Homeless Education

  • The McKinney-­Vento Homeless Assistance Act is a federal law developed to ensure immediate enrollment and educational stability for homeless children and youth. Woodland ​​District 50 is committed to ensuring all students have access to the same free, appropriate public education, including preschool education, as other children and youth. The McKinney-Vento Act seeks to remove any barriers created by other laws, regulations, practices, and policies that may prevent children experiencing homelessness from receiving the same educational experience as all other students. Section 725(2) of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act defines “homeless children and youths” as individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence. 

    The term includes—

    • Children and youth who are: 
      • sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason (sometimes referred to as “doubled-up”); 
      • living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to lack of alternative adequate accommodations; 
      • living in emergency or transitional shelters; or
      • abandoned in hospitals;  
    • Children and youth who have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for, or ordinarily used as, a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings;  
    • Children and youth who are living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings; and  
    • Migratory children who qualify as homeless because they are living in circumstances described above.

    The McKinney-Vento Act also requires that: 

    • homeless students who move have the right to remain in their schools of origin (i.e., the school the student attended when permanently housed or in which the student was last enrolled, which includes preschools) if that is in the student’s best interest; 
    • if it is in the student’s best interest to change schools, homeless students must be immediately enrolled in a new school, even if they do not have the records normally required for enrollment; 
    • transportation must be provided to or from a student’s school of origin, at the request of a parent, guardian, or, in the case of an unaccompanied youth, the local liaison; 
    • homeless students must have access to all programs and services for which they are eligible, including special education services, preschool, school nutrition programs, language assistance for English learners, career and technical education, gifted and talented programs, magnet schools, charter schools, summer learning, online learning, and before- and afterschool care; 
    • unaccompanied youths must be accorded specific protections, including immediate enrollment in school without proof of guardianship; and 
    • parents, guardians, and unaccompanied youths have the right to dispute an eligibility, school selection, or enrollment decision. 

    Further information regarding the educational rights of homeless students may be obtained by contacting the District’s McKinney-Vento Liaison:Dr. Lanée Walls, Associate Superintendent of Educational Services at 847-596-5634.