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3115 - Students Experiencing Homelessness - Enrollment Rights and Services

To the extent practical and as required by law, the District will work with students experiencing homelessness and their families to provide stability in school attendance and other services. Special attention will be given to ensuring the enrollment and attendance of students experiencing homelessness not currently attending school. Students experiencing homelessness will be provided District services for which they are eligible, including Head Start and comparable pre-school programs, Title I, similar state programs, special education, bilingual education, vocational and technical education programs, gifted and talented programs and school nutrition programs. Students experiencing homelessness are defined as lacking a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence, including those students who are:

  1. Sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing or economic hardship;
  2. Living in motels, hotels, trailer parks or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative adequate accommodations;
  3. Living in emergency or transitional shelters;
  4. Abandoned in hospitals;
  5. Living in public or private places not designed for or ordinarily used as regular sleeping accommodation;
  6. Living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, transportation stations or similar settings; or
  7. Migratory children living in conditions described in the previous examples.

The superintendent will designate an appropriate staff person to be the District’s liaison for students experiencing homelessness and their families.

Best interest determination

In making a determination as to which school is in the best interest of the student experiencing homelessness to attend, the district will presume that it is in the student’s best interest to remain enrolled in their school of origin unless such enrollment is against the wishes of a parent, guardian, or unaccompanied youth.

Attendance options will be made available to families experiencing homelessness on the same terms as families resident in the District, including attendance rights acquired by living in attendance areas, other student assignment Regulations, and intra and inter-District choice options.

If there is an enrollment dispute, the student will be immediately enrolled in the school in which enrollment is sought, pending resolution of the dispute. The parent or guardian will be informed of the District’s decision and their appeal rights in writing. The District’s liaison will carry out dispute resolution as provided by state Regulation. Unaccompanied youth will also be enrolled pending resolution of the dispute.

Once the enrollment decision is made, the school will immediately enroll the student, pursuant to District Regulations. However, enrollment may not be denied or delayed due to the lack of any document normally required for enrollment, including academic records, medical records, proof of residency, mailing address or other documentation.

If the students experiencing homelessness does not have immediate access to immunization records, the student will be admitted under a personal exception. Students and families should be encouraged to obtain current immunization records or immunizations as soon as possible, and the District liaison is directed to assist. Records from the student’s previous school will be requested from the previous school pursuant to District Regulations. Emergency contact information is required at the time of enrollment consistent with District Regulations, including compliance with the state’s address confidentiality program when necessary. However, emergency contact information cannot be demanded in a form or manner that creates a barrier to enrollment and/or attendance at school.

Students experiencing homelessness are entitled to transportation to their school of origin or the school where they are to be enrolled. If the school of origin is in a different District, or a homeless student is living in another District but will attend their school of origin in this District, the Districts will coordinate the transportation services necessary for the student, or will divide the costs equally.

The District’s liaison for students experiencing homelessness and their families will coordinate with local social service agencies that provide services to children and youth experiencing homelessness and their families; other school Districts on issues of transportation and records transfers; and state and local housing agencies responsible for comprehensive housing affordability strategies. This coordination includes providing public notice of the educational rights of homeless students where such children and youth receive services under the McKinney-Vento Act, such as schools, family shelters and soup kitchens. The District’s liaison will also review and recommend amendments to District Regulations that may act as barriers to the enrollment of students experiencing homelessness.

The superintendent will:

  • Strongly encourage District staff, including substitute and regular bus drivers to annually review the video posted on the OSPI website on identification of students experiencing homelessness;
  • Strongly encourage every District-designated liaison to attend trainings provided by the state on identification and serving homeless youth. Ensure that the District includes in materials provided to all students at the beginning of the school year or at enrollment, information about services and support for homeless students (i.e., the brochure posted on the OSPI website).
  • Use a variety of communications each year to notify students and families about services and support available to them if they experience homelessness (e.g., distributing and collecting an annual housing intake survey, providing parent brochures directly to students and families, announcing the information at school-wide assemblies, posting information on the District’s website).

Facilitating on-time grade level progression

The District will: 1) waive specific courses required for graduation for students experiencing homelessness if similar coursework has been satisfactorily completed in another school district; or 2) provide reasonable justification for denial of the waiver. In the event the District denies a waiver and the student would have qualified to graduate from their sending school district, the district will provide an alternative process of obtaining required coursework so that the student may graduate on time.

The District will consolidate partial credit, unresolved, or incomplete coursework and will provide students experiencing homelessness with opportunities to accrue credit in a manner that eliminates academic and nonacademic barriers for the student.

For students who have been unable to complete an academic course and receive full credit due to withdrawal or transfer, the District will grant partial credit for coursework completed before the date of the withdrawal or transfer. When the District receives a transfer student in these circumstances, it will accept the student’s partial credits, apply them to the student’s academic progress, graduation, or both, and allow the student to earn credits regardless of the student’s date of enrollment in the district.

In the event a student is transferring at the beginning of or during their junior or senior year of high school and is ineligible to graduate after all alternatives have been considered, the District will work with the sending district to ensure the awarding of a diploma from the sending district if the student meets the graduation requirements of the sending district.

In the event a student enrolled in three or more school districts as a high school student, has met state requirements, has transferred to the district, but is ineligible to graduate from the district after all alternatives have been considered, the District will waive its local requirements and ensure that the student receives a diploma.



Last Revised:


Related Procedures:

Cross References:


  • RCW 28A.225.215 Enrollment of children without legal residences
  • RCW 28A.320.145 Support for homeless students
  • RCW 28A.320.142 Unaccompanied Youth-Building Point of Contact
  • 20 U.S.C. 6301 et seq. No Child Left Behind Act
  • 42 U.S.C. 11431 et seq. McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act

Management Resources:

  • Policy News, October 2002 NCLB Addresses Homeless Students
  • Policy News, October 2004 Homeless Students: Enrollment Rights and Services Update
  • Policy News, December 2014 Identification and support for homeless students.