C13. Students Experiencing Homelessness

  • Policy Code: C13

    First Reading: May 18, 2021

    Adopted: June 1, 2021


    The Essex Westford School District (District) is committed to the success of every student. Students experiencing homelessness in the District will have access to the education and other services needed to ensure that an opportunity is available to meet the same academic achievement standards to which all students are held.

    The District will designate a liaison for students in homeless situations to carry out duties as required by law.

    The District will ensure that students who are homeless are not stigmatized nor segregated on the basis of their status as homeless. A student who is homeless will be admitted to the school district in which the student is actually living or to the student’s school of origin as requested by the parent and in accordance with the student’s best interest. Transportation will be provided to and from the student's school of origin at the request of the parent, or in the case of an unaccompanied student, the District’s liaison for students and families experiencing homelessness.  The students will have access to all programs and services for which they are eligible, including but not limited to special education services, preschool, school nutrition programs, and language assistance for English learners.


    1. A student who is experiencing homelessness is a student who is lacking a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence:
      1. Sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or similar reason;
      2. Living in motels, hotels, camping grounds, or other temporary housing due to the lack of alternative adequate accommodations;
      3. Living in emergency or transitional shelters;
      4. Being abandoned in hospitals;
      5. Living in public or private places not designed for or ordinarily used as regular sleeping accommodations for human beings;
      6. Living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, transportation stations or similar settings; and
      7. Migratory children living in conditions described in the previous examples.
    2. Enroll and enrollment mean attending classes and participating fully in school activities.

    3. Unaccompanied youth means a child or youth experiencing homelessness that is not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian. 

    4. School of Origin includes preschools and, when a child or youth completes the final grade level served by the school of origin, it also includes the designated receiving school at the next grade level for all feeder schools.


    The Superintendent shall develop written procedures to ensure the following rights of eligible students:

    1. Equal access to the same free, appropriate public education, including public preschool education, as is provided to other children and youth
    2. Immediate enrollment, even when records normally required for enrollment are not present
    3. Remain in the school of origin, if it is in the student’s best interest, in order to maintain educational stability
    4. Access to all educational and related services for which they are eligible, including Title I services and free school meals
    5. Full participation in school, which may include participation in extracurricular activities
    6. Transportation, provided by the LEA, to and from the school of origin
    7. Privacy

    VSBA Update:
    October 16, 2020

    Legal Reference(s):
    McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (as amended by ESSA) 42 U.S.C. §§ 11431 – 11432
    Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, 20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99