Des Arc School District

Education of Homeless Children

The Education of Homeless Children and Youth

McKinney-Vento Act

"The Education of Homeless Children and Youth program is to ensure that all homeless children and youth have equal access to the same free, appropriate public education, including preschool education, provided to other children and youth."

Key Provisions of the McKinney-Vento Act

Key Provisions Examples of Applicable Services and Programs

Education Services *Tutoring and mentoring

*Before-, after-, and summer school programs

*Developmentally appropriate early childhood education programs

*Expedited educational evaluation

*Parent education and training programs

Coordination of Services *Ensuring homeless students have access to appropriate existing services (e.g.., early childhood programs, special
education programs, gifted and talented programs, vocational education, school meals)

*Coordinating with existing programs (e.g., Head Start, programs for adolescents, and housing agencies)

*Paying costs associated with tracking, obtaining, and transferring school records

Professional Development *Raising awareness among educators and the community

*Providing specific training for educators

Transportation *Paying the excess cost of transporting homeless students to school

School Supplies *Providing school supplies to students

*Providing supplies for non-school facilities that operate educations programs

Emergency Assistance *Providing other support, as necessary, to enroll and retain homeless students in school

From National Center for Homeless Education at SERVE. (1999). The education of homeless children and youth: A compendium of research and information. Greensboro, NC: SERVE


Homeless children and youth have the following rights:

* Free and appropriate public education

* Services comparable to those offered to non-
homeless children and youth

* Choice to remain in their school of origin or
transfer to a school in their current attendance

*Enrollment in school despite the lack of a
permanent address or the lack of school record.

* Access to education related support services
funded by district Title I funds

* Transportation to school and to school

* Advocacy from a school district liaison to
ensure that rights are upheld

Who Is a Homeless Student?

* A school-age child who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence; or

* A school-age child who has a primary nighttime residence that is any of the following:

*a shelter

*temporary institutional residence

*makeshift arrangements in someone
else's home

*a place not designed for human

Adapted from the McKinney-Vento Act

Where Homeless Children Sleep

Places where children may be forced to sleep because they lack a home:

* Homeless shelters

* Domestic violence shelter

* Hotels and motels

* Under bridges or overpass

* Churches

* Cars

* On the streets

* Transitional housing

* Campgrounds and parks

* "Doubled up" with friends or family

* Abandoned or dilapidated building

Things to Ask Yourself (and Others If You Suspect a Child Is Homeless

* Is the child sent to school in the same outfit for more than two days?

* Does the child refrain from making reference to his/her bedroom at home?

* Does the child have a history of irregular school attendance?

* Does the child talk excessively about food?

* Has the child changed schools often in the last school year?

* Does the child consistently fail to complete homework?

* Does the child excessively fantasize about growing up, becoming rich, and/or helping others?

* Is the child familiar with age-inappropriate subjects"

* Has the child ever mentioned that parents use alcohol or other drugs?

* Has the child ever mentions living with another family or in a motel or shelter?

* Does the child exhibit any unusual behavior?

25 Things Teachers Can Do for Homeless Students

1. Keep students' living situation confidential.

2. Give students things they can own (e.g., school supplies).

3. Don't take away students' possessions.

4. Assign "buddies" to newly arriving students.

5. Assign students classroom or school chores.

6. Teach students how to act responsibly, then expect responsible behavior.

7. Teach students healthy and appropriate ways to express their feeling.

8. Abide by consistent school routines and clear rules.

9. Give students limited choices.

10. Use appropriate assessments to make classroom placements.

11. Tailor the curriculum to include all students.

12. Divide the curriculum into small units to be completed daily or weekly.

13. Make smooth and predictable transitions from one activity to another.

14. Provide students with supplies they need to complete school assignments.

15. Make sure homework assignments are appropriate to their living situations.

16. Be sensitive when asking students to bring things from home.

17. Offer student nutritious snacks if they are hungry.

18. Help students meet their basic food, clothing, hygiene, and sleep needs.

19. Don't penalize students for things that are out of their control.

20. Arrange for students to participate in school programs regardless of cost.

21. Make sure students have access to education services for which they are eligible.

22. Work with local social service providers to help your students' families.

23. Learn more about homelessness and dispel stereotypes.

24. Show your students that you care about them.

25. Ensure that students can say goodbye to friends and staff if they must leave school.

Imagine the Possibilities

For more information contact Sunny Morton - Home Liaison (870)256-4166 or