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.

State Laws on High School Graduation for Students Experiencing Homelessness. The Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 (ESSA) places great emphasis on high school graduation for students experiencing homelessness. This document summarizes state laws that complement these federal requirements. Please contact Patricia Julianelle at to share information about other state laws that promote high school graduation for students experiencing homelessness.
  • Pathways to Partnership: Early Childhood Education.
    • Quality early childhood programs can change the trajectory of a child’s health and well-being, and help families experiencing homelessness regain stability. Local educational agency (LEA) McKinney-Vento liaisons and homeless service providers funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) are required by law to connect families experiencing homelessness to early childhood programs. The first in a new SHC series, this guide is designed to help LEA liaisons and homeless service providers develop a basic understanding of, and build partnerships with, five key early childhood programs.
  • Transportation for Students in Foster Care: A Legal and Practical Reference Tool. 
    • Students in foster care move frequently. They move when they are first brought into care, and caseworkers may change children’s placements multiple times over their time in care. However, students in foster care should not have to change schools every time their foster placement is changed. This two-page brief reviews requirements for child welfare agencies and educational agencies; provides considerations for developing foster care transportation procedures; and includes links to sample transportation guidelines and procedures.
  • Immigrant Students: How Schools Can Help (Updated and Translated Brief).
    • Federal rules on immigrant youth and families are changing rapidly. Our regularly updated brief provides basic information about eligibility for education services, and practical suggestions for schools.
  • McKinney-Vento Website Tool.
    • The McKinney-Vento Act as amended by ESSA requires school district liaisons to ensure that public notice of educational rights is disseminated in “locations frequented by parents, guardians, and unaccompanied youth,” in a “manner and form understandable to them.” Today, many families and youth get information from the internet. This makes it important for school district websites to contain information about the McKinney-Vento Act. Is your school district’s website a McKinney-Vento tool? We’ve created a simple guide to help.
  • Supporting Children and Youth Displaced by Disasters.
    • A brief summarizes five key policies and provides quick tips for their implementation.
  • LEA Liaison Self-Assessment Tool.
    • Of all of the amendments to the McKinney-Vento Act made by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the new requirement for local educational agency (LEA) liaisons to be “able to carry out” ten specific duties in the law has the potential to have the greatest impact on children and youth who are experiencing homelessness. We developed a simple tool to help LEAs quickly identify and prioritize areas where greater capacity is needed to carry out the law.
  • Making the Case series. This series will share real students’ situations and walk through making the legal case for providing the
    support the student needs.

  • Preschool to Prevent Homelessness: Research, Rights, and Resources.
    • The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) amended the McKinney-Vento Act in several important ways to increase access to preschool programs. This page contains frequent questions and answers about preschool and homelessness, and links to resources to help implement the new policies.
  • 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.
  • Introduction to ESSA and Homelessness: Powerpoint from ICPH Conference.
    • SchoolHouse Connection teamed up with National Center on Homeless Education (NCHE) for a primer on ESSA and homelessness at the 2018 Beyond Housing conference, hosted by the Institute for Children, Poverty, & Homelessness (ICPH). Check out the PowerPoint from that session, which can be downloaded and used in your own trainings. ICPH has made all of the conference session materials available here.
  • 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).

Partner resource:

  1. 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:
  2. Established in October 2004 and administered by the U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) Office of Safe and Healthy Students (OSHS), the REMS TA Center provides a hub of information, resources, training, and services in the field of school and higher ed emergency operations planning.

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.


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