Highly Mobile Students: Addressing Educational Challenges

NCHE Resources

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.
Download Classrooms with Revolving Doors: Recommended Practices for Elementary Teachers of At-Risk and Highly Mobile Students.

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.
Download Classrooms with Revolving Doors: Recommended Practices for Middle Level and High School Teachers of At-Risk and Highly Mobile Students.

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.
Download Effective Teaching and At-Risk/Highly Mobile Students: What Do Award-Winning Teachers Do?.

NCHE Mobility Study Bibliography

This NCHE bibliography, updated in September 2011, provides a comprehensive listing of research studies addressing the issue of mobility and its effects on student learning.
Download the NCHE Mobility Study Bibliography.

Reading on the Go!

"Reading on the Go!" is a two-volume publication 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.
Download both volumes here.

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.
Download School Stability and School Performance: A Review of the Literature.

Students on the Move: Reaching and Teaching Highly Mobile Children and Youth

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.
Download Students on the Move: Reaching and Teaching Highly Mobile Children and Youth.

Other Resources

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.
Download Highly Mobile Children and Youth with Disabilities: Policies and Practices in Five States.

Launching Young Readers

Launching Young Readers (LYR) is the companion website to a five-part television series on PBS. The LYR website provides information about the series, including its broadcast schedule, and offers valuable resources that can be used in conjunction with the series or independently.
Visit the website.

Many Challenges Arise in Educating Students Who Change Schools Frequently

Educational achievement of students can be affected negatively by their changing schools often. The recent economic downturn, with foreclosures and homelessness, may be increasing student mobility. To inform the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) was asked: (1) What are the numbers and characteristics of students who change schools, and what are the reasons students change schools?; (2) What is known about the effects of mobility on student outcomes, including academic achievement, behavior, and other outcomes?; (3) What challenges does student mobility present for schools in meeting the educational needs of students who change schools?; and, (4) What key federal programs are schools using to address the needs of mobile students? This December 2010 publication provides the results of the GAO's analysis of federal survey data, interview with U.S. Department of Education officials, site visits to eight schools in six school districts, and review of federal laws and existing research.
Download the publication.

Moving On: Student Mobility and Affordable Housing

This report by the Metropolitan Housing Coalition (Louisville, KY) examines the link between education and housing.
Download Moving On: Student Mobility and Affordable Housing.

National Center for Families Learning

The goal of the National Center for Families Learning (NCFL) is to help parents and children achieve their greatest potential together through quality literacy programs. NCFL is recognized worldwide as a leader in family literacy development and works with educators and community builders to design and sustain programs that meet the most urgent educational needs of disadvantaged families.
Visit the National Center for Families Learning website.

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.
Download Raising Minority Academic Achievement: The Department of Defense Model.

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.
Download School Success in Motion: Protective Factors for Academic Achievement in Homeless and Highly Mobile Children.

Should I Stay or Should I Go?: Exploring the Effects of Housing Instability and Mobility on Children

This report from the National Housing Conference examines the role that residential stability plays in child development. The report finds that low-income families move much more frequently than the general population. While reasons for moving vary, the data and interviews of low-income families show that moves resulting from unplanned or involuntary circumstances, such as an eviction or foreclosure, and moves that occur one after another as part of a pattern of frequent mobility, tend to have negative impacts on child and family welfare, such as increased school absenteeism and a higher incidence of neighborhood problems.
Download Should I Stay or Should I Go?: Exploring the Effects of Housing Instability and Mobility on Children.

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.
Read Slowing the Revolving Door: Schools Reach Out to Mobile Families.

Tips for Supporting Mobile Students

This brief from Project HOPE discusses what schools can do to support the education of highly mobile students.
Download Tips for Supporting Mobile Students.