Education of Homeless Children and Youth Self-Assessment Guide

Posted: Fri, 09/30/2011 - 9:58am Updated: Fri, 02/22/2013 - 2:49pm

Campus Self-Assessment Guide for the Education of Students in Homeless Situations

This document has been adapted from the 1990 version of the Texas Campus Self-Assessment Guide developed by Dr. Joseph F. Johnson, Jr., for the Texas Education Agency. References to the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act have been updated to reflect changes to the Act passed in 1994. States or districts may wish to enhance this document with information pertinentto their own state or district.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  • Statement Of Philosophy, Instructions For Completing The Self-Assessment Guide
  • CHAPTER I: Enrollment/Identification
  • CHAPTER II: Awareness/Training
  • CHAPTER III: Delivery Of Services
  • CHAPTER IV: Interagency Coordination

Statement Of Philosophy

Homelessness continues to be a crisis in America. It is estimated that there may be millions of individuals experiencing homelessness in America. According to a 1994 report by the United States Conference of Mayors, families with children are among the fastest growing subgroups of the homeless population. These children have many needs, including shelter, health care, food, and clothing. In many cases, education may seem to be a secondary need. Yet, without education, the chances that children experiencing homelessness will eventually become adults experiencing homelessness may be significantly increased.This guide was developed with the philosophy that schools can make a difference. Schools can provide a stabilizing environment, a haven from the chaos of homelessness; but also, schools can provide the quality of educational experience to empower students in homeless situations to break the cycles of poverty,dependency, and homelessness. Schools can provide a critical link between the community andd children without homes and their families. If we truly believe that "all children can learn," then we must recognize that children and youth in homeless situations are indeed educable and very capable of positively contributing to the betterment of our society.

This guide attempts to help schools answer the questions, "What can we do to help children and youth in homeless situations? How can we help children and youth without homes learn?"

Most of the issues discussed in the guide are not compliance issues. Where the McKinney Act requires action, the law is cited and the question is listed in bold print. Many of the questions listed in the guide do not currently have a basis in law or regulation. Rather, issues have been identified that are likely to impact the quality of education received by children and youth in homeless situations.

The guide is divided into four chapters. The first chapter focuses on issues related to enrolling children and youth without homes and identifying their presence in schools. The second chapter focuses on the training of school personnel about issues related to homelessness and the needs of children and youth experiencing homelessness. The third chapter focuses on the delivery of services to students in homeless situations. Finally, the fourth chapter addresses issues of interagency coordination.

Each chapter consists of questions that serve as indicators of the extent to which a school is addressing the needs of students in homeless situations. Affirmative answers to the questions listed in the guide should highlight areas in which the school demonstrates the concern, commitment, and creativity necessary to help ensure that children and youth in homeless situations enroll in school, attend classes, and achieve success. In situations where a school cannot answer affirmatively, the question may suggest an area in which the school can establish goals and seek to improve the quality of its services.

With this guide, a school can identify and acknowledge the ways in which it is addressing the needs of students in homeless situations. Simultaneously, the guide enables the school to identify those areas in which improvement is possible.

Many educators have expressed concern about how they might better respond to the needs of children and youth in their schools who are experiencing homelessness. This guide offers a process for transforming such concern into positive action.

CHAPTER I: Enrollment/Identification

GOAL: Through deliberate outreach efforts, the school enrolls all children and youth in homeless situations. In a manner which respects confidentiality, students without homes are identified to ensure that their needs are met.

A. Objective: The school actively seeks to enroll children and youth experiencing homelessness.

Y, N, N/A

  1. Does the school provide written information on student enrollment policies and procedures, including actual enrollment forms, in English, Spanish, or other appropriate languages?
  2. Is information on student enrollment policies and procedures (including actual enrollment forms) available to parents in places other than the school district central office, including:
    1. school building offices?
    2. shelters?
    3. day care centers?
    4. churches, food banks, other community agencies?
    5. state-level social services offices?
  3. Does the school provide information on student enrollment policies and procedures through any of the following:
    1. enrollment hotlines?
    2. training for shelter personnel about enrollment processes?
    3. radio or television public service announcements?
  4. Does the school provide advertisements of programs for students in at-risk situations or alternative education programs in shelters to entice youth in homeless situations to enroll or re-enroll in school?
  5. Do school personnel encourage shelter providers to require school attendance for their clients who are eligible for public school services?
  6. Do school personnel visit the shelter on a regular basis to encourage parents and students to enroll in school and attend regularly?
  7. Do school personnel document any situations in which a child cannot be immediately enrolled?
  8. In situations in which a child cannot be immediately enrolled, do school personnel follow-up with the family or with the child to ensure that efforts are being made to facilitate prompt enrollment?

 

B. Objective: All schools have provisions that help ensure immediate enrollment. Therefore, a parent should not have to make more than one school visit to enroll a child.

Y, N, N/A

  1. If the child has appropriate documentation of immunizations, do school enrollment procedures allow students to be enrolled without other school records or identification?
  2. Does the school enroll students in homeless situations who do not have documentation of immunizations, providing a grace period for students to acquire immunizations or documentation of immunizations?
  3. Does the school assist children and youth in homeless situations in acquiring needed immunizations?
  4. Does the school enroll students who have been immunized, but who have not completed a tuberculosis screening?
  5. In cases where a previous school district violates the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act by withholding student records, does the receiving school immediately enroll the student?
  6. If the school requires proof of residency through such documents as lease agreements, utility receipts, or similar documents, are such requirements waived for students experiencing homelessness? [McKinney Homeless Assistance Act §721(2)]
  7. When students in homeless situations have not officially withdrawn from their previous school, are they allowed to enroll immediately?
  8. When a student experiencing homelessness owes money to a previous school for lost textbooks, library fines, lab fees, breakage fees, lunch loans, picture money, or other fees or costs, does the receiving school allow the child to enroll immediately?
  9. Are students experiencing homelessness immediately enrolled in free and appropriate educational programs, regardless of the time during the school year when the student seeks enrollment? [McKinney Homeless Assistance Act §721(l)]
  10. Does the school enroll students in homeless situations whose residence cannot be verified? [McKinney Homeless Assistance Act §721(l)]

 

C. Objective: Children or youth in homeless situations who are not living with their parents or legal guardians have prompt access to school enrollment.

Y, N, N/A

  1. When children and youth in homeless situations are living with friends or relatives, are they allowed to enroll in school without delays or conditions related to legal guardianship? [McKinney Homeless Assistance Act §722(g)(3)(D)]
  2. When runaway youth are living in youth shelters, are they allowed to enroll in school without the approval of their parents? [McKinney Homeless Assistance Act §722(g)(3)(D)]
  3. When youth without homes who are living on their own seek to enroll in school, are they allowed to enroll in school after appropriate referrals have been made to child protective services agencies? [McKinney Homeless Assistance Act §722(g)(3)(D)]
  4. Are students in homeless situations who are not living with their parents or legal guardians allowed to enroll and attend school without any special conditions such as adherence to a standard of behavior or a standard of academic performance more rigid than that required for other students? [McKinney Homeless Assistance Act §722(g)(4)]

 

D. Objective: Children and youth in homeless situations are enrolled in the school that is most likely to respond to the educational needs of the student.

Y, N, N/A

  1. Is each child or youth without a home allowed to enroll in and attend the school where the student's shelter or temporary residence is located, if it is in the student's best interest to do so? [McKinney Homeless Assistance Act §722(g)(3)(ii)]
  2. For the remainder of the academic year, is each child or youth experiencing homelessness allowed to maintain enrollment in and attend either the school the student attended when permanently housed or the school in which the child was last enrolled, if it is in the student's best interest to do so? [McKinney Homeless Assistance Act §722(g)(3)(i)(1)]
  3. For the following school year, is each child or youth who becomes homeless during the summer allowed to maintain enrollment in and attend either the school the student attended when permanently housed or the school in which the child was last enrolled, if it is in the student's best interest to do so? [McKinney Homeless Assistance Act §722(g)(3)(i)(11)]
  4. In determining the best interests of a student without a home for purposes of making a school assignment, is consideration given to a request made by a parent? [McKinney Homeless Assistance Act §722(g)(3)(B)]

 

E. Objective: Children and youth in homeless situations are enrolled in a manner that does not draw attention to their living arrangements.

Y, N, N/A

  1. Do registrars, secretaries, and other staff persons involved in the enrollment process treat students and their families who are experiencing homelessness in a respectful manner that minimizes embarrassment or frustration?
  2. Are provisions made to enable parents in homeless situations to complete the enrollment process in a settinc, that is confidential, such as a private office?
  3. Are provisions made to allow parents in homeless situations to complete required enrollment documents at local shelters or other social service agencies?

 

F. Objective: So that student needs can be met, appropriate school personnel know which children and youth are experiencing homelessness.

Y, N, N/A

  1. Does the school have a procedure for making professional staff aware of the livino arrangements of children and youth experiencing homelessness?
  2. Do teachers, administrators, and appropriate professional support staff (i.e., counselors, at-risk coordinators, visiting teachers, and others) know which students in their school:
    1. sleep in shelters for homeless people(including domestic violence shelters and shelters for runaway youth)?
    2. sleep in the homes of friends or relatives because the child or youth lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate residence?
    3. sleep in shelters awaiting institutionalization, adoption, foster care, or other placement?
    4. sleep in a car, a tent, an abandoned building, or other place not ordinarily used as a sleeping accommodation for human beings?

 

G. Objective: Care is taken to ensure that student confidentiality is respected and that students are not subjected to embarrassment, harassment, or danger because they are in homeless situations.

Y, N, N/A

  1. Are the school records of students in homeless situations (including cumulative records, attendance records, disciplinary records, immunization records, guardianship records, evaluations for special services, birth certificates, and other records and reports) kept so that inappropriate disclosure of the students' living status is prevented? [McKinney Homeless Assistance Act §722(g)(5)(B)l
  2. When records of children who are living in domestic violence shelters are requested by a parent who is suspected of being abusive, does the school provide the records after a 72-hour delay?
  3. When records of children who are living in domestic violence shelters are requested by a parent who is suspected of being abusive, does the school provide the records after notifying the domestic violence shelter of the request?

CHAPTER II: Awareness/Training

GOAL: Training programs help school personnel become aware of and sensitive to the needs of children and youth in homeless situations.

A. Objective: School personnel are aware of local facilities that serve children and youth in homeless situations and the extent to which children and youth in the school's community experience homelessness.

Y, N, N/A

  1. Are school personnel aware of the shelters in their community or attendance zone, including:
    1. domestic violence shelters?
    2. runaway youth shelters?
    3. child protective services shelters?
    4. emergency shelters associated with residential facilities?
    5. rescue missions and other emergency shelters?
  2. Are school personnel aware of other places in their community or attendance zone where people in homeless situations might be living, including:
    1. campgrounds?
    2. motels/hotels?
    3. abandoned buildings?
    4. other areas where individuals without homes may live?
  3. Are school personnel aware of the agencies within their community that might provide services (other than shelter) to children and youth in homeless situations, including:
    1. community action agencies?
    2. job training programs?
    3. food banks?
    4. church/civic organizations?
    5. counseling providers?
    6. community recreation programs?
    7. day care providers?
    8. community support groups?
    9. other service providers?
  4. Have school personnel visited shelters or other agencies within their community that provide services to children and youth in homeless situations?

 

B. Objective: School personnel have received training on the causes of homelessness, the needs of children and youth experiencing homelessness, and the ways in which public schools can better respond to those needs.

Y, N, N/A

  1. Does the school district have a policy that requires on- going training on the special issues and needs of children and youth without homes for all professional and classified staff who interact with these children and youth including (but not limited to):
    1. teachers, aides, student teachers, tutors, and other instructional personnel?
    2. principals and other administrative personnel?
    3. counselors, nurses, librarians, diagnosticians, social workers, therapists, and other professional support personnel?
    4. cafeteria workers, bus drivers, custodians, secretaries, clerks, crossing guards, and other classified staff?
  2. Does the school district have a written policy or procedure that identifies the person(s) responsible for ensuring that all school personnel have staff development oriented towards the needs of children and youth in homeless situations?
  3. Have all school board members and school personnel, including all professional and classified staff who interact with children, been provided with staff development (minimum 2 hours) that includes:
    1. definition of homelessness?
    2. causes of homelessness?
    3. barriers to enrollment confronting children and youth experiencing homelessness?
    4. barriers to school success confronting children and youth experiencing homelessness?
    5. requirements of the Stewart B. McKinney Act related to children and youth without homes?
    6. strategies through which schools can help students in homeless situations achieve success?
    7. emotional impact of inappropriate or thoughtless comments or actions which focus on the child's homelessness as a way of singling out, ignoring, teasing, or disciplining a child?
    8. potentially life-threatening consequences of revealing information about children from battered families?
    9. community resources and services available to students without homes?
    10. strategies for helping parents and students become aware of and sensitive to issues confronting students experiencing homelessness?
  4. Do school personnel have access to materials (brochures, articles, books, curriculum materials, video presentations, etc.) that can assist personnel, parents, or students in understanding the causes of homelessness, the needs of children and youth experiencing homelessness, and the ways in which public schools can better respond to those needs?
  5. Do school personnel (particularly campus administrators, professional support personnel, and teachers) utilize available materials in assisting other personnel, parents, and students in understanding the causes of homelessness, the needs of children and youth experiencing homelessness, and the ways in which public schools can better respond to those needs?
  6. Once school personnel have received training, are efforts made to reduce staff turnover and maintain trained personnel in schools serving shelter populations?

CHAPTER III: Delivery Of Services

GOAL: All children and youth in homeless situations receive needed services and programs in a manner that reflects a sensitivity to their individual needs.

A. Objective: School personnel demonstrate an awareness of and sensitivity to the needs of children and youth experiencing homelessness. Also, school personnel help students develop an awareness of and sensitivity to the needs of children and youth in homeless situations.

Y, N, N/A

  1. Do all school personnel (specifically including, but not limited to, teachers, counselors, administrators, secretarial clerical staff, custodians, cafeteria/food service staff, bus drivers, crossing guards, social workers/visiting teachers, diagnosticians, psychologists, nurses, librarians, aides, volunteers, student teachers, itinerant staff, and central office personnel) demonstrate sensitivity to the emotional/psychological needs of children and youth experiencing homelessness without using home status to single out, tease, ignore, or discipline?
  2. Do all school personnel serve as role models, demonstrating for students appropriate methods for interacting with children and youth in homeless situations?
  3. Are there special programs to sensitize the school population to both the common and the special needs of others, including the needs of children and youth without homes?
  4. Does the school utilize a "mentor system," providing an adult with whom the student experiencing homelessness can regularly talk?
  5. Does the school utilize a "buddy system" for all new students (including students without homes) to help students.

 

B. Objective: Students in homeless situations have access to appropriate general education programs that are designed to help them experience school success.

Y, N, N/A

  1. In classes, are children in homeless situations given equal opportunity to participate in all classroom activities? [McKinney Homeless Assistance Act §722(g)(4)]
  2. Are students experiencing homelessness placed in classrooms that include students who reside in a variety of living arrangements?
  3. Are instructional groupings and seating arrangements made in such a way that students without homes are not segregated from their peers based solely on their residential status?
  4. Are provisions made to ensure that there are accessible tutorial services, adequate to meet the needs of students in homeless situations?
  5. Are provisions made to ensure that students in homeless situations have access to assistance with homework, including either after-school tutoring, in-shelter tutoring, homework hotlines, or other strategies?
  6. Are the living arrangements of students experiencing homelessness taken into consideration when homework assignments are given?
  7. Are provisions made to ensure that students experiencing homelessness have access to needed school supplies immediately upon school enrollment?
  8. When school supplies are provided to students in homeless situations, are they provided in a confidential manner that does not draw attention to the students?
  9. When students without homes have not attended school for several days during the semester, are they given reasonable opportunities to gain credit?
  10. Are provisions made to ensure that pupil-teacher ratios are low enough for teachers to promptly assess and meet the needs of students in homeless situations?
  11. Do teachers demonstrate academic and behavioral expectations for students in homeless situations that are generally equal to the expectations held for other students?
  12. Do teachers utilize behavior management strategies that reinforce the appropriate behavior of students in homeless situations?

 

C. Objective: Students in homeless situations have access to case management services that help them benefit from education.

Y, N, N/A

  1. Does each student who is experiencing homelessness have the services of an appropriately trained staff person who serves as case manager, ensuring that the student has access to all needed services?
  2. Does the case manager regularly communicate with school shelter personnel who have direct contact with the student who is experiencing homelessness?
  3. Does the case manager regularly communicate with other service providers who may assist in addressing needs that impact upon the student's educational success?
  4. In situations in which needed services are not provided by regularly assigned school personnel, does the case management system ensure that the needs of homeless students without homes are communicated to itinerant district personnel who provide prompt services?
  5. Does the case manager regularly follow up on the provision of services to ensure that the needs of students in homeless situations are being appropriately addressed?
  6. Are case management services provided in a confidential manner that does not draw attention to the students receiving the assistance?

 

D. Objective: Children and youth in homeless situations have access to free/reduced meal programs.

Y, N, N/A

  1. Are children in homeless situations evaluated immediately upon enrollment to determine eligibility for free/reduced meal programs? [McKinney Homeless Assistance Act §722(g)(4)(E)l
  2. Are children experiencing homelessness who qualify able to free/reduced breakfast and lunch programs? [McKinney Homeless Assistance Act §722(g)(1)(C)l
  3. Are children without homes provided food services in a manner that does not bring undue attention to their living arrangements?
  4. When eligibility cannot be immediately verified, are provisions made to ensure that students in homeless situations have access to school meal programs?
  5. Does the school participate in the federal summer meal program, allowing students in homeless situations access to free meals year-round?

 

E. Objective: Children and youth in homeless situations have access to transportation services that help them benefit from education.

Y, N, N/A

  1. Are children in homeless situations provided transportation services that are at least comparable to transportation services provided to other students? [McKinney Homeless Assistance Act §722(g)(4)(A)]
  2. Are children and youth without homes evaluated immediately upon enrollment to determine eligibility for transportation services?
  3. Do transportation services begin immediately once eligibility is determined?
  4. In situations where walking to and from school is dangerous or unrealistic (even when the student lives within areas ineligible for school transportation) does the district provide transportation?
  5. Are efforts made to minimize embarrassment or stress felt by students in homeless situations by planning bus routes and bus stops in a way that does not draw attention to children's living arrangements?
  6. In situations where students in homeless situations attend a day care center (apart from the shelter in which they reside) before school, is transportation provided to school from the day care center?
  7. In situations in which homeless students attend a day care center (apart from the shelter in which they reside) after school, is transportation provided from school to the day care center?
  8. When it is in the student's best interest to attend the school he/she attended prior to becoming homeless, and the student's shelter or other living arrangement is in a different school attendance zone, are arrangements made to provide transportation for the student to and from school?

 

F. Objective: Students in homeless situations have access to health services that help them benefit from education.

Y, N, N/A

  1. Are health services provided to students without homes at least comparable to health services provided to other students in the school district? [McKinney Homeless Assistance Act §722(e)(5)]
  2. Are provisions made to ensure that students experiencing homelessness who have not been immunized receive required immunizations immediately upon school enrollment?
  3. Are provisions made to ensure that the health needs of students in homelessness are assessed by qualified school health personnel immediately upon school enrollment?
  4. Are provisions made to ensure the adequate availability of school health personnel on campuses serving students experiencing homelessness?
  5. Are provisions made to ensure that students in homeless situations have appropriate information about health concerns related to their individual needs?
  6. Are provisions made to ensure that students experiencing homelessness have access to dental, vision, and hearing services when such services may better enable the student to benefit from education?
  7. Are provisions made to ensure that students in homeless situations have access to medical services when such services may better enable the student to benefit from education?
  8. Are provisions made to provide students in homeless situations with appropriate school clothing and school shoes when they lack appropriate apparel?
  9. When school clothes or school shoes are provided, are they provided in a confidential manner that does not draw attention to the student receiving the items?
  10. When students without homes have basic hygiene needs that are not being met, are there provisions for addressing those needs in a way that does not draw attention to the students receiving the assistance?
  11. Are the health needs of students in homeless situations discussed with homeless parents, shelter personnel, and public health personnel to ensure collaborative responses to health needs?
  12. Are parents experiencing homelessness provided with information about strategies for preventing health problems to which their children might have greater vulnerability because of homelessness?

 

G. Objective: Students in homeless situations have access to counseling services that help them benefit from education.

Y, N, N/A

  1. Are counseling services provided to students in homeless situations that are at least comparable to counseling services provided to other students in the school district? [McKinney Homeless Assistance Act §722(g)(4)]
  2. Are provisions made to ensure that the counseling needs of students experiencing homelessness are promptly and adequately assessed upon school enrollment?
  3. Are provisions made to ensure that there are adequate counseling services available to meet the needs of children and youth without homes?
  4. In allocating counseling/social work personnel, has the district given adequate consideration to the needs of school campuses that serve large numbers of students without homes?
  5. Are support groups formed that help students in homeless situations better manage the stresses in their personal/ family lives so that they might be more likely to achieve success in school?
  6. Are provisions made to ensure that students experiencing homelessness have access to individual counseling sessions with appropriately trained personnel, when necessary?
  7. Are counseling services provided in a confidential manner that does not draw attention to the students receiving the assistance?

 

H. Objective: Students in homeless situations who have emerging English proficiency have prompt access to appropriate services.

Y, N, N/A

  1. When the primary home language is not English,are children in homeless situations promptly assessed to determine their level of English proficiency? [McKinney Homeless Assistance Act §722(g)(4)(B)]
  2. If students in homeless situations are eligible for services provided to students with emerging English proficiency, students, are such servicespromptly made available? [McKinney HomelessAssistance Act §722(g)(4)(B)l
  3. In being-assessed, identified, and served as a student with emerging English proficiency, are students without homes provided all of the rights and privileges required by federal, state, and local laws, rules, and policies? [McKinney Homeless Assistance Act §722(g)(4)(B)l

 

I. Objective: Students in homeless situations who need special education have prompt access to appropriate services.

Y, N, N/A

  1. If students in homeless situations exhibit characteristics of exceptional children, do school personnel promptly make referral for special education evaluation? [McKinney Homeless Assistance Act §722(g)(4)(D)l
  2. When referrals for special education evaluation are made, are special considerations made to ensure that evaluation occurs prior to the student moving away from the district?
  3. When special education evaluations are conducted, are special considerations made to ensure that necessary meetings are convened immediately, so that placement decisions can be made prior to the student moving away from the district?
  4. In all special education processes, from referral through placement, are students experiencing homelessness provided all of the rights and privileges required by federal, state, and local laws, rules, and policies? [McKinney Homeless Assistance Act §722(g)(4)(B)]
  5. When students in homeless situations indicate that they participated in special education programs in a previous school, are there provisions for placing the students immediately in a comparable program until further evaluation or verification can take place? [McKinney Homeless Assistance Act §722(g)(4)(B)]
  6. Does the school district make adequate outreach efforts to inform parents experiencing homelessness and shelter personnel about programs for disabled infants and young children?
  7. Does the school district provide training for local shelter personnel concerning referral procedures for children who may have handicapping conditions (including infants, toddlers, and other children who may not be in school); or does the district provide some other system for assuring that handicapped children without homes are screened and evaluated? [Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act]
  8. When infants and toddlers experiencing homelessness are identified through screening procedures as possibly needing special education evaluation, is evaluation promptly provided in accordance with all rights granted by federal, state, and local laws and policies? [McKinney Homeless Assistance Act §722(g)(4)(B)]
  9. When infants and toddlers experiencing homelessness are determined to be eligible for special education early childhood services, are such services promptly provided? [McKinney Homeless Assistance Act §722(g)(4)(B)l

 

J. Objective: Students in homeless situations who are intellectually/ academically gifted or talented have prompt access to appropriate services.

Y, N, N/A

  1. If students in homeless situations exhibit characteristics of gifted students, do school personnel promptly make referral for gifted program evaluation? [McKinney Homeless Assistance Act §722(g)(4)(D)]
  2. When referrals for gifted program evaluation are made, are special considerations made to ensure that evaluation occurs prior to the student moving away from the district?
  3. When students in homeless situations meet the criteria for placement in gifted programs, is appropriate placement made promptly? [McKinney Homeless Assistance Act §722(g)(4)(D)l
  4. In all evaluation processes for gifted program placement, are students experiencing homelessness provided all of the rights and privileges required by federal, state, and local laws, rules, and policies? [McKinney Homeless Assistance Act 722(g)(4)(D)l
  5. When students without homes enroll who indicate that they participated in gifted programs in a previous school, are there provisions for immediate placement in a comparable program until further evaluation or verification can take place?
  6. In the evaluation process for gifted program placement, are evaluation strategies used that do not disadvantage children who have had few middle-class experiences?

 

K. Objective: Students in homeless situations who need work-study programs have prompt access to appropriate services.

Y, N, N/A

  1. Upon school enrollment, are students in homeless situations provided information about work-study programs for which they might be eligible?
  2. Does the school make adequate outreach efforts to inform students without homes who may have dropped out or who may be reluctant to enroll about work-study programs?
  3. If a student experiencing homelessness expresses interest in participating in a work-study program, is eligibility assessed promptly and on the same basis as used for other students? [McKinney Homeless Assistance Act §722(g)(4)]
  4. If a student without a home is eligible for participation in a work-study program, is access provided, even when the student enrolls in mid- year [McKinney Homeless Assistance Act §722(g)(4)]

 

L. Objective: Students in homeless situations who qualify for and wish to participate in vocational programs have prompt access to appropriate programs.

Y, N, N/A

  1. Are students experiencing homelessness provided information about vocational programs for which they might be eligible upon school enrollment?
  2. Does the school make adequate vocational program outreach efforts to inform youth in homeless situations who have dropped out or who may be reluctant to enroll?
  3. If a student experiencing homelessness expresses interest in participating in a vocational education program, is eligibility assessed promptly and on the same basis as used for other students? [McKinney Homeless Assistance Act §722(g)(4)(C)]
  4. If a student experiencing homelessness is eligible for participation in a vocational program, is access provided, even when the student enrolls in mid- year? [McKinney Homeless Assistance Act 722(g)(4)(C)]

 

M. Objective: By recognizing that schools are at risk of failing to assure the school success of students in homeless situations, the school success of students experiencing homelessness is deliberately planned.

Y, N, N/A

  1. Does the school identify students in homeless situations as at risk of dropping out of school?
  2. Has the school conducted an assessment of the needs of each student experiencing homelessness?
  3. Has the school identified academic options, services, alternative programs, and other strategies to be utilized in response to the needs of each student experiencing homelessness?
  4. Has the school notified the parents or care givers of each student experiencing homelessness about the services or strategies to be utilized in response to the needs of the student?
  5. Does the school provide ongoing evaluation of the academic progress of each child experiencing homelessness, including the monitoring of progress towards promotion or high school graduation and the monitoring of intervention activities provided to ensure that student needs are addressed?
  6. Does the school make adequate outreach efforts to inform students in homeless situations, who may have dropped out or who may be reluctant to enroll, about at-risk or alternative education programs?
  7. If a student in a homeless situation expresses interest in participating in at-risk or alternative education programs, is eligibility for such programs assessed promptly using the same criteria used for other students? [McKinney Homeless Assistance Act §722(g)(4)]
  8. If a student in a homeless situation is eligible for participation in an alternative education program, is access to the program provided, even when the student enrolls in mid-year or for a short period of time?
  9. Are alternative education programs staffed with well-trained, well-qualified professional and paraprofessional staff members?
  10. At minimum, does the school's at-risk coordinator provide the same services to students in homeless situations as are provided to other students in at-risk situations? [McKinney Homeless Assistance Act §722(g)(4)]
  11. Does the at-risk coordinator provide services to students without homes in a confidential manner that does not attention to those receiving the services?
  12. If the school provides special services for pregnant teenagers and teenage parents, are these services accessible and available to eligible students in homeless situations? [McKinney Homeless Assistance Act §722(g)(4)]

 

N. Objective: Students in homeless situations who are eligible for preschool services promptly receive appropriate services.

Y, N, N/A

  1. Does the school make adequate outreach efforts to inform shelter personnel and the parents of children experiencing homelessness about available preschool programs?
  2. When a child without a home seeks enrollment in a preschool program, is eligibility determined promptly, based upon criteria that are no more restrictive than those used to determine eligibility for other children? [McKinney Homeless Assistance Act §722(g)(1)(D)(i)]
  3. When children in homeless situations are eligible for preschool services, is prompt access to service provided? [McKinney Homeless Assistance Act §722(g)(1)(D)(i)]
  4. Does the school provide all-day preschool services for students who need such services?

 

O. Objective: Students in homeless situations are provided access to extra- curricular activities available to other students.

Y, N, N/A

  1. Does the school make adequate outreach efforts to make students in homeless situations and their parents aware of extra-curricular activities sponsored by the school?
  2. Are special efforts made to ensure that transportation and/or personal finances are not barriers to students in homeless situations who wish to participate in extra- curricular activities sponsored by the school?
  3. Does the school ensure that access to extra-curricular activities is provided in a manner that does not draw attention to student living arrangements?

 

P. Objective: Students in homeless situations are provided access to before- school and after-school programs that address their academic, social, developmental, and emotional needs.

Y, N, N/A

  1. Does the school provide before-school programs that are available to all students, including students without homes?
  2. Does the school provide after-school programs that are available to all students, including students experiencing homelessness?
  3. Does the school ensure that children and youth in homeless situations who meet the relevant eligibility criteria are able to participate in existing before- and after-school care programs available through federal, state, or local funding? [McKinney Homeless Assistance Act §722(g)(1)(D)(ii)]

 

Q. Objective: Students in homeless situations are provided educational services in "shelter school" environments only on a temporary basis when it is in the best interest of the student to do so, and when comparable services can be ensured.

Y, N, N/A

  1. In situations where students living in homeless situations cannot attend regular school programs (e.g., because of illness or the risk of domestic violence) are opportunities provided for homebound instruction or shelter school programs?
  2. In situations in which students experiencing homelessness may be better able to benefit from shelter school programs than regular campus programs because of the nature of therapy being provided in the shelter, are opportunities provided for homebound instruction or shelter school programs?
  3. If shelter school programs are provided, are students given the option of attending regular public school programs? [McKinney Homeless Assistance Act §722(g)(3)(A)(i) or (ii)]
  4. Where shelter personnel are involved in providing educational services, are there agreements between the school district and the shelter that address the following issues:
    1. the extent to which the district will provide support personnel?
    2. the extent to which the district will provide transportation?
    3. the extent to which the district will provide books, materials, and supplies?
    4. the extent to which homeless students will participate in assemblies, field trips, and other activities with the neighboring regular campus?
    5. the extent to which the district will provide school meal services?
    6. the procedures to be employed for the referral, evaluation, and placement of students experiencing homelessness in special programs?
    7. the procedures to be employed related to eradino, attendance accounting, and the acquisition of course credits?
  5. If shelter school programs are provided, are students in such programs given access to resources and services (e.g., materials, supplies, textbooks, equipment, and ancillary services) comparable to those received by other students? [McKinney Homeless Assistance Act §722(g)(4)]
  6. If shelter school programs are provided, are placement decisions made based upon the individual needs of the student experiencing homelessness rather than school administrative concerns (e.g., transportation, enrollment requirements, etc.)? [McKinney Homeless Assistance Act §721(3)]
  7. Do policies and practices ensure that children and youth in homeless situations are not isolated or stigmatized? [McKinney Homeless Assistance Act §722(g)(1)(H)l

 

R. Objective: Students in homeless situations have access to summer school programs to enable them to meet academic requirements, improve academic skills, and maximize opportunities for school success.

Y, N, N/A

  1. Does the school make adequate outreach efforts to inform-n students in homeless situations and their parents about summer school offerings?
  2. Are efforts made to ensure that transportation and/or personal finances are not barriers to students without homes who wish to participate in summer programs?
  3. If summer school is offered, are students without homes provided access to the services if they otherwise meet eligibility requirements? [McKinney Homeless Assistance Act §722(g)(4)]
  4. If summer school is not available, does the school district have plans that include the provision of summer school services for students who need such services, including students in homeless situations?

 

S. Objective: The school works with shelter providers to actively encourage the parents of students experiencing homelessness to become involved in school activities.

Y, N, N/A

  1. Are outreach efforts made to ensure the participation of parents in homeless situations in school activities, including, but not limited to, teacher conferences, classroom visits, PTA meetings, parent training activities, volunteer activities, etc.?
  2. Are efforts made to ensure that barriers such as transportation or personal finances do not prohibit parents in homeless situations from participating in school activities?
  3. Does the school provide training for parents experiencing homelessness that might improve their capacity to help their children be successful in school?
  4. Are parent training activities scheduled during times and in places that are accessible to parents without homes?
  5. Are parents without homes treated by all school personnel with respect and dignity, so that they might feel welcome at school?
  6. Do teachers and other school personnel visit parents experiencing homelessness at the shelter when parents do not come to school for conferences or meetings?

 

T. Objective: School personnel take steps to ensure that children moving out of the district or to other schools within the district experience minimal disruptions in services.

Y, N, N/A

  1. Do school personnel forward school records immediately upon request of the receiving school? [McKinney Homeless Assistance Act §722(g)(5)(A)l
  2. Do school personnel make school records available to parents of children experiencing homelessness when parents make such a request? [McKinney Homeless Assistance Act §722(g)(5)(B)l
  3. Do school personnel forward school records or provide records to parents even though a child experiencing homelessness has outstanding fees (e.g., lost books, unpaid pictures, lunch loans, etc.)? [McKinney Homeless Assistance Act §722(g)(5)(A)l
  4. Once special services are offered to a child, are the services continued without interruption if the child is transferred to another school within the school district?
  5. In situations in which students experiencing homelessness tend to regularly move between two, three, or more local shelters, is there an effort to minimize disruptions in services by having all of the shelters assigned to the attendance areas of one or two schools?

Recommendations for Action

CHAPTER IV: Interagency Coordination

GOAL: To ensure that the needs of students in homeless situations are met, the school coordinates efforts with other agencies that provide services to children experiencing homelessness and their families.

A. Objective: School personnel work with shelter personnel to ensure that the needs of students in homeless situations and their families are met.

Y, N, N/A

  1. Is there regular communication between appropriate school personnel and staff from emergency shelters or transitional housing programs?
  2. Do shelter personnel provide training to school personnel based on the emotional physical needs of students in homeless situations?
  3. Do school personnel provide training to shelter personnel based on the educational needs of students experiencing homelessness?
  4. Are shelter personnel invited to join and participate in parent/teacher organizations and school planning councils?
  5. Does the school have a primary contact at each local shelter who can facilitate the flow of information?
  6. Does the school have a designated homeless liaison who works with shelter personnel to ensure that children and youth experiencing homelessness get enrolled and obtain appropriate services?

 

B. Objective: School personnel work with other public and private community agencies to ensure that the needs of students in homeless situations and their families are met.

Y, N, N/A

  1. When a child enrolls, is there a formal assessment of need for services beyond that which may be provided by the school district including, but not limited to, counseling, health services, food services, transportation, psychological services, and shelter?
  2. Are school personnel aware of the referral sources for the following services: crisis psychiatric/suicide, counseling services (individual and/or family), pregnancy, substance abuse, child abuse, emergency shelter, domestic violence hotline, runaway hotline, nutrition assistance programs, emergency/non-emergency medical care, clothing, and transportation?
  3. Is a current directory of social service agencies and the services they offer (or a computerized information and referral program) available and easily accessible to campus personnel, including, but not limited to, nurses, counselors, teachers, social workers, and administrators?
  4. When it is determined that a child has needs that cannot be met through district programs, do school personnel actively assist in making referrals for the necessary services?
  5. Once referrals are made, do school personnel routinely follow up to ensure that students in homeless situations receive needed services?
  6. Are efforts made through the school to educate parents children experiencing homelessness about available social service resources, health care services, and other needed services available in the community?

 

C. Objective: The school district assumes a leadership role in improving services for children and youth in homeless situations in the community.

Y, N, N/A

  1. Does the school participate in community efforts to assess and respond to the needs of children without homes in the community?
  2. Does the school district have an ongoing task force or committee on homelessness that includes representatives from the school, shelters, low-income housing programs, and other social service agencies?
  3. Does the task force on homelessness have regularly scheduled meetings?
  4. Does the task force on homelessness have well-defined procedures for making recommendations to the board of education on policies affecting students in homeless situations?
  5. Does the school district routinely assess interagency coordination efforts and identify and address anyreferral/service gaps?
  6. When students in homeless situations have needs that are not being adequately addressed by any other agency, and school funds are not available to respond to the needs, does the school district work with existing funding resources (e.g., United Way, Urban League, Private Industry Council, local foundations) to ensure the availability of needed services?