Wednesday, October 11, 2017
10:15 AM – 11:45 AM Workshop Session I

Rural Poverty: Myths, Realities and What Schools and Community Agencies Need to Know to Work Effectively with Economically Disadvantaged Families
This session will provide an introduction to rural poverty, including information about the special needs and circumstances of rural populations. The hidden nature of rural homelessness will be discussed, as well as specific strategies for schools, agencies and others working with the homeless population in order to meet their needs with limited resources.
Kai Schafft, Penn State University

How to Recognize, Prevent and Resolve Bed Bugs: New Research and Verified Protocols
This interactive session will focus on the identification and behavior of bed bugs and suggest evidence-based protocols for effective management in schools, shelters, homes and other locations. The impact of bed bugs – clinically, psychologically, legally and financially – will be examined. Participants will discuss effective and ineffective control measures that can and are being used.
Dion Lerman, Penn State University

Connecting Children Experiencing Homelessness with Early Childhood Services
Attend this session to identify appropriate early childhood services for young children and their families experiencing homelessness. Examples will be provided of focused collaboration efforts with Head Start programs, other early childhood providers and local early childhood committees to address the needs of young children.
Tracy Duarte, Pennsylvania Head Start State Collaboration Office; Andrea Sheesley, ARIN Intermediate Unit

Shining Stars: School District Homeless Liaisons Who Excel at Meeting Students’ and Families’ Needs
What does it take to perform homeless liaison duties effectively? Participants will learn from colleagues who have identified and implemented creative solutions to the many challenges faced by students experiencing homelessness. These experts have garnered information and resources from the school, community and other agencies to proactively serve the educational needs of these students and comprehensive needs of their families.
Debra DeBlasio, New Castle Area School District; Charles James, Centennial School District; Jean McCleary, Union School District; Jill Platts, Southern York County School District; John Seybert, Farrell Area School District

Wednesday, October 11, 2017
1:00 PM – 2:30 PM Workshop Session II

The Importance of School of Origin Rights – How School Districts Ensure Effective and Efficient Transportation for Students Experiencing Homelessness
Come to this session to learn how school districts are finding innovative solutions to the complicated and often costly transportation barriers faced by students experiencing homelessness. Examples of effective transportation strategies to ensure these students’ regular school attendance in rural, urban and suburban settings will be shared.
Patricia Hawley, Warren County School District; Margaret Schearer, Conrad Weiser School District; Alline Smith, Wilson School District; Kristopher Vancas, Bellefonte Area School District

Doing Your Best: Using the Statewide Evaluation Findings to Improve Services Provided to Students Experiencing Homelessness
Pennsylvania has been evaluating the Education for Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness Program for the past six years and trends are starting to emerge. This session will focus on key evaluation findings and provide opportunities for participants to explore and share their successes in McKinney-Vento implementation, including ways in which local education agencies and community organizations can ensure best practices and innovative collaborations that support positive student outcomes.
Yolanda Yugar, Allegheny Intermediate Unit

Tricks of the Trade: How to Be an Effective Homeless Liaison
The services of the school district homeless liaisons are integral to effective implementation of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, and ensure full attention to the educational needs of students experiencing homelessness. There are tried and true best practices and strategies for these individuals to fulfill this important role. If you are new to this role or just need a refresher, attend this session to learn how you can excel in providing the necessary information, supports and services that this vulnerable student population requires.
Christina Endres, National Center for Homeless Education

Ensuring Educational Stability for Children in Foster Care
Foster care youth are much more likely than their peers to struggle academically and fall behind in school. This workshop will provide a snapshot of how the child welfare system works; the legislation that provides protections for foster care youth enrolled in schools; and how cross-system collaboration between education and child welfare partners can cultivate positive school outcomes for youth
in foster care. Attendees will also be made aware of challenges former foster care youth face, including experiencing homelessness.
Matthew Butensky, Center for Schools and Communities; Rachael Miller, York County Office of Children, Youth and Families

Wednesday, October 11, 2017
2:45 PM – 4:15 PM Workshop Session I

Title I and McKinney-Vento: Making Mandates Meaningful
The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act and Title I both contain mandates that create confusion and confound schools. In this session, these mandates will be examined to dispel misperceptions, after which participants will talk about how to make mandates meaningful for their district or school.
Christina Endres, National Center for Homeless Education

Providing Trauma Informed Care for LGBTQ Adolescents and Young Adults
Studies show how traumatic events affect neurocognitive pathways. Schools and providers can foster resiliency and healing in young adults affected by homelessness and the adjudicated child in the welfare or juvenile justice systems. Participants will explore how trauma impacts a young person’s growth and brain development; the role of resiliency; and learn ways to support adolescents and young adults who have experienced great trauma using positive youth development and narrative therapy modalities. This session will look specifically at the national trends and services geared towards LGBTQ adolescents and young adults.
Kate Gormley, Project Home

How to Improve School Attendance for Students Experiencing Homelessness
Chronic absence – when students miss 10 percent of school for any reason – has emerged as a critical leading indicator that schools and communities should track and address. Following a review of recent national research, the presenter will discuss root causes and impact of chronic absence and examine key strategies schools can employ to assess attendance patterns. Methods to organize resources to meet student and family needs with a specific lens on working with those experiencing homelessness will be explored.
Lukas Weinstein, National Center for Community Schools

Unaccompanied Homeless Youth: The Legal Landscape
Have you ever wondered how to provide appropriate services to unaccompanied homeless youth while navigating the complicated legal issues surrounding this unique student population? This session will cover legal issues youth experiencing homelessness are most likely to face, including juvenile or criminal record expungement; access to public benefits; and family law issues with child welfare, custody, child support and protection from abuse. Information will be shared on how to holistically and sensitively meet the needs of youth experiencing homelessness to increase their access to stability and opportunity in school and in life.
Jamie Gullen, Community Legal Services; Whiquitta Tobar, Community Legal Services

Thursday, October 12, 2017
10:30 AM – 12:00 PM Workshop Session IV

Effective Classroom Strategies to Enhance Academic Learning for Students
This session will provide insights from the presenter’s vast experience as a junior high school teacher, alternative education program director and principal, consultant for Alternative Education Professional Development Services, and assistant superintendent of schools in various public school systems in Maine. The focus will be on standards and student learning through a relationship-based lens. Specific strategies for enhancing academic learning at the classroom level will be described.
Pender Makin, Brunswick School Department

The Pennsylvania Café: Strategies to Improve Your Homeless Education Services
The Pennsylvania Café is an interactive session where participants hold small group conversations through a facilitated process on topics related to compliance with the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, the Every Student Succeeds Act and barriers identified by the attendees. Participants will hear how regional office staff and other homeless liaisons are effectively addressing challenges and meeting the needs of students experiencing homelessness.
Storm Camara, Pennsylvania Department of Education; Kristen Hoffa, Berks County Intermediate Unit; Wendy Kinnear, Midwestern Intermediate Unit

Navigating Higher Education for Unaccompanied Homeless Youth
Youth experiencing homelessness face unique challenges when pursuing higher education options. In this session, participants will learn how to serve as effective advocates for youth during the college admissions process. Components of the financial aid process will be shared, as well as how to assess when a homeless youth determination is required. Participants will learn about innovative ways in which local colleges and universities are serving the needs of these youth, through food pantries and the provision of housing over college breaks.
Tori Nuccio, West Chester University

Enhancing School Climate and Connectedness for All Students
Research indicates that a positive school climate is linked to school connectedness, academic achievement, student engagement, healthy development and teacher retention. When students feel their school is not safe and welcoming, these important factors suffer. Students experiencing homelessness are among those most at risk of falling through the cracks with regard to school connectedness and academic achievement. This session will explore what school climate/student connectedness is, what it looks like and why it matters. Attendees will also explore ways to increase school connectedness for at-risk students, by attending to all students; creating a welcoming, accepting, non-judgmental, non-intrusive environment where bullying is prevented/addressed; and where in-school and community resources are made available to support students who may be experiencing homelessness.
Michelle Nutter, Center for Safe Schools; Leah Galkowski, Center for Safe Schools