Another two area school corporations have officially adopted a homeless education plan, as required by the Indiana Department of Education. Last week, the Eastern Pulaski and Knox school boards both approved their McKinney-Vento District Plan.
Knox Schools Director of Curriculum and Instruction Peggy Shidaker explained that the McKinney-Vento Act has existed in some form for over 30 years. What’s new is that school districts were required to adopt their own versions by May 21.
Shidaker said the plan is meant to help address the challenges that homeless students may face when it comes to enrolling in school. To do that, the plan guarantees that homeless students may enroll immediately, even if the school doesn’t have immunization or attendance records. Homeless students are also assured access to free meals, textbooks, technology, and, if their school of origin is outside the district, transportation. The plan also requires that homeless students have all the same rights as any of their other classmates.
Shidaker added that according to McKinney-Vento, children are considered homeless if they live in a motel, campground, car, or emergency shelter, or if they’re unaccompanied by a parent or guardian. Families will also be given a form each year, to let school officials know whether their child is homeless.
Under the newly-adopted plans, each individual school and school corporation is required to appoint a liaison. At Knox, Shidaker will serve as the corporation liaison, with guidance counselors serving in that capacity for each school. The Eastern Pulaski School Corporation’s liaison will be Superintendent Dan Foster, while each of the three building principals will serve as school liaison. The Oregon-Davis School Corporation’s plan was approved by the school board last month.