has been a powerful force in her life–and how she’s compelled to help other students experiencing homelessness be their own best advocates.
Can you tell us why education is important to you?
A large portion of my family, immediate or otherwise, is uneducated. As a result of this lack of education, I have witnessed them all struggle with drug addiction, alcoholism, poverty, homelessness, and the inability to get/keep a job, among other challenges. Being a child born into this, I have had to suffer because of someone else’s inability to properly provide for me. Growing up and always having to struggle for the simplest of needs made me determined to end the cycle of poverty with me. The best way I can do that: get an education. I want to be able to provide not only for myself but my future family, as well as help my family who is struggling and even those outside my family. In order to gain a platform and ability to accomplish such a feat, I have to start somewhere: college.
Can you give examples of how educators helped you while you were experiencing homelessness?
For the larger part of the four years that I spent in high school, with the exception of my very first semester, I, along with my family, was homeless. My school, however, was not aware of my homelessness status until the last three months or so of my high school career–when they learned that I was awarded the SchoolHouse Connection Scholarship. In those last three months, I was contacted by my district’s homeless liaison. There was only so much she could do since I was graduating soon, but she waived my library fees for textbooks that had been stolen and reached out to my younger siblings’ districts to provide them with McKinney-Vento status. My school worked hard to help me to be able to enjoy all of the senior activities I never would have been able to do on my own: paying for my prom and connecting with a program to get a free dress, senior excursion, grad night, and my yearbook. Every year, my school has a renaissance rally in which they award students for academic success and help boost morale. After the faculty became aware of my situation, they awarded me in front of the entire student body with the award for the most inspirational student. Although my school was unaware of the struggles I was facing for a very long time, once they became aware they did everything in their power to help.
What do you wish teachers or other people at school had done to help you while you were experiencing homelessness?
Most people, in general, do not understand when or how to recognize homelessness. Most homeless children and students are ashamed of their struggles or are told that they cannot talk about it, so they hide it well. I made sure that my shoes and clothes always appeared clean, even if I had to hand wash them in the hotel bathtub. Classroom rules like “no eating” make it hard for students whose only opportunity to eat is on campus. I was always eating on campus. My friends would buy me snacks and I would just eat all day because I was not sure if I would have a meal once I left. Most importantly, though, I think it is immensely important to notice the little things. That student always snacking might not be getting enough to eat. That quiet student who never talks might be going through depression. That student who is overly outgoing and trying to be pleasing might be compensating for an abusive and degrading parental relationship. If something seems off, then it probably is.
What is one thing you know now that you wish you had known when you were experiencing homelessness?
One thing I wish I had known when experiencing homelessness is that help existed. I had no idea what Mckinney-Vento was. I had never even heard of a homeless liaison. I felt so alone. This was in large part because I was forbidden from talking about it by my family. But if I had known about the McKinney-Vento program it would have made a lot of things so much easier for me earlier on. I would not have had to spend four years struggling alone.
What has been the most exciting part about transitioning to college? What has been the most daunting?
The most exciting thing about transitioning into college is having a bed to call my own. Knowing that every night I would come home and it would be there. I would not have to pack every week and try to find a place to stay–because I had a place to stay. I had my own place away from my toxic family and the horrible memories that taint my hometown. I had the opportunity to start fresh. The most daunting thing about college has been the expenses and trying to make friends. I could not afford to live on campus, so I stay off campus an hour bus ride away. This commute makes it hard for me to form bonds with people since they all live on campus and I do not.
Can you talk a little about what receiving this scholarship has meant to you/your experiences being a part of the SHC family?
Receiving this scholarship has quite literally changed my life. Yes, it helped to receive the funds, but it goes beyond that. Receiving this scholarship was how my school became aware of my homelessness and began to aid me in any way they could. When my college admission was rescinded because I could not afford to pay for the housing deposit, SchoolHouse Connection stepped in and helped me get reinstated. When I was being stonewalled by the Office of Housing Administration regarding my request to be exempted from the on campus living requirement, SchoolHouse Connection called with me and we received an answer within minutes. When I was struggling with my physical health and could not afford my medical bills, SchoolHouse Connection reimbursed me. Not only this, but the bonds, formed not only with the other scholars but with the staff and peer leaders, are bonds that I am confident I will have for the rest of my life. SchoolHouse Connection has quite literally become a family for me and I am forever grateful that I was selected.
What would you like to say to other students currently experiencing homelessness? And, what words of wisdom do you have for other students who want to advocate for themselves and their peers?
To anyone else experiencing homelessness, I would want to say that you are valid and you will get through this. I know how embarrassing it can be. I was so unwilling to even say that I was homeless because I did not think that I was the right kind of homeless. There is so much stigma around homelessness, but never ever let anyone tell you are not homeless, or not deserving of help. Never let anyone discourage you or put you down. But most importantly, never give up. You will overcome it all.
To students who want to advocate for themselves and their peers, I would say: do not be afraid to speak up. Do it anonymously. Do it only in your state. Do it only in your town. Only your first name. Only a picture. Do it however you feel comfortable doing it, but do it. Never stop telling your story. No matter how uncomfortable it makes people or how hard it is to keep recalling those memories. Your words, your testimony, could be what changes policy, what gets the help you never had to those who need it, what makes life better for someone else. If you can help even in the smallest way, do it.
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.
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.
This piece by Homeless Education Liaison Sue Lenahan is the first in a series of blog posts that, in five questions, captures some of the most pressing challenges, inspiring triumphs, and innovative strategies experienced and implemented by practitioners supporting students experiencing homelessness around the country.
Sue Lenahan is both a middle school counselor and a homeless education local school district liaison from Big Rapids Public Schools in central Michigan. She has served as a homeless liaison for approximately nine years, previously serving in Evart Public Schools, and currently shares her homeless liaison duties with high school counselor Julie Aldrich. Currently, there are 2,021 students enrolled in Big Rapids Public Schools. They attend one comprehensive high school, one alternative education virtual high school, one middle school, and two elementary schools. Within the school district, there are approximately 70 students who have been identified as homeless under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act.
How do you identify students
experiencing homelessness who are chronically absent?
is a part of me that wishes I could say that I regularly scan through
attendance data and identify all of the students who are having absenteeism as
a chronic problem, but what actually happens to identify chronically absent
homeless students in our district is a little more complex than that. Several
factors come into play in our support of all students, but it is the strong
relationships between staff that are created and maintained that make things
work. As a homeless liaison, it is imperative that I maintain close, supportive
relationships not only with the students and their families, but also with the
teachers, the office staff, the paraprofessionals, the school nurse, and the
food service department. I may learn about a student’s attendance problems
while reviewing data, but more than likely one of the teachers will contact me
voicing their concern–or the attendance clerk will let me know of a student’s
attendance so that I can make additional contact with the family. Or our food
service department might reach out to me and let me know that a particular
homeless student hasn’t eaten lunch for a number of days. It is definitely team
work that makes all of this happen, but if I didn’t consciously nurture the
relationships I have with the other members of this complex team, the support
we offer the students would be much harder to accomplish.
In your experience, what are some of the most
common causes of chronic absence for students experiencing homelessness?
Many homeless students
are enmeshed in generational poverty. They don’t always know or have role
models who have modeled what some researchers refer to as the “hidden rules of
the middle class.” It’s easy for them to
feel overwhelmed by something that may be no big deal for another student who
has a solid living situation with working parents. For example, they may not
have an alarm clock to wake them in the morning–or they often set an alarm and
forget to turn it on. Sometimes the children are the only ones who have to get
up and out of the house in the morning, and therefore may have to get ready for
school on their own. Growing up in these circumstances can be daunting–leading
to chronic absenteeism. Another common cause of chronic absence is a lack of
transportation. If the student misses the school bus and the parent doesn’t
have a working vehicle, the student just doesn’t come to school. A lack of
transportation also keeps the parents from getting the kids to the clinic if
they are sick, and then the kids miss more school due to being sick. It’s a
What strategies do you use to enable
consistent attendance? Do you leverage data in any way?
is a tough one, but again I’m going to fall back on the need for positive
relationships. If the student knows me, or has a strong relationship with a
teacher, that relationship can work wonders. I will often reach out to parents
via their cell phone – everyone has one! My approach is always one of concern
and empathy. I do not call to penalize. I call to help. Life really is tough
and it really is hard to fight the tough fight if you feel the deck is stacked
against you. If the student is at home, I will conference with them over the
phone, attempting to find out what the issues are, and how we can work through
them. Once the student is back at school, I stay in close touch with him/her as
well as with the teachers or other team members. I keep healthy snacks in my
office. Kids are always hungry! A kind word and a handful of trail mix can work
do use data when I work with the students–but I use it as a dialogue and
goal-setting tool. We can cross-reference attendance data with grades in
classes and see a direct correlation. ALL students want to get good grades — no
matter if they act like it or not. We use the data to set goals and refer to
data again when we reflect on goal-attainment. I’ve held “lunch bunch” groups
that include homeless students with chronic absenteeism–they love that. Students
love to have an invitation to a special place to have their lunch and share a
little dialogue in a welcoming area that is much less chaotic than a school
cafeteria. Having lunch with the counselor and a small group of students
(between three to five) opens the door to talk about school, relationships, and
future goals; to talk about who they are and what’s important to them. It gives
them a reason to come to school. Again: relationships are essential.
Does your district implement any
attendance programs or policies that support the attendance of students
day one, as federal law requires, we get the kids in school. We don’t wait for
all of the paperwork–we get them in school. We have centralized enrollment in
our district and the folks at the district office who enroll the students let
me know right away if the student comes from a transitional living situation
that may qualify as homeless.
our attendance clerk will always check with me if she knows of a homeless
family that is about to be referred to our truancy officer, and will defer to
my judgement as to whether or not a referral to truancy is the appropriate next
step. This happened just last week, actually. I was able to have a lengthy
conversation with the mother over the phone. Her kids had been ill, she was
ill, and they were dealing with head lice on top of it. I was able to talk with
her long enough to gain her trust by simply listening with empathy–while also
being honest with her about the possibility of truancy repercussions. The kids
were in school the next day, and the mother and children were able to meet with
our school nurse and gain some assistance for the lice issues, as well as
advice on visiting the clinic.
Recognizing that there’s no silver
bullet, what is your “top tip” for supporting the attendance of students
may have already guessed what my top tip might be: supportive relationships! This
is simply essential. Get to know the kids and their families. Get to know the
teachers, office staff, all of the other folks who make this educational merry-go-round
continue to function. Have compassion and work from a place of empathy. Seek
first to understand! Follow the Golden Rule!
Be nice! Operate under the umbrella of Dignity and Respect.
The person designated as a homeless liaison in a school district usually has that duty added on to an already full-time job. Supporting all homeless students and families is not something that can be accomplished in isolation. Everyone matters.
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.
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.
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
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.