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  • As family homelessness climbs, calls grow louder for solving school attendance woes

    Dec 13, 2022

    12.12.2022 | Chalkbeat NY | Historically, there has been a failure to cooperate and minimize disruptions to students’ schooling between the multiple agencies connected to homeless children, including the education department and homeless services, said Jennifer Pringle, director of Project Learning In Temporary Housing at Advocates for Children. 

    This moment, in particular, is critical for figuring out solutions, said Pringle, whose organization is one of more than three dozen calling for an inter-agency task force focused on how to tackle a slew of issues, including reducing chronic absenteeism among homeless students.  

    “This is an opportunity to figure out, OK, as families are coming in, how can we make sure that kids are connected with school, connected with their peers, with their teachers,” Pringle said, “so that while the family is going through this process and ultimately finds permanent housing, the kids’ education doesn’t get derailed.” 

    But even a shelter placement in the same borough can mean a challenging commute to school.

    When there are school attendance issues, many shelter providers’ default position is to encourage families to change schools, Pringle said, rather than to revisit shelter placements and try to move families closer to their schools. 

    “In a city where we have so many shelter locations, the needs of children are not being prioritized as a part of this process,” she said. Read article