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contact Susanne Smith, 503-947-5637
September 22, 2010
Oregon Department of Education Releases Homeless Student Count: Highest Numbers on Record
SALEM – State Schools Superintendent Susan Castillo announced today that Oregon’s homeless student count is the highest ever recorded. During the 2009-10 school year, 19,040 homeless students attended Oregon public schools. This is a 5.5 percent increase from last year. The percentage of homeless students in Oregon has increased 134 percent since the state began counting seven years ago.
“Our homeless students face enormous challenges,” said State Superintendent Susan Castillo. “It is imperative our schools help address their basic needs so they may attend school consistently. Since education is the key to a better life, our schools and communities must work together to help ensure academic success for our homeless students.”
DISTRICTS WITH HIGHEST COUNTS OF HOMELESS STUDENTS 2009-10
This year’s data shows changes in district counts which may indicate movement by homeless families away from urban core areas, to suburban districts where transitional housing and social services are becoming more available. Click here to access a data file with district and county homeless student counts.
Each school district in the U.S. is required to have a homeless liaison to coordinate outreach and services for homeless students in their area, as well as conduct the annual counts. Liaisons make sure students are enrolled in school, have the supplies they need and provide referrals to the community services for services such as shelter, health care and counseling. In addition, districts can pay for school transportation of homeless children who have moved during the school year so they can maintain learning continuity by remaining in the same school.
School district programs like the Maslow Project, now in Jackson and Coos Counties, provide basic survival assistance to families and youth, and then help students achieve control of their own learning and educational progress so they can stay on track toward obtaining an Oregon High School Diploma.
Under the federal McKinney-Vento Act Program for Education of Homeless Students, also called “Title X,” homeless students are defined as those students who lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence. A homeless family could live in an emergency shelter or share housing with others due to loss of housing or economic hardship, stay at motels, or live in cars, parks, public places, tents, trailers, or other similar settings. For more information and a definition of Title X go to: http://www.ode.state.or.us/search/page/?id=1973.
To reach a school district’s homeless liaison contact the State Homeless Education Coordinator at (503) 947-5781, (firstname.lastname@example.org ).
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