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.
Services We Provide
Customized Training and Workshops
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.
State Policy 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.
Speaking engagements, including keynotes and substantive sessions on a wide variety of topics with both seasoned professional and young adult speakers.
Custom Marketing Materials
Producing custom marketing materials including infographics, flyers, posters, and social media materials.
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“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, North Dakota State Coordinator for Homeless Education
Examples of our Work
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
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.
Expert Advice on Book and Articles
SHC staff and young leaders contribute to books and articles, such as:
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.