The Rome school district plans to partner with the Safe Schools Mohawk Valley organization and the Rome Alliance for Education to implement programming and activities involving two recently announced federal grants to assist homeless students.
The district on Wednesday cited district-wide and school-specific efforts relating to the funding announced April 5 by the state, including grants of $45,000 and $20,000 per year for three years each. Among steps to support students in temporary housing:
• Professional development for teachers and staff on challenges facing students and families experiencing homelessness, such as trauma and adverse childhood experiences and how they impact children’s health and behaviors;
• Attainment and distribution of school and personal supplies for students in temporary housing;
• Increased partnership with community supports that focus on assisting families in temporary housing;
• Creating mindfulness spaces where students can practice techniques of social and emotional regulation;
• Parent and family education and outreach.
The school district hopes to see improvement in student attendance and behaviors in school, plus greater parent and family engagement as a result of the programs, said district Director of Counseling Services Amanda Jones.
She added, “across New York state and throughout the country we are seeing an annual increase in students enrolled in public schools who...identified their nighttime residence as temporary or transitional housing situations.”
District Superintendent Peter C. Blake has said the number of Rome district students in temporary housing has grown from 90 to 230 over that last two years.
Rome was among 48 districts statewide to receive baseline federal grants for programs supporting homeless students, and was among 12 districts to also receive an enhanced grant of $20,000 for programs emphasizing trauma sensitivity.