Student Rights & Responsibilities

The mission of the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities is to uphold student rights, to ensure student success and to treat every student with dignity and respect.

About Student Rights and Responsibilities

The Office of Student Rights & Responsibilities strives to guide students to achieve the best possible outcomes while holding them accountable for their choices.

Submit an Appeal

Appeals can be submitted for Bullying & Harassment Findings, Disciplinary Hearing Decisions, & Parental Exclusion Letters.

E-mail the completed form to

Translations available HERE.

Information on Annual School Selection Appeals coming soon.

Attendance & Truancy

The Office of Attendance and Truancy serves to offer training and supportive services to all members of the school community, to help improve student attendance, to account for all District students, and to comply with the compulsory school attendance laws.

Bullying, Harassment and Discrimination

The School District of Philadelphia strives to provide a safe and positive educational environment for all school community members. As such, the District does not tolerate bullying, harassment or discrimination of students, in any form.

Student Transition Center

The School District of Philadelphia is dedicated to providing support and services to students that are returning to our school district. Our students come to us by way of one of several pathways from out-of-district placements, youth detention centers, disciplinary schools, acute or long-term hospitalizations.

We help thousands of students transition successfully to (and back to) their school communities. We understand that quality educational programs and transition services are critical for the positive development of all youth. The planned and timely transitioning of youth into the appropriate educational program upon discharge is necessary for the greatest outcome of sustainable success.

How We Support Our Students

We use a holistic approach to explore educational options for youth and assign them to schools that best support their academic, social/emotional, and behavioral needs, while collaborating with parents, schools, and community partners and resources.

Note: Referrals for the Student Transition Center (STC) come after the student’s discharge from a Department of Human Services, Philadelphia Juvenile Probation, or Community Behavioral Health providers.

Our Services

There are a variety of transition services and supports they can receive, as they prepare to transition to their new school communities.

We know how to help
Our Transition team helps organize and prepare your student for successful transition by:

  • creating a trusting environment that informs students of their educational rights within the School District of Philadelphia
  • advocating for appropriate school placements based on student academic, social emotional needs and behavioral needs for students returning back to the school district
  • participating in the discharge planning, help gather necessary academic records, review special education documents, do a credit analysis
  • working with our external partners to determine what after-care support is needed or available
  • facilitating transition meetings with students and their support team

We take that information, and working with the Office of Student Placement, we select the appropriate school for your student. Then, we assign a case manager.

Case Management

Once a school is determined, the student receives case management for 90 days to help them from start to final transition with reacclimation, goal-setting, and identifying resources in their new school and community that they can benefit from.

The STC case management team facilitates transition meetings with student, parents/guardians, school teams, and key stakeholders to ensure that students are welcomed into the school environment and are offered appropriate support and services.

Transition Bridge Program

Transition Bridge Program (in collaboration with the Re Engagement Center)

The 10-day bridge program consists of reintegration skills to help students reintegrate smoothly into school communities. Participants will complete academic baseline assessments, academic enrichment, credit/graduation analysis, restorative groups, mentorship, and case management.

  • Bridge occurs AFTER successful discharge from a facility placement, and BEFORE enrollment.
  • Bridge is an automatic component of reintegration and will be offered to all eligible students in grades 9-12.
  • Bridge programs are held at the District central office, located at 440 N. Broad Street. Food and transportation is provided.

To determine whether your student is a candidate for the Bridge Program, please contact: or call (215) 400-4830 and select Option 5.


We create a welcoming environment where parents feel supported and students feel that their voices matter. We want them to thrive, and to help them identify their strengths and interests. In support of our students, we work with families as partners.

Within and across the District, we integrate with:

  • Opportunity Network-Reengagement Center to help identify and support over-aged, under-credited students
  • Office of Diverse learners to ensure students are receiving appropriate academic programming
  • Chief of schools to complete a credit analysis and determine grade levels
  • Foster care department to ensure education stability for dependent students
  • Office of Student Discipline
  • Office of Education for Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness to identify eligible students
  • Office of Student Enrollment and Placement (OSEP) to support with identifying school placement
  • Office of School Safety to provide mentorship services in selected schools
  • Office of Prevention and Intervention to support students returning from long-term hospitalization and collaborate with counselors and Prevention and Intervention Specialists
  • Office of Climate & Culture to implement restorative practices using Relationships First Model
  • Career and Technical Education to identify credential paths and meet students interests/needs
  • School leaders and teams to participate in transition meetings and student goal planning

And we collaborate with External resources to ensure our students gain the advantages offered and these key stakeholders are included in our transition process:

  • Philadelphia Juvenile Probation officers
  • Department of Human Services and providers
  • Community Behavioral Health and providers


How does a student arrive at our office?

  1. Return from Residential Treatment Facility (RTF): students court-ordered or referred by the Department of Human Services, Philadelphia Juvenile Probation, or Community Behavioral Health (CBH).
  2. Congregate Care: dependent or delinquent students from a court-ordered congregate care placement or detention center.
  3. Long-term hospitalizations: students discharged from to a mental/behavioral health in-patient and/or partial hospitalization
  4. Resource Home or Shelter: students returning from a out-of-district placement and placed in a foster home or shelter.
  5. Achieve Academy: as a result of a disciplinary hearing, students are referred from a disciplinary program

Yes, I’m one of those five. What should I do next?

Contact our office for more information and next steps.

For our Partners:

If I have a discharge and need a school assignment, who do I contact?
Please email or call (215) 400-4830 and select Option 5.

I’m a case manager and need a student’s records. Who do I contact?
If you need your student’s records, to provide for your student’s progress, we can help.

Click here to make a request. It is important to complete the form accurately and in its entirety to ensure we have all the necessary information to complete your request.

  1. If you are required to provide a FERPA consent form please email the FERPA consent form to Please put the word FERPA in the subject line as well as the student’s FULL name.
  2. If you are from a Community Umbrella Agency(CUA) please request records via DHS Education Support Center online referral link. Click here to make a request.
  3. If you have a court date within 7 days of your request, please note that in the provided space as well.


440 N Broad Street,
Portal D, 2nd Floor Suite 243
Philadelphia, PA 19130

215-400-4830 Option 5

LGBTQIA+ Resources and Policies

The District celebrates the diverse experiences and affirms the unique identities of our LGBTQIA+ students. We are committed to providing a supportive and inclusive environment where every student can thrive. Our policies, such as Policy 252, accommodate name and gender requests, ensuring that our LGBTQIA+ students are respected and valued throughout their educational journey. Explore more District and City resources below.


252 Transgender And Gender Non-conforming Students Learn more

The purpose of this policy is to ensure safety, equity, and justice for all students regardless of gender identity or gender expression so that they can reach their fullest human and intellectual potential.

Policy 252 Reference Guide

This Guide provides an overview of the key elements in the Policy, and addresses many Frequently Asked Questions.

Name/Gender Change Request for Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students

To see if this policy is applicable please review HERE.

Please note name/gender change requests pursuant to Policy 252 can be submitted on behalf of the student by staff, a parent or guardian, or by the student themselves. It is important that whoever is submitting this form understands all safety concerns. that may be associated with the display of a requested name or gender change in the SIS and/or Google platform.

Please complete your request HERE

If you have any questions or concerns, please email

Genders & Sexualities Alliance (GSA)

A Genders & Sexualities Alliance (GSA) is a student-run club, which provides a safe place for students to meet, support each other, talk about issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity and expression, and work to end homophobia and transphobia. GSAs have evolved beyond their traditional role to serve as safe spaces for LGBTQ+ youth in middle schools and high schools, and have emerged as vehicles for deep social change related to racial, gender, and educational justice.

If you are interested in being part of a district-wide GSA that will have a hybrid model(virtual and in-person), please complete the form completely HERE

Download: GSA Facilitator’s Handbook

District schools with GSAs *

  • Academy at Palumbo
  • Albert Greenfield Elementary
  • AMY 5 @ James Martin Middle School
  • Ben Franklin High School
  • Bodine High School
  • Building 21 High School
  • Central High School
  • Constitution High School
  • Edison High School
  • Elkin
  • Fels High School
  • Frankford High School
  • Furness High School
  • G.W. Carver High School of Engineering and Science
  • GAMP
  • George Washington
  • Harding MS
  • Hill-Freedman World Academy
  • Horace Furness HS
  • John Hancock Demonstration Schools
  • Juniata Park
  • Kensington CAPA
  • Lankenau
  • Lincoln High School
  • Mastbaum
  • Masterman High School
  • Mayfair Elementary School
  • McCall
  • MLK
  • Murrell Dobbins
  • Nebinger Elementary
  • Northeast High School
  • Overbrook Educational Center
  • Parkway Center City Middle College
  • Paul Robeson High School
  • Paul Robinson
  • Penn Treaty
  • Philadelphia High School for Girls
  • Philadelphia Military Academy High School
  • Sadie Alexander School
  • Saul High School
  • Sayre High School
  • School of the Future
  • Science Leadership Academy
  • South Philadelphia High School
  • Strawberry Mansion High School
  • Swenson Arts & Technology High School
  • The Academies @ Roxborough High School
  • The Arts Academy at Benjamin Rush High School
  • The LINC High School
  • The U School
  • Thomas Mifflin School
  • Vaux
  • Wagner Middle School
  • William H. Ziegler Elementary
  • William Hunter

*As of 22-23 school year

GLSEN Philly – Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network

GLSEN Philly – Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network
GLSEN Philly is a chapter of GLSEN, a national organization fighting for every student’s right to a safe, supportive education. GLSEN Philly is a grassroots initiative, working locally in our community to ensure safe schools for all students, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Need Help? Get Support

The Philly HopeLine is free and open to all students, families, and staff of the School District. Call or text 1-833-PHL-HOPE, Monday- Friday 10am to 8pm to speak to a Masters’s level clinician.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline1-800-273-8255
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The Trevor Project – 1-866-488-7386
A non-judgmental hotline for those 25 years old and below with LGBTQ-sensitive trained counselors you can contact through a call, text, or chat during a mental health crisis and/or suicidal thoughts.

Trans Lifeline – 1-877-565-8860
A 24/7 hotline available in the U.S. and Canada staffed by transgender people for transgender people. Trans Lifeline is primarily for transgender people in a crisis, from struggling with gender identity to thoughts of self-harm.

Local & National Resources

Local Resources

Attic Youth Center
The Attic Youth Center creates opportunities for LGBTQ youth (ages 13-23) to develop into healthy, independent, civic-minded adults within a safe and supportive community. Offers free counseling and groups.

GALAEI – Gay & Lesbian Latino AIDS Education Initiative
GALAEI is a queer Latin@ social justice organization. Since 1989, the organization has provided social services and referrals around HIV/AIDS and sexual health, organizing, and networking. GALAEI operates the Trans Health Information Project (TIP), a peer-led program designed by and for trans-identified and gender nonconforming people. TIP provides outreach, sexual health counseling, HIV prevention and testing, health and safety workshops, assistance with legal name change, support through transition, and other resources.

GLSEN Philly – Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network
GLSEN Philly is a chapter of GLSEN, a national organization fighting for every student’s right to a safe, supportive education. GLSEN Philly is a grassroots initiative, working locally in our community to ensure safe schools for all students, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Lutheran Settlement House
Lutheran Settlement House is a non-profit, community based social service organization that serves over 14,000 women, men, and children each year through four program areas: Adult Education and Employment, Domestic Violence, Senior Services, and Homeless Services.

Mazzoni Center
Mazzoni Center provides comprehensive health and wellness services for youth and adults; services include primary medical care, mental health counseling, substance abuse services, HIV counseling and testing, support groups, case management, legal, health education, and outreach.

Morris Home
Morris Home supports trans and gender variant individuals as they develop the knowledge, skills and supports necessary to promote sobriety, manage emotional and behavioral difficulties, choose and maintain safe and healthy lifestyles, and develop healthy relationships.

Office of LGBT Affairs
The Office of LGBT Affairs works to foster equitable working and living conditions for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people and to advocate for LGBTQ issues in all areas of City government.

PFLAG – provides confidential peer support, education, and advocacy to LGBTQ+ people, their parents and families, and allies.

Philadelphia FIGHT
Philadelphia FIGHT is a comprehensive health services organization providing primary care, consumer education, research, and advocacy for people living with HIV/AIDS and those at high risk.

Project H.O.M.E.
Project HOME empowers people to break the cycle of homelessness and poverty through affordable housing, employment, healthcare, and education.

The Support Center for Child Advocates
Child Advocates rallies for victims of child abuse and neglect with the goal of securing safety, justice, well-being and a permanent, nurturing environment for every child. They house a special LGBTQ Youth Project that provides access to justice, representation, safety and hope to youth of all ages who are in the Philadelphia child welfare system and who are marginalized due to sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

UpLift Philly
Uplift Center for Grieving Children (formerly The Center for Grieving Children) was founded in 1995 by the Bereavement Program at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children and incorporated as an independent nonprofit in 2000. Our main office is located in East Falls. Uplift is supported through individual donations, public and private grants, government funding, and corporate sponsorships. Uplift has special groups and call center hours for students in the LGBTQIA+ community.

William Way LGBT Community Center
The William Way Community Center seeks to encourage, support, and advocate for the well-being and acceptance of sexual and gender minorities through services, and recreational, educational, and cultural programming.

National Resources

Support Series Presentations

Student Discipline – Code of Conduct

The discipline office provides guidelines around student conduct to help keep our students safe, and our classrooms and schools productive and positive.


  • Manage the Code of Conduct and update it annually with stakeholder feedback
  • Provide discipline guidelines and support to schools
  • Facilitate the disciplinary hearing process
  • Review and respond to appeals for disciplinary hearing decisions, bullying and harassment findings and parent/guardian exclusion letters.

SDP’s Approach to Discipline

The School District of Philadelphia is committed to achieving educational equity and reducing disproportionality in discipline, through providing alternatives to exclusionary discipline. SDP’s approach to discipline, restorative progressive discipline, is based in several understandings:

  1. Behavioral incidents are opportunities for learning and growth.
  2. Except for the most serious infractions, every incident should be addressed through restorative approaches.
  3. In cases where exclusion is appropriate, additional interventions must also be put in place.

Parents/Guardians who have any questions or concerns related to discipline are encouraged to discuss them with their school’s administration. If additional support is needed, continue by contacting us.

Code of Conduct

The School District of Philadelphia is committed to creating and maintaining well-resourced and safe school environments conducive to teaching and learning.

We strive to develop meaningful partnerships with parents/guardians and families, so we can work together to encourage academic, social and emotional growth in all of our students. Our goal is to ensure that all of our students have the necessary resources to graduate and will be ready to succeed as fully engaged citizens of the world.

The purpose of the Code of Conduct is to:

  • Outline clear expectations for all school community members.
  • Provide information around student and parent/guardian rights and supports.
  • Equip staff with guidelines for addressing student behavior so that our students and school communities can feel safe and grow to be successful.

Students who engage in behaviors that endanger school safety or disrupt the educational experience of others may be subject to the discipline process in accordance with the Code of Conduct.

Downloadable Code of Conduct for Families

Discipline Process

When a student violates the Code of Conduct, parents/guardians can expect that their student will receive interventions and potentially other actions, such as suspension or a disciplinary hearing when appropriate.

Parents/Guardians can click HERE to find a list of all Code of Conduct behaviors, their definition and the level of responses a student could receive.


According to Pennsylvania law, suspension is defined as the denial to a student of the right to attend school and to take part in any school function for any period of up to ten (10) days. In the School District of Philadelphia, third through twelfth grade students may be suspended for violating the Code of Conduct. Kindergarten, first, and second grade students may NOT be suspended unless their actions result in serious bodily injury. Please note the following:

  • Suspensions must be preceded by notification to the student and parent/guardian in writing.
  • A parent/guardian conference must be scheduled to occur upon reinstatement.

Suspensions cannot be appealed by parents/guardians. School administrators have discretion to issue suspensions in accordance with the Code of Conduct, following all parent/guardian conference procedures.

Conference Procedures

School administrators must adhere to the following procedures when scheduling parent conferences to address behavior:

  • Notice of a conference must be provided to the parent/guardian in writing, in their preferred language and either hand-delivered to the home, sent by mail, email, or by other reasonable means.
  • Interpretation will be provided for the conference, when requested.
  • School administrators will discuss the behavior/incident and offer supportive services as needed.
  • Parents/Guardians may request a copy of student records and any evidence.
    • Statements must be redacted before they can be provided to the parent/guardian.
    • Photographs and video recordings of incidents may be shown but copies cannot be provided.
  • School administrators will inform parents/guardians of any further disciplinary action and provide an overview of due process rights regarding disciplinary action.
  • Parents/Guardians are expected to attend all scheduled conferences and school administrators should make every attempt to engage them so that they are able to participate in-person or virtually, as needed.

Disciplinary Hearings

Students who are exhibiting a pattern of disruptive behavior(s) and/or committed serious violation(s) of the Code of Conduct may be referred to the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities for a disciplinary hearing, after suspension. Prior to making a referral, schools must complete a Behavior Performance Review (BPR) for general education students to determine if the student is thought to have a disability.

NOTE: Disciplinary Hearing Referrals only apply to students in grades six (6) through twelve (12). Students in kindergarten through grade five (5) cannot be referred for a disciplinary hearing or receive a disciplinary transfer.

Disciplinary Hearing Process

Students referred for a disciplinary hearing will be suspended and provided with due process. Students have the right to return to school pending the outcome of the hearing, unless they receive a safety interim placement. Please refer to the Student Behavior and Discipline section of the Code of Conduct for more information.

Disciplinary hearings will be conducted by an impartial Restorative Discipline Liaison/Hearing officer.

Hearing Decisions

The impartial Restorative Discipline Liaison/Hearing officer will consider all evidence, dialogue in the hearing, and a student’s academic, behavior and attendance records when making a decision on the outcome. The outcomes could include 1) remaining in current school placement, 2) transferring to another SDP placement, or 3) transferring to an Alternative Education for Disruptive Youth (AEDY) program to address behavioral goals.

Alternative Education for Disruptive Youth Program (AEDY)

Pennsylvania’s Alternative Education for Disruptive Youth Program (AEDY) provides a combination of intensive, individual academic instruction and behavior modification counseling in an alternative setting to assist students in returning successfully to the regular education setting.

AEDY Transition Programs provide education to students in grades 6-12 who have been removed from the regular education setting for certain disciplinary reasons. The District and the AEDY Program work with families to create behavioral goals based on their reason for placement and assessments. Once behavioral goals are met, students prepare to transition to the regular education setting with a transition plan.

Who to Contact

  • If you have questions/concerns or are aware that you are participating in a hearing but did not receive a hearing notice or need to reschedule please call 215-400-4830, option 2.

24/25 District Code of Conduct

Student Engagement & Achievement

This Office is here to serve our students and ensure they feel they have a voice in the work we do. We support initiatives, clubs, activities outside of school, designed specifically to help students play an active role in their role as part of our school community.

You can find out if these types of clubs, programs, events or initiatives are offered at your school. If they’re NOT, come talk with us! We can help you get one going!

What We Do

We provide Training and Consultation to help you help students have a voice!

Are you a school leader, trying to help your students have a voice? A District Office, looking for ways to help students have a voice? An outside partner, looking to work with us?

We can help. We offer training at every level of involvement for teachers and administrators to implement great programs and initiatives – and, then we help train you to train students to lead these initiatives successfully. Please contact us to get started. We can’t wait to help!

How does this work? 

We Help Students Be Heard:

  • Give students opportunities to discuss how they experience school in class or through school-wide initiatives (e.g. town halls, morning meetings)
  • Provide students with a system for providing feedback to school leaders regarding school issues, suggestions, and desires (e.g. suggestion box)
  • Allow students multiple means to express their
  • perspectives regarding school issues (e.g., through essay, art, dialogue, technology)

We Help Students Collaborate with Adults:

  • Allow students to opportunities to identify equity issues impacting their educational experiences without adult censorship
  • Give students opportunities to work with adults to learn more about issues they identify
  • Consider all the student-identified issues and work with youth to prioritize which should be included in school reform efforts
  • Collect student data through survey to lead school improvement efforts

We Help Students Build Capacity for Leadership:

  • Invite students to be actively involved in school improvement meetings
  • Adult facilitators support youth in developing capacities to address the issues they identify (e.g. student government/council/advisory boards)
  • Find ways to actively engage marginalized youth so that they have opportunities to re-engage in their education through leadership opportunities and civic engagement (e.g. youth court, RJ Tier 1 circles, RJ tier 2 mediation)

Student Leadership
215-400-4830, Option 3

Current Student Initiatives and Programs

The District has many initiatives and programs already in place to help us achieve our goals of equity and empowerment. If you’re interested in learning more about how each of these supports students, please contact us.

Black Male Achievement

Black Male Achievement (BMA) is a District initiative that works to ensure that the educational environment across the school district supports the brilliance and excellence of Black boys and teens. In alignment with the District’s strategic plan and collective commitment to unapologetically support and serve students furthest from educational justice.

Peer Group Connection(PGC)

We understand how important the transition to middle and high school is, and how intimidating it can feel to students in those years. PGC is a proven school-based program that supports and eases students’ successful transitions into middle and high school by tapping into the power of older students to create a nurturing environment for incoming students.

PGC-High School includes a year-long, credit-bearing leadership course for high school juniors and seniors that meets daily and is taught by school faculty. Through their leadership course, these juniors and seniors become trained peer leaders who meet once per week with freshmen in outreach sessions designed to strengthen relationships among students across grades.

To our principals and partners: Some of our schools already have this program in place. If you would like to discuss adding this programming to your school, please contact us. There is a grant-based opportunity which means it can be free, with the right application submission – we’d be happy to help you!

For interested students – you may have this program in your school currently: Click Here to view a list of schools that offer PGC

Superintendent’s Student Advisory Board

The Superintendent’s Student Advisory Board (SSAB) is a group of high school students throughout the District that meets to discuss issues that affect students and proposes solutions to problems. Every school has the opportunity to send up to two (2) representatives, to participate in this Advisory Board. Members meet regularly throughout the school year with the Superintendent, and are advisors that act as liaisons between the School District and its students.

Past topics discussed by the student advisory board include student leadership, school dropout rate, communication/messaging, school climate, mentoring, Diversion Program, and School Police Officer relationships.

This is a terrific way to have your voice directly heard with District leadership, to represent your fellow students on issues that matter to you. We’d love to have you join us!

Interested? Students can reach out to their principals to express interest, or, contact us directly using this email: School leaders can also submit the names of their school’s reps using this email.


Mentoring is programming that involves tutoring, life skills, training and coaching. The supportive, healthy relationships formed between mentors and mentees are both immediate and long-term and contribute to a host of benefits for mentors and mentees.

Our office is here to help set up a consistent, effective mentoring using best practices.

Are you a:
-Student seeking mentoring or to BE a mentor?
-Principal seeking a mentoring program or mentoring guidance?
-Partner looking to work with our schools?

We can help!! Please contact us and we will help you get involved, set up your system, and work with us!

Student Government/Council/Leadership

The student government groups help share students’ ideas, interests, and concerns with teachers and school principals. They often also help raise funds for school-wide activities, including social events, community projects, helping people in need and school reform.

Many of our schools have these clubs; students who want to get involved should ask their teachers or peers for information about the club. If you’re a school looking to start one, or get support for an existing club, contact us!

Gender and Sexuality Alliance(GSA)

If you are interested in being part of a district-wide GSA that will have a hybrid model (virtual and in-person), please complete this form, completely.

GSA clubs, or GSAs for short, are student-run organizations that unite LGBTQ+ and allied youth to build community and organize around issues impacting them in their schools and communities. GSAs have evolved beyond their traditional role to serve as safe spaces for LGBTQ+ youth in middle schools and high schools, and have emerged as vehicles for deep social change related to racial, gender, and educational justice.

Research indicates that GSAs (Gender and Sexuality Alliances) improve school climate, individual well-being and educational outcomes for LGBTQ youth. Participation in GSAs is related to stronger school connectedness and improved academic achievement for LGBTQ youth, and regardless of whether LGBTQ students themselves participate in their school’s GSA, just having a GSA in their school can create a more positive school climate for LGBTQ students.

GSA Facilitator’s Handbook

Click Here to view a list of Schools with an active GSA

Student Voice Studios

Student Voice Studios is an interactive online learning community for students. This programming provides a collection of podcasts, newsletters, social media content, webinars, trainings and resources. It utilizes technology to boost innovation, engagement, understanding, sense of community, and student voice.

If you’re interested in hosting a podcast, get in touch!

See examples of our student’s work here:

Students Experiencing Homelessness

We ensure that all children and youth experiencing homelessness are enrolled, participate, and have the opportunity to succeed in school. Our mission is to reduce and/or eliminate educational barriers using local “best practices” and the authorized activities of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act.

The McKinney–Vento Homeless Assistance Act guarantees a free and appropriate public education for all children and youth experiencing homelessness. B.E.C. 42 U.S.C. 11431 outlines procedures for deciding school placement, enrolling students, and determining responsibility. Federal and state laws make our responsibility clear.


Undies for Everyone



Are school districts responsible for identifying youth experiencing homelessness?

Yes. The School District of Philadelphia works with our office to have a liaison or assigned lead to ensure the McKinney-Vento Act law is upheld for students experiencing homelessness. This person helps school staff identify these youth and direct them toward needed resources and support through connection to other services and agencies.

If a child’s temporary residence is located in a different county or state from the school of origin, which school district is responsible for the child’s education?

The law does not assign financial responsibility. The School District of Philadelphia will work with the other districts to ensure education stability for the child.

If a student finds temporary housing across state lines, does the McKinney-Vento Act still apply?

Yes. The McKinney-Vento Act is a federal law and applies in any situation. The student has the right to stay in their school of origin unless the parent/guardian wishes otherwise or it is not possible given the specific circumstances. The School District of Philadelphia will work with the other district to ensure education stability for the child.

Does providing/arranging for transportation mean “door-to-door” service in similar manner as special education students?

Generally, no. For students who fit the qualifying distance (at least 1.0 mile), transportation assistance comes in the form of SEPTA student passes. However, for distinct special circumstances, if there is a yellow bus on the route of the temporary address, an exception can be made. If the student is in special education and their IEP states “door-to-door,” then service must be arranged.

How “immediate” is immediate enrollment?

The McKinney-Vento Act requires schools to enroll students experiencing homelessness immediately (standard dictionary definition: “without delay”), even if the student is unable to produce documents normally required for enrollment. “Enroll” means permitting the student to attend classes and fully participate in school activities. Generally this would be same day or the following day.

How can schools verify age for Kindergarten enrollment without a birth certificate?

By law, enrollment remains immediate. The school should work with the family to obtain acceptable proof of age, which can be found in other documents such as medical records, baptismal certificate, or a parent/guardian signed statement.

If a student is enrolled without requiring immunization proof, isn’t the entire school at risk?

McKinney-Vento requires immediate enrollment. As the majority of youth experiencing homelessness have been vaccinated and it is often difficult for families experiencing homelessness to obtain and keep copies of records, the school should work with the family to do so. If more help is needed, the school should contact the previous school (if applicable) or the Department of Health in the state of original residence. Un-immunized children should receive initial doses as soon as possible, unless there are philosophical, religious, or medical exemptions.

How can a school determine what classes or services to provide for a student if there are no school records?

Following immediate enrollment, the receiving school must contact the previous school for records. If records cannot be transmitted immediately, class schedule information can be obtained from the parent/guardian or youth. The school can also input procedures for a quick assessment to determine class placement and any recommended supportive services.

Must schools immediately enroll unaccompanied youth, even without proof of guardianship?

Yes. Lack of guardianship papers cannot delay or prevent school enrollment for unaccompanied youth. The School District of Philadelphia allows youth to enroll themselves with assistance from our office.

If the School District of Philadelphia does not follow the law, is there a penalty?

Absolutely. States are required to ensure that their school districts comply with the McKinney-Vento Act. Therefore, the state can sanction noncompliance by withholding federal funds or other means from the offending school district.

What duty does the receiving school have to a student who has not been in school and enrolls mid-semester to give them credit for the work they do in the rest of the semester?

The law requires the School District of Philadelphia to remove barriers to retention in school. Since inability to earn credits is an obstacle to remaining in school, the school must address that problem. Any necessary adjustments to the student’s schedule must be made to permit the student to obtain partial or prorated credit for their work.

Does McKinney-Vento address preschool and what must states do to serve these children?

Yes. The law specifically includes preschool programs in its definition of a free, appreciate public education. State plans must describe procedure to ensure preschoolers experiencing homelessness have access to state-directed preschool programs.

How do school districts serve preschoolers experiencing homelessness?

Liaisons must ensure that families and children can enroll in Head Start and Even Start programs and in preschool program directed by the school district. In the School District of Philadelphia, our office works with the Office of Early Childhood to identify these children. Oftentimes, we are able to assist with certain donated items, such as coats and shoes.

Do private schools have McKinney-Vento obligations, especial as the school of origin for a homeless youth?

For schools entirely privately funded, McKinney-Vento does not apply so these schools are not required to allow students to continue to attend or provide transportation.

What duties do charter schools have to students experiencing homelessness and must they appoint a homeless liaison?

Yes and yes. Public charter schools have the same responsibilities under McKinney-Vento as other public schools and school districts. If a student experiencing homelessness attempts to enroll in a charter school, the school must enroll them as long as other students living in the same area would be eligible to attend the school, unless there is overcrowding or a specialized selection process. If the school has specific skills-related entrance requirements, for example, artistic ability requirements for a fine arts school, the student must meet them. Charter schools considered their own LEA (local education agency) should appoint a liaison to work with students experiencing homelessness.



Supports for Students

After-School & Summer Tutoring

Click Here to sign up for free one-on-one tutoring.

Enrollment Assistance & Transfers

Enrollment Assistance & Transfers

Students experiencing homelessness have the legal right to either remain in their school of origin or enroll in the neighborhood school/district of their current temporary living address.

  • If the student/parent/guardian opts to stay in the school of origin and the distance between the temporary address and the school is one (1.0) mile or more, the counselor will work with the Office of Transportation and the school’s transportation specialist to make sure that the student receives the proper transportation assistance needed to attend school.
  • If you are NEW to the School District of Philadelphia WITH access to technology:
  • If you are NEW to the School District of Philadelphia WITHOUT access to technology:
    • Our team can work with you to complete the application over the phone or you can make an appointment to come to our office.
  • If transferring within SDP:
    • You will not need to fill out an online registration (OLR) since you are already in the system.
    • You will only need to contact the school and request the transfer based on your status under McKinney Vento. Our team can help with that too.
  • If you do not have enrollment documents such as valid ID, birth certificate, transcripts, immunization records, etc., the school is still required to enroll you immediately and help you get the other documents afterward. The school is not allowed to stop or hold-up enrollment; however, if you have any of the requested enrollment documents, it helps move the process move along. If a concern arises during this process, please contact our office.
  • If you are an unaccompanied youth (meaning you are not living with your legal parent or guardian), you can fill out your own OLR and enroll yourself into school. When it asks for parent/guardian you should enter one of the following:
    • your own name
    • the name of an adult caring for you
    • the name of a staff person/social worker working with you

Enrollment Disputes

If a dispute arises over school selection or enrollment in a school:

  • The student shall be immediately admitted to the school in which the enrollment is sought, pending resolution of the dispute;
  • The parent or guardian of the student shall be provided with a written explanation of the school’s decision regarding school selection or enrollment, including the rights of the parent, guardian, or student to appeal the decision;
  • The student, parent, or guardian shall be referred to the district’s homeless liaison who shall carry out the appeal process as quickly as possible after receiving notice of the dispute; and
  • In the case of unaccompanied youth, the homeless liaison shall ensure that the youth is immediately enrolled in school pending resolution of the dispute.
  • The School District shall inform the parent or the unaccompanied youth of the right to appeal. The District shall provide the parent or unaccompanied youth with written notice including the contact information of the Director of ECYEH Colleen Landy-Thomas.

School Supplies and Uniform Assistance

Uniforms and school supplies are a basic right to help fully participate in school. Students experiencing homelessness are eligible to receive assistance with uniforms and specified school supplies. Find out what your school uniforms are by clicking HERE.

The School District of Philadelphia requires all students to wear uniforms to school. Each school should be sensitive to the challenges faced by students and families experiencing homelessness. No child’s education should be interrupted due to lack of proper clothing or school supplies.

 Uniform Procedures

  • Uniforms are available for any student Pre-K through 12th grade who qualify under McKinney Vento.
  • The student/parent/guardian should let the Counselor know that they need help with getting a uniform.
  • The Counselor will obtain the sizes and general demographic information for the student(s) and then fill out the corresponding Google form.
    NOTE: The form is available only to designated school personnel.
  • The uniforms, along with a book bag and school supplies, will then be shipped to the school.
  • Shelters and other homeless providers are also able to place uniform orders.

Teen Evolution Experience Network (TEEN)

Click Here to sign up for the TEEN Program.

If you are a high school student whose living situation is in transition and you want resources and support for education, job, and life success, you’re in the right place! TEEN is a program designed to find, identify, and support high school students interested in exploring their current and future educational and career options while investing in their future.

TEEN is guided by the ECYEH staff who work with other supportive district offices and partner organizations to fight for the best interests of teens experiencing homelessness by focusing on developing education, job, and life skills that lead to independent success. We will visit high schools, emergency housing, and other locations where teens often gather, in order to inform them of the benefits of program involvement and recruit eligible teens.

TEEN Workshops

We base our programming on a TEEN Student Information Intake Form which each interested teen fills out for us. The answers help us determine as many of the students’ needs as possible. We use the information we gather to create customized workshops for the teens.

Some of the workshops include but will not be limited to:

  • SAT/ACT Prep
  • Resume Writing
  • College/Technical Education Applications
  • Interview Skills
  • Writing and Communication Skills
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Drug and Alcohol Prevention
  • Self-Expression through Drama
  • Scholarships and Financial Aid
  • Career Exploration

TEEN Perks

Along with workshops, the TEEN program hosts college tours, career networking events, and other field trips geared toward helping our students become future leaders and make their dreams a reality. Stipends are available for those who attend workshops.

For More Information

Contact: ZaLisa Fanning, TEEN Program Coordinator

Transportation Assistance

If students experiencing homelessness live at least one mile (1.0) away from the school, they are eligible to receive transportation assistance.

ECYEH ensures transportation is in place for students experiencing homelessness. Students are eligible if the school is one mile or more from the current residence.


  • You should contact your school and ask for a transportation request (known as a TAR) to be completed. If you are living in a shelter or are working with a provider, have them submit a letter verifying McKinney Vento status. If not , the school can provide the letter in order for transportation to be set up.
  • It may take up to 2 weeks for transportation to be set up. In the meantime, we can provide you with day passes. If you need that option please reach out to our team or your Counselor.


  • For grades K-12, transportation for students who qualify under McKinney Vento are to be requested on the Compass TARS System. When creating the TAR, you should attach a supporting document indicating this student qualifies under McKinney Vento. This can be a letter from a shelter or other provider, or just a letter from the school. Contact the Office of Transportation for additional support.
  • Students in grades K-5 who request a transpass are required to be accompanied by a parent or chaperone who is approved by the school principal.
  • The TAR must be completed and forwarded to Transportation within 48 hours. Schools will be responsible for providing the student pass if this form is not submitted within the specified time.


  • Students experiencing homelessness temporarily residing outside of Philadelphia School District boundaries are also eligible for transportation. Reach out to the ECYEH Regional Coordinator (Dr. Alfred B. Quarles, Jr.) in order to process the request.

Uniform Procedures

Uniforms and school supplies are a basic right to help fully participate in school. Students experiencing homelessness are eligible to receive assistance with uniforms and specified school supplies. Find out what your school uniforms are by clicking HERE.

The School District of Philadelphia requires all students to wear uniforms to school. Each school should be sensitive to the challenges faced by students and families experiencing homelessness. No child’s education should be interrupted due to lack of proper clothing or school supplies.

 Uniform Procedures

  • Uniforms are available for any student Pre-K through 12th grade who qualify under McKinney Vento.
  • The student/parent/guardian should let the Counselor know that they need help with getting a uniform.
  • The Counselor will obtain the sizes and general demographic information for the student(s) and then fill out the corresponding Google form.
    NOTE: The form is available only to designated school personnel.
  • The uniforms, along with a book bag and school supplies, will then be shipped to the school.
  • Shelters and other homeless providers are also able to place uniform orders.

Referral Form

If you or someone you know has experienced a hardship which has led to displacement, please fill out the form and someone from the ECYEH team will be in touch.

Foster Care

Foster care services at the school district of Philadelphia are the point of contact between the School District, the children and youth agencies.


  • Represent the District throughout the Best Interest Determination process
  • Assist with school transportation needs
  • Assist stakeholders in troubleshooting educational needs
  • Provide ongoing support to partners (the county child welfare agency, foster parents, and other county and state agencies)
  • Connect students in foster care who have special educational needs, with the appropriate SDP offices or staff
  • Serve as the representatives of Region 1 in Pennsylvania

What is the Best Interest Determination Process?

When a student enters foster care or changes a foster care or kinship placement, a Best Interest Determination Meeting (BID) should be held. The primary focus of this process is to maintain school stability, allowing students to remain at the school they were previously enrolled in (their school of origin), whenever possible.

All who participate in the BID process work together to come to a determination about whether the student will remain in their school of origin or be assigned to a new school placement.

  • If the determination is for the student to be assigned to a new school, the new school must be identified, the student will need to be registered and enrolled, and transportation will be finalized, if needed.
  • Until a BID is held, students in foster care should continue to attend their school of origin. 

Who should participate in the BID process?

  • The educational representative for child welfare in the county the student is committed
  • The assigned case manager (in Philadelphia this will be the Community Umbrella Agency or DHS worker)
  • School counselor from the school of origin
  • Principal and counselor of the identified receiving school
  • If the student has an IEP: The Special Education Compliance Monitor (SPECM) or Special Education Liaison( SEL) for the current and identified receiving school
  • The student, if appropriate
  • The biological parents, if their parental rights remain intact
  • The caregiver (foster care, kinship, or group home case manager)
  • The Child Advocate (attorney and/or social worker)
  • The Guardian ad Litem
  • Acting or designated Education Decision Maker (EDM)
  • Any other parties deemed appropriate and essential


What is the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)?

Answer Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) of 2015 is a federal law designed to promote school stability and protect the educational rights of children and youth in the legal custody of DHS (Philadelphia Department of Human Services). The Act requires students in foster care to remain in their school of origin when they come into initial placement or when they experience placement location change, unless it is determined through the Best Interest Determination (BID) process or explicitly court ordered that remaining in their school of origin is not in their best interest.

What Is school of origin? 

Answer School of origin is the school in which a student is enrolled at the time of placement in foster care or at the time of a placement location change.

What is a Best Interest Determination (BID)? 

Answer When students enter or change foster care placement, students are presumed to remain in their current educational setting unless a collaborative best interest determination (BID) meeting among parties produces an alternative decision. A collaborative BID must take place each time school placement may be impacted due to entry or change in foster care placement. BIDs are child-centered and do not consider costs.

Who can request a BID meeting? 

Answer  A BID meeting may be requested by any of the below persons or entities if a student falls within the guidelines of needing a BID:

  • Assigned case management staff
  • School staff
  • Family Court staff
  • DHS Education Support Center
  • Placement staff
  • Education Decision Maker (EDM)
  • Parent/Guardian (Biological, Resource, Kinship)
  • Provider staff (i.e. AIC coach, Mentor, ICM)

For whom and when should a BID be Requested? 

Answer A BID should be requested for students in K-12 grade who are committed (foster care, kinship, group home, youth shelter) to a child welfare agency such as the Philadelphia Department of Human Services. A BID is held only when a:

  •  Student first enters into dependent care.
  •  Anytime a student changes placement location.
  • Court explicitly orders for a BID to be held.

Where is a BID held? 

Answer DHS uses three forums for hosting a BID: written exchange, telephone conference, or video via MS Teams or Zoom.

Can a caseworker, or foster parent change a student’s school before a BID meeting? 

Answer No. Students should remain in school of origin until the BID process is concluded. At no time should foster/kinship care giver, CUA/DHS worker or congregate care worker transfer a student to a new school prior to the BID process being completed and a decision is made. This is also stated in PA Rule of Juvenile Court Procedure 1148.

What is PA Rule of Juvenile Court Procedure 1148? 

AnswerIt provides that a child in placement must remain in their school of origin unless the court finds that it is not in the student’s best interest. If the Court decides it is not in the student’s best interest to remain in school of origin, students should be enrolled in a public school, except if the Court orders otherwise.

Who is invited to a BID meeting? 

Answer DHS Education Liaison BID invitation goes to:

  • The student’s Educational Decision Maker (EDM)
  • Biological Parents/Guardians if rights are not terminated by the Court
  • Resource parents/kinship caregiver
  • Local Education Agency point of contact (for Philadelphia School District Foster Care Services staff email at
  • School of origin point of contact, Counselor, Principal & Special Education (if the student has an IEP)
  • Receiving school point of contact, Counselor, Principal & Special Education Staff (if the student has an IEP)
  • Assigned CUA or DHS case management staff
  • Child Advocate
  • City Solicitor
  • Student 14 and above and developmentally appropriate

What is the protocol for setting up transportation for a student in foster care with the SDP?

Answer The assigned DHS/CUA worker should submit a placement letter for coordinating student transportation by local education agencies which includes the students name, DOB and placement address and is sent to the school the student is attending. It must be on the agency’s letterhead. The school then completes a Transportation Action Request (TAR) and attaches it with the placement letter to alert transportation that the request for transportation is due to the student being in care.

In the interim, while waiting for SDP transportation to be implemented, it is always the responsibility of the Foster/Resource Parent to ensure that the student attends school daily and on time. If the Foster/Resource Parent needs assistance in developing an interim transportation plan, they should contact their Resource Parent Liaison/Foster Care Agency. If there continues to be any barriers, outreach is to be made to the DHS/CUA case management team and ESC for additional assistance.

If a student does not receive a SEPTA Key Card/Transpass, but is on the list to receive it, the Foster/Resource Parent or DHS/CUA case management team should contact the school and speak with the School Counselor or Principal.

What happens after a BID meeting is held? 

Answer At the conclusion of the BID, if it has been determined that a school transfer is appropriate, the assigned DHS/CUA worker should assist the Foster/Resource Parent in preparing the student for the transition, as well as provide assistance with the registration/enrollment process. DHS/CUA and the Foster/Resource Parent Liaison should meet with the Foster/Resource Parent, to implement an interim transportation plan, if the student is awaiting SDP transport.

  • The Foster Care Services team at the School District of Philadelphia will contact the receiving school, to confirm the student’s transfer.
  • The ESSA Liaison will provide the parties with the Consultation Closing Summary within 10 business days of the BID conclusion and/or confirmation of school placement.
  • Should the student need to be referred to the Student Transition Center (STC), then confirmation of school placement is pending their review.
  • The DHS Education Support Liaison with the STC will provide update on school placement within 10 days of the BID conclusion.

BID VS. Interagency meeting: what is the difference? 

Answer An Interagency Meeting is a meeting convened with stakeholders to discuss educational concerns and needs of a student that do not meet the above BID criteria. An Interagency Meeting can be organized by any party and for any student whether in care or not. When you submit a referral, the Education Support Center will inform you if your referral will result in a BID or Interagency Meeting.

  • Education Support Center Liaison or SDP Foster Care Coordinator may participate in Interagency meetings depending on the likelihood of school transfer.

What If all parties do not agree to the BID decision? 

Answer If you disagree with the BID decision, within 2 business days of the meeting you should send an email to DHS/ESC and SDP Dispute Committee and request a resolution. Please indicate in email your disagreement. The DHS/ESC and SDP Dispute Committee will review your request and schedule a meeting to resolve disagreement. Title the subject line of the email “Request for Resolution”.

The Dispute Committee include:

Philadelphia Department of Human Services:

Clarence Paasewe, MSW or designee

Education Stability Services Administrator Philadelphia DHS Education Support Center

1515 Arch Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19102

Phone: 267-239-4634



Syreeta Owen-Jones, LSW or designee

DHS Education Support Center Director

City of Philadelphia Office of Children and Families

1515 Arch Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19102

Phone: 215-683-6530


School District of Philadelphia:

Caitlin Pratt, MSW or designee

Director of Foster Care

Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities

The School District of Philadelphia Education Center

440 North Broad St.2nd Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19130

Phone: 215-400-6124



Rachel Holzman, Esq. or designee

Deputy Chief of Student Rights and Responsibilities

The School District of Philadelphia Education Center

440 North Broad Street, 2ndFloor, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19130



Questions about foster care services or the educational needs of students

Parent Resources, Forms & Documents

  • Read By 4th Family Attendance Toolkit
  • Submit an Appeal for bullying/harassment, disciplinary hearing. decision, or exclusion letter: Please complete the form HERE and email it to Translations available HERE.
  • Safe Schools Advocate
    Section 1310-A of the Pennsylvania Public School Code established the Office of Safe Schools Advocate (OSSA). In 2001, the OSSA was created in the School District of Philadelphia (SDP) to assist students who are victims of violent acts. OSSA will attend disciplinary hearings and support identified victims. Learn More!

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and PPRA Notifications

Staff Resources

Concerns or inquiries regarding sex discrimination, harassment, or retaliation can be made to the School District’s Title IX Coordinators or to the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR).

Inquiries related to students:

Andrea Prince, Title IX Coordinator
Phone: 215-400-4830

Inquiries related to employees:

Michelle Chapman, Title IX Co-Coordinator
Phone: 215-400-4600

Inquiries related to athletics:

Email: or contact the Title IX Coordinator

Act 1 – Schools Point of Contact Directory

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