Policy 251: Students experiencing homelessness, foster care, and other educational instability. (New policy)

By Luthea Sweeney, photo and design editor

Policy 251 discusses further options for students experiencing educational instability. 

Policy 251 is proposed as such: “The Board recognizes the challenges encountered by students experiencing homelessness, foster care and other educational instability. The Board is committed to facilitating the immediate enrollment; eliminating barriers to the attendance, education and graduation; and providing additional supports in compliance with federal and state laws, regulations and Board policy, for such students.” 

Under the authority section of this document, the Board ensures that students who are experiencing educational instability have equal access to all curricular activities including dress code, transportation, school-sponsored extracurricular activities, fee-related curricular and extracurricular events, graduation, and registration deadlines. The Board also ensures these students will not be discriminated against based on their status.

Policy 251 defines education instability: “Student Experiencing Educational Instability means a student who has experienced one or more changes in school enrollment during a single school year…” this definition continues to include students suffering from homelessness, dependency relating to child protective services and juvenile matters, delinquency (if disclosed by the student’s parent/guardian or part of court-ordered services under a voluntary placement or custody agreement.), and can include students experiencing foster care. 

Under the Delegation of Responsibility section, it is noted that the board will designate a “Homeless Liaison to serve as the district’s point of contact for students experiencing educational instability.” 

Under the Training Section, Policy 251 states that school staff will undergo professional development and training on the educational needs of students experiencing educational instability provided by the district’s point of contact.

The Guidelines section outlines the documentation needed to provide students with “supports and services” and the confidentiality of the students status as a child experiencing educational instability. 

The document states that “The best interest determination shall be made in accordance with federal and state laws and regulations, court orders and established local procedures.” The Best Interest Determination section continues to state that  students experiencing educational instability will be enrolled immediately. 

Students experiencing educational instability can be provided with transportation services, school nutrition programs, career and technical education, educational programs for which the student meets the eligibility criteria, such as: services provided under Title I or similar state or local programs, programs for English Learners, programs for students with disabilities and/or programs for gifted and talented students.

Policy 251 was originally adopted on Dec 11, 2008. 

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