There are more than 1.2 million homeless students across the United States, with 23,000 in San Diego County alone. Research shows that homelessness contributes to a wide range of challenges including physical and psychological problems, safety fears, and academic struggles. Furthermore, it is estimated that 75 percent of homeless students do not receive a high school diploma. The barriers that these students face not only inhibit their ability to become successful, contributing members in their families and society, but also place them at a high risk of becoming homeless adults in the future.
The Monarch School Project is a one-of-a-kind school for students experiencing homelessness. Serving students in grades K-12, ages 4 to 9, the school is a public-private partnership between the San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) and the Monarch School Project (MSP), a 501(c)(3). The program has evolved over 20 years, adapting to identified student and family needs.
The Monarch School provides wrap-around services for students, including allocating private funds to entering students and their families to address fundamental needs such as shelter, food, clothing, and medical and psychological well-being. In addition, MSP provides funding for an expressive arts therapist, math specialist, additional counselors, tutors, and mentors, and a financial aid program for all graduates.
Monarch’s after-school program is funded through the After School Education and Safety Program Universal Grant. Through the program, students can participate in activities in music, arts, and athletics, and receive academic supports that ensure their safety and supervision.