ESSA and Supporting College and Career Readiness and Success for Youth Experiencing Homelessness     

ESSA and Supporting College and Career Readiness and Success for Youth Experiencing Homelessness     
ESSA and Supporting College and Career Readiness and Success for Youth Experiencing Homelessness     


During the 2014-2015 school year, more than 1.26 million homeless students were enrolled in public school, double the amount of students identified as homeless in 2006-2007. Research indicates that homeless students experience greater school mobility, are at higher risk of chronic absenteeism, and are more likely to be held back or drop out compared to their peers. Given the increase in student homelessness over the past decade, it is critical that states and districts provide the necessary educational supports and stability for these youth to complete high school prepared for success in postsecondary education and the workforce.

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requires that all students have access to a well-rounded education that will prepare them for college and career and aims to highlight achievement gaps among vulnerable student groups, including youth experiencing homelessness. ESSA amended the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, federal legislation that has supported homeless youth for the past thirty years. This webinar explored ESSA’s new requirements pertaining to students experiencing homelessness, highlighted promising state and district examples supporting college and career readiness for these youth, shared a young person’s experience with school and related supports, and explored policy and practice recommendations.


Jonathan Houston is currently the McKinney-Vento Liaison for the Tukwila School District. Jonathan has been challenging issues of social injustice and equity since his work at the University of Washington. At the University of Washington, Jonathan majored in Community, Environment, and Planning and worked to support Federal Recognition for the Duwamish Tribe. This allowed him to explore the shared fates that environment have with their community. His current position allows him to seek sustainable solutions to support families experiencing homelessness. He believes that best practices implemented to support our most vulnerable populations can be highlighted as means for social change. Jonathan uses his personal experience facing homelessness as motivation and a catalyst to empower families.

Hannah Johnson is a sophomore college student studying History and Elementary Education. She is a previous NAEHCY scholar and is currently a SchoolHouse Connection Young Adult Leader.





Patricia Julianelle is an attorney and legal consultant for state and local governments and non-profit organizations. She has over 20 years of experience defending children’s and youth’s rights, including advocating for youth in the education, juvenile justice, child welfare, and immigration systems. Patricia is an expert on education law and policy, including the rights of children experiencing homelessness, students with disabilities and undocumented immigrants. She has worked with the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth (NAEHCY), the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty (NLCHP), the National Disabilities Rights Network (NDRN), Washington State’s Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), and the American Bar Association, among other organizations. Her work has been published in academic and practice journals, including the Children’s Legal Rights Journal, Seattle Journal of Social Justice, Journal of Poverty Law & Policy, and Inquiry & Analysis, as well as publications of the American Bar Association, California Research Bureau and U.S. Department of Education. Patricia has taught high school and law school. She graduated from Yale University and received her J.D. summa cum laude from Lewis & Clark Law School.

Patricia A. Popp, Ph.D. is the state coordinator for the education of homeless children and youth in Virginia and a clinical associate professor in the Curriculum and Instruction Department at The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia.  She also serves as a liaison for the Virginia Department of Education to the Virginia Department of Social Services for implementation of the educational stability requirements in the Fostering Connections Act. Prior to joining The College in 1995, Pat was a teacher in Hanover and Henrico County Public Schools in Virginia. Her research interests include children and youth experiencing homelessness and other forms of mobility, students with disabilities, and teacher quality. Among her publications, she has co-authored Students on the Move: Reaching and Teaching Highly Mobile Children and Youth, Reading on the Go, and Effective Teaching and At-Risk/Highly Mobile Students for the National Center for Homeless Education, and West Meets East for ASCD. Pat is a past president of the Virginia Council for Learning Disabilities, past president of the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth (NAEHCY), and past LeTendre chair and member of the committee for the NAEHCY Education Fund.

Jenna Tomasello is a Policy Associate at the American Youth Policy Forum. Her work involves the development of learning events and the dissemination of policy and practice guidance to frame issues, inform policy, and convene conversations that improve education and the lives of vulnerable students and youth. Jenna has a background in philosophy and legal studies, and holds a Master’s degree in Educational Policy from the University of Rochester Warner Graduate School of Education and Human Development.




College and Career Readiness and Success Center Website –

SchoolHouse Connection Website-

SchoolHouse Connection Facebook page –

National Center for Homeless Education (NCHE) –

List of State Coordinators for the Education of Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness –

NCHE State Profiles –

National Network for Youth –

Hidden in Plain Sight: Homeless Students in America’s Public Schools Report –

American Institute for Research (AIR) Website-

AIR National Center on Family Homelessness –

NCHE Research Summary: Homelessness and Education Cross-System Collaboration: Applied Research Summary and Tools –

AYPF ESSA Resource Page –


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The American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF), a nonprofit, nonpartisan professional development organization based in Washington, DC, provides learning opportunities for policy leaders, practitioners, and researchers working on youth and education issues at the national, state, and local levels. AYPF events and publications are made possible by contributions from philanthropic foundations. For a complete list, click here.