PreK – 12

Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools liaison and student

Education is a critical strategy both for addressing child and youth homelessness and for preventing it from re-occurring in the future. In today’s economy, completing high school is a bare minimum for obtaining a job that pays enough to afford safe, stable housing. High school graduation is also linked to many other important indicators of health and well-being.

We’ve carefully compiled resources on federal preK-12 law and policy, including tools, innovative practices, and the latest research. Stay in touch with us to learn about new resources as we produce and collect them.


The federal McKinney-Vento Act requires states and school districts to remove barriers to the identification, enrollment, stability, and success of children and youth experiencing homelessness. On October 1, 2016, amendments to the McKinney-Vento Act made by the “Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015” went into effect. These amendments elevate best practices to legal requirements for all school districts and states.



  • ESSA PowerPoint template. All are welcome to download, edit and use this template, which includes the latest guidance from the U.S. Department of Education, new research, a pop quiz, an interactive exercise, sound clips from youth, and new resources.
  • Preschool flow chart. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) amended the McKinney-Vento Act to include preschools specifically within the definition of “school of origin. To determine whether a particular early childhood education program is a “preschool” under ESSA, a helpful reference is the definition ED uses for McKinney-Vento data collection.  This flow chart provides a guide to that definition.
  • Guidelines for Designating LEA-Level and Building-Level McKinney-Vento Liaisons. Designating school building-level McKinney-Vento contacts can be a highly effective best practice for identifying children and youth who are experiencing homelessness, and ensuring full implementation of the McKinney-Vento Act. However, sometimes roles can become muddled. These guidelines were created in response to a request from a State McKinney-Vento Coordinator who confronted challenges clarifying lines of authority and responsibility in school districts that designate school building-level McKinney-Vento contacts (in addition to the required designation of the school district McKinney-Vento liaison). The guidelines are designed to share the relevant laws. and provide a procedure to help maintain clear roles and responsibilities.
  • Full Participation in Extra-Curricular Activities for Students Experiencing Homelessness. Research shows the importance of participation in activity programs in increasing high school graduation and later success in life, particularly for disadvantaged students. Yet homelessness creates significant barriers to participation in athletics and other extra-curricular activities. The ESSA amendments to the McKinney-Vento Act include new policies to remove barriers to participation in extra-curricular activities. This brief, the first in SHC’s “Getting to Graduation” series, explains the new requirements and provides examples of policies to help implement them. In addition, this editable template for school districts (Microsoft Word download) can be used to provide athletic directors and associations with determinations of a youth’s homeless status (or foster care status).

The National Center for Homeless Education is the U.S. Department of Education’s technical assistance center.  Below are some quick links to essential pages:

We receive many preK-12 questions from educators, service providers, and advocates. We’ll be highlighting questions and our answers on our From Our In-Box page.

We also authored many comprehensive ESSA tools for NAEHCY. You can find those tools, including materials to assist with training and implementation, here.


Hidden in Plain Sight: Homeless Students in America’s Schools. This ground-breaking report, authored by Civic Enterprises and released by America’s Promise, is based on surveys of youth who have experienced homelessness, McKinney-Vento school district liaisons, and McKinney-Vento state coordinators. The website includes an excellent digital media toolkit with infographics that can be used in social media and other awareness-raising efforts.

Institute for Children, Poverty, and Homelessness. ICPH has produced many important analyses and reports on children and youth experiencing homelessness, including state-specific reports.

NCHE’s Federal Data Summaries. NCHE produces federal data summaries on preK-12 children and youth experiencing homelessness, from SY2006 to SY2014.



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