FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Wednesday, April 27, 2016
For more information, contact:
CPS Office of Communications
CHICAGO – The Chicago Board of Education voted today to adopt a new Education of Homeless Children and Youth Policy, which will help ensure every homeless student in CPS has full access to a high-quality education. The policy adopted today replaces a previous policy that was adopted by the Board in 1996 and provides schools with better clarity on how services are to be administered to students in temporary living situations (STLS).
“Every child in Chicago deserves access to a quality education that meets their needs, and the new Homeless Children and Youth policy will help ensure a child’s living situation is not a barrier to a high quality education,” said CPS Chief Education Officer Dr. Janice K. Jackson. “I want to commend the tireless work of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, who worked with us to help develop a policy that is thoughtful, comprehensive and effective, because we have a responsibility to ensure all of our students receive the supports and resources they need to be successful.”
Following extensive community engagement with the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, CPS revised its Homeless Children and Youth Policy to help remove barriers to enrollment, attendance and retention faced by the District’s 20,000 homeless students. The policy affirms the Board’s commitment to the District’s STLS program, and codifies a number of practices that have been in place for multiple years to ensure homeless students have equitable access to education. The policy also ensures compliance with the recently re-authorized McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) as well as the Illinois Education for Homeless Children Act.
The new Homeless Children and Youth Policy establishes a variety of supports, including:
● Transportation: The updated policy re-affirms the District’s commitment to providing transportation assistance when necessary to each student’s school of origin.
● Fee Waivers: The policy codifies the recent practice of waiving school fees for homeless families.
● Uniforms: In accordance with recent practice, the new policy ensures homeless students will receive a minimum of two sets of uniforms per school year, if needed.
● Tutoring: In recent years, CPS has provided tutoring assistance to homeless students upon request. The policy approved today ensures homeless students have the right to at least one hour per week of tutoring services when requested.
● Enrollment in Magnet and Charter Schools: The policy approved today ensures homeless students who meet the relevant eligibility criteria will not face barriers to accessing magnet and charter schools due to their living situation.
● School of Origin: To ensure students have the ability to maintain a stable school of origin, the updated policy defines the school of origin for 9th grade students based on their 8th grade school of origin.
● Credit Recovery: The policy approved today ensures students will receive appropriate high school credit based on work completed at a previous school.
● Staff Functions: CPS already requires schools to designate school-based liaisons for homeless students, and the policy adopted today clearly defines the functions for school-based liaisons.
The full policy approved today by the Board of Education is available at CPS.edu/STLSpolicy. Additional information on resources and supports provided through the STLS program are available at CPS.edu/Programs/Pathways_to_success/Pages/StudentsInTemporaryLivingSituations.aspx.