The Grand Forks school district has received a $20,000 grant through the federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Act to support students who are experiencing homelessness.
This is the first such funding the district has received from this source, according to Jennifer Modeen, social worker and homeless liaison.
Each year, the district educates from 120 to 150 “unaccompanied youth” who lack a fixed, permanent or adequate nighttime residence, officials say.
The grant will be used to provide additional academic support for these students through after-school tutoring, credit recovery and college preparation classes to support an increase in graduation rates and provide educational resources to students.
Funds also will support students who need after-school transportation.
According to school district administrators, a homeless student is defined as one who is not in the custody of a parent or guardian and is sharing the housing of others due to economic hardship or is living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, campgrounds, transitional housing or emergency shelters, in places not designed or intended for sleeping, or in cars, parks, abandoned buildings and bus stations.
“I’m excited about what we can do to empower our students to reach academic and social-emotional learning goals for life," Modeen said.
“Grand Forks Public Schools is recognized as a leader in educational equity for students experiencing homelessness,” she said. “This credit belongs to our employees and families who work together to break down educational barriers.”
The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act of 1987 is a U.S. federal law related to the education of children and youth experiencing homelessness. The Act was reauthorized in December 2015 as part of the Every Student Succeeds Act.
The grant was written by Modeen and Taunya Schleicher, grant writer for Grand Forks Public Schools.