Students Experiencing Homelessness

Students who are homeless deserve access to a quality education and have the following rights:

  • To be allowed to enroll, attend classes, and participate fully in school activities, even if students do not have a parent or guardian with them or documents such as proof of residency, immunization records, other medical records, school records, or other documents.  Once students are enrolled, the school must obtain records from the previous school.
  • To stay in the school they went to before becoming homeless or whatever school they were enrolled in last (school of origin), even if they move out of the district, if that is feasible.  Students can stay in their school of origin the entire time they are homeless.  Students can also finish the school year in their school if they find permanent housing during the year.
  • To transportation to their school of origin, provided or arranged by the school district, or a joint effort among school districts.
  • To preschool services, free or reduced school meals, services for English Language Learners, special education, Title 1 services, vocational/technical education, gifted and talented services, and before and after school care, as needed.

A student is considered homeless if they meet one of the following criteria:

A child or youth, ages 3-21, who lacks a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence,  including:

  • Children and youth who are:
    • living in emergency or transitional shelters
    • sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or similar reason (often called doubled-up)
    • living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative accommodations
  • Children and youth who have a primary nighttime residence that is public or private not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings.
  • Children and youth who are living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings.
  • Migratory children who qualify as homeless because they are living in circumstances described above.

District Community School Coordinator

Jill Padgett
Address: 1000 Porter Ave., Des Moines, IA