Homeless Students

“New York City has reached its highest levels of homelessness since the Great Depression,” according to Assemblywoman Latoya Joyner in an article on CityLimits.org.  With one out of every nine students in New York City public schools experiencing homelessness in the past four years, the impact on children’s education cannot be overstated. Students who are homeless often experience chronic absenteeism, displacement, poor test scores and disruption of their school routine.

Even as parents try to ensure their children’s education is not disrupted by the loss of a stable home, homeless families may encounter misconceptions and insensitivities from Department of Education staff at various points in the enrollment and education process. The New York State Technical and Education Assistance Center for Homeless Students (NYS-TEACHS) has developed a video simulation to illustrate the way discussions about homelessness impact whether students in temporary housing are properly identified and enrolled in school.

The simulation places you in the role of someone working at the front desk where students come to enroll at New City School District. It is your job to complete the enrollment process for a student who has come into your office with her mother. Will you pass? To test your sensitivities, click here.

Federal legislation guarantees homeless children access to education, but in practice there are many barriers a homeless student may encounter to successfully enrolling in, attending and thriving in school. NYS-TEACHS works to reduce such barriers and dispel misconceptions.

To learn more about what life is like for homeless children in New York City, check out these eye-opening accounts in the New York Times and The Guardian.