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Ferndale School District Homeless Program Ferndale School District McKinney-Vento Staff Training April 26, 2011 Presenters: Renee McCluskey, FSD Special Services Administrative Assistant 1 Roxana Parise, BSD Homeless Coordinator Patty Hoff, BSD Homeless Coordinator Michael Berres, FSD Homeless Liaison
Ferndale School District Homeless Program Statistics • 38% of the national homeless population have less than a high school degree by age 18[Burt, Helping America’s Homeless, Emergency Shelter or Affordable press? Pg. 87] • Have a higher absentee rate that correlates with lower academic achievement[Family Housing Fund (1998) Kids Mobility Project Minneapolis, MN] • Are half as likely to graduate from high school and twice as likely to repeat a grade[Rumberger, R.W., Larson, K.A., Ream, R.K., Palardy, G.J. (1999) The education consequences of mobility for California students and schools] • Take 4-6 months to recover academically from each school transfer[Homes for the Homeless (1999) Homeless in America: A Children’s Story, part one]
Ferndale School District Homeless Program Causes of Homelessness • Lack of affordable housing • Foreclosures • Poverty • Economic recession • Unemployment • Health problems • Lack of health insurance • Addiction disorders • Mental health • Domestic violence • Natural and other disasters • Abuse/neglect (unaccompanied youth)
Ferndale School District Homeless Program Barriers to Education for Homeless Youth • Lack of enrollment records • Lack of school stability and school continuity • Lack of awareness; under-identification • Lack of transportation • Lack of school supplies, clothing, etc. • Poor health, fatigue, hunger • Prejudice and misunderstanding
Ferndale School District Homeless Program 2009-10 Whatcom County Homeless Count Bellingham School District 451 Ferndale School District 77 Lynden School District 75 Blaine School District 67 Mt. Baker School District 35 Nooksack Valley School District 31 Meridian School District 16 Total: 752
Ferndale School District Homeless Program Homeless Count by Academic Year
Ferndale School District Homeless Program Who qualifies for McKinney-Vento? Children who lack a fixed, adequate, and regular night time residence Temporary Foster Placement Motels Cars Unaccompanied Not Designed For Humans to Live Doubled Up Transitional Shelters
Ferndale School District Homeless Program Identification and Outreach • The FSD provides homeless awareness and identification through the following activities: • Annual letters to all community agencies, programs and health care providers • Post McKinney-Vento posters (in 3 languages) where children/youth and families may be likely to see them, such as: • Shelters Soup kitchens • Bus stations Laundry mats • Libraries Motels/hotels • McKinney-Vento posters are placed at each FSD schools
Ferndale School District Homeless Program McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act • What is it? • Federal Law: Reauthorized in 2002 as part of No Child Left Behind • Main Themes: • School stability • School access • Support for academic success • Child-centered, best interest decision making
Ferndale School District Homeless Program School Stability • According to the McKinney-Vento Act, homeless students have two options for school enrollment: • School of Origin – school the student last attended when permanently housed OR the school where the student was last enrolled • School of Residency – the school attended by other students living in the same attendance area as the homeless child’s current residence
Ferndale School District Homeless Program School Stability – Enrollment • Students can stay in their school of origin for the duration of the academic year in which they were designated as homeless • Immediate enrollment, even if the student does not have required documents (health records, etc.) * • “Enrollment” might be different than actual “participation or attendance” • if there are severe health and/or behavior issues that must be addressed before the student attends class.
Ferndale School District Homeless Program School Stability – Enrollment • If the student does not have immunizations or immunization records, the student must be enrolled and attending school while the homeless liaison assists in obtaining records • Students must be allowed to attend school while the enrolling school works to obtain school records from the previous school
Ferndale School District Homeless Program Question: Jenny is a 3rd grade student attending Custer Elementary. In November, Jenny and her mom move to a WomenCare Shelter that is located within the Bellingham School District attendance area. Does Jenny have the right to continue to attend Custer Elementary while living at the shelter? Yes Custer Elementary is her School of Origin and she has the right to remain at Custer for the remainder of the academic year
Ferndale School District Homeless Program School Stability - Transportation • School districts must provide transportation to and from the School of Origin, at the parent’s, guardian’s or student’s request • If crossing district lines, both districts must determine how to divide the responsibility and share the cost, or they must share the cost equally
Ferndale School District Homeless Program School Stability – Transportation • Districts must provide homeless students with transportation services comparable to those provided to other students • Districts must eliminate barriers to school enrollment and retention
Ferndale School District Homeless Program Question: While Jenny is living at the WomenCare Shelter, her mother’s car breaks down. Does Jenny have the right to request the Ferndale School District provide transportation to and from school? Yes Who actually provides the transportation? Ferndale SD and Bellingham SD are required to share the responsibility and cost
Ferndale School District Homeless Program Question: Is there a limit to the number of days that Jenny can receive transportation? No In March, Jenny’s family receive a Section 8 voucher and move into permanent housing but it’s in the Lynden SD attendance area. Can Jenny continue to receive transportation to and from Custer Elementary, even though her family is in permanent housing?
Ferndale School District Homeless Program Melinda Dyer – OSPI, Education for Homeless Children and Youth • “While the law states that once housed, students have a right to remain in their school of origin for the remainder of that academic year, the law is silent regarding the provision of transportation for students once they are housed. • Having said that, I will follow up with the fact that the intention of the law is that the transportation will be provided for the remainder of the academic year, as the student would not be able (in practice) to continue in their school of origin unless the transportation was provided. I believe there may even be legal precedent in another state which indicates that this is not only the intent of the law, but the letter of the law. • Short of a lawsuit, we (OSPI) cannot compel districts to provide the service, but with reauthorization this language in the law will likely become explicit and the transportation will be required. So, we tell districts to do everything they can to make it happen. It is best for kids.”
Ferndale School District Homeless Program School Access • Homeless students are automatically eligible for free school meals • Undocumented children and youth have the same right to attend public school as U.S. citizens and are covered by the McKinney-Vento Act to the same extent as other children and youth
Ferndale School District Homeless Program Special Education Little Johnny is registered at Vista MS by his mother. At the time of registration, mom mentions that Johnny has a current IEP and was receiving SpEd services at his previous school. How does the school know what services to provide if there are no enrollment records?
Ferndale School District Homeless Program Special Education • Vista must immediately enroll Johnny in school • The school Administrative Assistant or the Special Services Administrative Assistant will contact the previous school for records • IDEA specifically requires enrolling schools to promptly obtain student records from their previous school • IDEA also requires the previous school to promptly respond to such records requests
Ferndale School District Homeless Program Question: What if you suspect that Johnny’s mother isn’t really his mother? If FSD staff suspect that the mother is not actually the “parent/guardian”, the FSD will actively seek to verify information and take whatever corrective action is necessary Remember The safest place for this student is at school
Ferndale School District Homeless Program Address Confidentiality Program What if Johnny’s family is fleeing a domestic violence situation and the family is enrolled in the Address Confidentiality Program, how does the SpEd teacher at Vista obtain Johnny’s school records? IF a family is enrolled in the Address Confidentiality Program, ALL communication and records requests must be made confidentially through the ACP in Olympia by the Special Services Administrative Assistant
Ferndale School District Homeless Program Best Interest • Considerations in school selection: • Continuity of instruction • Age and grade placement of student • Academic strength • Social and emotional state • Distance of the commute and its impact on the student’s education and/or special needs • Personal safety of the student • Student’s need for special instruction • Length of anticipated stay in a temporary shelter or other temporary location
Ferndale School District Homeless Program Best Interest Decision Making • All reasonable factors, are considered when making the school assignment, including: • Best interest of the child • School of Origin • Length of time students are on a bus • Parent/guardian request • School of Choice
Ferndale School District Homeless Program Referral Procedures • You know or suspect a student or family is homeless, now what? • You fill out a Families In Transition Intake form • Fax the form to the Special Services Administrative Assistant (Renee McCluskey) • To fax # 383-9230
Ferndale School District Homeless Program Thank you very much for the work that you do to support our Homeless/Foster Care students