The Bessemer City Schools Homeless Education Program is designed to provide assistance to homeless children and youth in compliance with the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act. We are a division of the Federal Programs Department with Ms. Brenda P. Rumley as our Director. We are located next to the Bessemer Board in the Board Annex. The address is 412 17th Street, North, Bessemer, AL 35020. Contact the Homeless Liaison for BCS at (205)432-3050. Eight Homeless Liaison /Counselors have been assigned, one to each school as well as the alternative school. Bessemer City Schools Homeless Program personnel work in collaboration with school personnel and community service agencies in an effort to maximize access to educational, social, and enrichment programs which promote academic success and student achievement.
McKINNEY VENTO HOMELESS ASSISTANCE ACT
All school-aged homeless children are entitled to the same free and appropriate public education that is provided to non-homeless students. Schools are required to remove barriers to the enrollment, attendance, and academic success of homeless students.
DEFINITION OF A HOMELESS STUDENT
A student who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence, and;
has a primary nighttime residence that is designated to provide temporary living accommodations such as
shelters, motels/hotels, domestic violence shelters, and transitional housing.
lives in a car, park, abandoned building, public or private place not designed for, or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings.
lives temporarily in a trailer park or camping area due to the lack of adequate living accommodations.
lives “doubled-up" temporarily with another family, due to loss of housing.
is abandoned at a hospital.
resides in a home for school-aged, unwed mother or mother-to-be, if there are no other available living accommodations.
is placed by the state in an emergency shelter due to lack of alternative housing.
is an abandoned, runaway or throwaway youth or migratory child living in any of the circumstances described above.
SCHOOL SELECTION / STUDENT RIGHTS
Homeless student can attend the last school of enrollment, if feasible, or attend the school in the area where the family is temporarily residing.
Student can remain at selected school site throughout the duration of homelessness. The school site is considered the school of origin.
If the family gains permanent housing, the student can remain at the current school for the duration of that academic year.
Homeless students who are not attending their school of residence do not have the right to attend the next matriculating school. The student must attend the school in the area in which he/she is temporarily residing.
Schools must immediately enroll homeless students, regardless of the lack of:
Proof of Residency
The enrolling school shall immediately contact the last school of attendance to obtain missing records.
HOMELESS ED PROGRAM RESPONSIBILITIES
Assist in the identification of homeless students.
Facilitate enrollment and equal access to school programs.
Assist unaccompanied youth with enrollment, school placement and obtaining immunization records.
Provides school backpacks, school supplies and assistance with transportation and school clothing as appropriate.
Provide in-service training and technical assistance to schools and community agencies.
Provide referrals to health, mental health, dental and other school and community services as appropriate.
Ensure that parents are informed of their educational rights and are provided with the opportunity to pparticipate in their child's academic career.
Disseminate public notice of educational rights in places where services are provided.
Mediate enrollment disputes.
Ensure that homeless youth have access to a free public education, equal to that of any other youth.
Strengthen the implementation of the Bessemer City School's Homeless Education Policy.
Reduce enrollment barriers that homeless families face
Ensure that homeless students are being properly identified and served
Increase school staffs' awareness of and sensitivity to homeless families
Ensure that homeless students are not segregated from their non-homeless peers.
For more information on the Bessemer City Schools Homeless Education Program, call (205) 432-3050.