• The Board recognizes its obligation to ensure that homeless students have equal access to the same free appropriate public educational programs and services provided to other district students. The Board shall make reasonable efforts to promptly identify homeless children within the district, encourage their enrollment, and eliminate any district policies, procedures, or administrative regulations that may act as barriers to their attendance and education, in compliance with federal and state law and regulations.

    The Board may waive policies, procedures and administrative regulations that create barriers for enrollment, attendance, transportation and success in school of homeless students, based on the recommendation of the Superintendent.

    The Board prohibits discrimination and harassment on the basis of homelessness, in accordance with applicable law.

    Homeless students are defined as individuals lacking a fixed, regular and nighttime residence, which includes:

    1. Children and youth 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 lack of alternative adequate accommodations.
         
      3. Living in emergency, transitional or domestic violence shelters.
         
      4. Living or abandoned in hospitals.
         
    2. Children and youth who have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for, or ordinarily used as, regular sleeping accommodations for human beings.
       
    3. Children and youth who are living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, transportation stations or similar settings.
       
    4. Migratory children living in conditions described in previous examples.

    School of origin is defined as the school the student attended when permanently housed or the school in which the student was last enrolled, including preschool. When the student completes the final grade level served by the school of origin, the school of origin shall include the designated receiving school at the next grade level of all feeder schools.
     

    Unaccompanied youth refers to a homeless child or youth who is not in physical custody of a parent/guardian.

    The Board designates the Home and School Visitor to serve as the district's liaison for homeless students and families. The district's liaison shall be responsible to facilitate implementation of all requirements under the McKinney-Vento Act.

    The district's liaison shall coordinate with:

    1. Local service agencies that provide services to homeless children and youth and families.
       
    2. Other school districts on issues of prompt identification, records transfer, and transportation and other inter-district services or programs.
       
    3. State and local housing agencies responsible for comprehensive housing affordability strategies.
       
    4. The district's Assistant Superintendent for Special Education or designee, where necessary.

    The district's liaison shall provide public notice of the educational rights of homeless students in schools, family shelters, and soup kitchens. Such notice shall be provided in a clear and understandable manner and form.

    The district's liaison shall recommend and arrange professional development programs for staff, including office staff, consistent with this Policy.

    Students shall not be discriminated against, segregated nor stigmatized based on their status as homeless.

     Enrollment/Placement

    As required by law, the district must make school placement determinations on the basis of the best interest of the homeless child or youth based on student-centered factors. Under this standard the district must:

    1. To the extent feasible, and in accordance with the student's best interest, continue to enroll the student in his/her school of origin while s/he remains homeless or until the end of the academic year in which s/he obtains permanent housing; or 
       
    2. Enroll the child or youth in any public school that non-homeless students who live in the attendance area in which the child or youth is actually living are eligible to attend.

    Best Interest Determination

    When determining the child's best interest, the Superintendent/designee must consider student-centered factors, including factors related to the impact of mobility on achievement, education, health, safety, and the school placement of siblings.

    Parents/Guardians of a homeless student may request enrollment in the school in the attendance area where the student is actually living or other schools.

    If a student is unaccompanied by a parent/guardian, the district liaison shall assist the unaccompanied student in placement and enrollment decisions. The requests of the parents/guardians or, in the case of an unaccompanied youth, the student, will be given priority. 

    Enrollment

    The selected school shall immediately enroll the student and begin instruction, even if the student is unable to produce records normally required for enrollment pursuant to district policies. However, the district may require a parent/guardian to submit contact information. The district liaison may contact the previous school for oral confirmation of immunizations, and the school shall request records from the previous district, pursuant to Board policy.

    If the district is unable to determine the student's grade level due to missing or incomplete records, the district shall administer tests or utilize appropriate means to determine the student's placement.

    If a dispute arises over school selection or enrollment, the student shall be immediately enrolled in the school in which enrollment is sought, pending resolution of the dispute. The parents/guardians shall be provided with a written explanation of the district's decision, their right to appeal and the procedures to use for the appeal.

    Services

    Homeless students shall be provided services comparable to those offered to other district students including, but not limited to, transportation services; school nutrition programs; vocational programs and technical education; preschool programs; programs for students with limited English proficiency; and educational services for which students meet eligibility criteria, such as programs for disadvantaged students, students with disabilities, and gifted and talented students.

    Transportation

    The district shall provide transportation for homeless students to their school of origin or the school they choose to attend within the school district.

    If the school of origin is outside district boundaries or homeless students live in another district but will attend their school of origin in this district, the school districts shall agree upon a method to apportion the responsibility and costs of the transportation.

    Education Records

    Information about the homeless student's living situation shall be treated as a student record subject to the protections of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act ("FERPA").

    Dispute Resolution Process

    The following procedures shall govern the resolution of disputes regarding enrollment, school selection, homeless status and complaints of non-compliance with legal requirements pertaining to the education of homeless students:

    1. The parent/guardian or unaccompanied youth shall be referred to the district's liaison for homeless students.
       
    2. The liaison shall ensure that the child or youth is immediately enrolled, explain the dispute resolution process, and help them use the process.
       
    3. The district's liaison for homeless students shall issue a written decision within twenty (20) business days from the date that the district was notified of the dispute.
       
    4. The parent/guardian or unaccompanied youth may file a complaint or appeal with the Coordinator of Pennsylvania's Education for Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness Program.

    ECYEH Intake Form

    Affidavit Missing Enrollment

    ECYEH School Staff Guide

    ECYEH General Guide

    Dispute Letter English

    Dispute Letter Spanish

    Dispute Resolution Process

    FAQ Homeless Youth

    Enrollment Denial to Parents

    PA Handbook for Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness

    PMSD Homeless Procedures

    Standardize Dress Code

    Effective Date: 2014-2015 School Year

    At the Pocono Mountain School District Board of Education meeting on March 5, 2014, the School Board adopted a Standardized Dress Code Policy (Click here to access PMSD Policy 221, Standardize Dress Code) for students in Kindergarten through Grade 12 that remains in effect. 

    The following dress and grooming requirements shall apply to all students attending classes within Pocono Mountain School District in grades K-12.
     
     
     
     
    If you believe you may be eligible, please contact the PMSD Homeless Liaison or your school counselor to find out what services and supports may be available.  
     
    PMSD Homeless Liaison: 
     
    Dr. Catherine Sweeney 
    570-839-7121 ext: 10161