Wilkes-Barre Area School District Adopts Homeless Student Policy

By Mark Hiller | mhiller@pahomepage.com

Published 08/14 2014 05:54PM

Updated 08/14 2014 07:37PM

Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County -- "On any given day we probably have around 40 to 60 students in transition." Wilkes-Barre Area School District Director of Pupil Personnel Services Dr. Deborah Mileski reveals a disturbing fact. Of the district's roughly 75-hundred enrolled students, dozens of them come from families who lost their homes. Those students are forced to live elsewhere with a relative or perhaps even in a shelter. They are students in transition and in crisis. "The research says that a lot of them don't do well in school understandably so because they, in fact, they have an unstable home life," said Wilkes-Barre Area School District Superintendent Dr. Bernard Prevuznak.

The district has initiated a new policy concerning these students. The goal is to ensure such students continue their education by providing them necessary transportation to and from class, free school meals and other resources. "What we want to do is to try and address all their needs and also address those academic needs," said Dr. Prevuznak. 

Wilkes-Barre Area has worked under a draft policy in recent years and came up with the formal policy concerning students in transition to meet a state requirement. The new policy attempts to surpass any state or federal standards. For example, the district collects clothing for transitional students who may be in need. It also looks for ways to help outside the school. "I speak with shelters on a regular basis. I deal with our regional coordinator. We look for any kind of services that can help our students in the educational process," said Dr. Mileski.

District officials say the motivation is simple. Education is key to giving transitional students a brighter future. "Keeping them in our school, keeping them stable and developing an appreciation with their families for the importance of education," said Dr. Mileski.

Wilkes-Barre Area School District will distribute details of the policy to all students and post the information in all school buildings when the school year begins August 25th.

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