To: Administrators, Principals, and Homeless Liaisons:

RE: Montana Disaster Response

Please forward to staff enrolling students, or who may be providing support to students impacted by wildfires.

We have begun to field a number of calls from districts asking for guidance on how to provide services to families and students evacuating from wildfires. Please see the Guidance for Assisting Students Impacted by Natural Disasters posted on the OPI website. We urge you to identify students in a timely manner so that they can access free school meals, transportation, and other supports.

In addition to the wildfires we have seen some families from the Houston area who were impacted by Hurricane Harvey. These families are here in Montana living with relatives, or returning to childhood homes to start over. If these families or students are living in a qualifying homeless situation, mark them as homeless in the AIM system and provide services. We anticipate another small influx of families from Florida in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.

All of these families should be provided a copy of the Families in Transition brochure, to make them aware of their rights under the law. Even if the family turns down services under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (MV), you need to mark them as qualifying. Work with families to help them understand that the MV status can help them to immediately enroll their child in school and may make their child eligible for additional financial aid when they attend college.

Thank you all for the work that you do to support Montana’s students.

For questions or concerns please contact Heather Denny at hdenny@mt.gov or 406-444-2036 or Shawna Pieske at spieske@mt.gov or 406-444-5660.


Montana Office of Public Instruction

www.opi.mt.gov

406-444-3095

PO Box 202501

Helena, MT 59620-2501

 

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