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Homeless students to be more fully accounted for in Sunnyside

The Sunnyside School Board at its meeting last night heard from Sam Ramirez, the director for the Sunnyside School District's federal and state programs.

He told the school board a team from the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) recently conducted a review of five policies in the district.

One of those policies (3115P) is centered on how the schools define homeless student enrollment, according to Ramirez.

He said the district's policies needed a few policy adjustments to account for the homeless population.

Ramirez said the OSPI team predicts the district will find about 10 percent of the student population is homeless.

The numbers, he said, would be a more accurate count of the homeless because of Washington State School Directors' Association policy that was recently updated.

In that policy, definitions of homeless and enrollment are better spelled out.

By identifying those students, said Ramirez, the school district can better assess ways to meet their needs.

School Board Director Sandra Linde has worked with many students in the district and said, "I know we have much work we can do to help our families."

Ramirez said the policy changes will include new student intake forms.

OSPI also suggested the district address the needs of students in pre-school programs.

"The school district doesn't have any pre-school programs, but the forms for the programs are being sent to the district in the event that we do begin pre-school programs," said Ramirez.

He said there were other policy updates the OSPI team suggested, including Title I and Title III programs. The team also reviewed the school district's fiscal program.

Ramirez said there were a total of five areas for improvement.

Policy 3115P was approved as an action item by the school board, which ultimately approved the revisions by a 5-0 vote.

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