Program StrategiesFour suggestions to assist homeless education.
- Coordinate with local housing authorities and placement agencies to house students near their school of origin.
- Re-route school buses (including special education, magnet school and other buses), and ensure that buses travel to shelters, transitional living programs, and motels where homeless students reside.
- Develop close ties among local educational agency (LEA) homeless liaisons, school staff and pupil transportation staff, and designate a district-level point of contact to arrange and coordinate transportation.
- Provide passes for public transportation, including passes for caretakers and older siblings when necessary.
- Take advantage of transportation systems used by public assistance agencies.
- Reimburse parents, guardians, or unaccompanied youth for gas.
- Use approved van or taxi services.
- Use local funds for transportation.
- Purchase gas vouchers to assist parents, but verify school attendance.
- Use early and late school buses for access to extra curricular activities.
- Collect and utilize community and faith-based donations for transportation costs.
- Contact public transportation to offer bus tokens and passes at discounted rates for homeless students and families.
- Collaborate with other LEAs to discuss transportation issues and solutions.
- Use vans from other agencies (including Boys and Girls Club, faith-based organizations, and shelters).
- Include transportation in board policies and LEA Plan.
- Allow the transportation department to be part of the solution.
- Coordinate with community services agencies, such as shelters, soup kitchens, food banks, street outreach teams, drop-in centers, welfare and housing agencies, public health departments, and faith-based organizations.
- Provide outreach materials and posters where there is a frequent influx of low-income families and youth in high-risk situations, including motels and campgrounds.
- Develop relationships with truancy officials and/or other attendance offices.
- Provide awareness activities for school staff (registrars, secretaries, school counselors, school social workers, school nurses, teachers, bus drivers, administrators, etc.)
- Make special efforts to identify preschool children, including asking about the siblings of school-age children.
- Use enrollment and withdrawal forms to inquire about living situations.
- Have students draw or write about where they live.
- Avoid using the word "homeless" in initial contacts with school personnel, families, or youth.
- Develop and implement districtwide identification form and put it in each registration packet.
- Identify a site liaison at each school to identify and assist homeless students.
- Sort students by address in database to identify double-up situations.
- Conduct family nights to offer health checks, services, and resources.
- Conduct home visits to determine doubled-up situations and verification.
- Collaborate with other LEAs in the area.
- Collaborate with migrant education programs to assist with identification.
- Work with school counselors and outreach workers to work with families and youth.
Title I Strategies
- Establish a formula or other method to allocate Title I set-asides for homeless children and youth.
- Use Title I funds (including set-aside funds) to support the LEA homeless liaison position and to meet basic needs of students experiencing homelessness (clothing, supplies, health).
- Use Title I funds to provide tutoring and/or outreach services to children and youth living in shelters, transitional living programs, motels, and other temporary residencies.
- Pool Title I and McKinney-Vento funds to provide a comprehensive program for homeless students, ensuring that specific needs of children experiencing homelessness or high mobility are met.
- Ensure that the needs of children experiencing homelessness are taken into account in the needs assessments that are required for schoolwide programs.
- Make appropriate testing accommodations for children who are homeless; for example, having opportunities to make up tests if children are absent on testing day.
- Ensure that local liaisons are trained to collect achievement data for all homeless students and that district records systems enable this data collection while taking into account confidentially issues.
- Train all school enrollment staff, secretaries, school counselors, school social workers, and principals on the legal requirements for enrollment.
- Review LEA policies and revise them as necessary.
- Develop alternative caretaker forms, enrollment forms for unaccompanied youth, and other forms to replace typical proof of guardianship, ensuring they do not create further barriers or delay enrollment.
- Accept school records directly from families and youth.
- Establish immunization databases, school-based immunization clinics, or mobile heath units.
- Be sensitive about smoothly integrating new students into the classroom and school community.
- Connect with First 5 California, Universal Preschool, and Head Start.
- Connect with child development programs in your county and district.
- Expand child care opportunities.
- Build relationships with local daycare center and community resources.
- Allow parents to enroll their children after deadlines.
- Pay for additional staff hours to increase the number of preschool age students.
- Offer clinic referrals by district nurses.
- Use caseworker or eligibility workers to assist with identification and enrollment.
- Educate regarding “priority enrollment” for preschool students.
- Develop identification forms to include slots for siblings and their ages.
- Train an outreach person to identify, enroll, and assist homeless preschool students.
- Educate preschools in your area regarding homeless education provisions.
- Utilize Feed the Children resources for students.
- Offer family nights at shelters to provide information and resources.
- Use referrals from Social Services Agencies and non-profit agencies to identify homeless preschool students.
- Utilize Healthy Start programs to identify homeless preschool students.
- Bring awareness to parents of the value of preschool.
- Develop State and Federal preschool guidelines with No Child Left Behind (NCLB) requirements for homeless.
Special Education Strategies
- Educate special education staff, including the director, regarding homeless education provisions.
- Have special education staff educate homeless liaisons on special education provisions.
- Be available for participating in individualized education programs (IEPs) to support parents and/or unaccompanied youth and share information.
- Give parents copies of all IEP paperwork in folder to save.
- Pay for staff to expedite assessments.
- Contact special education local plan area personnel in your area to share information at one of their meetings regarding homeless education and foster youth provisions.
- Contact Parent Resource Network to contact the homeless liaison if the student is homeless.
- Meet annually with school psychologists to inform them of any homeless students with special needs.
- Develop policies, procedures, and board policies for systemic changes.
- Arrange for surrogate or caregiver for unaccompanied youth.
- Develop memorandums of understanding between school and social services.
- Utilize County Resource Collaborative.
Questions: Leanne Wheeler | LWheeler@cde.ca.gov | 916-319-0383
Last Reviewed: Monday, November 24, 2014