2019 NN4Y Education Track

Co-convened with SchoolHouse Connection

SchoolHouse Connection is pleased to co-convene an education track at the National Network for Youth’s sixth annual National Summit on Youth Homelessness, March 18-19, in Washington DC. The sessions are designed to bridge policy and practice by featuring innovative practices and strategies with expert panelists. Topics include:

1. Unaccompanied Youth: High School Enrollment, Graduation, and Transitions to Higher Education

  • The greatest risk factor for young adult homelessness is lacking a high school diploma or equivalent. This session will share legal rights and practical strategies to get youth to high school graduation. Presenters will discuss ways to increase school stability, attendance, participation, and accrual of credits. Transitions to higher education and financial aid also will be addressed. Strategies to help pregnant and parenting teens in particular will be addressed.


  • Katie Brown, Education Leads Home Program Manager, SchoolHouse Connection
  • Mary Ferrell, The Maslow Project, Oregon
  • Jillian Sitjar, Higher Education Program Manager, SchoolHouse Connection
  • Susie Terry, Project Specialist, Foster Youth Services Coordinating Program & Homeless Education Services, San Diego County Office of Education

2. Housing-Education Partnerships: Working Together Today and Tomorrow

  • Education helps prepare youth for success in housing; housing helps youth find success in education. This session will provide practical information about housing-education partnerships at the secondary and postsecondary levels. Panelists will provide tips for starting and maintaining these partnerships and describe how education and housing togther contribute to sustained exits from homelessness.


  • Barbara Duffield, Executive Director, SchoolHouse Connection
  • Ellen McLaughlin, Program Director, Sarasota YWCA Schoolhouse Link
  • Jillian Sitjar, Higher Education Program Manager, SchoolHouse Connection
  • Dr. Patricia Popp, McKinney-Vento State Coordinator, Virginia
  • Corey Stewart, Director of Outreach and Engagement, Georgetown Scholarship Program

3. State Policy Advocacy to Prevent and End Youth Homelessness

  • Frustrated with the pace of federal policy advocacy? Youth experiencing homelessness need action now to remove barriers to services, education, and employment, and state legislatures can be a fruitful source of quick and powerful policy change. This session will share practical strategies for successful state policy advocacy, including ready-to-use resources like state law research, sample issue briefs, and even draft bill language. Panelists will discuss their experiences with state policy advocacy, including efforts in the current session to pass legislation related to higher education, child care, minor consent, and access to vital documents. The critical role of youth themselves in leading state policy, and strategies to ensure youth leadership, also will be discussed.


  • Chris Bicknell, Executive Director, New Beginnings (minor consent and higher ed)
  • Barbara Duffield, Executive Director, SchoolHouse Connection
  • Arash Ghafoori, Executive Director, Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth (vital docs)
  • Catherine Knowles, Homeless Education Program Coordinator, Metro Nashville Public Schools (higher ed)
  • Tricia Vineyard, Chief Program Officer, Youth In Need (child care)

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