The District was recently awarded an Education for Homeless Children and Youth Grant from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.
The grant application was written by Homeless Liaison and Northside social worker Paley Nordlof. It is worth $35,000 and runs through 2023. The grant will primarily fund a position to help high school students in transition and help them after they complete high school, Director of Student Services Barb Buffington said.
"She deserves so much credit for a job well-done,'' Buffington said, adding it was the first grant application Nordllof has written.
Seventeen districts, including Madison Metropolitan and Sun Prairie Area, were among the recipients of EHCY grants for 2020-23.
The Wisconsin DPI Education for Homeless Children and Youth (EHCY) program offered Wisconsin local educational agencies (LEAs) or a consortium an opportunity to apply for a three‑year EHCY grant award. The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act legislation is intended to ensure that all children and youth who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence receive the same public education and resources. The EHCY grant program receives an annual grant award from the United States Department of Education. Every three years, DPI awards these funds to eligible LEAs and consortia through a competitive and discretionary process.
Nordlof's application focused on how MCPASD can explore the gaps in its graduation rates, specifically between the MCPASD homeless youth population, BIPOC, English Learners, and students with disabilities. She noted about 46 percent of MCPASD homeless students graduated, which is significantly less than the graduation rate for all District students.
" It is essential to continue to address the identified need by monitoring data trends, evaluate gaps in our academic, social and emotional supports, and pursue improvements to remove barriers for services available to our homeless and unaccompanied youth,'' Nordlof wrote in her application.
Nordlof believes a REACH Coordinator (Resources, Education, Advocacy for Children experiencing Homelessness) who works specifically with high school homeless/unaccompanied youth and their families may result in at least 75 percent of MCPASD homeless or unaccompanied students graduating with their class by the end of their respective academic year and that 100 percent of those who graduate will have a post-secondary plan after graduation.
Visit the Wisconsin DPI Education for Homeless Children and Youth web page to learn more.