Transportation: Analyze Enrollment

Transportation issues sometimes arise once a child is enrolled. Each program needs a process for examining and implementing transportation options that ensure that children experiencing homelessness can attend school on a regular basis.

A Head Start Story

I was working with a family who had been experiencing homelessness for the last five years. There were multiple reasons for this period of homelessness and they had stayed with several families during that time. The fourth of their five children was now ready for Head Start and she was very excited about going to school. We gave her a new backpack and new school shoes.

She was ready to go but didn’t have a way to go. The family didn’t have a car or access to one. They lived a mile and a half from the Head Start site. The mother walked the little girl to school for two days and said it was very difficult as there were no sidewalks and it was a busy road. Public transportation did not run in that area. The Head Start bus could not pick her up because it would mean some children would be on the bus for more than an hour which is against company policy. A special education bus had a pick up on that street but the Head Start student was not a special education student so who would pay for her seat? I suggested that I would pay what they are receiving for the empty seat this student would be taking.

Emails were flying and the little girl was sitting home with her new backpack and new shoes. Could we look at another Head Start parent helping out? Can we revisit the special education bus? Can we contract a taxi service? Another day went by and the little girl sat home, trying to keep her new shoes new by not going outside. Can we use a K-12 bus to transport a Head Start student? No, Head Start students require seat belts.

Your Task

This child’s ability to get to school is affecting her attendance. What will you do about getting her to school? After you have your ideas, read what this program did.

What this program did

The Head Start bus will pick up the girl experiencing homelessness first so the only one on the bus for longer than an hour (as supported by: Head Start Program Performance Standards, subpart C, §1310.20 Trip routing (b)(1)) will be that girl. The mom reported that her daughter has a great nap every day on the way home from school and she loves school. Her new shoes are now a little scuffed but that is from the rocks under the swings. The scuffs are proof that she goes to school. Her new backpack has a little paint on it from taking home a not-quite-dry-yet painting. She is very proud of the paint on her backpack and holds it tight like a teddy bear when napping on the Head Start bus coming home from school.

Transportation: Explore Information

Before you work on the transportation element of your own enrollment plan, do the following:

  • Review the information in the links below.
  • Discuss with a colleague how the information might apply to your enrollment plan.

Transportation: Build Your Plan

In creating your enrollment plan, use the checklist below as you review and develop the transportation element of your plan to ensure that it addresses families experiencing homelessness. For more information, select the Tell me more links.

  • I have reviewed the transportation ideas in the Analyze Enrollment and Explore Information tabs. Tell me more

    I have reviewed the transportation ideas

    Consider the following questions:

    • Did you think that the transportation ideas the program came up with were reasonable and addressed the issues?
    • How did the program tailor the ideas to fit the individual circumstance?
    • Does the transportation strategy ensure that a child experiencing homelessness will be able to attend the Head Start program?
  • I have considered whether any of the transportation ideas in the Analyze Enrollment and Explore Information tabs will work in my program. Tell me more

    I have considered whether any of the transportation ideas will work in my program

    Consider the following questions:

    • Can you use any of the transportation strategies in your own program? Which ones?
    • Are there any of the transportation strategies that will not work in your program? Which ones? Why won’t they work?
    • Are there other transportation strategies you might want to include in your enrollment plan?
  • I have thought about my transportation strategies and how I might change them to help families experiencing homelessness. Tell me more

    I have thought about my transportation strategies

    Consider the following questions:

    • Do your current transportation strategies ensure that children experiencing homelessness will be able to attend regularly?
    • What kind of transportation strategies will work in your program?
    • What type of transportation strategies should you include in your enrollment plan that will support families experiencing homelessness?
  • I have begun to formulate (or update my existing) transportation strategies. Tell me more

    I have begun to formulate (or update my existing) transportation strategies

    Consider the following questions:

    • Is there information in the Explore Information tab that can help you create or update your transportation strategies?
    • Do you need to change your existing transportation strategies to take into account families experiencing homelessness? How should you change them?
    • What transportation strategies do you need to include in your enrollment plan to support families experiencing homelessness?
    • Have you reviewed your transportation strategies to ensure that they support families and children experiencing homelessness? What did you determine?

Last Updated: July 9, 2014