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Education for Homeless Children/Students in Transition

Adopted August 20, 2018

A California charter school is a public school by California statute. (California Education Code sections 47600–47604.5)

An independent charter school is a public school created by parents, teachers, community members or charter management organizations and operates independently from the surrounding school district.

A direct-funded charter school receives its state funding directly instead of having it dispersed to the local educational agency that granted its charter (California Education Code section 47651(a)(1)-(2))

The McKinney-Vento Act applies to all public schools. (42 USC 11431 (1))

The McKinney-Vento Act defines a local educational agency (LEAs) as public school districts, charter schools, (independent, dependent, direct-funded, and locally funded), and county offices of education. (42 USC 11434a (3))

Definitions

Homeless means students who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence and includes: (42 USC 11434a)

  1. Children and youths who are sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason; are living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative adequate accommodations; are living in emergency or transitional shelters; are abandoned in hospitals; or are awaiting foster care placement

(cf. 6173.1 - Education for Foster Youth)

  1. Children and youths who have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as regular sleeping accommodations for human beings
  2. Children and youths who are living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings
  3. Migratory children who qualify as homeless because the children are living in conditions described in (1)-(3) above

School of origin means the school that the student attended when permanently housed or the school in which the student was last enrolled. (42 USC 11432)

Best interest means, to the extent feasible, continuing a student's enrollment in the school of origin for the duration of his/her homelessness, except when doing so is contrary to the wishes of his/her parent/guardian. (42 USC 11432)

Unaccompanied youth means a youth not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian. (42 USC 11434(a))

School Liaison

The Executive Director designates the following staff person as the school liaison for homeless students: (42 USC 11432)

Beverly Harris, Parent Support

2000 W. Briggsmore Avenue, Ste. A Modesto, CA 95350

Phone: (209) 543-7803

The School’s liaison for homeless students shall ensure that: (42 USC 11432)

  1. Homeless students are identified by school personnel and through coordinated activities with other entities and agencies

(cf. 1400 - Relations between Other Governmental Agencies and the Schools) (cf. 5141.6 - Student Health and Social Services)

(cf. 3553- Free and Reduced – Priced Meals)

  1. Homeless students enroll in, and have a full and equal opportunity to succeed in, district schools
  2. Homeless families and students receive educational services for which they are eligible including referrals to health care services, dental services, mental health services, and other appropriate services
  3. Parents/guardians are informed of the educational and related opportunities available to their children and are provided with meaningful opportunities to participate in the education of their children
  4. Notice of the educational rights of homeless children is disseminated at places where children receive services, such as schools, shelters, and soup kitchens
  5. Enrollment disputes are mediated in accordance with state and federal law, Governing Board policy, and administrative regulation
  6. Parents/guardians are fully informed of all transportation services (cf. 3250 - Transportation Fees)

(cf. 3541 - Transportation Routes and Services)

School Selection

Homeless students have a right to select from the following schools: (42 USC 11432(g)(3)(A))

  • The school he/she attended when permanently housed (School of Origin)
  • The school in which he/she was last enrolled (School of Origin)
  • The school in the attendance area in which the student currently resides (School of Residency)

A homeless child or youth’s right to attend their school of origin extends for the duration of homelessness. If a child or youth becomes homeless between academic years or during an academic year, he or she is entitled to attend their school of origin. If a child or youth becomes permanently housed during the academic year, he or she is entitled to stay in the school of origin for the remainder of the academic year. (42 USC 11432(g)(3)(A)(i))

Charter school enrollment policies, including enrollment caps, may not be used override a homeless student’s right to continue his or her education in the school of origin (42 USC 11432(g)(3)(A)(i))

Enrollment

Connecting Waters Charter Schools is an independent charter school, and therefore a school of choice rather than an assigned district school. School enrollment and placement decisions are based on parent/guardian’s request through the application process. Homeless children and youth will not be discriminated against in the application process.

 

Connecting Waters Charter Schools shall immediately admit/enroll a homeless child or youth (subject to the school’s capacity) even if the parent/guardian is unable to provide the school with the records normally required such as previous academic records, birth certificate, medical records, proof of residency, or other documentation (42 USC 11432 (g)(3)(C)(i)). The charter school administrator or designee shall immediately contact the school last attended by the student to obtain the relevant records (42 USC 11432 (g)(3)(C)(ii)).  If the student needs to obtain any immunizations or does not possess immunization or other medical records, the charter school administrator or designee shall refer the parent/guardian or unaccompanied youth to the homeless liaison. The homeless liaison shall assist the parent/guardian or unaccompanied youth in obtaining the necessary immunizations or records for the student. (42 USC 11432 (g)(3)(C)(iii))

School placement decisions for homeless students shall be based on the student's best interest. In determining a student's best interest, a homeless student shall, to the extent feasible, be placed in his/her school of origin, unless his/her parent/guardian requests otherwise. (42 USC 11432 (g)(3)(A)-(B))

When making a placement decision, the Executive Director or designee may consider the age of the student, the distance of the commute and the impact it may have on the student's education, personal safety issues, the student's need for special instruction, the length of anticipated stay in the temporary shelter or other temporary location, likely area of future housing, school placement of siblings, and the time remaining in the school year.

In the case of an unaccompanied youth, CWCS's homeless liaison shall assist in placement or enrollment decisions, consider the views of the student, and provide notice to the student of his/ her appeal rights. (42 USC 11432 (g)(3)(B)(iii))

If the student is placed at a school other than his/her school of origin or the school requested by his/her parent/guardian, the Executive Director or designee shall provide the parent/guardian with a written explanation of the decision along with a statement regarding the parent/guardian's right to appeal the placement decision. (42 USC 11432 (g)(3)(E)(ii))

Once a placement decision has been made, the Executive Director or designee shall immediately enroll the student in the school of choice, even if the parent/guardian is unable to provide the school with the records normally required for enrollment. (42 USC 11432 (g)(3)(C)(i))

(cf. 5111.13 - Residency for Homeless Children) (cf. 5125 - Student Records)

(cf. 5141.31 - Immunizations)

Enrollment Dispute Resolution Process

If a dispute arises over school enrollment, the student shall be immediately admitted to the school in which enrollment is sought, pending resolution of the dispute. (42 USC 11432 (g)(3)(E)(i))

 

The parent/guardian or unaccompanied youth shall be provided with a written explanation of the placement decision, including an explanation of the parent/guardian's or unaccompanied youth’s right to appeal the decision according to the state’s enrollment dispute resolution process. (42 USC 11432 (g)(3)(E)(ii)).  The parent/guardian or unaccompanied youth shall also be referred to the charter school’s homeless liaison. (42 USC 11432 (g)(3)(E)(iii))

 

If the parent/guardian or unaccompanied youth disagrees with the school enrollment decision, he/she may appeal the decision to the county office of education (COE). The child/youth must be immediately enrolled in the school in which he/she is seeking enrollment, pending resolution of the dispute. [PLC 107-110, Section 722(g)(3)(E)(iv)]

 

The school must refer the parent/guardian or unaccompanied youth to the charter school’s homeless liaison to carry out the dispute resolution process as expeditiously as possible.

 

The liaison shall provide the parent/guardian or unaccompanied youth a copy of the School’s decision, dispute form, and a copy of the outcome of the dispute.

If a parent/guardian or unaccompanied youth disagrees with the liaison's enrollment decision, he/she may appeal the decision to the Executive Director. The Executive Director shall make a determination within five school days.

If the parent/guardian or unaccompanied youth wishes to appeal the School’s placement

decision, the School’s liaison shall forward all written documentation and related paperwork to the homeless liaison at the county office of education.

 

A written explanation of the school’s decision regarding school enrollment must be provided if a parent/guardian or unaccompanied youth disputes an enrollment decision, including the right to appeal [PLC 107-110, Section §722(g)(3)(E)(ii)] A written explanation shall be complete, as brief as possible, simply stated and provided in language that the parent/guardian or unaccompanied youth can understand. The explanation may include contact information for the School liaison, a description of the School’s decision, notice of the right to enroll in the school of choice pending resolution of the dispute, notice that enrollment includes full participation in all school required academics, and notice of the right to appeal the decision to the county office of education and, if the dispute remains unresolved, to the California Department of Education.