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Guidance

Harmony Guidance Web Page

Guidance Counselor: Mr. Matt Bonanno
Guidance Assistant: Mrs.Robin Dyda

Role and philosophy of the school counselor:  Guidance services and school counseling is concerned with the educational, emotional, and social development of all students in relation to their total school experience. Guidance services and school counseling is an integral part of the school program, consisting of a coordinated plan involving pupils, parents, and all members of the professional staff, as well as numerous specialists. The center of the school counseling program is the individual student for whom the counselor hopes to provide a meaningful educational experience.


Guidance News & Notes

Information for Tuition Funding Source (TFS):

Tuition Funding Sources (TFS) is using social media to post a new scholarship on our Twitter feed, Facebook page and Instagram account called

 "The Scholarship of the Day". TFS is sponsored exclusively by Wells Fargo Bank.

Students and parents can get a new scholarship delivered to their smartphone, tablet or computer - every day.

Please visit TuitionFundingSources.com and click on the social media icons to follow one or more of our social media accounts.

Attention seniors going on to postsecondary education: The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) may be filed on-line anytime after October 1, 2021. Please stop in the guidance office if you have any questions about this process. Check out www.fafsa.gov for more information.

Seniors: If you are applying to colleges/universities, be sure to get your application fee waiver from Mr. Bonanno. This allows you to apply free of charge.

College visits at Harmony
Wednesday, October 6th @ 9:10 Saint Francis
Friday, October 8th @ 1:00 Thiel College
Wednesday, October 13th @ 11:45 Westminster College
Tuesday, October 19th @ 11:45 Penn State
Thursday, October 21st @ 9:10 Mount Aloysius
Monday, October 25th @ 9:50 Clarion University

As the school year progresses, always check with Mrs. Graffius for new scholarships. As I receive them, I forward them to her to display.

Attention male seniors that are 18 years of age or older: You must register with the Selective Service. Stop in the guidance office for information.

The ASVAB is scheduled for Thursday, December 2nd.

Attention past graduates:  If you need an official transcript, please contact the Harmony High School Guidance Office by email.

Seniors- Colleges, universities, technical schools, and business schools all have deadlines for applications.  Find out what your schools deadlines are. (Some schools hand out financial aid early. If you are enrolled early, there may be more money available to you.)

To check out the different shops and possible careers at the Admiral Peary Area Vocational Technical School click here   https://www.admiralpeary.tec.pa.us/

Here are some Websites to help YOU!

Welcome to the nation's publicly-funded resource for jobseekers and businesses
Find jobs--from entry level to technical to professional to CEO. Identify job-ready workers with the right skills. Locate public workforce services in your area. Explore alternative career paths, compare salary data for different occupations, learn which careers are hot, get resume writing tips and job interview strategies, and much more!

 

Career OneStop www.careeronestop.org

Career OneStop was designed to meet the special employment needs of job seekers and employers. Information and services are offered without charge through these Web Sites and Toll-Free Help Line. The Career OneStop portal page allows you to view the list of services offered through the component Web Sites and to quickly access these services.

Americas Career InfoNet www.acinet.org

ACINet will assist you in making informed career decisions. You can use ACINet to:

  • Find Typical wages and employment trends across occupations and industries.
  • Check the education, knowledge, skills, and ability levels that are required for specific occupations.
  • Write job descriptions.
  • Find employer contact information, get relocation and cost of living data, and access local labor market information for any area in the United States.
  • Search a database containing information on over 4,000 scholarships, fellowships, loans, and other financial assistance opportunities.
  • Access a career resource library consisting of over 5,000 external career resource links available on the internet.

Americas Job Bank www.ajb.org

AJB is one of the largest and busiest job markets in cyberspace. Employers use AJB to post job listings, create customized job orders, and search resumes to quickly find the most qualified job applicants. As a job seeker you can use AJB to:

  • Post your resume where thousands of employers search every day.
  • Automatically search for job openings located anywhere in the United States by job title, keyword, and military occupation codes.

National Toll-Free Help Line 1-877-US-2JOBS

You can use the Training and Education Center of the Career InfoNet to:

  • Search for individual courses, seminars, workshops, and degree/certificate granting programs by subject, state, and zip code.
  • Search for education and training providers located anywhere in the United States by keyword, state, and zip code.
  • Access information about special training and education programs that are unique to a particular industry or profession.
  • Learn about organizations that certify or accredit training providers and training programs.
  • Check on the certification, accreditation, and licensing and credentials of training providers and training programs.
  • Search for information on occupational testing and assessment instruments that can help you make informed career documents.

OR try the military!

Active Duty

Service

Reserve Duty

(800) USA-ARMY

U.S. Army

(800) USA-ARMY

(800) USA-NAVY

U.S. Navy

(800) USA-USNR

(800) 423-USAF

U.S. Air Force

(800) 257-1212

(800) MARINES

U.S. Marine Corps

(800) MARINES

(800) 424-8883

U.S. Coast Guard

(800) 424-8883

 

Air National Guard

(800) TO GO ANG

 

Army National Guard

(800) GO GUARD

In addition, check out the military careers website at www.militarycareers.com.  It is an excellent career information resource for the military world of work.  It gives you details on enlisted and officer occupations as well as their civilian counterparts.  This site also describes training, advancement, and educational opportunities within each of the major Services - Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard.  You can search the site to get a list of military occupations that match your interests, or you may browse occupations by category.

College Research

Websites

www.justcolleges.com

An interactive guide listing over 5,000 colleges and universities around the world

www.universities.com

A listing of post-secondary schools including business, trade and technical schools, colleges, and universities

www.petersons.com

Provides facts and figures on schools in addition to web links for American schools

www.educationplanner.org

Comprehensive website for Pennsylvania students planning to attend college; covers financial aid, career center, school selection

 

Education Planner.org

Online Financial Resources: www.Educationplanner.org

 

Education Planner provides students with an online resource for planning for higher education and simplifying the application process for post-secondary schools in the Commonwealth. This website is sponsored by PHEAA (Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency). This free interactive Website is user-friendly, accessible 24/7.

The innovative features on the site allow students to search for the postsecondary schools that meet their interests, take virtual campus tours, communicate with schools via a free email account, and submit admissions and financial aid applications online. The Career Center assists students in selecting possible career choices through identified interests and abilities. A financial aid estimator helps students and their families estimate the amount of aid they can expect to receive. The site is also home to the world's largest scholarship database. This free scholarship search allows students to enter qualifying information and presents scholarships for which they may be eligible.

Attention:  Sophomores, Juniors, Seniors, and now Freshman set up a time with Mr. Bonanno to schedule a job shadow opportunity. If you don't know where you want to do one, ask Mr. Bonanno.

 

* If anyone needs anything from the Guidance Office, stop in and tell us.  If we are not in the office, leave a note with your name and what you need on it.  * If you can't get out of the class to come to the Guidance Office, see Mr. Bonanno or Mrs. LeGars for a pass.         

                                      

Be sure to check out  the Collegeboard website for practice tests and additional information 

ACT is also available if you are interested. Checkout www.actstudent.org  for more information.

 


 
 

Financial Aid

 

Scholarship Search

http://www.fastweb.com

Department of Ed

http://www.ed.gov

American Education Services

http://www.aessuccess.org

Student Aid Home Page

http://www.studentaid.ed.gov

PHEAA

https://www.pheaa.org/

 

 

Admissions

 

FastWeb

http://www.fastweb.com

Admissions.com

http://www.admissions.com

NACAC

http://www.nacac.com

College

 

College Cost Calculator

http://www.fastweb.com

College Directory

http://www.fastweb.com

College is Possible

http://www.collegeispossible.org

College Search Based on Various Criteria

http://www.nces.ed.gov/ipeds/cool

Financial Aid Calculators

 

College Cost Calculator

http://www.fastweb.com

Loan Caculators

http://www.fastweb.com

EFC Calculators

http://www.finaid.org/calculators

Savings Plan Designer

http://www.finaid.org/calculators

Savings Plan Interest Rate

http://www.finaid.org/calculators

Compound Interest

http://www.finaid.org/calculators

Needed Annual Yield

http://www.finaid.org/calculators

Career & Job

 

Career Planning

http://www..fastweb.com

America's Career Infonet

http://www.acinet.org

Bureau of Labor Statistics

http://stats.bls.gov

Occupational Outlook Handbook

http://www.bls.gov/ocohome.htm

Open the Door to Job Corps

http://jobcorps.doleta.gov

Miscellaneous Websites of Interest

 

PA Governor's School

http://www.pgse.org

GED Information

http://www.gedtest.org

 

Obstacles don't have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don't turn around and give up.  Figure out how to climb it, go though it, or work around it.  - Michael Jordan

 

Harmony Assistance Program

In Pennsylvania, every middle and high school has a Student Assistance Program (SAP). A SAP team, made up of school and agency staff, is here to help you access school and community services. The Harmony Assistance Program will help you and your children find services and assistance within the school and, if needed, in the community. We do not diagnose, treat, or refer your child for treatment. Rather, we will provide you with the information; you make the choices. Our goal is to help your child succeed in school. For more information on the Harmony Assistance Program, please contact one of the following team members listed below.

Matt Bonanno, Guidance Counselor

Jessie Romagna, School Nurse

Douglas Martz, High School Principal

Jason Romagna,Secondary Social Studies Teacher

Lisa Kitko, Phys. Ed. Teacher

Kelly Born, Intermediate Elementary Teacher

Sean McMullen, Secondary Math & Social Studies Teacher

Kelley Goss, School Psychologist

Jason Boring, Asst. Principal/Special Education Supervisor

Tonya Fry, Primary Elementary Teacher

 

 

Are you having problems or situations that you need to talk about? Think no one cares? Think again. Check out teencentral.net. It's a safe place for teens to tell their stories and hear from peers who respond with encouragement and support. This is a completely anonymous and safe internet resource dedicated to giving hope, help and healing to children facing crisis. Go to www.teencentral.net for more information.

 

 

 

 

PA's Homeless Children's Initiative

The Pennsylvania Homeless Children's Initiative is the Pennsylvania Department of Education's response to the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Improvements Act of 2001. The key mandate of the law is to ensure that homeless children and youth have access to free, appropriate education on an equal basis with other children.

By definition of this act, homeless children are found in the following places or situations:

-  Public or private shelters

-  Public or private places not designated for or ordinarily use as regular sleeping accommodations for human           beings such as vehicles, parks, motels, campgrounds, etc.

-  Living with a parent in a domestic shelter, individuals, and/or friends due to a lack of housing

-  Runaway children (under18 years of age) and children and youth who have been abandoned or forced out of their home by parents or other caretakers

-  Children of migrant families who lack adequate housing

-  School-age, unwed mothers or expectant mothers living in houses for unwed mothers when they have no other available living accommodations

Here is the BEC from PDE concerning Education for Homeless Youth:

Date of Issue: February 3, 2010

Date of Review: December 10, 2016, August 19, 2015, September 1, 2011

Purpose

In 1987, Congress passed the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act, (subsequently renamed the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act) to aid homeless persons. The Act defines the term "homeless children and youths" as individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence. On December 10, 2015, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was enacted, amending McKinney-Vento.

Procedures

This Basic Education Circular (BEC) explains the categories of children who are "homeless" and entitled to the protections of the federal law. These categories include:

  1. children and youths who are sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship or a similar reason; are living in motels, hotels, trailer parks or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative adequate accommodations; are living in emergency or transitional shelters; are abandoned in hospitals;

  2. children and youths who have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings;

  3. children and youths who are living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings;

  4. “migratory children” who qualify as homeless under federal law because the children are living in circumstances described in clauses (i) through (iii) above. The term "migratory children" means children who are (or whose parent(s) or spouse(s) are) migratory agricultural workers, including migratory dairy workers or migratory fishermen, and who have moved from one school district to another in the preceding 36 months, in order to obtain (or accompany such parents or spouses in order to obtain) temporary or seasonal employment in agricultural or fishing work; and,

  5. "Unaccompanied homeless youth" including any child who is "not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian." This includes youth who have run away from home, been thrown out of their home, been abandoned by parents or guardians, or separated from their parents for any other reason.

    Communication and collaboration among education and child welfare professionals is critical to support school stability and continuity for children in out-of-home care. The law requires child welfare and local education agencies to work together to promote school stability and continuity including trying to ensure children remain in the school in which they were enrolled at the time of placement when it is in their best interest. Best practice would suggest that decisions be made collaboratively between school personnel, child welfare agencies and any other individual involved in the child’s case including the child, resource parent, child advocate and attorney. It is imperative that caseworkers and school district administration and staff work together to help ensure the educational progress of all students.

Under the Pennsylvania Education for Homeless Children and Youth State Plan, homeless children are defined as “children living with a parent in a domestic violence shelter; runaway children and children, and youth who have been abandoned or forced out of their home by parents or other caretakers; and school-aged parents living in houses for school-aged parents if they have no other available living accommodations.”

The McKinney-Vento Act states that it is the policy of Congress that state educational agencies shall ensure that each child of a homeless individual and each homeless youth has equal access to the same free, appropriate public education, including a public preschool education, as provided to other children and youths 42 U.S.C. § 11431. Specifically, 42 U.S.C. § 11432(g) (3) (A) indicates that the local educational agency (LEA) shall, according to the child’s best interest: In accordance with Section 722 (g) (3) (B) (ii), the local educational agency:

  1. must presume that keeping a homeless child or youth in the school of origin is in the child’s or youth’s best interest unless doing so is contrary to the request of the child’s or youth’s parent or guardian, or (in the case of an unaccompanied youth) the youth;

  2. must consider student-centered factors related to a child’s or youth’s best interest, giving priority to the request of the child’s or youth’s parent or guardian, or (in the case of an unaccompanied youth) the youth; or

  3. if the LEA determines that it is not in a child’s or youth’s best interest to attend the school of origin, or the school requested by the parent, guardian, or unaccompanied youth, it must provide a written explanation of the reasons for its determination, in a manner and form that is understandable.

According to the McKinney-Vento Act the term "school of origin" means the school the child or youth attended when permanently housed, or the school in which the child or youth was last enrolled. 42 U.S.C. § 11432(g) (3) (G).

Homeless Students Residing in Shelters, Facilities or Institutions

Section 1306 of the Pennsylvania Public School Code (24 P.S. §13-1306) deals with the public school admission of nonresident students living in shelters, facilities or institutions. Implementing regulations for Section 1306 are found in Section 11.18 of the State Board of Education regulations. 22 Pa. Code § 11.18 (a) addresses the public school admission of nonresident children who live in an institution, shelter or custodial care facility:

    1. The board of school directors of a school district in which there is located a licensed shelter, group home, maternity home, residence, facility, orphanage or other institution for the care or training of children or adolescents, shall admit to the district’s public schools school age children who are living at or assigned to the facility or institution and who are residents of the district or another school district in this Commonwealth.

22 Pa. Code § 11.18, as it applies to homeless children and youth, includes within the definition of "licensed shelter" those facilities which provide temporary shelter for a specified, limited period of time. Therefore, children in temporary shelters and children who "lack a fixed, regular, adequate night time residence" – homeless children – are entitled to free school privileges from either the school district in which their person or the shelter is located or the school district of origin.

Homeless Students Not Residing in a Shelter, Facility or Institution

Homeless students may reside in hotels, motels, cars, tents or temporarily doubled-up with a resident family because of lack of housing. In determining residence and in the case of homeless children, equating "residence" and "domicile" (home) does not apply. They are presently unable to establish "homes" on a permanent basis. Homeless families are not required to prove residency regarding school enrollment. These students should be enrolled without delay, in the district where they are presently residing or continue their education in the district of prior attendance.

Children experiencing homelessness are often highly mobile and may not stay in the same school district each night or each week. This is particularly true regarding children who stay overnight in vehicles, those who stay with different family members or friends, or those who receive services from agencies, organizations or networks which facilitate overnight accommodations in multiple school districts. These children should not be forced to change school districts every time their overnight accommodations change. Rather, these children are entitled to attend school in any school district where a parent, guardian, an adult caring for them or where an unaccompanied child:

  • Spends the greatest percentage of his or her time; or
  • Has a substantial connection such as where he or she is
    • regularly receiving day shelter or other services involving any of the 16 McKinney-Vento Activities (42 U.S.C. 11433(d)) for individuals who are homeless;
    • conducting daily living activities; or
    • staying overnight on a recurring basis.

This policy helps maintain continuity and school stability for homeless children in compliance with the McKinney-Vento Act.

The child or youth shall continue to be enrolled in the school in which he or she is seeking enrollment until the complaint or appeal is fully resolved by a McKinney-Vento coordinator, state coordinator, through mediation or in court.

School Placement

The McKinney-Vento Act requires that, "local educational agencies will designate an appropriate staff person, who may also be a coordinator for other federal programs, as a local educational agency liaison for homeless children and youth.” This person has the following responsibilities:

  1. Identify homeless children and youths with assistance by school personnel and through coordination activities with other entities and agencies.
  2. Inform parents or guardians of educational rights and related opportunities available to their children, including Head Start programs (including Early Head Start programs), early intervention services under Part C of the IDEA, other preschool programs administered by the LEA, and provide them with meaningful opportunities to participate in the education of their children.
  3. Disseminate public notice of the educational rights of homeless students where children and youths receive services under the McKinney-Vento Act (such as schools, family shelters and food pantries).
  4. Mediate enrollment disputes in accordance with the Enrollment Dispute section.
  5. Inform the parent or guardian of a homeless child, youth and any unaccompanied youth, of all transportation options, including to the school of origin, and assist in accessing these transportation services.
  6. Liaisons are required to ensure that unaccompanied youth are immediately enrolled in school pending resolution of disputes that might arise over school enrollment or placement.
  7. Liaisons are required to assist children and youths who do not have documentation of immunizations or medical records to obtain necessary immunizations or necessary medical documentation.
  8. Understand the guidance issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) for the education of homeless students and be ready to explain the BEC related to homeless education to school district staff.
  9. Get to know the best resources in their community to assist families with referrals for things such as shelter, counseling, food and transportation.
  10. Distribute information on the subject of homeless students and arrange staff development workshops and presentations for school personnel, including office staff.
  11. Provide standard forms and information about enrollment procedures and key school programs to each shelter in their district.
  12. Become familiar with the various program materials that are available from PDE.
  13. Ensure that public notice of the educational rights of homeless students is disseminated in locations frequented by parents and guardians of such children and youths, and unaccompanied youths, including schools, shelters, public libraries, and soup kitchen, in a manner and form understandable to the parents and guardians and unaccompanied youth.
  14. Liaisons must collaborate with a school district’s special education program to ensure that homeless children who are in need of special education and related services are located, identified and evaluated. This is a requirement under the Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which mandates that highly mobile children with disabilities, including homeless children, be identified and served. Liaisons should also ensure that homeless youths who have or may have disabilities have a parent or a surrogate parent to make special education or early intervention decisions. In the case of unaccompanied homeless youth, if a student is disabled or may be disabled and the youth does not have a person authorized to make special education decisions, the following people can be temporary surrogate parents: staff in emergency shelters; transitional shelters; independent living programs; street outreach programs; and state, local educational agency or child welfare agency staff involved in the education or care of the child. This rule applies only to unaccompanied homeless youth.
  15. Liaisons should also identify preschool-aged homeless children by working closely with shelters and social service agencies in their area. In addition, the liaison should inquire, at the time they are enrolling homeless children and youths in school, whether the family has preschool-aged children.
  16. Liaisons can identify unaccompanied homeless youth while respecting their privacy and dignity by providing specific outreach to areas where eligible students who are out of school may congregate.
  17. Liaisons ensure that unaccompanied youths are enrolled in school, and have opportunities to meet the same challenging state academic standards as the state establishes for other children and youths, are informed of their status as independent students under section 480 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA) (20 U.S.C 1087vv), and their right to receive verification of this status from the local liaison.

Appropriate school placement arrangements, based on the child’s best interest, should be implemented through the cooperative efforts of the respective chief school administrators. Each case presents a unique set of circumstances and, therefore, requires an individualized response. In all cases, the LEA shall comply, to the extent feasible, with the request made by a parent or guardian regarding school selection, shall attempt to minimize disruptions and shall maintain the highest possible degree of continuity in programs for all homeless students. The choice regarding placement shall be made regardless of whether the child or youth lives with the homeless parents or has been temporarily placed elsewhere.

Homelessness alone is not a reason to separate students from the mainstream school environment. Homeless children and youths should have access to education and other services that they need to ensure that they have an opportunity to meet the same challenging state student performance standards to which all students are held.

In determining the best interest of the child or youth under McKinney-Vento Act, the LEA shall:

  1. Continue the child’s or youth’s education in the school of origin for the duration of homelessness when a family becomes homeless between academic years or during an academic year; and for the remainder of the academic year even if the child or youth becomes permanently housed during an academic year; or
  2. Enroll the child or youth in any public school that non-homeless students who live in the attendance area in which the child or youth is actually living are eligible to attend.

The selected school shall immediately enroll the child or youth in school, even if the child or youth lacks records normally required for enrollment, such as previous academic records, medical records, proof of residency or other documentation. Section 722 (g)(3)(C) (i)(II) requires that a school selected based on a homeless child’s or youth’s best interest must immediately enroll such child or youth even if he or she has missed application or enrollment deadlines during any period of homelessness.

The terms "enroll" and "enrollment" are defined as attending classes and participating fully in school activities. The enrolling school must immediately contact the last school attended to obtain relevant records.

In order to ensure immediate enrollment, in accordance with Section 722 (g)(6)(A)(ix), the LEA liaison is required to: train school enrollment staff about the legal requirement that homeless children and youths be immediately enrolled and provided transportation; review school regulations and policies to ensure that they comply with the McKinney-Vento Act requirements; inform families and youth, in a language they can understand, of their rights; develop clear, understandable and accessible written explanations of decisions and the right to appeal; and expeditiously follow up on any special education or language assistance needs presented by a student.

School/Health Records

The educating district should immediately enroll and begin to provide instruction. The receiving school district may contact the district of origin for oral confirmation that the child has been immunized. Oral confirmation between professionals is a sufficient basis to verify immunization with written confirmation to follow within 30 days. The instructional program should begin as soon as possible after the enrollment process is initiated and should not be delayed until the procedure is completed. The law specifies that information about a homeless child’s or youth’s living situation shall be treated as a student education record, and shall not be deemed to be directory information. (Section 722 (g)(3)(G)).

According to federal law, "(iii) If the child or youth needs to obtain immunizations, or immunization or medical records, the enrolling school shall immediately refer the parent or guardian of the child or youth to the local educational agency liaison designated under paragraph (1)(J)(ii), shall assist in obtaining necessary immunizations, or immunization or medical records, in accordance with subparagraph (D)" 42 U.S.C. §11432(g)(c)(iii).

Title I

Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (reauthorized December 2015 by the Every Student Succeeds Act) mandates that funds be reserved to serve homeless children. Title I states, "A local educational agency shall reserve such funds as are necessary to provide services comparable to those provided to children in schools funded under this part to serve homeless children who do not attend participating schools, including providing educationally related support services to children in shelters and other locations where children may live." Under Title I, homeless children are eligible for services if they are attending schools served by an LEA.

Transportation

The state and its LEAs are required to adopt policies and practices to ensure that transportation is provided, at the request of the parent or guardian (or in the case of an unaccompanied youth, the liaison), to and from the school of origin. If the homeless student continues to live in the area served by the LEA, that LEA must provide or arrange transportation. If the homeless student moves to an area served by another LEA, though continuing his or her education at the school of origin, the LEA of origin and the LEA in which the student is living must agree upon a method to apportion responsibility and costs for transportation to the school of origin. This includes students enrolled in public school Head Start and Early Head Start education programs. If the LEAs cannot agree upon such a method, the responsibility and costs must be shared equally. Distance, time of year, options available, the effects of a transfer, etc., should all be addressed.

The provision of transportation to the school of origin is based on a students' status as homeless. The provision to remain in the school of origin during the remainder of the academic year is offered to provide for school stability. Local education agencies must continue to provide transportation to and from the school of origin to formerly homeless students who have become permanently housed for the remainder of the academic year during which the child or youth becomes permanently housed. (Section 722(g)(3)(A)(II)).

Fiscal Responsibilities

Fiscal responsibilities apply to all homeless students, whether in regular or special education classes.

The educating district should apply the following criteria when determining fiscal responsibility:

  1. The procedures outlined below will be followed in cases when the education of the child is provided by the district where the homeless student is temporarily living (doubled up, motel, shelter). The procedures shall also apply in cases when the district of prior attendance, where that is not the district the child attended when permanently housed, will educate the child.
    1. Homeless individuals not in facilities (shelters) or institutions, as well as homeless individuals living in hotels, motels, cars, tents, doubled-up with a resident family, shall be reported and reimbursed as resident students;
    2. For homeless individuals in temporary shelters, the educating school district will send a PDE-4605 Determination of District of Residence for Student in Facilities or Institutions in Accordance with Section 1306 of the Pennsylvania Public School Code to the presumed district of residence;
    3. If PDE-4605 is acknowledged by the resident district, the educating district will enter the child on its rolls as a nonresident student from the acknowledging resident school district. The educating district will bill the resident district for tuition and will report membership data according to PDE child accounting procedures; and
    4. If PDE-4605 is disclaimed and a school district of residence cannot be determined, the educating school district should submit a written request to PDE’s School Services Office to make a determination regarding the student’s “ward of the state” status.
  2. In cases when the education of the child is provided by the district of origin, including preschool children, where that is the district the child attended when permanently housed, that district will continue to educate a homeless student for the period of temporary displacement and should maintain the homeless student on its roll as a resident student. When a child or youth completes the final grade level served by the school of origin, it also includes the designated receiving school at the next grade level for all feeder schools. (Section 722(g)(3)(I)).
  3. In cases when the student becomes permanently housed during the academic year and continues in the school of origin, which is not in the district of new residence, the educating district will continue to educate the formerly homeless student, if requested by the student’s parent or guardian, until the end of the academic year and should maintain the homeless student on its roll as a non-resident student. The educating district should advise the new district of residence of its financial responsibility for this student and send a tuition bill.

Categorical Eligibility under the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs

Effective July 1, 2004, Section 107 of the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004 amended Section 9(b) of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act to make runaway, homeless and migrant children categorically eligible for free meal benefits under the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs. The following are guidelines set out by PDE for implementation of this amendment.

  1. Homeless, runaway or migratory children are automatically certified as eligible for free meal benefits and can begin receiving free meal benefits upon proper documentation for meals. Please note that documentation as runaway, homeless, or migratory can only be provided by a school district migrant education or homeless education staff.
  2. School district migrant education or homeless education staff are responsible for providing proper documentation of a child’s status to the food service directors in each school district.

Dispute Resolution Process

Pursuant to the McKinney-Vento Act, every state must develop procedures for the prompt resolution of disputes regarding the educational placement of homeless children and youths. 42 U.S.C §11432(g)(1)(C). The state must ensure that LEAs comply with requirements set forth in the McKinney-Vento Act including ensuring immediate enrollment, providing written notice to families concerning school selection, enrollment decisions and providing enrollment and pendency in the school of choice while a dispute is being resolved. 42 U.S.C §11432(g)(2)(A).

PDE has developed the following procedures to govern the resolution of disputes regarding enrollment, school selection, homeless status and complaints of non-compliance with legal requirements pertaining to the education for homeless children and youths:

Level 1 – A dispute may be raised with a LEA.

If a dispute arises over school selection or enrollment, the child or youth involved must immediately be admitted to the school in which they are seeking enrollment, pending resolution of the dispute 42 U.S.C.§11432(g)(3)(E)(i). PDE recommends that the parent, guardian or unaccompanied youth who initiates the dispute contact the LEA liaison for individuals experiencing homelessness as soon as possible after receiving notice of the dispute. If the person initiating the dispute does not contact the LEA liaison directly, the LEA shall be responsible for contacting the LEA liaison regarding the dispute as soon as possible and referring the family or youth involved to the liaison.

The LEA liaison shall ensure that the child or youth is immediately enrolled, explain the dispute resolution process to families and help them to use it 42 U.S.C. §11432(g)(3)(E)(iii). The LEA shall issue a written disposition of the dispute within 20 business days after the LEA liaison is notified of the dispute. The disposition shall be provided to the parent, guardian or unaccompanied youth and shall explain the basis for the decision and advise the parent, guardian or youth of the right to appeal. 42 U.S.C.§11432(g)(3)(E)(i).

NOTE: The LEA should use and maintain copies of PDE’s “Notice of Procedural Safeguards” form (see attached) which ensures that all LEAs (a) inform families of the basis of their decision regarding enrollment or school selection; (b) notifies families of their right to remain in their school of choice pending resolution of the dispute and (c) explains the procedures for challenging the decision of the LEA.

Level 2 – A complaint may be filed with a McKinney-Vento coordinator.

If the parent, guardian or unaccompanied youth is dissatisfied with the LEA’s disposition of a dispute or would like to raise any issue of McKinney-Vento Act noncompliance, they may file a complaint or appeal with a McKinney-Vento site or regional coordinator or with the state coordinator. (See attached list which contains contact information for all of the McKinney-Vento coordinators in Pennsylvania). In lieu of filing an appeal with a McKinney-Vento coordinator, a parent, guardian or unaccompanied youth may elect to appeal the LEA decision directly to a court of competent jurisdiction. Participation in the appeal procedure is not required prior to taking legal action.

A regional or site coordinator with whom a complaint or appeal is filed must notify the state coordinator immediately. Upon being notified, the state coordinator will review the complaint or appeal and assign it to a site or regional coordinator for disposition. The coordinator to whom the appeal is assigned may contact, interview and accept documentation from any individual or LEA involved, and shall issue a written disposition within 20 business days after the complaint or appeal has been assigned. The disposition shall be provided to the LEA and the parent, guardian or unaccompanied youth involved. The child or youth shall continue to be enrolled in the school in which he or she is seeking enrollment until the complaint or appeal is resolved or until a disposition from a McKinney-Vento coordinator is received.

The state coordinator may assist in the mediation of disputes directly and may also invite those involved to have the dispute mediated at any time in the process through the Dispute Resolution Program operated by the Commonwealth Office of General Counsel (OGC). The OGC Dispute Resolution Program is a voluntary informal process through which a trained mediator assists in reaching a mutually acceptable resolution.

Participating in mediation is not a waiver of the right to file a lawsuit nor is participation in mediation required prior to taking legal action.

NOTE: The parent, guardian or unaccompanied youth may file a complaint with the McKinney-Vento site, regional or state coordinator on the attached complaint form. However, the use of the attached form is not mandatory. Any dispute raised by a homeless family or youth concerning school enrollment or any other right under the McKinney-Vento Act whether received via telephone, letter or any mode of communication shall be treated as a complaint.

If you are aware of any children in the district who possibly fit the above criteria, please contact the Harmony Area School District's homeless liaison, Matt Bonanno at 845-7655, ext. 105 or mbonanno@harmonyowls.com. Services are available for these students.

More information on Pennsylvania's Homeless Initiative and services available can be located on the following web sites:

The Pennsylvania Department of Education web site:  www.pde.state.pa.us/homeless

The National Center for Homeless Education web site: www.serve.org/nche/index.php

Clearfield County (Reosurce List)

Child Care

            Early Learning Resource Center                 814-765-1546

Clothing

            St. Vincent DePaul                                       814-948-8828

            Goodwill Industries                                      814-371-2821

            Young People Who Care                               814-263-4177

            American Red Cross                                     814-371-2705

Housing

Community Action    (Clearfield)               814-768-7200/ 814-765-8209 (Housing and mention Homeless)

                                      (DuBois)                   814-371-1223

Dubois Housing Authority Shelter Plus    814-371-2290

PATH  (ages 17-30)                                      814-772-8016

CenClear                                                         814-342-5678          

Haven House                                                 814-371-0333/ 814-371-1259

 

Medical

Glendale Area Medical and Dental Center            814-672-5141 (Medical)

                                                                        814-672-5480 (Dental)

Medical Transportation                               1-866-743-3282

 

Utilities/Food

Clearfield County Assistance Office        814-765-7591

Catholic Charities                                         814-371-4717

 

Other

ATA                                                                                        1-866-282-4968

Caregiver Support Program- Clearfield Area Agency on Aging 814-765-2696

            Pa 211-                                   Dial 2-1-1 or text your zip code + need to 898-211

 

Preschool

Head Start    CenClear                                                         814-342-5678

Early Intervention (B-3)                                                      814-372-7020

Early Intervention (3-5) IU10                                            814-342-0884