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Whitehall-Coplay School District

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Homelessness (provided by the Family Resource Guide)

Youth Experiencing Homelessness ***Immediately Call 211***

If you are a student living in emergency housing, a runaway, displaced from your housing or a parent of a student lacking housing, we can help.

Our Homeless Liaison is here to help you obtain assistance you may be eligible for such as education resources, transportation help, resource assistance and education resources.

Homeless Liaison

Mr. Christopher Schiffert, Assistant Superintendent  

Office Hours:  Monday-Friday  8am-4pm

Phone Number:  610-439-1431 


Address:  5290 West Coplay Road, Whitehall, PA 18052

Finding Your Way in PA 


We ensure that all children and youth experiencing homelessness are enrolled, participate, and have the opportunity to succeed in school. Our mission is to reduce and/or eliminate educational barriers using local “best practices” and the authorized activities of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act.

The McKinney–Vento Homeless Assistance Act guarantees a free and appropriate public education for all children and youth experiencing homelessness. B.E.C. 42 U.S.C. 11431 outlines procedures for deciding school placement, enrolling students, and determining responsibility. Federal and state laws make our responsibility clear.

FAQsAre school districts responsible for identifying youth experiencing homelessness?

Yes. The school district works with our office to have a liaison or assigned lead to ensure the McKinney-Vento Act law is upheld for students experiencing homelessness.  This person helps school staff identify these youth and direct them toward needed resources and support through connection to other services and agencies.

If a student is enrolled without requiring immunization proof, isn’t the entire school at risk?

McKinney-Vento requires immediate enrollment.  As the majority of youth experiencing homelessness have been vaccinated and it is often difficult for families experiencing homelessness to obtain and keep copies of records, the school should work with the family to do so.  If more help is needed, the school should contact the previous school (if applicable) or the Department of Health in the state of original residence. Un-immunized children should receive initial doses as soon as possible, unless there are philosophical, religious, or medical exemptions.

How can a school determine what classes or services to provide for a student if there are no school records?

Following immediate enrollment, the receiving school must contact the previous school for records.  If records cannot be transmitted immediately, class schedule information can be obtained from the parent/guardian or youth.  The school can also input procedures for a quick assessment to determine class placement and any recommended supportive services.

What duty does the receiving school have to a student who has not been in school and enrolls mid-semester to give them credit for the work they do in the rest of the semester?

The law requires school districts  to remove barriers to retention in school.  Since inability to earn credits is an obstacle to remaining in school, the school must address that problem.  Any necessary adjustments to the student’s schedule must be made to permit the student to obtain partial or prorated credit for their work

Do private schools have McKinney-Vento obligations, as the school of origin for a homeless youth?

For schools entirely privately funded, McKinney-Vento does not apply so these schools are not required to allow students to continue to attend or provide transportation.

What duties do charter schools have to students experiencing homelessness and must they appoint a homeless liaison?

Yes and yes. Public charter schools have the same responsibilities under McKinney-Vento as other public schools and school districts. If a student experiencing homelessness attempts to enroll in a charter school, the school must enroll them as long as other students living in the same area would be eligible to attend the school, unless there is overcrowding or a specialized selection process. If the school has specific skills-related entrance requirements, for example, artistic ability requirements for a fine arts school, the student must meet them. Charter schools considered their own LEA (local education agency) should appoint a liaison to work with students experiencing homelessness.