ESSA: Oct. 1 deadline for McKinney-Vento related parent notices. TransACT adds new documents and adopts “plain language” notices to enhance parent engagement.


The 2016-2017 school year is a transition year between the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act and the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which goes into full effect in 2017-2018. The first implementation deadline was October 1, 2016, and it related to communication regarding students and families experiencing homelessness. To prepare districts for the new laws, TransACT has created new documents, and made a significant change to their existing collection. 

"We really wanted to ensure that when you hand a form to a parent, they can read it, understand it, and be able to advocate for their children. These plain language notices are a way to help educators break the habit of using jargon that can be intimidating to families, and bridge the gap between school and home." 

 Heather Denny, State Coordinator for Homeless Education, Montana Office of Public Instruction, TransACT National Advisory Board member

After feedback from the National Advisory Board regarding the complexity of staying compliant with the law while still maintaining the spirit of authentic parent engagement, TransACT is proud to introduce the addition of “plain language” documents, which work to: 

  • Help parents understand what is happening with their child and how to advocate for their child
  • Support teachers and administrators in understanding the rules and regulations within the McKinney-Vento Act and other education laws

“For many educators, especially for something that everyone is not always familiar with, like McKinney-Vento, it is a relief to be able to look at a plain language form and immediately understand what you are doing. When school or district officials and the parent are on the same page in such a difficult situation, it eliminates the feeling of 'us versus them,' which only impedes everybody’s ability to support the student” 

Heather DennyState Coordinator for Homeless Education, Montana Office of Public Instruction, TransACT National Advisory Board member

All active subscribers to the TransACT Parent Notices™ NCLB/ESEA collection were automatically given access to updated parent notices in plain language on October 1st. Not only were the existing documents updated to comply with the new regulation, three new documents have been added:

  • Notice of Duties of District Liaison for Students that are Homeless
  • Authorization to Request and Release Information
  • Documentation of Independent Student Status for the FAFSA - Unaccompanied Youth that is Homeless

To learn more about the McKinney-Vento plain language forms, or to receive a demo of any of our Parent Notices collections, click here.


A Brief History of Homeless Student Regulation in the United States

1987 – The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act was implemented as a conditional funding act in response to widespread and increasing homelessness in the United States. It is the first and only major federal legislative response to homelessness

2001 – A portion of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act dedicated to children and youth was reauthorized in the No Child Left behind Act, providing definitions of homeless youth and funds for special services.

2016 – The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act was once again reauthorized in the Every Student Succeeds Act, with updates to definitions, LEA/liaison responsibilities and student rights. Required changes were implemented on October 1, 2016.

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Dr. David Holbrook

About The Author

Dr. David Holbrook is a nationally recognized leader in federal programs administration and monitoring with expertise in Title I, Title III, Native American Education, and Federal Programs. Dr. Holbrook has also worked as a consultant with Title III of the US Department of Education and now serves as Executive Director, Federal Compliance and State Relationships with TransAct.