Homeless Education in Nampa School District:What every district employee needs to know
Homeless Students Reflect the Total Student Population: • Some are gifted and talented • Some have learning needs; • Some are athletic, musical, artistic; • Some have natural leadership skills; • Some are behaviorally challenging; • Most are “survivors,” struggling to beat the odds of their circumstances; and • ALL are valuable individually and as a part of our school community.
During the 2009-10 school term, Nampa School District had 757 documented homeless students. This was up from 195 in 2008-09.
Why the huge increase?There are probably many reasons, but here are some: • Economic down turn in our area • New system for registering homeless youth in school • Increased awareness by school personnel • Grant funding that allowed for improved services, including part time personnel • Media coverage
Many of our homeless families are “first time” homeless: Until recently, they had stable jobs, a roof over their heads, and food on the table. Until recently, they could buy food for their families, school supplies, and clothing.
The “newly homeless” • Do not know where to turn for help; • Feel embarrassed about their situation; • Feel guilty for having to ask for help; • Are not experienced in working with social service agencies to address their needs; and • Some would much prefer to “do without” rather than let anyone know of their plight.
The McKinney-Vento ActAuthorized Through The Elementary and Secondary Education Act Requires School Districts to: Designate a “Homeless Liaison” to oversee homeless education Identify, Engage, and Serve Homeless and Unaccompanied Children in School
The McKinney Vento Homeless Assistance Act . . . • Maintains educational continuity during a time of transition for the student; • Requires schools to identify and enroll students who meet the definition of homeless; and • Specifies provisions that must be made by each school for each homeless student.
Homelessness Has Many Definitions in the McKinney-Vento Act: • Sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or other similar reason; • Living in a car, park, campground, public space, abandoned building, substandard housing or similar; • Living in emergency or transitional shelters;
Definitions (con’t.) • Living temporarily in a motel or hotel due to loss of housing, economic hardship or similar reason; • Moving from place to place due to loss of housing or economic hardship; • Having a primary night time residence that is a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a sleeping accommodation for human beings; • Living in a house or vehicle of any kind (including camper) without running water, electricity, or heat;
Definitions (Con’t) • Migratory children who qualify as homeless because they are living in circumstances described above; • A homeless Unaccompanied Youth is someone who is not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian, and who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate night time residence.
Many of our students live in “doubled up” situations with many people in a house.
Schools must inform the Community about the provisions for homeless students in Nampa School District in two ways:
These posters must be placed in an obvious location in EVERY school building and throughout the community
AStudent Questionnaire Form, found on the Administrators’ Support Center, MUST be placed in the registration packet of every student every year.
Nampa School District Student Questionnaire Form In order to better serve your children, The Nampa School district is helping the state of Idaho identify students who may qualify to receive additional educational services. The information provided below will be kept confidential. Please answer the following questions and return this form to your child’s school. *This questionnaire is intended to address the McKinney-Vento Act 42 U.S.C. 11435. 1. Student is with an adult that is not a parent or legal guardian, or alone without an adult. □ Yes, I am an unaccompanied Youth: Not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian 2. Presently, are you and/or your family in any of the following situations? Check one box. □ Yes, sharing the home of others due to loss of housing, economic hardship, similar reason; doubled-up. □ Yes, living in a car, park, campground, public space, abandoned building, substandard housing or similar. □ Yes, temporarily living in a motel or hotel due to loss of housing, economic hardship or similar reason. □ Yes, moving from place to place due to loss of housing or economic hardship. □ Yes, living in a house or vehicle of any kind (including camper) without running water, electricity, or heat. Student’s Name: __________________________________________________________________Date: _____________ Last, First, Middle I Student’s School: _________________________________________________________ Birth date: _________________ Grade: ____________ Name of Parent(s)/Legal Guardian(s):____________________________________________________________________Contact Address: ____________________________________ Zip: __________Phone:___________________________ Other children in the family: _________________________ school_____________________________ _________________________ school_____________________________ Signature of Parent/Legal Guardian: _____________________________________________Date_________________ (Signature of student if unaccompanied youth) Presenting a false record or falsifying records is an offense under Section 37.10, Penal code, and enrollment of the child under false documents subjects the person to liability for tuition or other costs. TEC Sec. 25.002 (3)(d)
REMEMBER:Homelessness is a temporary situation in most cases; it is not a permanent description of a child or family
Early arrival or departure from school Lack of clarity about address, phone or contact information Tardy, unusual absences or change in routine Lack of appropriate clothing for the season Use of school facilities for personal needs Stressed, sleepy, change in behavior Hygiene issues Change in grades or school performance Lack of school supplies, lost books/supplies Loss of access to computer Storing clothes or personal items at school A child that displays any of the following might be homeless – or in need of additional support:
If you think a student might be homeless, discuss your concerns with the school counselor, social worker or nurse.
What Are the Things a School Must Do? • The person who registers students in any building MUST give every student a copy of the Student Questionnaire Form. (Found in the Policies and Procedures Manual). • If the student/family does not fill out the form, there is no further work to do on this topic at this time. • If the student/family does complete the form, the next steps must happen: • Fax the form to Mary Ensley (468-4638) • Let the school counselor and nurse know that this student has been enrolled, so they can begin work with school records, health issues, providing school supplies, hygiene kits, etc.
Other Enrollment Regulations:(Clarification is found in the Policies and Procedures Manual) • Continue enrollment in the school the student was attending at the time of homelessness, regardless of the school zone of their new housing; • Enroll students without required documentation: • Medical Records • Birth certificate • School records • Enroll unaccompanied youth, even without an adult present; • Help fill out free/reduced lunch form (every homeless child is eligible for free lunch); • Provide a School Handbook; encourage participation in school activities; • Provide all needed school supplies; and • Provide hygiene kits, if needed. (Every nurse has a supply).
What happens to the SQF? • Once received in the Student Services office, the following steps take place: • The form is documented, dated, and signed by the Program coordinator; • It is forwarded to Peggy Miller, District Homeless Liaison, and faxed to Nutrition Services; • The case is assigned to Kimberlee Minter, a social worker whose work is specifically with homeless children and families; • The case management with wrap-around services begins; • The case is monitored throughout the school term.
The Social Worker Assigned to Homeless Students Will: • Collaborate with building counselors, social workers, nurses, and teachers to do case planning in behalf of the homeless child; • Contact homeless families to determine needs, which may include school supplies, clothing, medical, dental and more; and • Provide wrap-around services to families by means of collaboration with community entities.
Additional Services May Include: • Limited medical, dental and counseling; • Transportation needs, including limited car repair (usually under $100) to get children to school and/or services; • Help with utilities (by means of community donations); • Clothing (by means of community donations); and • Assistance in finding housing, child care and other services that may keep a family who is “on the edge” from becoming homeless.
Academic Support to Homeless Students: • Counselors report concerns to program staff, and together they may: • Visit the home of the children, working with parents on issues that keep the child from attending school; • Collaborate with other school and community services that can provide support for the child’s academic success. • Students’ grades, attendance and tardiness are monitored quarterly; and • Homeless students’ standardized test scores are monitored and compared to non homeless for the purpose of finding “gaps” in services that may cause lack of academic success.
Emergency/critical dental: 30 Housing referrals: 147 Vision correction: 2 Employment referrals: 10 Phone consultation and case management: too many to count! Weekend food: 260 School supplies: 493 Hygiene kits: 160+ Emergency clothing: 500 Blankets: 75+ Transportation for extra school events: 3 families Because of grant funding and additional community support, the following services were provided to homeless students and their families last year:
Feed the ChildrenOur newest partner has provided more than 750 back packs for elementary and middle school youth. Each back pack includes a bag of school supplies, hygiene items, and a bag of nutritious snack foods. Distribution will be to those students who are documented homeless by means of signed Student Information Questionnaires.
Teachers may be the only consistent part of a child’s life during the time of homelessness.
To a homeless child, life is seen as uncertain and blurred. What do you see?
Ways Teachers Can Help: • Understand homeless children have heavy burdens and fears other children know nothing about. • Be sensitive to challenges, such as homework papers that are wrinkled or messy. • Many children do not have access to a computer; provide alternative ways to do assignments that are otherwise prepared on a computer. • Collaborate with counselors, social workers, and nurses when you “feel” new problems rising. • Homeless students don’t need sympathy; they do need consistent support. • Don’t assume students know basic social skills, such as how to play; they may need to be taught how to do so. • Let each child know you genuinely believe in them, and that you support all their efforts to succeed, however small.
Some children come to school chronically hungry. How can you know?* • Quickly eating all the food served; asking for more; • Regularly asking the teacher for food; • Saving/hoarding/stealing food to take home; • Asking classmates for food they don’t want; • Asking when the next meal/snack will be served; • Rushing food lines; • Extreme thinness; • Chronically dry/cracked lips and/or dry and itchy eyes. • *Source: The Idaho Foodbank
Many Partners Work to Help Our Homeless Students: • Vouchers from Deseret Industries • LDS Humanitarian Center • Local Churches • Nampa Chamber of Commerce • Local Businesses, including Walmart and Cap-Ed • Boise Rescue Mission Ministries through Light House • “Come to the Table” Dinners (Ministerial Assoc.) • Salvation Army • LOVE, Inc. • Realtors • Individual Volunteers • H & W Navigator • Shelters • And many more
And just in case there is a disagreement about theenrollment of a homeless child, there is a plan:
Protocol for Enrollment Disputes*All forms can be found on the Administrative Support Center site
Additional information and all required forms are posted on the NSD Administrative Support Center under the Administrative Rules and Regulations tab
“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”Leo F. Buscaglia
This slide show was prepared as a training tool by the Nampa School District Student Services Department
Credits • The Idaho Foodbank, Boise, ID • Optical Illusions: Retrieved fromhttp://eyetricks.com/1101.htm, 27 August 2009. • Photos: www.huffingtonpost.com/news/homelessness, 24 August 2010. • Photos: Garam, B. Educating our homeless. Power Point Presentation. Retrieved on line 28 August 2009 at: www.profweb.ws/The%20McKinney-Vento%20Homeless%20Assistance%20Act,%20Subtitle% • Tennessee Department of Education (2009). The McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Act: Effective Education for Children and Youth in Tennessee. Power Point presentation retrieved on line 28 August, 2009 at www.state.tn.us/education/fedprog/doc/McKVStimulus309.ppt • U. S. Department of Education, (2004). Education for homeless children and youth program: Title VII-B of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act. Washington, D. C.: Author.