Educational Rights of Homeless Students
The federal law known as the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act requires that states and school districts eliminate barriers to immediate school enrollment for students experiencing homelessness ensuring each child of a homeless individual or a homeless youth has equal access to the same free, appropriate public education, as provided to other children and youth (42 U.S.C. $ 11431).
Homeless Students are Entitled To:
- Immediate enrollment
- Support from teachers
- Information on available resources outside of school
- Remain enrolled at ECCS despite changes in living location
- Help from ECCS with basic school supplies or basic high school graduation needs and expenses
- Equal opportunities for school success
Who are Homeless?
“Homeless” is defined as “anyone lacking a fixed, adequate, regular night–time residence.”
- Are you staying in the home of someone else because you do not have available housing, have a financial hardship, or something similar?
- Are you living in a motel, hotel, trailer park, public spaces, or camping grounds due to a lack of alternative adequate accommodations?
- Are living in emergency or transitional shelters or housing?
- Are you not living in the direct care of a legal parent or guardian?
- Are you considered a runaway child or youth?
- Are you a migrant or refugee child or youth?
If you can answer yes to any of the questions above, you meet the definition of homeless. Please contact the Liaison for Homeless Students for assistance.
Identification of Homeless Students
Homeless students are identified at ECCS in multiple ways. Families can indicate their living situation through the registration process or alert the ECCS Homeless Liaison (contact info below) if they experience changes in their living status. ECCS strives to support our students by promoting school stability and connecting students and families with the resources they need for academic success.
More Information for Homeless Children and Youth Living in Pennsylvania
Visit the PA Education for Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness website.
ECCS Liaison for Homeless Students
The McKinney-Vento Act requires that schools designate a staff person as the local educational agency liaison for homeless children and youth.
To request more information or to identify a student as homeless, please contact the ECCS Homeless Liaison:
Jose A. De Jesus Gonzalez, Social Worker (DSD)
Enrollment at ECCS
Homeless children and youth are immediately enrolled in ECCS and provided an individual orientation if the next regularly scheduled orientation date is more than two days away. If the parent or guardian does not have enrollment documents, such as valid ID, birth certificate, transcripts, health records, etc., ECCS assists the student with retrieving documents by sending a record request to the student(s) former school. If you have requested documents for enrollment, please provide them at the time of application.
After School Tutoring, and After School Clubs
The after-school tutoring program and after-school clubs provide a variety of academic, cultural, and social activities to students in grades K-12. The program consists of classes and activities reinforcing the school’s curriculum. Classes can include but are not limited to instruction in basic math and reading, writing, literature and grammar, life skills, and tutoring support in other content areas.
Tutoring days are decided upon weekly tutoring session availability. In the past, many tutors have offered times between 3:30 pm – 6:00 pm, but other times can be considered as well.
After School Clubs are held throughout the school year on various days of the week from 3 PM-4 PM and could include topics such as:
- Art Club
- Anime Club
- Gaming Club
- Robotics Club
- Pride Club
- Music Club
- Spanish Club
- Gaming Club
- Elementary Club (grades k-2 and 3-5)
Educational Rights of Homeless Students
Privacy and Homelessness
FAQ on Education Rights of Children and Youth in Homeless Situations
Non-Regulatory Guidance: Ensuring Educational Stability for Children in Foster Care
- Identify homeless children and youth with assistance from school personnel and by coordinating activities with other entities and agencies.
- Inform parents or guardians of educational rights and related opportunities available to their children.
- Mediate enrollment disputes in accordance with the Enrollment Dispute section.
- Inform the parent or guardian of a homeless child, youth, and any unaccompanied youth, of all transportation options to required testing if transportation costs are an issue for identified McKinney-Vento students.
- Ensure that unaccompanied youth are immediately enrolled in school pending resolution of disputes that might arise over school enrollment or placement.
- Assist children and youth who do not have documentation of immunizations or medical records to obtain necessary immunizations or necessary medical documentation.
- Understand the guidance issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) for the education of homeless students and be ready to explain the BEC (Basic Education Circular) related to homeless education to school district staff.
- Get to know the best resources in their community to assist families with referrals for things such as shelter, counseling, food, and transportation.
- Distribute information on the subject of homeless students and arrange staff development workshops and presentations for school personnel, including office staff.
- Become familiar with the various program materials that are available from PDE.
- Ensure that homeless youth who have or may have disabilities have a parent or a surrogate parent to make special education or early intervention decisions. In the case of unaccompanied homeless youth, if a student is disabled or maybe disabled and the youth does not have a person authorized to make special education decisions, the School will work with the following people as temporary surrogate parents: staff in emergency shelters; transitional shelters; independent living programs; street outreach programs; and state, local educational agency or child welfare agency staff involved in the education or care of the child. This rule applies only to unaccompanied homeless youth.
- Identify unaccompanied homeless youth while respecting their privacy and dignity by providing specific outreach to areas where eligible students who are out of school may congregate.
- Ensure that unaccompanied youth have opportunities to meet the same challenging state academic standards as the state establishes for other children and youth.