In the United States, approximately 3.5 million people experience homelessness. Homelessness is not just a national problem but it exists within the city of Selma and impacts students within the Selma City Schools District. The depressed economic climate, high housing costs, increasing unemployment and poverty within the Selma community causes many families to lose their housing and become homeless. There are families forced to leave their home due to abuse, neglect, and family conflict. Such families may reside in a variety of places, including motels, shelters, shared residences, transitional housing programs, cars, campgrounds, and others. Their lack of permanent housing can lead to potentially serious physical, emotional, and mental consequences.

The McKinney Vento Homeless Assistance Act, which was reauthorized in 2001 by the No Child Left Behind Act, addresses the problems that the homeless face, specifically the problems that homeless children and youth encounter as they attempt to succeed in school. The McKinney Vento Act provides a common definition for homelessness. It also requires all state and local educational agencies to develop, review, and revise their policies and practices to remove barriers of enrollment and retention in school of children and youth experiencing homelessness. It mandates that children experiencing homelessness receive a free appropriate education and are provided the same services and opportunities as their non-homeless peers. This must be done in the mainstream school environment without harassment, segregation or discrimination.

The Selma City Schools District will ensure that all children and youth receive a free appropriate public education and are given meaningful opportunities to succeed in school. The Selma City Schools District will follow the requirements of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act. The district views children as individuals therefore, we will not refer to children as homeless but will refer to them as children and youth in transition. Under federal law, children and youth in transition must have access to appropriate public education, including preschool, and be given a full opportunity to meet state and local academic achievement standards; therefore, students in transition will be included in state and district mandated assessments and accountability systems. Local schools will ensure that children and youth in transition are free from the stigma associated with homelessness. The Selma City Schools’ Homeless Coordinator and Guidance and Counseling Coordinate will collaborate and coordinate work efforts to ensure compliance with the McKinney Vento Act, identification of students in transition, provision of services, and other responsibilities associated with meeting the needs of students who are in transition.

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