Homeless Student Services RIGHTS OF CHILDREN AND YOUTH EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS
If your family is in a temporary or inadequate living situation because you have lost your housing, your child may be eligible for certain educational services. Under the McKinney-Vento Act, a Federal law, the Laconia School District is responsible for providing certain services to children and unaccompanied youth (children living apart from a parent or legal guardian) who are considered “homeless.”
Who is considered “homeless”? Under Federal law, a student is considered homeless if the student:
Does not have a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence
Shares the housing of others due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason
Lives in a motel, hotel, trailer park or campground due to lack of alternative adequate accommodations
Lives in emergency or transitional housing
Was abandoned in a hospital
Awaits foster care placement
Has a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designated for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings or
Lives in a car, park, public space, abandoned building, substandard housing, bus or train station or similar setting.
Migrant children qualify as homeless if they live in any of the situations described above.
What rights and services can homeless students expect from the Laconia School District? 1. In General: Homeless students are entitled to a free and appropriate public education, the same as all other students in the District. The District will not stigmatize or segregate any student because he or she is homeless. 2. School Attendance and Enrollment: A homeless student can continue to attend his or her “school of origin” (that is, the school attended before becoming homeless, or the school in which the student was last enrolled) or can enroll in the local public school. If feasible, at the family’s request the District will arrange transportation for any student
living temporarily in the District back to his or her school of origin or
living temporarily out of the District back to the student’s District school.
If a student continues to attend his or her school of origin, he or she can remain at that school during the entire time he or she is homeless. Even if the student moves into permanent housing during the school year, he or she can remain at the school of origin until the end of the year.
Homeless students who enroll in the local public school where they living temporarily will be immediately enrolled in school even if they lack medical records, immunization records, school records, proof of residence, proof of guardianship or any other records usually required for school enrollment.
3. Disputes: If the District places the student in a school and the family disagrees with that placement, the District must explain the decision in writing and must provide a written explanation of how to appeal the decision.
4. Transportation: The District will arrange, at no cost to the student, transportation to the school of origin or, if the student enrolls in the local school, to that school in accordance with District transportation guidelines. Transportation remains in effect as long as the student is homeless and until the end of the school year in which the student moves into permanent housing. 5. School Meals: The District will arrange free meals (breakfast and/or lunch as offered by the school) at the family’s request. Once it is determined that the student is eligible for free meals, the free meals can remain in effect for the entire school year.
6. Title 1 Services: Homeless students are entitled to certain other services, such as extended daycare, preschool, and supplemental tutoring instruction, clothing, and school supplies. The District will arrange these services if applicable. Title 1 services remain available as long as the student is homeless and until the end of the school year in which the student moves into permanent housing.
Who can help? The Laconia School District has appointed Student Outreach Coordinators and Social Workers who can help families enroll their children and obtain other services. You can inquire about our Outreach Coordinators/Social Workers by asking the Administrative Assistant at that school.
In addition, the State of New Hampshire Department of Education has appointed a Director for Homeless Education who can help with any problems that can't be resolved with the District. Dr. Lynda Thistle-Elliot is the Director for Homeless Education and can be reached at (603) 271-3840.
What are the family’s responsibilities? Families who have lost their housing should keep in contact with the District's Student Outreach Coordinators or Social Workers as their living arrangements change, and should contact District Student Outreach Coordinators or Social Workers for your child's school when they obtain permanent housing. This helps the school keep in touch with parents and students. If you have any questions, please call the respective Student Outreach Coordinators listed below. Student Outreach Coordinators
Elm Street School - Victoria Chase (603) 524-4113 firstname.lastname@example.org
Laconia High School - Kathryn O'Connor (603) 524-3350 email@example.com
Woodland Heights School - Rachele Cote (603) firstname.lastname@example.org
Laconia Middle School - Taylor McNeil (603) 524-4632 email@example.com
Pleasant Street School - Jamie Walters (603) 524-2168 firstname.lastname@example.org