The Clark County School District’s transiency rate is currently 40 percent, the highest it’s ever been. It used to hover around 28 percent, according to the school district.
It’s a challenge for the district and can shift the focus from classroom learning to teaching kids life skills. A teacher’s job must often go far beyond math, science and English skills.
Transient students often have other areas of concern.
“They can’t think of anything else except for what to eat or what’s going on when I go home,” said Christine Robinson, a CCSD school counselor.
Robinson is also a Title 1 HOPE (Homeless Outreach Program for Education) liaison.
Currently, almost half of the district’s 320,000 begin the school year at one school and end up finishing the year at another school.
“It’s financial, it’s work situations,” said Tim Adams, a principal at Reynaldo Martinez Elementary School. “There’s a lot of different reasons that stem from this.”
The staff at his school are very familiar with the transiency issue. They start the year with an average of 700 students and have that same number when they leave for Christmas break, but they are not the same students.
“There’s 100 different students that were here at the start of the year and so there’s 100 students that have come from somewhere else and that’s quite a big number of kids coming in and out of the doors,” he said.
One of the biggest factors is poverty and that is where Title 1 HOPE steps in.
“I provide them with the resources that they need so that they can stay here,” Robinson said.
Those resources include, a backpack of supplies, food and clothes for kids. They also connect parents to education, work and shelter.
But by far, the single biggest help Title 1 provides is counselors who teach students coping skills to accept what they can and can’t change.
“You have a pile of clay and you have a rock, you can change clay, you can control clay, that’s the things you can control and sometimes you’re in situations like a rock where you can’t control it,” Robinson said.