Tips for School Administrators
School Administrators: Tips for Ensuring Educational Access and Success for Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness
- Be familiar with common characteristics of children and youth who are homeless. Common signals are attendance at several schools, poor hygiene, gaps in learning, transportation problems, poor health nutrition, and a lack of preparedness for class.
- Welcome the student and their family and let them know that the school is a safe and secure place
- Make sure the student enrolls in your school’s free meal program. Homeless students are automatically eligible for free school meals. Learn more.
- Ensure that the student has every opportunity that a non-homeless student has for participation in after school activities and in-school programs.
- Inform parents about their child educational rights.
- Know your attendance zone, visit shelters to make contact with the shelter director, and reinforce that students will find the school safe and supportive.
- Hold school meetings such as PTA meeting, in neighborhood centers to increase accessibility of homeless parents to school events.
- Provide city bus tokens or other transportation assistance to get parents to school for conferences, school events, or PTA meetings.
- Encourage parents to volunteer. Discuss their interests and offer suggestions that allow them to use their expertise. Many parents will help if invited to do so.
- Support the school staff as they work with the student.
- Contact the school district’s local homeless education liaison for additional support.
- Show that you care about the student!