Beyond backpacks and bus tokens: Case study of a district homeless student initiative

Document Type

Conference Presentation

Conference Title

American Educational Research Association Annual Conference


Chicago, IL

Conference Dates

April 16-20, 2015

Date of Presentation



Homeless and highly mobile students face many challenges in gaining access to and navigating the educational system. This qualitative case study focuses on how one school district attempted to integrate serving homeless youth into its mission. Findings suggest that revising systems that accurately count homeless students is far easier than engaging in conversations about what these students need to be successful. Site leaders felt the lack of mandated tracking of educational progress meant homeless students were not a primary focus. Principals recognize the need to do more to serve these students, but need the guidance and support of the district.

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