Enrollment/School Selection

Sample Forms Related to the Dispute Resolution Process under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (from TASB)

This document was developed by the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB), and contains forms and procedures for LEAs related to the dispute of student eligibility for services under the McKinney-Vento homeless education provisions. The document contains two forms: Exhibit A: Dispute of Eligibility, School Selection, or Enrollment Under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act—3 pages… Read more »

Immediate Enrollment Under McKinney-Vento: How Local Liaisons Can Keep Homeless Students Safe

Children and youth in homeless situations, particularly unaccompanied youth and survivors of domestic violence, are at a high risk for experiencing violence and victimization.  Frequently, unaccompanied youth become homeless after leaving abusive or destructive home environments. In turn, their homelessness, which often involves “couch surfing” or living on the streets, places them at risk of further victimization, including robbery and assault. Similarly, many survivors of domestic violence flee violent home environments only to find that their batterers continue to pursue them.  Keeping their whereabouts secret is often a matter of life and death.

By protecting confidential information, communicating with care and sensitivity, and building collaborations with community service providers and advocates, schools can play a pivotal role in protecting the safety of children and youth experiencing homelessness.

It is important to remember that the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act requires the immediate enrollment of children and youth experiencing homelessness, even in the absence of records normally required for enrollment. School is the safest place to be for children who may be in danger. Use this checklist to help make your school district a safe place.

USDE Enrollment Rights QA-Spanish

PDF Document in Spanish

Information on the Rights of All Children to Enroll in School:
Questions and Answers for States, School Districts and Parents

These Questions and Answers are intended to assist states and school districts in meeting their legal obligations to ensure that their enrollment1 policies and practices at the elementary and secondary school levels do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, or national origin, and do not bar or discourage students’ enrollment in elementary and secondary school based on their or their parents’ actual or perceived immigration status.

USDE Enrollment Rights QA-English

Information on the Rights of All Children to Enroll in School:
Questions and Answers for States, School Districts and Parents

These Questions and Answers are intended to assist states and school districts in meeting their legal obligations to ensure that their enrollment1 policies and practices at the elementary and secondary school levels do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, or national origin, and do not bar or discourage students’ enrollment in elementary and secondary school based on their or their parents’ actual or perceived immigration status.

USDE Enrollment Rights Fact Sheet-English

All children in the United States are entitled to equal access to a basic public elementary and secondary education regardless of their actual or perceived race, color, national origin, citizenship, immigration status, or the status of their parents/guardians. School districts that either prohibit or discourage, or maintain policies that have the effect of prohibiting or discouraging, children from enrolling in schools because they or their parents/guardians are not U.S. citizens or are undocumented may be in violation of Federal law

USDE Enrollment Rights Fact Sheet-Spanish

PDF Document in Spanish

All children in the United States are entitled to equal access to a basic public elementary and secondary education regardless of their actual or perceived race, color, national origin, citizenship, immigration status, or the status of their parents/guardians. School districts that either prohibit or discourage, or maintain policies that have the effect of prohibiting or discouraging, children from enrolling in schools because they or their parents/guardians are not U.S. citizens or are undocumented may be in violation of Federal law.

USDE Fact Sheet: Information on the Rights of All Children to Enroll in School (English)

All children in the United States are entitled to equal access to a basic public elementary and secondary education regardless of their actual or perceived race, color, national origin, citizenship, immigration status, or the status of their parents/guardians. School districts that either prohibit or discourage, or maintain policies that have the effect of prohibiting or… Read more »

USDE Dear Colleague School Enrollment Procedures-English (May2014)

Under Federal law, State and local educational agencies (hereinafter “districts”) are required to provide all children with equal access to public education at the elementary and secondary level. Recently, we have become aware of student enrollment practices that may chill or discourage the participation, or lead to the exclusion, of students based on their or their parents’ or guardians’ actual or perceived citizenship or immigration status. These practices contravene Federal law. Both the United States Department of Justice and the United States Department of Education (Departments) write to remind you of the Federal obligation to provide equal educational opportunities to all children residing within your district and to offer our assistance in ensuring that you comply with the law. We are writing to update the previous Dear Colleague Letter on this subject that was issued on May 6, 2011, and to respond to inquiries the Departments received about the May 6 Letter. This letter replaces the May 6 Letter.

USDE Dear Colleague School Enrollment Procedures-Spanish (May2014)

PDF Document in Spanish Language.

Under Federal law, State and local educational agencies (hereinafter “districts”) are required to provide all children with equal access to public education at the elementary and secondary level. Recently, we have become aware of student enrollment practices that may chill or discourage the participation, or lead to the exclusion, of students based on their or their parents’ or guardians’ actual or perceived citizenship or immigration status. These practices contravene Federal law. Both the United States Department of Justice and the United States Department of Education (Departments) write to remind you of the Federal obligation to provide equal educational opportunities to all children residing within your district and to offer our assistance in ensuring that you comply with the law. We are writing to update the previous Dear Colleague Letter on this subject that was issued on May 6, 2011, and to respond to inquiries the Departments received about the May 6 Letter. This letter replaces the May 6 Letter.

Guiding the Discussion on School Selection

Best Practices in Homeless Education Brief Series
Guiding the Discussion on School Selection

This brief is designed to be used in conjunction with NCHE’s School Selection brief, which explains the basic rights included in the McKinney-Vento Act related to school selection, and offers strategies for linking homeless students to services in their school of origin or for helping homeless students transition to a new school.

When Legal Guardians Are Not Present: Enrolling Students on Their Own

In a number of instances, however, children and youth who are enrolling in a school may not be living with their parents or legal guardians. Frequently, children in families experiencing homelessness are sent to live temporarily with friends or relatives. This type of living arrangement has been especially prevalent in families displaced by the 2005 Gulf Coast hurricanes. In other situations, youth have been forced to leave home due to abusive environments or are on their own for other reasons. These children and youth, in most cases, fit the definition of homeless, unaccompanied youth in the McKinney-Vento Act: a youth not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian [42 U.S.C. §11434A(6)] and eligible for immediate school enrollment.  The McKinney-Vento Act requires school districts to enroll homeless children and youth in school immediately, even if they lack required enrollment documents [42 U.S.C. §§11432(g)(3)(C), (g)(1)(H)(iv), (g)(1) (F)(ii)]. (“Enroll” and “enrollment” are defined as “attending classes and participating fully in school activities” [42 U.S.C. §11434A(1)].) The Act further requires states to review and revise any policy that may act as a barrier to the enrollment of homeless children and youth and requires states to give particular attention to guardianship issues [42 U.S.C.
§§11432(g)(7)].

Therefore, schools may not condition school enrollment upon the receipt of proof of legal guardianship by caregivers of homeless,unaccompanied youth; nor may they require caregivers to become legal guardians within a certain period of time after the child enrolls in school. The decision to seek legal guardianship is a serious decision that affects significantly the legal rights of the parent and caregiver well beyond the education arena. Although that step may be appropriate in some cases, it will not be in others.  In addition, it is important to note that the absence of an available caregiver must not impede enrollment. Unaccompanied, homeless youth who are on their own completely must be enrolled in school immediately.

School Selection

McKinney-Vento Law Into Practice Brief Series
School Selection

Changing schools greatly impedes students’ academic and social growth.  A “rule of thumb” is that it takes a child four to six months to recover academically after changing schools. Highly mobile students have also been found to have lower test scores and overall academic performance than peers who do not change schools. Therefore, the law requires LEAs to keep students in their schools of origin, to the extent feasible, unless it is against the parent or guardian’s wishes. Students are also now permitted to remain in their schools of origin for the duration of their homelessness. The resulting educational stability will enhance students’ academic and social growth, while permitting schools to benefit from the increased test scores and achievement shown to result from student continuity.

Immediate Enrollment Under McKinney-Vento: How Schools Can Keep Homeless Students Safe

Children and youth in homeless situations, particularly unaccompanied youth and survivors of domestic violence, are at a high risk for experiencing violence and victimization.  Frequently, unaccompanied youth become homeless after leaving abusive or destructive home environments. In turn, their homelessness, which often involves “couch surfing” (staying temporarily with friends or relatives), or living on the streets, places them at risk of further victimization, including robbery and assault. Similarly, many survivors of domestic violence flee violent home environments only to find that their batterers continue to pursue them. Keeping their whereabouts secret is often a matter of life and death.

By protecting confidential information, communicating with care and sensitivity, and building collaborations with community service providers and advocates, schools can play a pivotal role in protecting the safety of children and youth experiencing homelessness.

It is important to remember that the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act requires the immediate enrollment of children and youth experiencing homelessness, even in the absence of records normally required for enrollment.1 School is the safest place to be for children who may be in danger. Use this checklist to help make your school district a safe place.

Prompt and Proper Placement: Enrolling Students without Records

The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, reauthorized as Title X, Part C, of the No Child Left Behind Act, requires schools to enroll homeless students immediately, even if they do not have the documents normally required for enrollment such as school records, medical records, proof of residency, or others.  Unfortunately for many homeless students on the move, incomplete records often result in classroom/curriculum placements that promote frustration and result in failure. This document offers teachers, school counselors, and other school personnel valuable tools and information to assist in making sound educational decisions for immediate placement of homeless children and youth in appropriate classroom settings

Enrolling Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness in School

McKinney-Vento Law into Practice Brief Series
Enrolling Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness in School

Subtitle VII-B of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, reauthorized by Title X, Part C, of the No Child Left Behind Act, ensures educational rights and protections for children and youth experiencing homelessness. This brief explains the key provisions in the Act concerning school enrollment and offers strategies for implementing the Act in a school district. Additional briefs on various topics in the law may be found at http://www.serve.org/nche/briefs.php.

School Selection Provisions from the McKinney-Vento Act and the Texas Education Code

The McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Improvements Act of 2001 (McKinney-Vento Act) affords a student experiencing homelessness the choice between two campuses where he or she can attend school, and a determination must be made as to which campus the student will attend. A child or youth experiencing homelessness can either continue in their school of origin or they can enroll in the school of the attendance zone where they are actually living while homeless.

FERPA Disclosure of Student Information Related to Emergencies and Disasters

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Disclosure of Student Information Related to Emergencies and Disasters (June 2010)

The purpose of this guidance is to answer questions that have arisen about the sharing of personally identifiable information from students’ education records to outside parties when responding to emergencies, including natural or man-made disasters. Understanding how, what, and when information can be shared with outside parties is an important part of emergency preparedness.

TEA Legal Annual Letter – Re: Attendance, Admission, Enrollment Records, and Tuition

TEA’s Chief Legal Counsel updates this letter every year and releases it just  prior to the start of the school year.  This “to the administrator addressed” letter summarizes important statutes relating to student attendance, public school admission, enrollment records, and tuition. Part I of the letter relates to compulsory attendance, Part II relates to attendance… Read more »