School for homeless students

If you are homeless or have unstable housing, your child still has the right to go to school. Your current school must help your child go to school. Learn more about school enrollment for homeless children.

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Understanding the Basics

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If a child does not have a regular place to stay at night, they are called a “homeless student.” A homeless student may live in a motel, car or with their family’s friend or at another temporary location.

Your current school must work with you to either:

  • Transport your child to your current school
  • Allow your child to enroll in the new school where you now reside

Staying in your current school

If you are homeless, your child may stay in their current school (even if you are living in another district).

If you want to keep your child in their current school, ask the school to introduce you to the “homeless student coordinator” or “McKinney-Vento coordinator.” The coordinator can explain your rights to you.

When you talk to the coordinator:

  • Explain why you want to stay at the current school. Tell the coordinator why it is in your child’s best interest to stay in their current school. Your reasons may include keeping up with curriculum, or classes and extracurriculars that your current school has, but other schools do not have.
  • Tell your coordinator if your child has trouble getting to school. If the coordinator believes it is in your child's best interest to stay at their current school, the current school must provide no-cost transportation.

Attending a new school

A homeless student has the right to enroll in the school district where they currently live if it is in the child’s best interest.

If you want to enroll your child in a new school, you should contact:

  • Your current school. Tell our current school that you are trying to enroll in a new school.
  • The new school’s homeless student coordinator. Ask the new school to introduce you to the homeless student coordinator or McKinney-Vento coordinator. The coordinator can explain your rights to you.

When you contact the coordinator:

  • Explain that you are homeless. The coordinator may need information showing that you are homeless.
  • Share your current school information. The coordinator may contact the current school to verify the student’s record.
  • Share why you want to enroll in the new school. Explain why it is in your child’s best interest to enroll in the new school. Make this request in writing.

If the new school and current school believe it is in your child’s best interest to enroll in the new school, the new school must enroll your child as soon as possible.

Special education for homeless children

If your child is homeless and has an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 504 plan, you should contact your current school’s homeless student coordinator as soon as possible.

Your school can help you decide if your child should stay in your current school or enroll in a new school. Your school may consider the new school’s ability to provide the services and accommodations required by your IEP or 504 Plan.

Moving to a new school and arranging special education services can be difficult. Your current school should help you transition smoothly.

Learn more about getting special education services here.

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