As an initiative for Homeless Awareness Month in November 2017, the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE's) Homeless Education Program launched an expanded awareness training, which provides greater access to resources and more supports for children and youth experiencing homelessness in the District of Columbia by establishing an Ally Partner program. Allies will include OSSE staff, LEA and school-based partners that can serve as supports for families and students experiencing homelessness. They will be identified with green and white promotional items that include the program’s signature green-house logo with the DC letters embedded. The logo will be identified on buttons, posters, stickers, and the resource packets distributed to students and families.
In an effort to expand support and awareness for youth and families experiencing homelessness in the District of Columbia, OSSE’s Homeless Education Program has established the Ally Partner Program. Through the program, interested adults in local educational agencies, community based organizations and District of Columbia agencies assisting families and youth experiencing transitions in housing will receive training on how to become a trusted point of contact for students experiencing homelessness. Allies are adults who identify themselves as individuals to whom students can go for help, without worrying about stigma or embarrassment.
This is the fourth year of the program awareness model to recruit other caring adults to serve in this important role. Once allies are trained and certified, you will receive an Ally Partner Program certificate in addition to Ally Partner buttons, posters, stickers, and District of Columbia community resource directory to assist LEAs and their liaisons.
To qualify to serve as an ally, one must:
- Be an OSSE employee, LEA or school-based partner who is passionate about the success of children and youth attending public or charter schools in the District who are experiencing homelessness;
- Be willing to commit to serving as an Ally Partner and uphold student confidentiality and other program standards as set forth by OSSE, from Saturday, Aug. 1, 2020 through Saturday, July 31, 2021 of the 2020-21 school year;
- Be willing to display a sticker/button/poster to identify as an Ally Partner where students and families experiencing homelessness can confide and seek out resources; and
- Submit a completed commitment letter (will be provided by the Ally Partner Program) to OSSE’s Homeless Education Program, signed by your head of school, principal, manager or supervisor, to Tasheen Stallings at [email protected].
- Complete one of the live or self-paced webinars options from National Center for Homeless Education (NCHE);
Please note: completing one of the live webinars will result in receipt of a certificate of attendance. Please submit a copy of your certificate of attendance to Tasheen Stallings at [email protected].
- Attend an in-person or webinar training hosted by OSSE’s Homeless Education Program.
After your commitment letter is received you will receive a calendar invite to attend the training on the scheduled date.
Upon completion of the Ally Partner training and NCHE webinar, you will receive an Ally Partner Program certificate to certify that you have completed the requirements to become recognized as an Ally Partner for the duration of the 2020-21 school year until Saturday, July 31, 2021.
A recognized best strategy for ensuring compliance with the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act is for SEAs and LEAs to create opportunities for liaisons to receive training focused on homelessness awareness, in order to collaborate with school personnel responsible for the provision of education to youth in homeless situations. Participation in this initiative will help LEAs and their liaisons ensure compliance with the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act requirements.
For more information or questions, please contact Tasheen Stallings, ally partner program coordinator, at [email protected].