Under federal law (the McKinney-Vento Act), every local educational agency (LEA) is required to designate a liaison for children and youth experiencing homelessness. LEA homeless liaisons have ten specific duties under the law, one of which is to provide professional development and other support to school personnel. Training school staff is essential in order for children and youth experiencing homelessness to be identified and to receive the education that is their surest path out of homelessness and poverty.
In response to many requests, we are pleased to offer the following resources designed for liaisons to use when training school staff – for example, teachers, bus drivers, and principals. Liaisons from around the country have suggested the training resources on this page. We welcome your suggestions for improving these resources, as well as your ideas for new tools. A complete list of all SchoolHouse Connection resources may be found here.
The National Center for Homeless Education, the technical assistance provider for the U.S. Department of Education, also provides professional development materials and trainings.
McKinney-Vento Train the Trainer
As schools across the country start to reopen their doors, many local educational agency homeless liaisons have asked SchoolHouse Connection for resources for the back-to-school trainings they conduct with school staff, including teachers, counselors, social workers, transportation staff, principals, registrars, and others. In response, we have compiled a comprehensive set of training resources. This webinar will share these resources, along with a quick refresher on the basics of the McKinney-Vento Act, and plenty of time for Q&A in preparation for your own upcoming trainings.
- Basic PowerPoint on the McKinney-Vento Act. This customizable PowerPoint includes two basic scenarios with talking points, a quiz, and youth voice video clip. It can be edited for presentation lengths of 15-45 minutes.
- Longer PowerPoint for more in-depth training, with legal citations. This PowerPoint can be customized for presentations of 1-2 hours.
- Spanish PowerPoint and recording.
- Video clips for particular audiences.
- Two-page summary of the McKinney-Vento Act
- This brief document summarizes the McKinney-Vento Act as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), with links to key implementation resources.
- Two-page summary of Title I, Part A provisions related to homelessness
- ESSA created important requirements and opportunities for serving children and youth experiencing homelessness through Title I Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. This document summarizes these requirements.
Tools for Specific School Staff
- Tips for Teachers & Staff: How to Support Students Experiencing Homelessness
- For many students experiencing homelessness, school is the only place of stability in their lives. 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. Here, we provide information and strategies that teachers and support staff can use to support the educational success of students experiencing homelessness.
- Quick Guide for Counseling Staff Working with Students Experiencing Homelessness
- School counselors provide important support to students experiencing homelessness. The Every Student Succeeds Act recognized this role by adding requirements that counselors advise students experiencing homelessness and improve their readiness for college. This quick guide, written by a school counselor, provides practical tips and strategies for supporting students experiencing homelessness, helping meet their basic needs, and planning for graduation.
- Checklists for School Staff. This guide was created by Washington state’s Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). Pages 11-25 contain checklists that can be copied and adapted, with acknowledgments to OSPI. Checklists are included for the following school staff:
- School counselors and social workers
- Secretaries, registrars, clerks, and administrative assistants
- School nurses and health room assistants
- School principals
- Food services staff
- School support personnel, librarians, school resource officers, paraeducators, and custodial staff
- School bus drivers
- Local Education Agency Liaison Duties Under the McKinney-Vento Act
- The local educational agency liaison coordinates services to ensure that homeless children and youths enroll in school and have the opportunity to succeed academically. This document lists their duties.
- Definition and Signs of Homelessness
- What is the definition of homelessness for schools, and what are some common signs of homelessness? This resource covers both topics.
- Interview Checklists for Supporting School Selection
- These interview checklists are designed to facilitate open conversations about the school that is in a student’s best interest to attend, emphasizing the importance of parents and youth being fully informed and carefully considering the benefits of school stability prior to changing schools. We created two interview templates, one for parents and one for unaccompanied youth.
- Full Participation in Extra-Curricular Activities for Students Experiencing Homelessness
- The ESSA amendments to the McKinney-Vento Act include policies to remove barriers to participation in extra-curricular activities. This brief explains the requirements and provides examples of policies to help implement them.
- One-page summary of access to early learning for children experiencing homelessness, birth to five.
- This one-pager summarizes access to early learning for children experiencing homelessness, including the following topic: preschool under the McKinney-Vento Act, Head Start and Early Head Start, Child Care Subsidies, Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV), and support for young children with developmental delays or disabilities.
- Three Things You Can Do to Help Homeless and Foster Youth Access Financial Aid for College
- Whether you work in K-12, higher education, child welfare, or homeless services, the release of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on October 1 is an important date. This brief provides concrete ways to help youth experiencing homelessness and youth from foster care, as well as practical resources.
- Supporting Children and Youth Displaced by Disasters
- This brief summarizes five key policies and provides quick tips for supporting children and youth displaced by disasters.
- Tools to Identify Students Experiencing Homelessness
- Here are some tools and resources to identify students experiencing homelessness, including webinars, email templates, and briefs.
- Q&A from Our Inbox
- SchoolHouse Connection receives many questions every week from educators, service providers, and the public about the education and care of children and youth experiencing homelessness. We respond to every question we receive, citing applicable law and policy. In addition, you can download and print a complete FAQ document, organized by categories.
- Educating Students Experiencing Homelessness is a comprehensive handbook on the McKinney-Vento Act and strategies for implementing it. This book is available from the American Bar Association.
- Additional resources for professional development.
- This document includes resources for professional development in the field of homelessness and education.