Tiara transferred into a local middle school in seventh grade. She was often absent, so our site coordinator started to get to know her. About a month into the school year, she suddenly missed 2 weeks in a row. Concerned, the site coordinator called Tiara’s home, then visited the address on file to find that the family had been evicted from their apartment.
Fortunately, the site coordinator was able to make contact with the family through their old landlord. After getting in touch with them, the site coordinator discovered that Tiara really wanted to keep going to her Seattle school. Using the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act, the site coordinator was able to arrange free transportation for her so she could continue to attend the school.
Once she returned to school, Tiara was often absent. She ended up in court for truancy and was falling behind in her classes. Realizing that Tiara needed extra support, the site coordinator began to check in with her more. She would call her at home, ask how things were going, and worked to bring in resources to help Tiara feel connected to the school. The site coordinator also spoke with all of Tiara’s teachers to make sure they knew that Tiara’s family was struggling with housing, which helped her teachers be more accommodating and sensitive to what was happening.
Gradually, Tiara started coming to school more. She took pride in her academics and got more connected to the school. At her check-ins with the site coordinator she was positive and hopeful. The site coordinator’s advocacy and support were just what Tiara needed.Tiara’s grades began to improve and it became clear that she felt more successful at school and more connected with her peers.
A few months later, the site coordinator went to meet with Tiara’s mom to check in on how the family was doing. At the visit, the site coordinator discovered that Tiara had called her mom to make sure that she would be home and told her that she had to be nice to the site coordinator because the site coordinator was always nice to Tiara. Tiara’s mom was so happy with the support Tiara received and the progress she was making.
The ongoing, personal support for Tiara helped her end the year passing her classes, feeling more connected to school, and taking pride in her success. If it wasn’t for the site coordinator, Tiara might have gotten lost in the shuffle of moving and missed out on months of education. Instead, she had the support she needed to be successful and stay in school.