Student Services - McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act

General Information

In Muscogee County School District, we focus on the philosophy that “Schools Can’t Do It Alone”. Collaboration and coordination between schools and community partners will improve identification and recruitment of children experiencing homelessness while increasing the potential for expanding services to families and cross-training key stakeholders. Partners will complete surveys and environmental scans to create a comprehensive local collaborative to increase awareness and identify needs of our students and families in transition. The McKinney-Vento staff will continue to focus on building fundamental partnerships and relationships with community leaders, school personnel, and policy makers who have resources to provide to students in transition. We currently have operational partnerships local community agencies that provide direct services to our students and parents in the McKinney-Vento program. Our goal is to increase awareness of McKinney-Vento by expanding our partnerships with local agencies who will provide immediate wrap around services to our McKinney-Vento students and families. It is our objective to collaborate on city-wide projects and conduct Awareness and Sensitivity Trainings with these agencies to develop new outreach programs that directly impact our McKinney-Vento students and families.

Needs Assessment Process

Success and Beyond is a district-wide initiative and outreach program to identify, enroll, and assure a quality education and college/career readiness for all students experiencing homelessness. Homelessness presents an array of needs; therefore, our needs assessment process is ongoing and designed to be both qualitative and quantitative. MCSD uses a multi-tiered approach to assessing and addressing the needs of McKinney-Vento students and families. The multi-tiered needs assessment process includes the following measures:

Student Residency Questionnaire (SRQ)

The SRQ is designed to collect formative data aimed at identifying families and youth with living arrangements that are defined as homeless according to federal guidelines. In August and January of each school year, the SRQ is sent to 32,828 students in pre-kindergarten, elementary, middle, and high schools and programs in MCSD to be disseminated to parents. For organizational purposes, the forms are color-coded to denote the school level. Prior to 2013, school administrators were asked to input his or her school’s data based on the SRQ into our student information systems (Infinite Campus). M-V staff found that the data was not always accurate, which often caused a delay in services. To overcome this issue, administrators are now required to send all forms to the M-V department for review. Schools administrators are given a deadline to return all completed forms. The M-V and temporary staff members cross-reference over 33,000 forms with school rosters and make calls to the building level administrator when forms are omitted or are not return by the designated deadline. This new procedure was successful in ensuring that all forms were return and processed in a timely manner to ensure that family needs are judiciously met by M-V staff members. Because families living situations could change throughout the school year, SRQs are disseminated to 56 schools again in January to identify the needs of our families in transition.

Services and Activities Form (SAF)

The SAF, qualitative and quantitative in design, serves as a tool to be utilized by Homeless Children and Youth, HCY, unaccompanied youth, parents, school district personnel, and community agencies in an effort to identify, assess, and address the needs of families and students in transition. The SAF is a succinct formative and summative document that initiates an open dialogue with M-V staff members and parents concerning the needs of the student and family. This document houses questions related to demographics, prior school enrollments, transportation needs, before/after school programs, special education/gifted needs, and specific needs to eliminate educational barriers. In an effort to meet the needs of the total child, the SRQ and SAF function as standard tool for developing and monitoring policy and procedures, data collection, and planning quality personal/social, academic, and career programs for students and families in transition.

In addition to this needs assessment process, M-V Staff members conduct ongoing community and system-wide trainings on the M-V Homeless Act and SRQ/SAF processes with Parents, Teachers, Building-level Administrators, School Social Workers, School Counselors, Graduation Coaches, Title 1 personnel, Bus Drivers, Transportation Supervisors, Food Nutrition Staff, ESOL, educational screenings, Teaching and Learning, Paraprofessionals, Custodial Staff, Parent Coordinators, Central Registration, School Nurses and Clinicians, and Program for Exceptional Students. Central Registration staff members are also trained on legal requirements for immediate enrollment.

Data Digs and Early Warning System

To accurately assess and address the needs our McKinney-Vento students and families, data obtained from the SRQs, SAFs, and Student Attendance Protocol Meetings is used by the M-V staff to complete Data Digs twice a year. The MCSD Information Technology department works closely with the Staff to develop Infinite Campus (student information system) reports. The Early Warning System was developed to summarize demographics, attendance data, out of school suspensions, standardized testing results, academic performance. This software alerts school personnel when a student misses five or more days, receives a discipline referral, does not meet standards on standardized testing or makes 69 or below fails a course by highlighting the area of concern green, yellow, or red. This information allows the M-V staff to initiate systemic approaches to addressing the needs of students in transition by creating relevant programs, tutoring options and supplies, and credit and attendance recovery opportunities.

Documents and Resources

2020-2021 Guidance for School Attendance and Withdrawal Procedures:VIRTUAL MODEL
National Education for Homeless Children and Youth
Homeless Resource Network
United Way 211 Helpline
Hope Harbour
Open Door
Red Cross

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes. Every school district must designate a liaison for students experiencing homelessness. 42 U.S.C. §11432(g)(1)(J)(ii). One of the liaison's duties is to identify children and youth who meet the statutory definition of homeless. 42 U.S.C. §11432(g)(6)(A)(i). School districts must enroll students experiencing homelessness immediately. If, after enrollment, it is determined that a student is not homeless as defined in the law, school districts should follow the policies that are in place to address other forms of fraud. Written notice should be given to the parent, guardian, or youth, including his or her right to appeal the decision.

Contact Information

Dr. Trikella L. Nelson LPC, NCC, PSC, YMHFA
Director of Guidance and Counseling Services

Homeless Liaison

Ms. Kimerly D. Brown
Outreach Specialist


Ms. Monique Roberts
Case Worker


Mrs. Mashaundra (Pearl) Steele
McKinney-Vento Technical Assistant