Homeless Children & Youth ( McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Act)
McKinney-Vento Homeless Education
To the extent practical and as required by law, Norwell Public Schools will work with students experiencing homelessness and their families to provide stability in school attendance and other services. Special attention will be given to ensuring the enrollment and attendance of students experiencing homelessness not currently attending school. Students experiencing homelessness will be provided district services for which they are eligible, including Head Start and comparable pre-school programs, Title I, similar state programs, special education, English Language Learning services, vocational and technical education programs, and school nutrition programs.McKinney-Vento District Contact:Michele HendersonDistrict Social WorkerNorwell Public Schools322 Main StreetNorwell, MA 02061Phone: 781-659-8800Fax: 781-659-8805
Who qualifies as a "homeless student"?
The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has adopted the following definition of homeless children and youth: Students experiencing homelessness are defined as lacking a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence, including:
- Sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing or economic hardship;
- Living in motels, hotels, trailer parks or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative adequate accommodations;
- Living in emergency or transitional shelters;
- Being abandoned in hospitals;
- Living in public or private places not designed for or ordinarily used as regular sleeping accommodations for human beings;
- Living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, transportation stations or similar settings;
- Migratory children living in conditions described in the previous examples.
It shall be the role of the District Social Worker, in collaboration with the Office of Instruction, to serve as the district’s liaison for students experiencing homelessness and their families.
To the extent feasible, students experiencing homelessness will continue to be enrolled in their school of origin while they remain homeless or until the end of the academic year in which they obtain permanent housing. Instead of remaining in the school of origin, parents or guardians of students experiencing homelessness may request enrollment in the school in the attendance area in which the student is actually living, or other schools. Attendance rights by living in attendance areas, other student assignment policies, or intra and inter-district choice options are available to families experiencing homelessness on the same terms as families resident in the district.
Once the enrollment decision is made, the school shall immediately enroll the student, pursuant to district policies. If the student does not have immediate access to immunization records, the student shall be admitted under a personal exception. Students and families should be encouraged to obtain current immunization records or immunizations as soon as possible, and the district liaison is directed to assist. Records from the student’s previous school shall be requested from the previous school pursuant to district policies. Emergency contact information is required at the time of enrollment consistent with district policies, including compliance with the state’s address confidentiality program when necessary.
Students experiencing homelessness are entitled to transportation to their school of origin or the school where they are to be enrolled. If the school of origin is in a different district, or if a student experiencing homelessness is living in another district but will attend his or her school of origin in this district, the districts will coordinate the transportation services necessary for the student, or will divide the costs equally.
The district’s liaison for students experiencing homelessness and their families shall coordinate with local social service agencies that provide services to homeless children and youths and their families; other school districts on issues of transportation and records transfers; and state and local housing agencies responsible for comprehensive housing affordability strategies. This coordination includes providing public notice of the educational rights of students experiencing homelessness in schools, family shelters, and soup kitchens. The district’s liaison will also review and recommend amendments to district policies that may act as barriers to the enrollment of homeless students.