More Options

Tips for Teachers

Tips for Teachers

Teachers: Tips for Ensuring Educational Access and Success for Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness

  • Be familiar with common characteristics of children and youth who are homeless. Common signals are attendance at several schools, poor hygiene, gaps in learning, transportation problems, poor health nutrition, and a lack of preparedness for class.
  • Assist other students in being sensitive to stereotypes of homeless people.
  • Adjust assignments so that students not living in permanent settings can complete them. (For example, such students may not have a place to perform a science experiment or the resources to bring in an article about current events).
  • Make sure the student enrolls in your school’s fee lunch meal program. Homeless students are automatically eligible for free school meals. Learn more...
  • Ensure that the student has every opportunity that a non-homeless student has for participation in after-school activities and in-school programs.
  • Communicate with the parents about school performance.
  • Connect the student with tutoring and remediation services, if needed.
  • If you have a snack break, keep a store of snacks for students who don’t bring one.
  • Do not take away possessions. Students may need their “stuff” nearby for security.
  • Hold the student accountable for what he or she can control (e.g., behavior or attitude) not what is not under the student’s control (e.g., inability to watch a news program or purchase a poster board for a project).
  • Discuss concerns with the guidance counselor, school social worker, school nurse, or local homeless education liaison.
  • Before you receive a new student:
    • Prepare a list of your class routines and procedures.
    • Prepare a new student file with information for parents and guardians.
    • Maintain a supply of materials for students to use at school.
    • Prepare a “getting-to-know-you” activity for the class to do when a new student arrives.
    • Have the class schedule visible.
  • When a new student enters the class:
    • Introduce the student to the class.
    • Assign a class buddy to assist with routines.
    • Review the academic record and closely monitor the educational progress of the student.
  • When a student leaves:
    • Support the class and the student by discussing the move and having classmates write letters to the departing student.
    • Give the student a copy of the school’s contact information so that letters can be written back either via e-mail or traditional mail.
  • Show that you care about the student!
Copyright © 2017, Charleston County School District