Families in Transition
Sarasota County Schools and the SCC, Schoolhouse Link Program have a long-standing partnership to serve students who are in transition or homeless. The Schoolhouse Link Program is dedicated to meeting the educational needs of students who meet eligibility under the McKinney Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act. The Schoolhouse Link Program works in collaboration with schools to further their understanding of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act guidelines. The program also works closely with all stakeholders to ensure educational stability for students.
- Eliminate barriers that prevent students in transition from access to public education
- Improve daily attendance of students in homeless situations
- Increase proficiency rates on all high stakes assessments
- Increase the graduation rate of students in transition
- Assist with McKinney Vento identification and school enrollment.
- Assist with the development of a student success plan and post-secondary planning.
- Train, collaborate and consult with all school staff about the needs of all students who have been identified under the McKinney-Vento Act.
- Authorize free school meals
- Coordinate transportation to and from "school of origin".
- Provide backpacks, school supplies, and uniforms.
- Provide bus passes or gas cards as alternative methods of transportation while waiting for approval from the district's transportation office. This applies to the transportation request submitted through the Schoolhouse Link Program Office.
- Provide referrals to community agencies.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Schoolhouse Link Program?
Who Operates the Schoolhouse Link Program?
What education rights are guaranteed to homeless children and youth?
Who is considered homeless?
What living situations may qualify for homeless education benefits?
What living situations would not qualify for homeless education benefits?
How do I apply for McKinney-Vento benefits?
Can my child attend the school he or she attended before we lost our housing?
Can Schoolhouse Link find me housing?
Where can I learn more about the McKinney-Vento Act and County resources?
State and Federal Programs and Grants Supervisor
Office of Accountability and Choice
Sarasota County Schools
Office: 941.927.9000 x 34641
Ellen McLaughlin, Program Director
Schoolhouse Link Program
Milli Stepanek, Program Coordinator
Contact for families in North Sarasota County
Erin Romer, South County Family Advocate
Contact for families in South Sarasota County
Karen Mersinger, Youth Education Advocate
Contact for youth who are on their own and without a stable place to stay
Jermor Simmons, REACH Master Case Manager
Contact for youth ages 16-24 who are on their own, without a stable place to stay, and no longer enrolled in school