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District Provides Supplies for Students in Need

backpacks On June 25 employees with the School District of University City joined with volunteers from Wyman Center in the McNair Administration to stuff backpacks for incoming students currently without housing and living in an emergency shelter. Staff began distributing the backpacks to new (or returning) students in transition on July 15 during. They will continue to be handed out on an as-needed basis throughout the school year.

For the upcoming 2019-20 school year, employees and volunteers collected and filled approximately 330 backpacks. About 200 to 300 backpacks are distributed each school year. The program has been around for more than a decade and was already in place when employee Kathleen Collins joined the District. Collins handles special enrollment in the Student Services office located in the McNair building.

“During my 11 years of working in Student Services for the District, I have enrolled more than 2,000 students in transition,” said Collins, an administrative assistant. “Unfortunate circumstances can happen for any number of reasons, including evictions/foreclosures, parental marital problems, utilities disconnected, or unaccompanied youth living with another relative or adult.”    

There were approximately 273 students in transition during the past 2018-19 school year. The backpacks are provided to students in all grade levels with demonstrated need. The backpacks contain notebooks, pens, pencils and other important school supplies. Families are also given laundry supplies and miscellaneous toiletries. These are all housed in a large supply closet in McNair across from Collins’ office.

“The parents are very grateful for the supplies,” Collins said. “They get excited, tear up, or even hug me. It makes me feel good that we’re able to provide this service to them.”

Families are only enrolled in the program for one school year. They must reapply in subsequent years, and show proof of eligibility.

To learn more about how students in transition can qualify under the McKinney-Vento Act, or to contact the office of Student Services, please visit: