The Partnership for the Homeless

Classroom Focus

Yolanda was concerned about her son's disruptive classroom behaviors.

Daniel is a 6th grader with a lot of energy. A few months ago, his teachers contacted Yolanda and told her that her son frequently talks out in class and has been unfocused on his school work. Daniel’s behavior escalated to a point where his middle school threatened to kick him out. And because he has had so many school transitions in the past few years, Yolanda wanted to make sure that didn’t happen.

As a single parent, Yolanda does what she can—she’s been in close communication with the school, sits with him while he completes his homework every night, limits tv/internet time and found Daniel a mental health counselor for him. And in the midst of all of this, she’s also struggling to keep a roof over their heads. The family is on the verge of losing their apartment, and while she tries to keep those troubles away from Daniel, she knows he can sense when she's upset and preoccupied.

Wondering if Daniel’s behavior was linked to their unstable housing situation, Yolanda came to our Family Resource Center looking for help and got it through the Education Rights Project. Our Education Director, Katherine, discovered Daniel was not only dealing with his mother’s anxiety about being evicted, but that he had been diagnosed with ADHD and was in Special Education when the family lived in Pennsylvania. However, his Individualized Education Plan (IEP), which included modified testing and pull-out sessions for emotional support, never followed him to New York. In other words, Daniel has been not been enrolled in Special Education for over two years.

Now Yolanda has a better understanding of Daniel’s rights, which means she is better able to advocate on his behalf.

Thanks to her efforts, Daniel got a new evaluation from the school psychologist and a new IEP to suit his needs. Now, he has the tools to check his emotions and remain focused in the classroom. And Yolanda has the tools she needs to fight for him.