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Student Support, Career & Education Services

ESSA Changes and Updates

To:Homeless Education Liaisons and Superintendents
From:Rachelle Engler Bennett, Director, Office of Student and Family Support
Date:August 29, 2016


As the 2016-2017 school year starts we need to highlight several changes and events coming this fall for the districts, families, and students we serve.

The Educational Stability Team

Recently organized in the Center for Educational Options, in the Office of Student and Family Support, the Educational Stability Team focuses on the needs of highly mobile students and their access to public education.

We are here to support districts and families. Please feel free to reach out to us as needed:

Migrant Education, and
Military Connected Student Specialist
Foster Care Education State Point of Contact
Homeless Education State Coordinator

Effective Dates and Highlighted Changes

October 1, 2016
McKinney-Vento reauthorization goes into effect.

  • Homeless education liaisons must have the capacity to fulfill the role defined in McKinney-Vento.
  • Awaiting foster care is deleted from the definition of homelessness on December 10, 2016 (but new provisions go into effect for these students under Title 1 Part A—see below).
  • School of origin extends to the designated receiving school once a homeless student completes all the grades in his/her current school.
  • Transportation is provided at the request of the parent through the end of the academic year in which a student becomes permanently housed.
  • Homeless preschool students have all the same rights as other homeless students.
  • Efforts must be made to engage out of school homeless students and full/partial credit extended for work completed in a previous district.
  • Homeless students must receive the same college and career counseling as non-homeless students including support in completing the FASFA and verification of their status as homeless students.
  • Homeless education liaisons must collaborate with community providers and provide referrals to parents/guardians and unaccompanied homeless youth.
  • Other changes will be addressed and communicated as implementation moves forward.

December 10, 2016
Title 1 Part A provisions for children in Foster Care go into effect.

  • The definition of foster care includes all children for which the state child welfare agency (Department of Children and Families-DCF) has responsibility for their out-of-home 24-hour substitute care. This includes all foster homes, kinship placements, group homes, STARR programs, Transitional Care Units (TCU), and other placements.
  • School districts (LEAs) should designate the local Point of Contact (POC) in an expedited manner, even if DCF has not yet notified districts in writing of your corresponding POC.
  • The foster care provisions cover all children while in foster care accessing a public education through graduation.
  • A child in foster care has the right to remain enrolled in his/her school origin for the duration of their time in foster care or until he/she completes all the grades in that school.
  • LEAs must collaborate with DCF to ensure transportation is provided, arranged, and funded.
  • If it is determined that it is not in the student's best interest to remain in the school of origin, the student has the right to immediately enroll, with or without documentation, in the district where the student is currently placed.
  • Other changes will be addressed and communicated as implementation moves forward.

July 1, 2017
ESSA Title 1 Part C provisions for Migrant students go into effect.

  • Continued reporting on the academic achievement of migrant students with new definitions of eligibility and qualifying work; as well as priority for services.
  • Other changes will be addressed as implementation moves forward.

Training and Resources

Orientation to McKinney-Vento
These half day sessions are designed to cover basics of homeless education for homeless liaisons and others who work with homeless children, families and unaccompanied youth. See the online registration for dates and details.

McKinney-Vento & Foster Care Webinars
These one hour webinars are intended to provide updates as Massachusetts implements the changes to homeless and foster care education. The first of these webinars are scheduled on September 14th at 9:00 and September 15th at 1:00 and will highlight many of the ESSA changes for McKinney-Vento that go into effect on October 1, 2016 and provide preparation for the transition of children in foster care to the new Title 1 Part A provisions. Please register online.

We anticipate revised McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Advisories and new Foster Care Education Advisories will be posted in mid-September on the Department's website.

USED Guidance
USED's Education for Homeless Children and Youths Program Non-Regulatory Guidance, July 27, 2016 and USED's Non-Regulatory Guidance: Ensuring the Educational Stability for children in Foster Care, June 23, 2016 are posted on our website.

Military Interstate Children Compact Commission (MIC3)
The Compact "[p]rovides for the uniform treatment of military children transferring between school districts and states" and was established under the federal Valor Act and state law.

Massachusetts Migrant Education Program (MMEP)
MMEP has new federal regulations for gathering migrant student enrollment and academic data from schools to be reported by MMEP to the national database. More information will come from EDCO on behalf of the MMEP.

Last Updated: August 29, 2016
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