LCAP adds funding to homeless students



The initiative will tentatively start this July.

Annika Yong and Srinidhi Sankar

On April 18, the FUSD Board proposed Goal 3, Action 9 of its LCAP budget plan to provide resources to support the homeless student population in Fremont. The proposal strives to accomplish Goal 3, which implements strategies involving students in their learning and intervening to eliminate barriers to success.

Currently, the district uses the State Board of Education’s California Dashboard to assess the test scores, graduation rates, and attendance. As per the Dashboard, homeless students are classified red, which signifies low graduation rates and high suspension rates. Therefore, the State of California requires the Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) Committee to formulate an action plan that provides resources to students in dire need.

“Every year we have to reassess our priority for our LCAP based on our dollars,” Associate Superintendent Denise Herrmann said. “The expectation is you put your money towards the subgroups with the greatest needs. Because homeless students are the group which we qualify for differentiated assistance, the expectation is that we pull money from other initiatives that maybe weren’t so effective or that they’ve already shown improvement and put in into the subgroup.”

According to Ms. Herrmann, FUSD connects homeless students who register without a permanent address to a district counselor so they can have basic necessities, such as backpacks and clothing. Additionally, the district is developing a mentor program on each school campus through which homeless students will receive coaching from adults apart from their current teachers.

“[For the new funding next year], we are purchasing Chromebooks so that the students will be able to check them out,” Ms. Herrmann said, “We will also provide training for the teachers to make sure they understand the needs of homeless youth and students.”

Not only is the initiative funded by LCAP, but it also receives assistance from budget cuts from other programs that have met their objective or shown improvement in Title 1, the federal assistance to children of low-income families.

Initiatives have already shown improvement, including the English Language Learners, as the English Learner Progress Indicator Report shows a 5.3 percent increase in performance from spring to fall at Irvington during 2017. As a result, FUSD will maintain the same funding for the next school year. Funding is also shifted from the professional learning community. Since only 90 percent of estimated teachers will participate in the program, it had its budget cut from 3.3 million dollars to 2.8 million dollars, and the remaining money will be used to aid homeless students.

“The long term effect would be increasing graduation rates and decreasing suspension rates, [as well as] increasing the language, arts and math scores of our homeless students.” Ms. Herrmann said. “We also have additional methods of surveys to make sure teachers feel that the perception of learning was effective and we also do some satisfaction surveys for homeless students and families to see if they feel the mentors are making a difference for them.”