Executive Director’s Note
Education is essential. Access to education, from early childhood through post-secondary, gives children and youth the tools to end their homelessness and achieve their dreams.
Grassroots approach. Change must be rooted in the realities of local communities. We listen and learn, then advocate and implement.
Youth leadership. Young people are the experts on their experiences, needs and strengths. We must accept their guidance and follow their lead.
Top Five Accomplishments
As 2017 comes to a close, SchoolHouse Connection’s mission of overcoming homelessness through education has never been so important. New research finds that lack of a high school degree or GED is the top risk factor for youth and young adult homelessness. In fact, youth without a high school degree or GED are 3.5 times more likely to experience homelessness than peers who completed high school. Early care and education are the key to breaking the cycle of poverty and homelessness.
In a tumultuous year, SchoolHouse Connection has remained focused, steady, and strong. We are proud of our many accomplishments, which include:
#1 Leading national and state policy advocacy
Leading national and state policy advocacy for children and youth experiencing homelessness, including three bi-partisan bills in Congress that would remove barriers to housing and education. We also launched a major state policy advocacy program, holding State Advocacy Institutes in Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee with more planned for 2018. With our state partners, we are working on active legislation in several states.
#2 Timely, responsive, and practical help
Timely, responsive, and practical help to early care and education professionals, service providers, and advocates nationwide. Within days of Hurricane Harvey and the DACA decisions, we produced tools to assist communities. We created over 20 new resources to help educators and early childhood providers implement law and policy, including the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) amendments. We conducted in-person trainings in 16 states, lead or participated in 20 webinars, and responded to hundreds of questions about individual children, youth, and families, many of which are archived in the most popular section of our website: “Q&A from Our Inbox.”
#3 Building a wider and stronger base of support
Building a wider and stronger base of support for children and youth experiencing homelessness through new and robust partnerships with diverse organizations, such as Sesame Street Workshop’s Trauma Initiative, Family Promise, the Salvation Army, and America’s Promise Alliance.
#4 Raising awareness and increasing understanding
Raising awareness and increasing understanding of the education and related needs of homeless children and youth through media outreach, including an op ed in Education Week (the paper of record for K-12 education) and our e-newsletter (with nearly 3,000 subscribers). Over 16,000 unique visitors to our website hear directly from youth and practitioners through our “Guest Perspective” blog and receive timely information on policy, practice, and research.
#5 Providing direct support to over 60 young adults
Providing direct support to over 60 young adults through our Youth Leadership and Scholarship Program, including helping 17 students cross the finish line of their college graduation. We also brought 13 young leaders to Washington DC, where they educated policymakers in a Congressional briefing and met with officials at the U.S. Department of Education. Our young leaders were featured in Youth Today, Diverse Issues in Higher Education, and The Chronicle of Higher Education. We will close 2017 by selecting ten new scholarship students, who will receive their award and join our family in 2018.
At the core of who we are and what we do is our large national grassroots network. We listen and learn, then advocate and implement. We are lucky to have robust partnerships with the following organizations!
We create and shape federal policy, both administrative and legislative, that improves the educational outcomes and lives of children and youth experiencing homelessness.
- Protect federal funding for children and youth (primarily McKinney-Vento and Runaway and Homeless Youth Act)
- Change federal policies to increase resources for children and youth (primarily through Homeless Children and Youth Act, advocacy with Domestic Policy Council and HUD)
- Improve homeless youth’s access to career and technical education, higher education, and workforce development opportunities (primarily through Perkins Act, Higher Education Act and advocacy with DOL).
At SchoolHouse Connection, our social media channels are meant to inform, engage, delight, and inspire.
Youth Leadership & Scholarship Program
At SchoolHouse Connection, we believe that young people are the experts on their experiences, needs and strengths. We are also proud to offer a scholarship program. The program provides scholarships to youth who have experienced homelessness to ensure their completion of a post-secondary education program; builds a stable peer and adult support network; and offers young people meaningful opportunities to engage in advocacy.
Scholarships to be Awarded
Gift Cards Given ($)
Number of Scholars
SchoolHouse Connection In The News
Media Coverage/In the News
Tools & Technical Assistance
At SchoolHouse Connection, we provide various tools and technical assistance such as:
- Implementation tools for McKinney-Vento, early care, and higher education
- Webinars featuring expert national, state, and local presenters
- Weekly newsletter with Q&A, guest perspectives, and various resources
McKinney-Vento / ESSA Training
Total states traveled:
Total cities traveled:
Number of airports: 20
Total attendees in training sessions: 1,664
Florida Institute on Homelessness and Supportive Housing
We conduct webinars featuring expert national, state, and local presenters. Some of the topics include:
- Understanding Federal Student Aid Policy and Practice for Unaccompanied Homeless Youth
- Title I and Homelessness: New Requirements and Best Practices on Funds and Data
- Immigrant Students Experiencing Homelessness: Latest Developments and Resources
Check out all of our past webinars here.
Number of webinars
Number of registrants
We provide timely information on federal and state policy, new resources, research, and local and state guest perspectives on innovative practices and programs. Here are some of our newsletters:
- The 2018-19 FAFSA is Out! 5 Things You Need to Know
- Preschool to Prevent Homelessness
- Take Action: Legislation Introduced to Help Homeless & Foster Youth in Higher Education
- New Sesame Street Initiative on Trauma
- SHC News: Back to School Tools; Federal Budget Update; Webinar Series
Check out all of our newsletters here.
Number of newsletters
We gain invaluable insights from actual school liaisons, state coordinators, service providers and others. Here are some of their stories:
- Jordyn Roark, University of North Carolina at Pembroke, BSW candidate
- Lizzy Shoben, SchoolHouse Connection’s Young Leader
- Jonathan Houston, Equal Opportunity Schools, former Tukwila School District, WA liaison
- Dakota Chronis, Student, North Seattle Community College; SchoolHouse Connection Young Leader
Check our all of our guest perspectives here.
By Supporting HEASHFY, You are Telling Me that You See Me, and that You Support My Education.Jordyn Roark