Policies and Procedures Handbook
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Last Updated: 09/09/2011
Garrett County Board of Education
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HOMELESS

Administrative Procedure

 

I.    Definitions

 

A.    “Child” and “youth” means an individual who is eligible to attend public school or educational programs in Maryland, including:

1.    Pre-kindergarten through 12th grade;

2.    Head Start;

3.    Even Start;

4.    Special education; or

5.    Other programs

           

            B.    “Child awaiting foster care placement” means:

                                    1.    A child placed out of the child’s home pursuant to a shelter care order or a voluntary placement agreement documented by the

                                           Department of Social Services; or

                                    2.    A child committed to the care and custody of the Department of Social Services who is placed into a temporary, short-term placement of not

                                           longer than 90 school days, such as in:

                                                            a.    An emergency or shelter facility;

                                                            b.    A diagnostic center;

                                                            c.    A psychiatric respite facility;

                                                            d.    An emergency foster home; or

                                                            e.    Another temporary, short-term placement.

                                   

            C.    “Enroll” and “enrollment” include attending classes and participating fully in school activities.

 

            D.    “Homeless student” means a child or youth who:

1.    Is eligible to attend Maryland public schools and who lacks a fixed, regular, or adequate nighttime place of residence; and

2.    Includes:

a.    Children and youth 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 lack of alternative adequate accommodations;

        are living in emergency or transitional shelters; are abandoned in hospitals; or are awaiting foster care placement;

b.    Children and youth who have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily

        used as regular sleeping accommodations for individuals;

c.    Children and youth who are living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train

        stations, or similar settings; and

d.    Migratory children (as such term is defined in section 6399 of Title 20) who qualify as homeless for the purposes of this part

        because the children are living in circumstances described in clauses a. through d, and

e.    A child awaiting foster care placement.

 

            E.    “Local school system” means the public school system in which the student is enrolled.

 

            F.    “Parent” or “guardian” means the:

                                     1.    Parent, individual or public agency having legal or lawful physical custody of the homeless student; or

                                     2.    A person or public agency whom guardianship of a child or youth has been given by order of court; or

                                     3.    Homeless student if the student is 18 years old or older and no parent or guardian is available.

 

            G.    “School of origin” means the school that the child or youth attended, when permanently housed or the school in which the child or youth was last enrolled.

 

            H.    “Unaccompanied youth” means a homeless youth not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian.

 

II.    Administration

   

A.    The Garrett County Board of Education has a designated homeless education coordinator who is responsible for ensuring that homeless children and youth enroll in school and receive the educational services for which they are eligible.     The coordinator:

                                   1.    ensures that homeless children and youth are identified by school personnel, are enrolled in, and have a full and equal opportunity to succeed

                                          in schools of that local school system;

2.    coordinates the referrals of homeless children and youth to health care, dental care, mental health services, and other appropriate services;

                        3.    expedites school placement decisions;

                        4.    identifies homeless children, youth, and families in the community;

                        5.    improves the coordination of programs and services to prevent duplication of services;

                                    6.    informs parents or guardians of homeless children and youth of the educational and related opportunities available to their children and are

                                           provided with meaningful opportunities to participate in the education of their children;

            7.    disseminates public notice of the educational rights of homeless children and youths in the schools, community agencies, family shelters,

                   soup kitchens, and organizations where children and youths receive services;

            8.    ensures that the parent or guardian of a homeless child or youth, and any unaccompanied youth is fully informed of all transportation

                   services, including transportation to the school of origin, and is assisted in accessing transportation to the school that is selected, and that

                   enrollment disputes are mediated;

            9.    works with Title I administrators to ensure that Title I services are provided in accordance with the reservation of funds required by

                   McKinney-Vento Act;

           10.   coordinates and collaborates with the State coordinator and community and school personnel responsible for the provision of education and

                   related services to homeless children and youths;

           11.   develops and implements a program to train school personnel on the educational rights of homeless children and youth, policies and

                   procedures to identify and serve homeless children and youth, and on the special needs of homeless children and youth.

            12.    assists unaccompanied homeless youth in the school selection process;

            13.    ensures that enrollment disputes are mediated according to the local school system’s appeal process.

                   

B.        The Garrett County Board of Education will coordinate services for homeless children and youth with the Department of Social Services and other agencies or programs providing services to homeless children and youth and their families; and with other local school systems on interdistrict issues, such as transportation or transfer of school records .

 

C.        The Garrett County Board of Education provides services to each homeless child and youth in its schools that are comparable to services offered to other students in the school determined to be in the child’s or youth’s best interest, including:

                                    1.    Public preschool programs,

2.    Educational programs or services,

3.    Programs in career and technology education,

4.    Special education programs,

5.    Programs for gifted and talented students

6.    Before-school and after-school programs

7.    School meal programs, and

8.    Transportation. 

 

III.    School Placement

 

The Garrett County Board of Education shall enroll each homeless child and youth in the school determined to be in the child’s or youth’s best interest.

 

A.        Each Garrett County School will identify a school employee to serve as the school’s liaison to assist with identifying and advocating for enrolling homeless students in its school.  Training will be completed through the Homeless Coordinator.

 

B.        At the time that a student becomes homeless or a homeless student moves into Garrett County, the Homeless Coordinator should be contacted to determine which Garrett County school would be in the homeless student’s best interest to attend.  This will be determined through consultation with the parent, school principal, PPW, Director of Transportation, and outside agencies if appropriate.  The child or youth may:

 

                     1.    Continue in the school of origin for the duration of homelessness in any case in which a family becomes homeless between academic years or during an academic year; or for the remainder of the academic year if the child or youth becomes permanently housed during the academic year, or

                      2.    Enroll in the school in which non-homeless students who live in the attendance area in which the child or youth is living are eligible to attend.

 

C.        To the extent feasible the Garrett County Board of Education will keep a homeless child or youth in the school of origin, except when doing so is contrary to the wishes of the child’s or youth’s parent or guardian.

 

D.        In determining the school placement that is in the best interest of the homeless student, the  parents, school and central office personnel, and outside agencies if appropriate will consider the following factors:

                      1.    The student’s age,

                      2.    The school which the student’s siblings attend,

                      3.    The student’s experiences at the school of origin,

                      4.    The student’s academic needs,

          5.    Any other special needs of the family,

          6.    The student’s emotional needs,

                      7.    Continuity of instruction,

                      8.    Length of stay in the shelter,

                      9.    The likely location of the family’s future permanent housing,

                     10.   Time remaining in the school year,

                     11.   Distance of commute and other transportation related factors, and

                     12.   The safety of the child.

                                           

E.         The Garrett County Board of Education will provide a written explanation to the homeless child’s or youth’s parent or guardian, including a statement regarding the right to appeal if the school determined is one other than the school of origin or a school requested by the parent or guardian.

 

            F.         In the case of an unaccompanied youth, the homeless coordinator will assist in the placement or enrollment decisions , consider the view of the youth and provide notice of the right to appeal.

                                           

            G.        The child or youth will be permitted to remain in the school selected in accordance with the choices identified above for as long as the child or youth

                        remains homeless or if the child or youth becomes permanently housed, until the end of the academic year.

 

            H.        Homeless students living separately from their parents shall be offered the same school choice options as other homeless students are offered.

 

IV.    Enrollment

 

A.         No Garrett County school will deny enrollment to a student solely because the student is living in a shelter, lacks a permanent residence, or is otherwise homeless.

 

B.         The school selected shall immediately enroll the homeless child or youth, even if the child or youth is unable to produce records normally required for enrollment, such as previous academic records, medical records, proof of residency, or other documentation.  

 

           C.        When a homeless child or youth attempts to enroll in a school and notifies the school that he or she is homeless and that he or she does not have appropriate transfer or medical documentation, it will be the responsibility of the receiving school to:

         1.    Immediately enroll the child and

                                 2.    If the child or youth needs to obtain immunizations, or immunization or medical records, the enrolling school shall immediately refer the parent

                                        or guardian of the child or youth to the homeless coordinator, who shall assist in obtaining necessary immunizations, or medical records.

 

            D.       The school may not bar enrollment of the homeless child until it has made diligent effort to assist the parent in obtaining necessary immunizations or records of prior immunization.

 

            E.         Homeless students very often leave schools without officially transferring and obtaining a Maryland Transfer Card or educational records.   

                     1.    The school where the student is seeking to enroll will: 

                                                       a.    Immediately enroll the student

                               b.    Immediately call the former school for transfer information and relevant academic and other records.

       c.    Provide appropriate special education and related services as soon as possible, if the student is a student with disabilities.

         2.         Upon request for information regarding a homeless student, the former school will:

                               a.    Provide information by telephone

                               b.    Forward records for the homeless student to the receiving school in a timely manner

 

D.        A homeless student may return to his/her former school or transfer to a new school within the same academic year.  If this happens, place on re-entry or transfer status.  School administrative personnel should contact the previous school by telephone to request the student’s records and discuss educational placement.  Student records should be forwarded in a timely manner.

 

V.    Student Withdrawals

 

Homeless students may leave school prior to graduation and without officially transferring.   If this happens, schools should follow established procedures for student withdrawal.

 

VI.    Transportation

 

A.        The Garrett County Board of Education will provide homeless children and youth with transportation services comparable to the services provided to non-homeless students attending the school that is determined to be in the best interest of the homeless student.  Students and parents will be notified of the availability of transportation services, if these services are necessary for the homeless student to attend the school which is in the student’s best interest. 

 

B.        If the student requires transportation to attend the school that is determined to be in the student’s best interest, transportation will be provided as long as the child or youth attends the school of origin and remains homeless, or until the end of the current school year if the child becomes permanently housed during the school year.    If the homeless child or youth no longer resides in the area served by the Garrett County Board of Education school of origin and the child or youth, though continuing education in the school of origin, begins living in an area served by another local school system:

 

                      1.       The Garrett County Board of Education and the local school system in which the homeless child or youth is living shall agree

                                upon a method to apportion the responsibility and costs for providing the child with transportation to and from the school of origin; and

                      2.        If the Garrett County Board of Education and the school system in which the child resides are unable to agree upon a method, the

                                responsibility and costs for transportation will be shared equally.

 

VII.    Dispute Resolution Process

 

A.        When a dispute arises regarding the provision of services to homeless children under the McKinney Homeless Assistance Act, any parent or guardian may initiate a grievance at the school which has allegedly violated the provision of the McKinney Homeless Assistance Act.

                      1.    Upon receipt of a written complaint from the parent of a homeless student, or an unaccompanied homeless youth, the principal  shall

                             attempt to resolve the dispute within 5 school days;

                      2.    Parents or guardians, or an unaccompanied homeless youth must be provided with a written explanation of the school’s decision

    of the dispute, including the right to appeal.

                      3.   If the principal is unable to resolve the dispute to the satisfaction of the parent or guardian, or if the principal does not issue a

                            decision within 5 days, the parent may file a written complaint with the local superintendent;

                       4.   The local superintendent shall issue a decision within 10 day school days;

                       5.   If the local superintendent does not issue a decision within 10 days, or if the parent is dissatisfied with the decision, the parent may

                             appeal the decision to the local board, in writing, within 30 days;

                       6.   The local board shall decide the appeal on an expedited basis within 45 days of receipt of the appeal; and

                       7.   If the parent is dissatisfied with the decision of the local board, the parent may appeal the decision to the State board, in writing,within 30

                             days.

                       

B.        During the dispute resolution process, including any appeals, the student shall remain enrolled in the school system.

 

C.        If a dispute arises over school selection or enrollment:

                                   1.    The child or youth shall be immediately admitted to the school in which enrollment is sought, pending resolution of the dispute;

                                   2.    The child or youth shall be provided transportation to the parent-selected school for the duration of the dispute resolution process,

                                   3.    The parent or guardian of the child or youth shall be provided with a written explanation of the school’s decision regarding school selection or

                                          enrollment, including the rights of the parent, guardian, or youth to appeal the decision;

                                   4.    The child, youth, parent, or guardian shall be referred to the homeless coordinator who shall assist to carry out the dispute resolution process

                                          as expeditiously as possible after receiving notice of the dispute; and

                                   5.    In the case of an unaccompanied youth, the homeless coordinator shall ensure that the youth is immediately enrolled in school pending

                                          resolution of the dispute.

 

 

COMAR 13A.05.09

Authority Education Article,   2-205 and 7-301, Annotated Code of Maryland

 

McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act

as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001(PL 107-10)

 


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Pupil Services 431.23 
Adopted  11/14/00

Revised 10/05/04
, 10/14/08, 08/09/11