Compliance Review Requirement Overview
The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction's (DPI) Education for Homeless Children and Youth (EHCY) program is required by the United States Department of Education (USDE), as authorized by the Every Student Succeeds Act, Title IX, Part A – Homeless Children and Youths, Sec.722 (f)(5), to monitor all local educational agencies (LEAs) to ensure compliance with federal education regulations for children and youth experiencing homelessness.
USDE requires the following elements in the DPI EHCY program monitoring process:
- Technical assistance
- Review protocol, including interview questions
- Document the review with a written report of whether requirements were met or corrective actions are required
- A process for resolving required corrective actions and possible follow-up if LEAs need assistance with compliance
Annual Monitoring Schedule
EHCY program staff annually notify Wisconsin LEAs that are scheduled to receive formal visits and remote compliance reviews. Monitoring includes grant-funded and non-funded LEAs. Every LEA must be able to produce documentation that adequately demonstrates compliance with the McKinney-Vento Act. DPI remotely reviews approximately 25 LEAs annually for compliance with the requirements of the McKinney-Vento Act. This map shows which Wisconsin LEAs have been monitored for compliance with the McKinney-Vento Act since the 2006-07 school year.
To provide technical assistance to LEAs and to outline the compliance review protocol, DPI has produced McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act Compliance Review Guidance. This guidance includes citations for legal requirements, DPI and USDE expectations for compliance, and sample documentation that was submitted by LEAs during previous reviews.
With the recent implementation of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act as it was amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) of 2015, there are important changes Wisconsin school boards and local liaisons for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth should be aware of when reviewing and revising policies and procedures. The following video outlines the amendments to the law that should be addressed locally in order to remain in compliance with the amended McKinney-Vento Act. More details are below.
- Policy and Procedure Review: All local educational agencies (LEAs) are required to review and revise policies to remove barriers to the identification, enrollment, retention, attendance, full participation in academic and extracurricular activities, and academic success of homeless children and youth. LEAs must also remove barriers that prevent students from receiving appropriate credit for full or partial coursework satisfactorily completed while attending a prior school. Appropriate staff members and school boards should review and propose revisions to any policies or procedures that act as barriers.
- Awaiting Foster Care Placement: LEAs must revise training documents, webpages, public notices, policies, procedures, etc. to remove the phrase “awaiting foster care placement” from the definition of homeless children and youth. The phrase “awaiting foster care placement” was removed from the McKinney-Vento Act as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act on December 10, 2016. DPI’s Foster Care and Educational Stability page includes more information regarding students in out-of-home care (foster care).
- School Stability and Transportation: LEAs must revise policies and procedures including information that is given to parents and guardians of children and youth and unaccompanied youth who are experiencing homelessness to include that when a student obtains permanent housing, transportation must be provided to and from the school of origin, including a preschool, until the end of the academic year. Please note the term “school of origin” now includes preschools and the designated receiving school at the next grade level for all feeder schools.
- Privacy: LEAs must treat information about a homeless child’s or youth’s living situation as a student education record, subject to all the protections of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Student record policies and procedures must be updated accordingly and this practice must be communicated to all appropriate staff members. More on data privacy is available on the Resources for Student Data Privacy page.
Local Educational Agency (LEA) Assessment
The McKinney-Vento Compliance Review LEA Assessment is the first part of an LEA's compliance review. The purpose of this assessment is to allow an LEA to evaluate the current state of its homeless education program. Along with a more comprehensive needs assessment the LEA can more effectively coordinate efforts to address barriers to the academic success of children and youth experiencing homelessness.
- What does your LEA do well?
- What opportunities do you see for your LEA to create awareness of the educational rights of students experiencing homelessness?
- What opportunities do you see for your LEA to create awareness of the challenges facing students experiencing homelessness?
- What barriers do you see that your LEA could eliminate?
- What collaborative partnerships could be expanded or reinforced?