HIDALGO COUNTY, Texas – Valley school districts had a difficult time reaching every student during the pandemic. It’s even harder for students who are homeless, but they have plans in place to make sure those student do not fall through the cracks.
For Sandra Rodriguez, Family and Community Engagement coordinator of Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District and McKinney Vento, Foster Care liaison, getting a hold of homeless students and their parents was one of their challenges once the pandemic hit the Rio Grande Valley.
“We had for example a student at one of our middle schools, a seventh grader whose phone number wasn’t working, the address we had was to the shrine in San Juan,” recalled Rodriguez.
Rodriguez adds that they were able to get a hold of the student’s mother.
“She wasn’t working, so she goes ‘I can’t pay for my phone because it was suspended.’ We were able to make contact because of a friend and so I told her ‘let us know where you’re going to be weekly’,” said Rodriguez.
Since they were not returning to school after spring break, Rodriguez said 42 of her staff members would check in with families weekly.
“I provided a list and I provided a log. Every Monday, every Friday they would check in with the family,” said Rodriguez.
Connie Cabellero, Social Services Case manager at McAllen ISD (Independent School District) said their social workers visit families when teachers, staff or administration have concerns about a homeless student.
“We sometimes visit with them there because we know that they will be there to gather and to obtain food for the family,” said Caballero.
While the school year is over, the help doesn’t stop at both school districts.
“So once our social workers identify and work directly with these families they develop a relationship,” said Caballero. “We are in constant communication. Meeting their needs, whether they are basic needs, in regards to food, shelter or academic needs.”
For any questions regarding services, you can contact Edinburg CISD at 956-289-2318 and McAllen ISD at 956-632-3232.