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Programs

  • McKinney-Vento Program
  • Other Programs

Homeless Services

The McKinney-Vento Act was established to assist homeless children and youth with enrolling, attending, and succeeding in school. Under this legislation, homeless youth are guaranteed the same educational services that all students are provided in order to meet challenging academic standards. The Act also ensures that homeless youth be educated in their neighborhood school or in the attendance area where the family or youth is currently residing. The McKinney-Vento Definition of Homeless means individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence [42 U.S.C. § 11434a(2)]

Freedom Academy Charter School provides an educational environment that treats all students with dignity and respect. Every homeless student has access to the same free and appropriate educational opportunities as students who are not homeless. This commitment to the educational rights of homeless children, youth, and unaccompanied youth, applies to all services, programs, and activities provided or made available.

Who is Considered Homeless?

A student may be considered eligible for services as a “Homeless Child or Youth” under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act if he or she is presently living in one of the following situations:

  • Sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason
  • Living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative adequate accommodations
  • Living in emergency or transitional shelters; or are abandoned in hospitals
  • Have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings
  • Living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings
  • Is a migratory child who qualifies as homeless for the purposes of this subtitle because the children are living in circumstances described above

Rights of Homeless Students

To remove educational barriers for children and youths experiencing homelessness, the McKinney-Vento Act mandates the following:

  • Immediate Enrollment: Documentation and immunization records cannot serve as a barrier to the enrollment in school [42 U.S.C. § 11432(g)(3)(C)].
  • School Selection and Maintained Enrollment: McKinney Vento eligible students have a right to select either their School of Origin (the school the student attended when permanently housed or the school in which the student was last enrolled) OR their School of Residency (the school in the attendance area in which the student currently resides). Students may remain enrolled in their selected schools for the duration of homelessness, and until the end of the academic year upon which they are permanently housed [42 U.S.C. § 11432(g)(3)(A), 42 U.S.C. § 11432(g)(3)(B) and 42 U.S.C. § 11432(g)(3)(I)(i)].
  • Transportation Services: McKinney-Vento eligible students attending their School of Origin have a right to transportation to and from the School of Origin [42 U.S.C. § 11432(g)(1)(J)(iii)].
  • Participation in Programs: McKinney-Vento eligible students are guaranteed the right to services comparable to services offered to other students in the school [42 U.S.C. § 11432(g)(4)] & (6)(iii)].
  • Unaccompanied Youth Experiencing Homelessness: McKinney-Vento eligible students are guaranteed the right to immediate enrollment without proof of guardianship [42 U.S.C. § 11432(g)(1)(H)(iv)].
  • Access to Extracurricular Activities: Removal of barriers to accessing academic and extracurricular activities for homeless students who meet relevant eligibility criteria [42 U.S.C. § 11432(g)(1)(F)(iii)].
  • Dispute Resolution: If you disagree with school officials about enrollment, transportation, or fair treatment of a homeless child or youth, you may file a complaint with Freedom Academy [42 U.S.C. § 11432(g)(3)(E)].
  • Appointment of a Local Homeless Liaison: The McKinney-Vento Act mandates the appointment of a local Homeless Liaison in every school district or local education agency (LEA) to ensure that homeless children and youth are enrolled in and have a full and equal opportunity to succeed in school [42 U.S.C. § 11432(g)(1)(J)(ii) and 2 U.S.C. § 11432(g)(6)(A)].

Applying for the Program

To apply for the McKinney-Vento Program, please complete the Student Housing Questionnaire. Our registrar will oversee the immediate enrollment of these students in school, work with identified school staff to provide assistance to meet their academic and nonacademic needs and ensure that barriers to education are eliminated.

When you move, or if your housing status changes, please notify the school homeless education liaison for assistance. You must also reapply every school year for the program.

We are dedicated to developing and implementing a continuum of services to meet the needs of ALL of our students. We understand the diverse learning needs of each of our students, and provide specialized services to meet student needs, including the following:

504 Services

Section 504 is a civil rights statute intended to eliminate obstacles to full educational participation by students with disabilities. In order to be qualified for assistance under Section 504, the student must be between the ages of three (3) and twenty-one (21) years of age and meet the definition of “disabled.” A student is disabled if he/she (1). has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities (2). has a record of such impairment, or (3). is regarded as having such an impairment.

English Language Learners

English Language Learners (ELL) are a diverse population of students who are learning English in school. They come from numerous cultural and economic backgrounds. Although many ELL students have developed basic communication skills in English, they struggle with academic language. This disconnect can make classroom instruction difficult, and it requires modified instruction in the student’s academic courses.

Exceptional Student Services (also known as special education)

Exceptional Student Services (ESS) provides education to students who, because of an identified disability, require specially designed instruction and related services in order to receive a free, appropriate public education. An Individualized Education Program (IEP) team determines specific services to meet the unique needs of each student which may include counseling, technology devices, occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech and language therapy, transportation, or other supports.

Gifted & Talented Education

Gifted and talented students are children of lawful school age who, due to superior intellect and/or advanced learning ability, are not afforded an opportunity for otherwise attainable progress and development in regular classroom instruction and who need comprehensive gifted education services to achieve levels that commensurate with the child's intellect and ability. Gifted education services are offered to all students who score at or above the 97th percentile on a verbal, quantitative, and/or nonverbal battery, or a composite score at or above the 95th percentile of a test included on the Arizona State-Approved Gifted Test List.

Resources

Andrea Kennon
Freedom Academy Homeless Education Liaison
3916 E. Paradise Lane, Phoenix, AZ 85032
akennon@freedomacademyaz.org
(602) 424-0771

Rita Rodriguez
State Homeless Education Program Coordinator
1535 W. Jefferson St., Phoenix, AZ 85007
homeless@azed.gov
(602) 542-4963

For More Information

National Center Toll-Free HelpLine
(800) 308-2145

Arizona Department of Education
Homeless Education Program website

National Center For Homeless Education
McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act website