Homeless Students Receive Support
November 7, 2007
McKinney Program Connects Homeless Students to Community Resources
Homeless children often face academic and social challenges as a result of the upheaval of school routines and friendships. Poudre School District’s McKinney Homeless Program provides these students with support and services to help keep them in school.
November has been designated as National Homeless Youth Awareness Month to increase awareness of the issues facing homeless and runaway youth.
In PSD, the McKinney program serves approximately 600 homeless students each year, coordinating transportation services, arranging meal benefits, and linking these students to community resources. The goal of the program is to decrease the dropout rate among homeless students.
“We want to make sure high school students are as on track as possible,” says Jan DeLay, PSD coordinator of Title 1 and the McKinney Homeless program. “We want these kids to graduate.”
PSD provides homeless students with a continuum of services tailored to the ages of the children including family and early childhood supplemental services for preschoolers; individual tutoring for elementary-aged children; and mentoring, clubs and after-school academic support for junior high and high school students.
In addition, paraprofessionals at nine elementary schools, who provide academic and mentoring services to students, are advocates for homeless children at the building and school community levels.
“Sometimes the paraprofessionals work with the students doing one-on-one tutoring. We want to make sure they don’t fall behind. Sometimes they connect with students just to check in and see how they’re doing,” DeLay said.
During the 2006-07 school year, PSD served 585 homeless children including 110 preschoolers, 297 elementary students, 84 junior high students, and 94 high schools students. The living conditions of students include: doubled up (living with another family), 412 students or 68.3%; unaccompanied youth, 49 or 8.1%; motel, 15 or 2.5%; Mission shelter, 10 or 1.7%; car or camp, 5 or 0.8%.
The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, originally signed into law in 1987, was reauthorized in 2002 as Title X of No Child Left Behind. The act guarantees equal access to public education to children and youth experiencing homelessness. Every school district must have a local liaison to help identify, enroll and link homeless students to services.
For more information about the McKinney program, contact DeLay at 490-3219.