As an initiative for Homeless Awareness Month in November 2017, the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE's) Homeless Education Program (HEP) expanded awareness and support for youth experiencing homelessness in the District of Columbia by establishing the Ally Partner Program. Ally Partners are school-based employees who identify themselves as individuals to whom students experiencing homelessness can go to for help, without worrying about stigma or embarrassment. Ally Partners will collaborate with LEA and school-based homeless liaisons to ensure that McKinney-Vento guidelines are adhered to and protect the privacy of the student’s residency status.
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 homeless liaisons.
To qualify to serve as an Ally Partner, one must:
- Be an OSSE employee, an LEA/school based employee or community partner in the District who is passionate about the success of children and youth experiencing homelessness;
- Be willing to commit to serving for the 2020-21 school year (ending July 31, 2021);
- Be willing to have your name and contact info available for public reference on OSSE’s Homeless Education Program webpage under Ally Partners for the 2020-21 school year;
- Be willing to display sticker/signs/posters to identify as an Ally Partner where students experiencing homelessness can confide and seek out resources; and
- Request a commitment letter from OSSE’s Homeless Education Program to be completed and returned via email to Tasheen Stallings at [email protected].
- Complete two trainings to become certified:
- Attend OSSE Homeless Education Program’s Ally Partner Training on one of the following dates. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar:
- Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021, 10-11 a.m. Register
- Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Register
- Tuesday, March 16, 2021, 10-11 a.m. Register
- Thursday, April 8, 2021, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Register
- Complete one of the National Center for Homeless Education (NCHE) Live or Self-paced webinars.
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].
After completing the OSSE Ally Partner Training and NCHE webinar, you will receive an Ally Partner Program Certificate from OSSE’s Homeless Education Program to certify that you have completed the requirements to be recognized as an Ally Partner for 2020-21 school year.
For any additional questions, please contact Tasheen Stallings at [email protected].