3 Domains of Work for Schools with Students who are Homeless

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This was the significant literature on which my dissertation was based. That work was later published as: James, E. A. (2009). Participatory action research as professional development: Creating new education practices for homeless or highly mobile students in the United States. Saarbrucken, Germany: VDM Verlag.

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  • Eye opening presentation!
    I never realized the challenges homeless students face. Your recommendations to these challenges sound very encouraging
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  • the issues that get in the way of education
  • 3 Domains of Work for Schools with Students who are Homeless

    1. The Three Domains for homeless students E. Alana James, Ed.D.
    2. So you want to improve educational practice for homeless or highly mobile students? <ul><li>Any change has a “ripple in a pond effect” </li></ul><ul><li>What is good for these students will improve education for all students </li></ul>
    3. Context of Homeless and Highly Mobile (H&HM) Students in the U.S . <ul><li>Homeless children may periodically live out of their parents car or sleep on friend’s couches – there are approximately 1.5 million homeless children in the United States. </li></ul><ul><li>Highly mobile (transient) children attend 2 or more schools each school year and have been shown to be at high risk for dropping out (leaving early). </li></ul><ul><li>A recent study of homeless street youth showed that some of them had attended as many as 19 schools during their childhood. </li></ul>
    4. 50% of the US has moved in the last five years Yet educational practice has not changed to meet this challenge and pre-service preparation continues to prepare teachers as though they will be able to practice their classroom management strategies in a stable school environment.
    5. All students are affected <ul><li>Because schools in the US are not on the same curricular schedule, moving from school to school is like surfing waves of educational strategy – these students frequently end up years behind their peers in literacy and comprehension (Rumberger 2003). </li></ul><ul><li>Studies have shown that in urban areas any given cohort of students may change more than 50 % of their population every five years (Kerbow, 2003). </li></ul>
    6. Title One issues <ul><li>A child or youth who is homeless and is attending any school in the district is automatically eligible for Title I services, regardless of their current academic performance. </li></ul>
    7. What is the goal for “Access?” <ul><li>To address the issues that get in the way of education </li></ul>
    8. Access to Educational Services <ul><li>1. A need for accurate data </li></ul><ul><li>2. Need for professional development </li></ul><ul><li>3. Need to coordinate services with community agencies as well as to arrange transportation </li></ul><ul><li>4. Transient or highly mobile life styles and living situations frequently exacerbate attendance issues. </li></ul><ul><li>5. Primary needs may not being met because of the lack of fixed and steady housing include: health, hygiene, lack of regular meals or adequate clothing, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>6. Need for access to services without labels and stigma </li></ul>
    9. Group work <ul><li>Talk about the specific goals your team would like to address </li></ul><ul><li>Read the appropriate part of the domains </li></ul><ul><li>Fill out short and long term plans for implementation </li></ul>
    10. Welcoming School Culture <ul><li>Setting up a safe social/emotional context for learning </li></ul>
    11. Welcoming School Culture <ul><li>1. Arriving students and families need an orientation to the school and school culture of which they are about to become a part. </li></ul><ul><li>2. Overcoming the stigma of homelessness and diversity issues related to culture/ethnicity/minority status or low SES. </li></ul><ul><li>3. Parent Involvement may be difficult and may require adjustments in educational practice </li></ul><ul><li>4. Students need a social life. </li></ul><ul><li>5. The experience of homelessness and mobility often are accompanied by a lifestyle that is frequently chaotic and harsh. Students exhibit social need for consistency, comfort, security, safety and quiet. </li></ul><ul><li>6. Need for behavioral training and conflict resolution to offset aggressive behaviors. </li></ul>
    12. Group work <ul><li>Talk about the specific goals your team would like to address </li></ul><ul><li>Read the appropriate part of the domains </li></ul><ul><li>Fill out short and long term plans for implementation </li></ul>
    13. Flexible Instructional Strategies <ul><li>Systems to help students succeed in their education </li></ul>
    14. Flexible Instructional Strategies <ul><li>1. Need for Inter and intra district communication about curricula. Also need for flexibility in ways students can earn credit within the district. </li></ul><ul><li>2. Contextual instruction helps students transform abstract concepts into concrete solutions. </li></ul><ul><li>3. Need for quick assessment, remediation when necessary and a school norm of high expectations for all </li></ul><ul><li>4. Flexible instruction; self regulated learning and learner centered orientation are beneficial practices to disadvantaged students. </li></ul><ul><li>5. Setting student up for success if they transfer on to another location. </li></ul>
    15. Group work <ul><li>Talk about the specific goals your team would like to address </li></ul><ul><li>Read the appropriate part of the domains </li></ul><ul><li>Fill out short and long term plans for implementation </li></ul>
    16. What has gone before
    17. <ul><li>Seventeen educators – 9 administrators </li></ul><ul><li>1 homeless shelter (ages 14-18) </li></ul><ul><li>1 charter high school </li></ul><ul><li>2 middle schools </li></ul><ul><li>1 multi level school </li></ul><ul><li>4 elementary schools </li></ul><ul><li>Schools that were in: rural, small towns suburban areas, urban areas </li></ul>Different school environments
    18. What did data show? 100% said it was useful for conversation with others. The whole idea of &quot;mobile&quot; is so vague that you have to contain it somehow. Otherwise the problem is almost too overwhelming, if you look at the problem piece by piece, it becomes more manageable.
    19. Access to educational services <ul><li>Principal and teacher uncovered numbers of and services used by mobile children. </li></ul><ul><li>Principal tested correlation between services and attendance. </li></ul><ul><li>Principal develops case studies of her most mobile students and the services they access </li></ul><ul><li>Set up new systems </li></ul>
    20. New Systems for Access <ul><ul><li>We have a system now, when a family goes to the shelter the first thing the shelter worker does is call my secretary. This works for all concerned. </li></ul></ul>
    21. Welcoming School Culture <ul><li>Included homeless students in school activities. </li></ul><ul><li>Started “The lunch bunch.” </li></ul><ul><li>Opened a welcoming center. </li></ul><ul><li>Interviewed every parent who enrolled their children mid year. </li></ul>
    22. Interviewing Parents The welcoming school environment is what precipitated the use of the interview process , parents coming in were surprised that someone was interested enough in them to ask these questions, which created some follow-up situations, which got us comments from families like, no one has ever shown this much interest in us.
    23. Flexible Instructional Strategies <ul><li>Teacher changed poetry in her reading curriculum to include poems about homelessness. Motivation to memorize the poems soared. </li></ul><ul><li>At the end of the school year her homeless students had excelled in this curricula four times the expected growth. </li></ul>
    24. Epilogue <ul><li>During the 2005-2006 school year 46 participants from four states (Colorado, Texas, Arkansas and Virginia) are participating in a similar study using web-based PAR methodology. </li></ul>
    25. Making schools appropriate for all kids!

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