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Highly Mobile Children: Addressing Educational Challenges

NCHE Resources

pdf file icon Classrooms with Revolving Doors: Recommended Practices for Elementary Teachers of At-Risk and Highly Mobile Students
Teachers whose classrooms seem to have revolving doors with students entering, withdrawing, and even re-entering throughout the school year, face a variety of challenges in meeting the needs of such highly mobile students and their more stable peers. This information brief highlights some of those challenges and offers recommendations to teachers based on our exploration of the literature and case studies of award-winning teachers with a variety of students in their classrooms who moved frequently.
pdf file icon Classrooms with Revolving Doors: Recommended Practices for Middle Level and High School Teachers of At-Risk and Highly Mobile Students
Teachers whose classrooms seem to have revolving doors, with students entering, withdrawing, and even re-entering throughout the school year, face a variety of challenges in meeting the needs of such highly mobile students and their more stable peers. This information brief highlights some of those challenges and offers recommendations to teachers based on our exploration of the literature and case studies of award-winning teachers with a variety of students in their classrooms who moved frequently.
pdf file icon Effective Teaching and At-Risk/Highly Mobile Students: What Do Award-Winning Teachers Do?
This study, designed jointly by the National Center for Homeless Education and The College of William and Mary, explores the critical role of the classroom teacher in contributing to the education of at-risk and highly mobile students. The study includes a review of the literature on the effective teaching of at-risk and highly mobile students and an exploration of the beliefs and practices of six teachers who won national and/or state awards for working with these populations.
microsoft word file icon NCHE Mobility Study Bibliography
This NCHE bibliography, updated in June 2010, provides a comprehensive listing of research studies addressing the issue of mobility and its effects
nche webpage icon Reading on the Go!
Reading on the Go! is a two-volume project that explores reading instruction for students experiencing high mobility as a result of high poverty.

Reading on the Go! (Vol 1): Students Who Are Highly Mobile and Reading Instruction, reviews the characteristics of highly mobile students and provides a literature review of reading instruction, with a focus on the research on reading and high poverty in an effort to help practitioners better understand the needs of highly mobile students and inform their selection and structure of programs by making research-based decisions.

Reading on the Go! (Vol 2) A Handbook of Resources discusses the implementation of reading programs. Volume 2 is based on the literature reviewed in Volume 1 but was also shaped by the voice of practitioners captured through focus groups and site visits. Volume 2 focuses on supplemental instruction and children experiencing homelessness in preschool and elementary grades.

pdf file icon Download Volume 1. (331K)
pdf file icon Download Volume 2. (1.46MB)
nche webpage icon Download Volume 1 or 2 by chapter.
microsoft word file icon School Stability and School Performance: A Review of the Literature
This literature review was developed as part of an unpublished study conducted in 2004 by Dr. Beth Garriss Hardy and Dr. Cheryl Vrooman. The review examines the current body of research on mobility and how it may apply to the school performance of children and youth experiencing homelessness and makes recommendations for further research.
pdf file icon Students on the Move: Reaching and Teaching Highly Mobile Children and Youth (3.88MB)
This handbook, a joint publication of the National Center for Homeless Education (NCHE) and the ERIC Clearinghouse on Urban Education, synthesizes research on the education of various subpopulations of students who tend to be highly mobile and explores commonalities and differences among these groups. Subpopulations explored include migratory children and youth, children and youth experiencing homelessness, children of military families, and students experiencing mobility on a global scale.
Other Resources

article icon Bearers of Hope
This article from the February 2006 edition of Educational Leadership explores the qualities that enable teachers to work effectively with students who are homeless or live in extreme poverty. The article maintains that the most effective strategy seems to be maintaining high expectations. Successful teachers “cut deals” with students, finding ways to connect school work to students’ life concerns and helping them to complete requirements successfully in spite of the obstacles that accompany living in poverty.
pdf file icon Highly Mobile Children and Youth with Disabilities: Policies and Practices in Five States
The brief from Project Forum focuses on a subset of the population of mobile children: children with disabilities and their families who are highly mobile. The document begins with a background section that provides information about policies and practices developed for mobile children at the federal level. The second section is an analysis of interviews with five state directors of special education and their corresponding McKinney-Vento program coordinators regarding how states are addressing the needs of this population. Interviewees discussed causes of mobility; how they locate mobile children; the number of mobile children and costs of services; features of state programs under McKinney-Vento; how they track outcomes; challenges they have encountered; and policy recommendations.
pdf file icon Raising Minority Academic Achievement: The Department of Defense Model
Students in Department of Defense schools have similar mobility rates, parental education levels, and low-income status to students in inner-city schools; yet, they consistently demonstrate higher academic achievement than the national average. This digest presents the results of a 2001 study by researchers from Vanderbilt University on the consistent high achievement of African American and Latino students in Department of Defense schools and identifies policies and practices that may contribute to the success of these schools.
pdf file icon School Success in Motion: Protective Factors for Academic Achievement in Homeless and Highly Mobile Children
This Summer 2008 article from the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs at the University of Minnesota examines protective factors and intervention methods that may promote school success among homeless and highly mobile students.
article icon Slowing the Revolving Door: Schools Reach Out to Mobile Families
This article, published in November 2002 by the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) outlines several family involvement strategies that schools can use to provide stability and support for children made vulnerable by disruptions in their education and home lives.
pdf file icon Student Mobility Report
This report by the Metropolitan Housing Coalition (Louisville, KY) examines the link between education and housing.
article icon Students on the Move
This article from the February 2006 edition of Educational Leadership discusses how student mobility hurts both mobile and non-mobile students. It maintains that, although internal factors such as expulsion can trigger these moves, external triggers such as the residential instability of the housing market predominate. It asserts that a caring school culture, school awareness programs, improved recordkeeping on student mobility, and strong links between housing and education can help reduce student mobility.
pdf file icon The Impact of the Mortgage Crisis on Children and Their Education
This Spring 2008 brief from First Focus discusses the effects of the U.S. mortgage and foreclosure crisis on school-aged children and their education. Useful statistics related to mobility and school achievement, an overview of the effects of mobility on children's behavior and health, and policy recommendations are included.
pdf file icon Tips for Supporting Mobile Students
This brief from Project HOPE discusses what schools can do to support the education of highly mobile students.



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The National Center for Homeless Education (NCHE) is associated with The SERVE Center at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.


The content of this publication does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the U.S. Department of Education, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government. This website was produced with funding from the U.S. Department of Education, on contract no. ED-01-CO-0092/0001.
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