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Supporting the Educational Needs of Homeless and Highly Mobile Students NASP 2008 Jessica L. Murray & Erin M. Ramsey College of William and Mary Agenda Statistics about Homelessness and Mobility Exploring the Definitions (McKinney- Vento legislation) Possible Causes and Signs of Homelessness Academic Impact Strategies for Serving the Population Overview of Resources Discussion/ Questions Think about it… What does “homeless” mean? Who is considered to be “homeless”? Statistics At least 1.35 million children are homeless during a year's time, 39% of the overall homeless population. At least 10% of American children living in poverty, and 2% of all American children, will experience homelessness over the course of a year. Over 40% of children who are homeless are under the age of 5. Statistics Poor families move 50% to 100% more often than non-poor families. In urban schools, the turnover for students ranges between 40% and 80% each year. Frequent school changes have been correlated with lower academic achievement. McKinney-Vento Legislation McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Improvements Act of 2001, Title X, Part C, of the No Child Left Behind Act. Requires educational access, attendance, and success for children and youth experiencing homelessness Outlines responsibilities for liaisons Provides definition of “homeless” Who is your state coordinator? Local liaison? Who are Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness? Anyone who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence, including : Sharing housing due to loss or hardship Living in motels, hotels, trailer homes, camp- grounds, emergency or transitional shelters, abandoned in hospitals, awaiting foster care Living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations Unaccompanied youth Migratory children who qualify because of living situation Purpose of the Act To eliminate the barriers To ensure academic success by allowing students to remain in one school To guarantee access to ALL appropriate educational activities and services Title I and Homelessness Students experiencing homelessness automatically qualify to receive Title I, Part A services Even if not enrolled in a Title I school Even if they don’t meet academic standards required of other children for eligibility Services may be provided outside of school Accountability Assessments Students experiencing homelessness are included in state-wide assessments District andstate level Provide information regarding how schools are serving students who are homeless Influence policy and programs Determine the effectiveness of programs that serve students What is High Mobility? “Highly mobile” refers to students who make 6 or more moves during their K-12 education (not including scheduled transitions). This includes children of migrant workers, military personnel, corporate executives, immigrants, families experiencing domestic violence or homelessness, and other unstable work/home situations related to high poverty. Possible Causes of Homelessness Poverty/ Underemployment Domestic Violence/ Abuse Substance Abuse Illness/ Mental Illness Natural Disaster Abandonment Lack of Affordable Housing Signs of Potential Homelessness Attendance at multiple schools Excessive absences or tardiness Sleeping in class Hunger and hoarding food Poor hygiene and grooming Inadequate or inappropriate clothing for the weather Unprepared for class/ Disorganized Disruptive behavior Impact of Homelessness Absenteeism is greater Developmental delays identified at four times the rate of other children Learning disabilities identified at two times the rate of other children Twice as likely to repeat a grade How School Psychologists Can Help Identifying Homelessness Review student record Look for potential signs of homelessness Listen for key phrases Contact local liaison Ensure parents/guardians are aware of student’s educational rights How School Psychologists Can Help Providing Services Connect family with services in the community Provide counseling and support services as needed Consult with teachers How School Psychologists Can Help Encouraging the use of Interventions Classroom interventions Mentors, tutoring School counselors Consult special education team Behavior management interventions How School Psychologists Can Help Servingstudents with disabilities who are also experiencing homelessness Process referrals as quickly as possible Continue assessments that may have begun prior to school transition “Lack of instruction” is not grounds to refuse to evaluate a student; it must be considered as part of the evaluation process (SLD) or part of the eligibility determination. Strategies to Keep in Mind When Consulting with Teachers Fostering positive peer relationships: Cooperative learning activities Assign a welcome buddy Activities to promote acceptance of diversity Maintain relationship with the student after he or she leaves Strategies to Keep in Mind When Consulting with Teachers Addressing lack continuity in education Plan for the next transition Assess present academic levels quickly Remediation or tutoring High academic expectations* Contact previous school Expedite referrals or services Remind parents to keep copies of educational records Strategies to Keep in Mind When Consulting with Teachers Handling lack of preparation: Provide school supplies Allow the child to have a “job” Avoid the removal of student possessions Share sets of texts with the local shelter Strategies to Keep in Mind When Consulting with Teachers Addressing high levels of depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem: Reinforce positive behaviors Teach and model important life skills Support and recognize accomplishments Increase frequency of earned reinforcement Maintain privacy of the child’s circumstances Appreciate and value the student Request services of other school personnel Provide stability in the classroom Strategies to Keep in Mind When Consulting with Teachers Being aware of noisy and chaotic home environments: Provide quiettime Have a “new student packet” Allow student to do homework at school Provide personal space Have a “safe place” for belongings Strategies to Keep in Mind When Consulting with Teachers Addressing parent concerns: Make parents feel they are a valuable part of their child’s education Provide parents with assessment results Provide a support system Assist in accessing resources Help parents become familiar with resources available in the school and the community Strategies to Keep in Mind When Consulting with Teachers Easing transitions to new schools Allow peers to write letters Prepare a “goodbye” book Provide the student with a calling card Maintain contact via e-mail Write a letter to the student’s new teacher Create a list of similarities shared by the schools Reflect on This Statement If you only had a child for A day, A week, or A month: What would you want to leave with him/her? National Resources NCHE– National Center for Homeless Education at SERVE www.serve.org/nche NAEHCY- National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth www.naehcy.org NLCHP- National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty www.nlchp.org USDE- United States Department of Education www.ed.gov/programs/homeless/index.html State Resources Project HOPE-Virginia www.wm.edu/hope Find your state coordinator http://www.serve.org/nche/states/state_res ources.php Local Resources Homeless liaison Local shelter/ transitional programs Community agencies References Driver, B.L., & Spady P.M. (2004, Winter). What educators can do: Children and youth experiencing homelessness. (Information brief No. 2, Revised). Williamsburg, VA: Project HOPE-Virginia. Duffield, B., Heybach, L.M., & Julianelle, P.F. (2002). Educating children without housing: A primer on legal requirements and implementation strategies for educators, advocates, and policymakers. Chicago: American Bar Association. Gargiulo, R. M. (2006). Homeless and disabled: Rights, responsibilities, and recommendations for serving young people with special needs. Early Childhood Education Journal, 33(5), 357-362. Michigan Public Policy Initiative. (2001). Spotlight on applied research: Families on the move. Retrieved June 18, 2001 from http://www.icyf.msu.edu/publicats/mobility/mobility.html Myers, M., & Popp, P. A. (2003, Fall). Unlocking potential! What educators need to know about homelessness and special education. (Information brief No. 7). Williamsburg, VA: Project HOPE-Virginia. Pierce, L., & Ahearn, E. (2007, March). Highly mobile children and youth with disabilities: Policies and practices in five states. Alexandria, VA: Project FORUM at National Association for Stated Directors of Special Education. Popp, P.A. (2004, Winter). Tips for supporting mobile students. (Information brief No. 4, Revised). Williamsburg, VA: Project HOPE- Virginia. Popp, P.A. (2005, Fall). Questions and answers on homeless education. (Information brief No. 5, Revised). Williamsburg, VA: Project HOPE-Virginia. Popp, P.A., Stronge. J.H., & Hindman, J.L. (2003). Students on the move: Reaching and teaching highly mobile children and youth. Greensboro, NC: National Center for Homeless Education at SERVE. Reed-Victor, E., Popp, P.A., & Myers, M. (2003, Fall). Using the best that we know: Supporting young children experiencing homelessness. (Information brief No. 9). Williamsburg, VA: Project HOPE-Virginia. Stronge, J.H. (Ed.). (1992). Educating homeless children and youth: Evaluating policy and practice. Newbury Park, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc. Stronge, J.H., & Reed-Victor, E. (Eds.). (2000). Educating homeless students: Promising practices. Larchmont, NY: Eye on Education, Inc. United States General Accounting Office. (1994). Elementary school children: Many changes in schools frequently harming their education (GAO-HEHS-94-95). Washington DC. 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