School counselors and administrators in Texas have powerful legal tools to help highly mobile students graduate.
1. Partial Credits
For students experiencing homelessness or foster care, school districts and charter schools must:
- award partial credits;
- provide opportunities for credit by examination;
- develop a credit recovery and course transition plan;
- develop and administer a personal graduation plan for each student in junior high or middle school; and
- ensure the continuation of a student’s educational and course programs from the previous school.
If an 11th or 12th grade student experiencing homelessness or foster care changes school districts and is ineligible to graduate from the new district, the prior district must award a diploma if the student meets the graduation requirements of that district.
This applies to students who change school districts within Texas, as well as those who move out of state. When 11th or 12th grade students experiencing homelessness or foster care change move out of state and are ineligible to graduate from high school in the new state, the district they attended in Texas must award a diploma if the student meets the graduation requirements of that district.
3. Easing Transitions
Within 2 weeks of enrollment of a student experiencing homelessness or foster care at a new school, the school must:
- Provide the student with a welcome packet (information on extracurricular activities, fee waivers, tutoring opportunities, the student code of conduct, and contact information for pertinent staff such as school counselors, nurses, social workers, the foster care liaison, the homeless liaison, the principal, and any assistant principals);
- Give the student an introduction to the school by faculty, student leaders, or ambassadors; and
- Hold an enrollment conference to address the student’s credit recovery, credit completion, attendance plans and trauma-informed interventions, interests and strengths, discipline or behavior concerns, previous successes, college readiness, social and emotional supports, and policies relating to transfers and withdrawals and communication preferences with parents or guardians.
- The conference be with a team, including parents, school counselors, liaisons, social workers, teachers.
4. Ensuring full participation
For students experiencing homelessness or foster care, districts and charter schools must:
- facilitate the process to complete and submit a University Interscholastic League (UIL) waiver of residence application form if a student plans to participate in athletics or other UIL-sponsored activities; and
- remove barriers to participation, including transportation barriers.
5. Transferring school records
Districts and charter schools must transfer records for students experiencing homelessness or foster care within 10 days of request, even if the student has not returned or paid for instructional materials or technological equipment.
Read the law and supporting documents: