Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Homeless Students CAN Succeed

Schools commended for serving homeless students

The county grand jury on Wednesday commended three local schools that serve homeless students, finding their programs to be successful and staffed by dedicated, enthusiastic teachers, administrators and aides.

The three schools – Harbor Summit Elementary, Toussaint Academy of the Arts and Sciences and Monarch School – are run by the county Office of Education and provide instruction to some of the estimated 1,600 homeless children and teens believed to be in San Diego County on any given day.

The grand jury decided to look at the unique educational programs to see how they were serving homeless youths, many of whom are at risk of becoming high school dropouts.

San Diego County is one of only four counties granted an exemption to a federal law that prohibits states from segregating homeless students in separate settings – and San Diego is the only county with a “proven track record” showing its programs work, the grand jury said.

“The staff spoke passionately about the love they have for teaching in this type of environment and their desire to make a difference. They felt that this type of school, where 100 percent of the students live in poverty and (with) the uncertainty of where they will be living on a permanent basis, works because the students feel a sense of 'fitting in,' ” the report said.

More here.

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