The 2002 reauthorization of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, a part of No Child Left Behind legislation, mandates school districts to remove all barriers to the educational process for children experiencing homelessness. Title I of the Omaha Public Schools, with the help of funding from McKinney-Vento, coordinates the assistance needed to help further these students' education and facilitate graduation.
The following assistance is required by McKinney-Vento:
School selection-School districts must maintain enrollment for students who are in homeless situations in their school of origin, unless it is against the wishes of the parents or guardians. Students may remain in their school of origin the entire time they are homeless and until the end of any academic year in which they move into permanent housing.
Enrollment-School districts must immediately enroll students who are in homeless situations, even if they do not have required documents, such as school records, medical records, proof of residency, or other mandatory documents.
Transportation-At a parent's or guardian's request, students who are experiencing homelessness must be provided with transportation to and from their school of origin.
Free lunch-Students who are experiencing homelessness automatically qualify for free lunch status. Immediate eligibility is granted-no formal application is necessary. Free lunch status may be initiated by contacting the Title I Office.
To comply with these requirements, Title I of the Omaha Public Schools provides and coordinates enrollment, tutoring, mentoring, and employment services. It also contributes supplies and equipment ranging from paper and writing utensils to computers and educational software. Free lunch as well as transportation to their school of origin is also provided to students experiencing homelessness. The OPS Title I office works with local area shelters and social agencies to provide personnel to help deliver these essential services.
Homeless educational services in the Omaha Public School District may be requested by contacting:
John J. Bright
Title I Homeless Education Coordinator/
Omaha Public Schools
Further information on the McKinney-Vento Act may be found on the National Center for Homeless Education Web site at http://www.naehcy.org.
Who are "Homeless Children"?
The term "homeless children and youth" refers to individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence. This may include:
•Children living in hotels, motels, campgrounds, emergency or transitional shelters, automobiles, hospitals, etc.
•Children and youth who are sharing housing of other persons due to financial hardship or being displaced.
•Children awaiting foster care placement.
•Youth not in the physical custody of a parent/guarding, otherwise known as unaccompanied youth. Unaccompanied youth are defined as those young persons who have run away from home, been asked to leave their homes, and/or been abandoned by parents or guardians.
In the United States, 1.3 million children are homeless any given night.
The average age of an individual who is homeless is nine years old.
Families are the fastest growing segment of the homeless population.