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Highly Mobile Students: Addressing Educational Challenges

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NCHE Resources

Classrooms with Revolving Doors: Recommended Practices for Elementary Teachers of At-Risk and Highly Mobile Students
Teachers whose classrooms seem to have revolving doors with students entering, withdrawing, and even re-entering throughout the school year, face a variety of challenges in meeting the needs of such highly mobile students and their more stable peers. This information brief highlights some of those challenges and offers recommendations to teachers based on our exploration of the literature and case studies of award-winning teachers with a variety of students in their classrooms who moved frequently.
Download the brief.

Classrooms with Revolving Doors: Recommended Practices for Middle Level and High School Teachers of At-Risk and Highly Mobile Students
Teachers whose classrooms seem to have revolving doors, with students entering, withdrawing, and even re-entering throughout the school year, face a variety of challenges in meeting the needs of such highly mobile students and their more stable peers. This information brief highlights some of those challenges and offers recommendations to teachers based on our exploration of the literature and case studies of award-winning teachers with a variety of students in their classrooms who moved frequently.
Download the brief.

Effective Teaching and At-Risk/Highly Mobile Students: What Do Award-Winning Teachers Do?
This study, designed jointly by the National Center for Homeless Education and The College of William and Mary, explores the critical role of the classroom teacher in contributing to the education of at-risk and highly mobile students. The study includes a review of the literature on the effective teaching of at-risk and highly mobile students and an exploration of the beliefs and practices of six teachers who won national and/or state awards for working with these populations.
Download the study.

NCHE Mobility Study Bibliography
This NCHE bibliography, updated in September 2011, provides a comprehensive listing of research studies addressing the issue of mobility and its effects on student learning.
Download the bibliography.

Reading on the Go!
Reading on the Go! is a two-volume publication that explores reading instruction for students experiencing high mobility as a of high poverty.
Reading on the Go! (Vol 1): Students Who Are Highly Mobile and Reading Instruction, reviews the characteristics of highly mobile students and provides a literature review of reading instruction, with a focus on the research on reading and high poverty in an effort to help practitioners better understand the needs of highly mobile students and inform their selection and structure of programs by making research-based decisions.
Reading on the Go! (Vol 2) A Handbook of Resources discusses the implementation of reading programs. Volume 2 is based on the literature reviewed in Volume 1 but was also shaped by the voice of practitioners captured through focus groups and site visits. Volume 2 focuses on supplemental instruction and children experiencing homelessness in preschool and elementary grades.
Download publication.

School Stability and School Performance: A Review of the Literature
This literature review was developed as part of an unpublished study conducted in 2004 by Dr. Beth Garriss Hardy and Dr. Cheryl Vrooman. The review examines the current body of research on mobility and how it may apply to the school performance of children and youth experiencing homelessness and makes recommendations for further research.
Download the brief.

Students on the Move: Reaching and Teaching Highly Mobile Children and Youth
This handbook, a joint publication of the National Center for Homeless Education (NCHE) and the ERIC Clearinghouse on Urban Education, synthesizes research on the education of various subpopulations of students who tend to be highly mobile and explores commonalities and differences among these groups. Subpopulations explored include migratory children and youth, children and youth experiencing homelessness, children of military families, and students experiencing mobility on a global scale.
Download the handbook.


Other Resources

Creating a Culture of Literacy: A Guide for Middle and High School Principals
This guide, published in October 2005 by the National Association of Secondary School Principals, is designed to help school leaders use research on best literacy practices to create a well-defined intervention plan that not only will improve the literacy of all students but also the long-range academic success of students by enhancing their chances for postsecondary education and future employability.
Download the guide.

Family Involvement Storybook Corner
This website, provided by the Harvard Family Research Project in partnership with Reading Is Fundamental, is a unique source for information on using children's storybooks with family involvement themes to engage families in their children's education and encourage family–school–community partnerships while supporting literacy. The Storybook Corner offers resources to help educators, families, and those who work with families promote the awareness, discussion, and practice of family involvement in children's education in a wide range of settings.
Visit the website.

Highly Mobile Children and Youth with Disabilities: Policies and Practices in Five States
The brief from Project Forum focuses on a subset of the population of mobile children: children with disabilities and their families who are highly mobile. The document begins with a background section that provides information about policies and practices developed for mobile children at the federal level. The second section is an analysis of interviews with five state directors of special education and their corresponding McKinney-Vento program coordinators regarding how states are addressing the needs of this population. Interviewees discussed causes of mobility; how they locate mobile children; the number of mobile children and costs of services; features of state programs under McKinney-Vento; how they track outcomes; challenges they have encountered; and policy recommendations.
Download the brief.

Launching Young Readers
Launching Young Readers (LYR) is the companion website to a five-part television series on PBS. The LYR website provides information about the series, including its broadcast schedule, and offers valuable resources that can be used in conjunction with the series or independently.
Visit the website.

Many Challenges Arise in Educating Students Who Change Schools Frequently
Educational achievement of students can be affected negatively by their changing schools often. The recent economic downturn, with foreclosures and homelessness, may be increasing student mobility. To inform the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) was asked: (1) What are the numbers and characteristics of students who change schools, and what are the reasons students change schools?; (2) What is known about the effects of mobility on student outcomes, including academic achievement, behavior, and other outcomes?; (3) What challenges does student mobility present for schools in meeting the educational needs of students who change schools?; and, (4) What key federal programs are schools using to address the needs of mobile students? This December 2010 publication provides the results of the GAO's analysis of federal survey data, interview with U.S. Department of Education officials, site visits to eight schools in six school districts, and review of federal laws and existing research.
Download the publication.

Moving On: Student Mobility and Affordable Housing
This report by the Metropolitan Housing Coalition (Louisville, KY) examines the link between education and housing.
Download the brief.

National Center for Family Literacy
The goal of the National Center for Family Literacy (NCFL) is to help parents and children achieve their greatest potential together through quality literacy programs. NCFL is recognized worldwide as a leader in family literacy development and works with educators and community builders to design and sustain programs that meet the most urgent educational needs of disadvantaged families.
Visit the website.

Raising Minority Academic Achievement: The Department of Defense Model
Students in Department of Defense schools have similar mobility rates, parental education levels, and low-income status to students in inner-city schools; yet, they consistently demonstrate higher academic achievement than the national average. This digest presents the results of a 2001 study by researchers from Vanderbilt University on the consistent high achievement of African American and Latino students in Department of Defense schools and identifies policies and practices that may contribute to the success of these schools.
Download the digest.

School Success in Motion: Protective Factors for Academic Achievement in Homeless and Highly Mobile Children
This Summer 2008 article from the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs at the University of Minnesota examines protective factors and intervention methods that may promote school success among homeless and highly mobile students.
Download the article.

Should I or Should I Go?: Exploring the Effects of Housing Instability and Mobility on Children
This report from the National Housing Conference examines the role that residential stability plays in child development. The report finds that low-income families move much more frequently than the general population. While reasons for moving vary, the data and interviews of low-income families show that moves resulting from unplanned or involuntary circumstances, such as an eviction or foreclosure, and moves that occur one after another as part of a pattern of frequent mobility, tend to have negative impacts on child and family welfare, such as increased school absenteeism and a higher incidence of neighborhood problems.
Download the report.

Slowing the Revolving Door: Schools Reach Out to Mobile Families
This article, published in November 2002 by the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) outlines several family involvement strategies that schools can use to provide stability and support for children made vulnerable by disruptions in their education and home lives.
Read the article.

The Impact of the Mortgage Crisis on Children and Their Education
This Spring 2008 brief from First Focus discusses the effects of the U.S. mortgage and foreclosure crisis on school-aged children and their education. Useful statistics related to mobility and school achievement, an overview of the effects of mobility on children's behavior and health, and policy recommendations are included.
Download the brief.

Tips for Supporting Mobile Students
This brief from Project HOPE discusses what schools can do to support the education of highly mobile students.
Download the brief.

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The National Center for Homeless Education (NCHE) is the U.S. Department of Education's technical assistance center for the federal Education for Homeless Children and Youth (EHCY) Program. NCHE is housed at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

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