2022 LEA PROCEDURES TO IMPLEMENT THE MCKINNEY-VENTO ACT HOMELESS ASSISTANCE ACT Revision Date: 09.24.20
The McKinney Vento Act requires state and local education agencies (LEA's) to develop, review, and revise their procedures to remove barriers to the enrollment and retention of children and youth experiencing homelessness.
Information regarding this policy will be: distributed to all students upon enrollment and once during the school year; provided to students who seek to withdraw from school; and posted in every school in the district, as well as other places where children, youth and families in transition receive services, including family and youth shelters, soup kitchens, motels, campgrounds, drop-in centers, welfare departments, health departments and other social service agencies due to lack of alternative accommodations.
The following procedures ensure the following: school stability, school access, support for academic success; and child-centered best-interest decision making.
Homelessness exists in our community. A combination of high costs and poverty causes many families to lose their housing. Many young people leave their homes due to abuse, neglect, and family conflict. Children and youth who have lost their housing live in a variety of places; including hotels, motels, shelters, shared residences, transitional housing programs, cars, campgrounds and others. The lack of permanent housing can lead to potentially serious physical, emotional and mental consequences. The Miller County School District will ensure that all children and youth receive a free appropriate public education and are given meaningful opportunities for success in our schools. The district will follow the requirements of the McKinney-Vento Act regarding children who lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence.
Under federal law, children and youth experiencing homelessness must have access to appropriate public education, including preschool, and be given a full opportunity to meet state and local academic standards. They must be included in state-wide and district-wide assessments and accountability systems. Our schools will ensure that children and youth experiencing homelessness are free from discrimination, segregation, and harassment. Information regarding these procedures will be distributed to all employees during the school year, provided to students who seek to withdraw from school, and posted in every school in the district. In addition it will be posted in other places where children, youth and families experiencing homelessness receive services including family and youth shelters, soup kitchens, campgrounds, drop-in centers, welfare departments, health departments and other social agencies.
Children and youth experiencing homelessness means children and youth who are otherwise legally entitled to be eligible for a free public education; including preschool, and lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence, including:
Children and youth who are sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or similar reasons; are living in motels, hotels, or campgrounds.
Grounds or trailer parks due to lack of alternative adequate accommodations; are living in emergency or transitional shelters; are abandoned in hospitals; or are awaiting foster care placement.
Place not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings.
Children and youth who are living in a car, park, public space,
abandoned building, substandard housing, bus or train station, or similar setting; and migratory children and youth living in a situation described above
Sharing housing of others due to loss of housing, economic hardship of similar reason
Migratory children living in homeless situations
A child or youth shall be considered to be experiencing homelessness for as long as he or she is in a living situation as defined above.
Unaccompanied youth means a youth not in physical custody of a parent or guardian, who is experiencing homelessness as defined above.
Enroll and enrollment means attending school and participating fully in school activities.
Immediate means without delay.
Parent means a person having legal or physical custody of a child or youth.
School of origin means the school of the child or youth attending when permanently housed, or the school in which the child or youth was last enrolled.
Liaison is the staff person designated by the LEAs as the person responsible for carrying out the duties assigned to the liaison by the McKinney Vento Act.
In collaboration with school personnel and community organizations, the liaison will identify children and youth experiencing homelessness in the district, both in and out of school. The liaison will train school personnel on the possible indicators of homelessness, sensitivity in identifying families and youth experiencing homelessness, and procedures for forwarding information
indicating homelessness to the liaison. The liaison will also instruct school registrars and secretaries to inquire about the possible homelessness to the liaison. Community partners included in the identification process may include: family and youth shelters, soup kitchens, motels, campgrounds, drop-in centers, welfare departments and other social service agencies, street outreach teams, faith-based organizations, truancy and attendance officers, local homeless coalitions, and legal services. Undocumented children have the same right to attend public school as U.S. citizens.
Each child and youth experiencing homelessness has the right to remain at his or her school of origin, or to attend any school that housed students who live in the attendance area in which the child or youth is actually living and are eligible to attend. Maintaining a student in his or her school of origin is important for both the student and our school district. Students who change schools have been found to have lower test scores and overall academic performance than peers who do not change schools. High mobility rates have also been shown to lower test scores for stable students. Keeping students in their schools of origin enhances their academic and social growth, while permitting our schools to benefit from increased test scores and achievement shown to result from student continuity.
Therefore, in selecting a school, children and youth experiencing homeless shall remain at their schools of origin to the extent feasible, unless that is against the parent's or youth's wishes. Students may remain at their schools of origin the entire time they are experiencing homelessness, and until the end of any academic year in which they become permanently housed. The same applies if a child or youth loses his or her housing between academic years. Feasibility shall be a child-centered determination, based on the needs and interests of the particular student and the parent's or youth's wishes. Potential feasibility considerations include:
Safety of the student
Continuity of instruction
Likely area of family's or youth's future housing
Time remaining in the academic year
Anticipated length of stay in temporary living situation
School placement of siblings
Whether the student has special needs that would render the commute harmful
Services to be provided, including transportation to and from the school of origin and services under federal and other programs, shall be considered in determining feasibility.
Consistent, uninterrupted education is vital for academic achievement. Due to the realities of homelessness and mobility, students experiencing homelessness may not have school enrollment documents available, Nonetheless, the school selected for enrollment must immediately enroll the youth experiencing homelessness. Enrollment may not be denied or delayed due to lack of any document normally required for enrollment including:
Proof of Residency
Transcripts/records: The enrolling school must contact the student's previous school to obtain school records. Initial placement of students whose records are not immediately available can be made based on the student's age and information gathered from the student, parent and previous schools or teachers.
Immunization or immunization/health/medical/physical records: If necessary, the school must refer to the liaison to assist with obtaining immunizations and/or other medical records. Health records may often be obtained from previous school or state registries, and school-based or community-based clinics can initiate immunizations when needed.
Proof of guardianship
Any other document requirements
Unpaid school fees
Lack of uniforms or clothing that conforms to dress codes
Any factor related to the student's living situation
Unaccompanied youth must also be immediately enrolled in school. They may either re enroll themselves or be enrolled by a parent, non-parent caretaker, older sibling or the LEA liaison.
Without appropriate transportation, a student may not be able to continue attending his or her school of origin. To avoid such forced school transfers, at a parent's request, transportation shall be provided to and from the school of origin for a child or youth experiencing homelessness. Transportation shall be provided for the entire time the child or youth has a right to attend that school, as defined above, including during pending disputes. The liaison shall request transportation to and from the school of origin for unaccompanied youth. The length of time to commute will only be considered in determining the feasibility of placement in the school of origin based on potential harm to the student, as discussed above. Parents and unaccompanied youth must be informed of this right to transportation before they select a school for attendance.
Schools and the liaison shall use the district transportation form to process transportation requests. Requests shall be processed and the transportation arranged without delay. If the student experiencing homelessness is living and attending school in this district, this district shall arrange transportation. If the student experiencing homelessness is living in this district but attending school in another, or attending school in this district but is living in another, this district will follow the inter-district transportation agreement to determine who must arrange transportation. It is this district's policy that inter-district disputes shall not result in a student experiencing homelessness missing school. If such a dispute arises, this district will arrange transportation and immediately bring the matter to the attention of the State Coordinator for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth.
In addition to receiving transportation to and from the school of origin upon request, children and youth experiencing homelessness shall also be provided with other transportation services comparable to those offered to housed students.
Should it be necessary for a identified homeless student to be transported to their school origin, the MCS transportation director will set a meeting with the transportation director of the school system of origin to discuss training for transportation of the homeless student as pertaining to the Act the following and submit documentation of:
Method of type of meeting- phone conference, face-to-face, other including sign-in and agenda
Access for school of origin transportation staff to have access to MCS Mc-Kinney Vento training which includes the following:
The prevalence of homelessness, federal laws related to homeless students, and strategies for identifying and assisting the homeless student population. Topics covered are to include identifying homeless students using the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (reauthorized by the Every Student Succeeds Act), enrollment and transportation policies that can ease the negative of student mobility, two special populations of homeless students (unaccompanied youth and preschool children), and facilitating success in school for homeless students.
The timeline for start and completion date of training prior to transporting the identified homeless student
Students identified as homeless that are not transported to a school of origin will be transported as non-homeless students or per special instructions outlined in the homeless student intake form. Should the homeless student require special transportation instructions, the transportation will be given a copy of the homeless student intake form.
Training regarding the act for transportation personnel is outlined in the section entitled Training.
Children and youth experiencing homelessness shall be provided services comparable to services offered to other students in the school selected, including:
Educational services for which the student meets eligibility criteria, including special education and related services and programs for English language learners
Vocational and technical education programs
Gifted and talented programs
School nutrition programs
Before and after school programs
The district recognizes that children and youth experiencing homelessness suffer from disabilities at a disproportionate rate, yet frequently are not evaluated or provided appropriate special education and related services. To address this problem, evaluations of children and youth experiencing homelessness suspected of having a disability shall be given priority and coordinated with students; prior and subsequent schools as necessary, to ensure timely completion of a full evaluation. When necessary, the district shall expeditiously designate a surrogate parent for unaccompanied youth suspected of having a disability. If a student has an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), the enrolling school shall immediately implement it. Any necessary IEP meetings or reevaluations shall then be conducted expeditiously. If complete records are not available, IEP teams must use good judgment in choosing the best course of action, balancing procedural requirements and the provision of services. In all cases, the goal will be to avoid any disruption in appropriate services.
When applying any district policy regarding tardiness or absences, any tardiness or absence related to a child or youth's living situation shall be excused. Our school district will follow state procedures to ensure that youth experiencing homelessness and youth who are out of school are identified and afforded equal access to appropriate secondary education and support services. School personnel shall refer children and youth experiencing homelessness to appropriate health care services, including dental and mental health services. The liaison will assist the school in making such referrals, as necessary.
School personnel must also inform parents of all educational and related opportunities available to their children and provide parents with meaningful opportunities to participate in their children's education. All parent information
required by any provision of this policy must be provided in a form, manner and language understandable to each parent.
If a dispute arises over any issue covered in this policy, the child or youth experiencing homelessness shall be immediately admitted to the school in which enrollment is sought, pending final resolution of the dispute. The student experiencing homelessness shall also have the right to all appropriate educational services, transportation, free meals and Title I services while the dispute is pending.
The school where the dispute arises shall provide the parent or unaccompanied youth with a written explanation of its decision and the right to appeal and shall immediately refer the parent or youth to the liaison. The liaison shall ensure that the school of his or her choice and receiving other services to which he or she is entitled and shall resolve the dispute as expeditiously as possible. The parent or unaccompanied youth shall be given every opportunity to participate meaningfully in the resolution of the dispute. The liaison shall keep records of all disputes in order to determine whether particular issues or schools are repeatedly denying enrollment of children and youth experiencing homelessness.
The parent, unaccompanied youth, or school district may appeal the liaison's decision as provided in the state's dispute resolution process.
Hunger and poor nutrition are obvious barriers to learning. To help ensure that children and youth experiencing homelessness are available for learning, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has determined that all children and youth experiencing homelessness are automatically eligible for free meals. On the day that a child or youth experiencing homelessness enrolls in school, the enrolling school must submit the student's name to the district nutrition office for immediate processing
Children and youth experiencing homelessness are automatically eligible for Title I services, regardless of what school they attend. The trauma and instability of homelessness puts students at sufficient risk of academic regress to warrant additional support. The district shall reserve such funds as necessary to provide services comparable to those provided to Title I students to children and youth experiencing homelessness attending non-participating schools. The amount reserved shall be determined by formula based on the per-pupil Title I expenditure and developed jointly by the liaison and the Title I director. Reserved funds will be used to provide educationally related support services to children and youth experiencing homelessness, both in the school and outside of the school, and to remove barriers that prevent regular attendance.
Our district's Title I plan will be coordinated with our McKinney-Vento services, through collaboration between the Title I director and the liaison. Children and youth experiencing homelessness shall be addressed, reported on and
included in accountability systems, as required by federal law and U.S. Department of Education regulation and guidance.
Services include but are not limited to:
Fees for general education testing such as SAT/ACT
Personal school supplies, such as backpacks
Birth certificates and immunizations as necessary for enrollment
Medical, dental, counseling, outreach and tutoring
The liaison will conduct training and sensitivity/awareness activities for the LEA and school staff at least once a year including the principals, assistance principals, registrars, school secretaries, school counselors, school social workers, bus drivers, custodians, cafeteria workers, school nurses and teachers. The training and activities will be designed to increase staff awareness of homelessness, facilitate immediate enrollment, ensure compliance with this policy, and increase sensitivity to children and youth experiencing homelessness.
The liaison shall also obtain from every school the name and contact information of a building liaison. Building liaisons will lead and coordinate their school's compliance with this policy and will receive training from the district annually.
The liaison will coordinate with and seek support from the State Coordinator for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth, public and private service providers in the community, housing and placement agencies, the pupil transportation department, liaisons in neighboring districts and other organizations and agencies. Both public and private agencies will be encouraged to support the liaison and our schools in implementing this policy.
District Liaison: Robert Green, Federal Programs Director
Monitors compliance regarding the McKinney Vento Act. Maintains state reporting.
Coordinates with school liaisons: ensures monthly reports reflect number of identified students
Verifies that students meet the definition of homelessness for purposes of identification
Coordinates services for services identified as homeless
Ensures that public information regarding reporting homeless students are in locations within the school and community that most likely assist with identification
School Liaisons: Elementary: Lori Williams-Counselor
Middle/High: Jana Clenney- Counselor
Elementary/Middle/High: Amber Hamilton- Social Worker
Receives reports from employees, parents, and community that suspect homelessness
Contacts Federal Programs Director for technical assistance
Sends monthly report to Federal Programs Director
Provides counseling and assists with coordinating services
Employees are to report students that meet the definition whether it is has been confirmed or not to either the Federal Programs Director or school liaisons
Preschool education is a very important element of later academic success. Children experiencing homelessness have experienced many difficulties accessing preschool opportunities. To facilitate preschool enrollment and attendance, the provision of this policy will apply to preschools. Our district will ensure that children experiencing homelessness receive priority enrollment in preschool programs operated by the district, including exempting children experiencing homelessness from waiting lists.
Children experiencing homelessness with disabilities will be referred for preschool services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Children experiencing homelessness under age three will be referred for at-risk services under Part C of IDEA and screened to determine if referrals for additional Part C services are appropriate. This liaison will collaborate with Head Start and other preschool programs to ensure that children experiencing homelessness can access those programs.
Timely identification of homeless children and youths;
Making sure that preschool-aged homeless children have access and receive early childhood supportive services including Head Start & Early Head Start as well as early intervention services under part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
Training, professional development, and adequate staff capacity
Removing enrollment barriers; including fees, fines, and absences
Supporting credit transfer and accrual, college readiness, and transition to post-secondary education
Providing school stability; including transportation until the end of the year, even if a student becomes permanently housed
Protecting the privacy of records, including information about a homeless child or youth’s living situation
Improving the dispute resolution process for decisions related to the educational placement of homeless children and youths
Receive appropriate credit for full or partial course work completed at a previous school
Access to programs included but not limited to: Special Education, English Learners, Gifted, Career & Technical, and school nutrition free programs including timely assessment for eligibility processes
Informed of their status as independent students for financial aid (FAFSA) and receive verification of their status