Neither my Master's or my Doctoral program prepared me for working with families with significant financial issues, most specifically foreclosure. But so many of our families in the Silicon Valley are facing foreclosure and as our economy changes, more can be expected.
So what can school leaders do?
First of all, in his book Visible Learning: A Synthesis of Over 800 Meta-Analyses Relating to Achievement, John Hattie notes the most significant impact on student learning is moving schools during the school year. As leaders, we have a moral imperative to help students stay in their current school placement to finish out a school year.
Secondly, it becomes difficult to follow and track families when they are removed from their homes, so establishing strong relationships and putting in place policies to help students stay in their schools for the year go a long way to helping provide stability to the children involved.
Our families will often not know their legal rights if they lose their home, including special support they may receive. Under the McKinney-Vento Act, the children are considered homeless and are entitled to support in their districts at their current school sites.
No one does partnerships better than our school, so it is imperative that our districts develop strong support from non-profits and other community services that can assist families. Having those in place before the need arises is a great practice.
Finally, as we hear of families facing foreclosure or removal from their homes, we need to ensure they are aware of the 2009 Helping Families Save Their Home Act. This act helps families stay in their place of residence for 90 days.
We often talk about villages that raise our children. In situations of foreclosure, we are the villages.