Maribel Galan


This study intends to determine to what extent, if at all, the practices used in one urban school district in Southern California servicing high populations of socioeconomically disadvantaged students have on the academic achievement of students who are considered homeless under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act. A quantitative analysis of the academic performance of homeless students in both English Language Arts and Mathematics on the California Standards Test was used. In addition, a survey was used to capture the perceptions of existing practices in schools. Interviews were conducted to gain the perceptions of site principals and district administrators to learn what they believe are the existing practices contributing to the academic performance of their homeless student population. The following areas provided background and understanding of the academic needs of homeless students: (a) history of federal legislation (b) federal and state funding and national effort to end the cycle of homelessness (c) accountability for academic achievement (d) successful academic practices as well as the best practices to support the social-emotional needs of homeless students, and, (e) the perceptions of educators and administrators who work with students in homeless situations. Based on the research, the important factors to consider are the needed socialization and relationship-building component that provides homeless students with stability and a connection with the school as well as the teacher and staff awareness and sensitivity needed when working with homeless students. The results demonstrated three significant areas to consider when educating homeless students; having an awareness of homeless students, accountability and monitoring of homeless students, and the social-emotional organizational practices in place to support these learners. Recommendations included district level professional development focused on the special needs of homeless students as well as providing school principals with academic data on their homeless student population. Secondly, identifying homeless students in a web based data system for teacher review. Thirdly, site based professional development for both certificated and classified staff to provide strategies in working with student who face homelessness. Finally, to develop a district wide counseling partnership with outside consultants or city resources to allow for more on-site counseling services.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Organizational leadership; Homeless students; Homeless children -- Education -- California; Educational evaluation

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Vodicka, Devin;