Homeless Assistance


The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act ensures homeless children and youth have equal access to the same free and appropriate public education, including a public preschool education, as provided to other children and youths.

Gloucester Public Schools ensures the implementation of McKinney-Vento services with regards to identification, enrollment and attendance, and provides additional resources and support when necessary to ensure the success of our students.

Definition of Homelessness

The McKinney-Vento Act outlines the following dwelling arrangements for students that are homeless:

Identified Students are entitled to:

Immediate enrollment and attendance to provide educational stability and avoid separation from school, even if lacking documents normally required for enrollment.

Information about a homeless student’s living situation shall be treated as a student education record and cannot be shared with others or the public including landlords. 

School Placement

School placement determinations must be made based on the best interest of the homeless student. Students may remain in the school of origin (the school from which the student became homeless) until the end of the year in which the student obtains permanent housing unless the parent, guardian, or unaccompanied youth requests otherwise. 

Consideration must be made with regards to impact on achievement, the health and safety of the student, and school placement of siblings. while giving priority to the request of the parent, guardian or unaccompanied youth. Districts must remove barriers to accessing academic and extracurricular activities.


Homeless students will be provided transportation to and from their school of origin at the request of the parent or guardian or in the case of unaccompanied youth.

If the student resides in Gloucester the district will provide transportation as needed.

If the student resides in another district, a method to apportion responsibility and costs must be reached.

Dispute Resolution Process

The McKinney-Vento Act calls for “procedures for the prompt resolution of disputes regarding the educational placement of homeless children and youth”. If a dispute arises between the district and parent, guardian or unaccompanied homeless youth, the district homeless liaison must ensure that the student is immediately enrolled in the district in which enrollment is sought pending resolution. Also, the parent, guardian or unaccompanied homeless youth must be provided with a written explanation and be informed of the right to appeal the decision to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Considerations made regarding enrollment and transportation presume that keeping the student in the school of origin is in the student’s best interest except when contrary to the request of the student’s parent or guardian or unaccompanied youth. Student-centered factors related to achievement, health and safety, and impact of mobility are weighed, while giving priority to the request of the parent, guardian, or unaccompanied youth.

Gloucester Public Schools will provide parents, guardians, or unaccompanied youth with needed assistance and support during the dispute resolution process. The district will provide necessary forms as well as the right to appeal and the option to obtain independent information and counsel. We will assist in promptly submitting the appeal. In addition, we will provide written notice in clear, easy-to-understand language detailing the process and decisions. The decision of the dispute resolution will be made by the Massachusetts Commissioner of Education or Commissioner’s Designee and the decision will be final.

Community Resources

Gloucester Public Schools Registration - https://registration.gloucesterschools.com/

Open Door Food Pantry - https://www.foodpantry.org/get-help/get-food/

Wellspring House Shelter- https://www.wellspringhouse.org/

ACTION Inc - Housing / Public Benefits  / Employment - https://actioninc.org/community-services/

Gloucester Public Schools Homeless / McKinney Vento Liaison  Christine Castle - ccastle@gloucesterschools.com / 978-491-6644 

State Homeless Education Coordinator  Sarah Slautterback - sarah.e.slautterback@state.ma.us  / 781-338-6330 

If you need further assistance with your children's educational needs, contact the  National Center for Homeless Education  1-800-308-2145* homeless@serve.org