Changes to Homeless Student Rules under ESSA— First Reading of Policies
The McKinney-Vento Act's Education for Homeless Children and Youth (EHCY) program and Title I Part A provide students experiencing homelessness with protections and services to ensure they can enroll in and attend school, complete their high school education, and continue on to higher education — their best hope of avoiding poverty and homelessness as adults. The “Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015,” (ESSA), strengthens and improves these programs and the education of over 1.3 million children and youth experiencing homelessness, from early childhood through high school graduation.
The amendments to the McKinney-Vento Act went into effect on October 1, 2016. The educational stability amendments for children in foster care go into effect on December 10, 2016. The homelessness amendments to Title I, Part A will take effect after the 2016-2017 academic year. These changes require adjustments to current policy to ensure we comply.
Assistant Superintendent and McKinney-Vento Liason, Asha Riley has reviewed and proposed revisions to policy 3115 that will ensure our policy aligns with the recent changes to the McKinney-Vento Act. The recent changes to the law ensure homeless and migrant children have the following supports:
- Immediate enrollment in school
- Transportation to their school of origin (the school they attended before experiencing homelessness)
- Access district services for which they are eligible (including special services and the nutrition program)
The law also added language around students awaiting placement in foster care. The McKinney-Vento Act draws a distinction between children and youth who are “in” foster care, and those who are “awaiting” foster care. Washington State defines "awaiting" foster care as the period of time between the initial placement of the child into state care and the 30-day shelter care hearing. Children awaiting placement in foster care are identified as homeless.
Also presented for consideration is an adjustment to policy 2410 that will ensure students who are identified as homeless receive appropriate partial credits. There is added language in the policy that explicitly gives homeless students opportunity to earn partial credits in increments of .125 in classes in which they were enrolled.