SchoolHouse Connection is the nation’s leading expert on the early care and education of children and youth experiencing homelessness. With 25 years of experience, we are highly sought after for our expertise and impactful advocacy efforts. Our staff helped craft the McKinney-Vento Act through amendments by the No Child Left Behind Act and the Every Student Succeeds Act. We have spent decades listening and learning about the best, evidence-based practices to implement it. We also work at the intersections between homelessness and privacy, disabilities, discipline, resilience, and immigration status. We are experts on financial aid policies for unaccompanied youth and how early childhood programs can best serve families experiencing homelessness. SchoolHouse Connection offers a range of consulting services for states, schools, and school districts.
Services We Provide
The American Rescue Plan Act is sending significant new funding to support children and youth experiencing homelessness to schools and districts that have never before received such dedicated funding. These schools and districts now have an opportunity to build more robust McKinney-Vento programs and to ensure their funds are used where they can best serve children and youth experiencing homelessness. SHC can support these new grantees with needs assessments, strategic program planning, goal-setting, professional development, policy and procedure development, and specific best practices for student success.
Comprehensive Needs/Strengths Analyses
Many states and localities have embraced pandemic recovery as an opportunity to reassess challenges in the education of children and youth experiencing homelessness and strategies to meet those challenges. SHC can bring our decades-long experience to bear on taking a new look at the strengths and needs of both the education system and children, youth, and families experiencing homelessness. By centering racial equity and social justice and relying on both quantitative and qualitative data, we can help SEAs and LEAs look at their McKinney-Vento programs with fresh eyes and develop plans to meet new goals for students and schools.
State and Local Strategic Planning
We are working with several states on strategic program planning. Whether it be through reviewing data to develop SMART goals and a three-to-five year plan to meet them, regular, weekly consultations on program developments, or bringing together stakeholders on a specific issue like early childhood program participation or successful transitions to post-secondary education, we are eager to work with state or local teams on strategic planning.
Customized Training and Professional Development
We can help state and local educational agencies develop professional development plans, as well as provide customized training, workshops, and/or consultation on various topics such as McKinney-Vento Act implementation, transportation, FERPA, unaccompanied youth, special education, youth engagement, transition to higher education, early childhood homelessness, FAFSA completion, early childhood services, and research and data. We also are honored to invite our Youth Leaders and Scholars to lead training events.
State Policy Review and Advocacy
SchoolHouse Connection’s state policy program supports state-based teams in achieving lasting, state-level policy changes to improve the lives and futures of young people experiencing homelessness.
Tailored Outreach Materials
We can help you produce custom outreach and marketing materials, including infographics, flyers, posters, and social media materials, in English, Spanish, and Haitian Kreyol.
Coming Soon: Online Professional Development Courses
Interested in our consulting services?
“I was able to speak with my supervisor briefly. She loved the part she attended. I talked to her about next steps, and she is committed to finding funds to continue this work. By the time I had got back to the office, I had five calls/emails from participants thanking me and committing to bring other key stakeholders in, as well as higher level staff. Thank you SO much. I am so very happy.”
– Beth Larson-Steckler, Former North Dakota State Coordinator for Homeless Education
Examples of our Work
Strategic Planning with State Educational Agencies
Currently, we are providing ongoing consultation services to multiple states to help them develop strategic initiatives for using ARP-Homeless Children and Youth funds at the state level and to support local educational agencies to make the most impact in their use of funds.
Strategic Planning with the North Carolina Division of Child Development and Early Education
We provide ongoing strategic planning and services to meet long-term goals. For example, we worked with the North Carolina Division of Child Development and Early Education for three years to help increase the number of children experiencing homelessness receiving subsidized child care services.
Webinar Training Sessions with the Head Start Region 1 Training and Technical Assistance
In partnership with Head Start Region 1 Training and Technical Assistance (a regional office of the Administration of Children and Families), SchoolHouse Connection will offer a webinar training session in April 2021 for Head Start program directors, educators, and others about children experiencing homelessness and best practices for identifying and supporting children and families.
Developed a Training Series with the Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI)
Together with the Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), we developed a training series that included videos and Powerpoints intended for those working with students experiencing homelessness. Young people are the experts on their experiences, needs, and strengths. With that in mind, we partnered with young people to develop this series. Topics include:
- Improving Identification for Students Experiencing Homelessness
- Promoting Equity for Students Experiencing Homelessness
- Supporting Attendance for Students Experiencing Homelessness
Created Marketing Materials for the Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth
Led State Policy Advocacy in Various States
We have worked with coalitions in several states to lead state policy advocacy. Our work includes assessing state policy needs, convening stakeholders to reach consensus on priorities, ensuring youth leadership, drafting legislation and supporting documents, leading legislative strategy, providing testimony, and partnering on implementation after laws have passed. For example, our state advocacy work in North Dakota led to the passage of two bills and one administrative policy change in 2021.
“The SchoolHouse Connection team provided short videos for us to use in our annual McKinney-Vento training. The response from participants was overwhelmingly positive, and many stated that the videos, which included real student voices and experiences, were the most impactful part of the training. The work of SHC was impressive, as they were challenged to remotely interview youth and liaisons during the COVID school closures which was no small task. The finished products were professional, informative, and engaging.”
– Melinda Dyer, Program Supervisor, McKinney-Vento Education of Homeless Children and Youth. WA Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction.