Homeless Students in Los Angeles: Part 1

My students are currently working on their Magnet Capstone Projects. These are interdisciplinary projects where they take an issue important to their community, Highland Park, and analyze prior actions in a historiography, write an argumentative essay and create a piece of accompanying art or technology to address the issue.

As a teacher, it’s a lot of work.

One of the topics they are addressing is homelessness, so after a long hiatus from looking at data, I flexed my muscles for the first time and dug up the homelessness data for our school and surrounding schools.

But I couldn’t stop myself…

After I awoke from my data-induced trance, I had mapped out homelessness rates across the entire LAUSD school district. And one school stood out to me: Telfair Avenue Elementary. Before you read the next sentence, you should understand the median homeless population in an LAUSD school is 1.75%.

At Telfair, almost 24% of the students are homeless.

That is an incredibly high number – so high that I actually suspected a data reporting error and reached out to LAUSD. But they confirmed, adding “Telfair is a neighborhood school, and its enrollment reflects the demographics of the community.”

This is true. The schools in the Pacoima neighborhood have some of the highest homeless populations in the city. In fact, the North Valley Zone of Choice enrolls 10% of all homeless students in the city – and the percent of homeless students in the area is twice as high as the district-wide average. 

But in terms of sheer percent – Telfair is still unique. It probably has to do with its location – very close to several shelters, homeless service organizations, a major housing project, and several trailer parks (students who live in mobile homes are usually classified as homeless). Below is a comparison of Telfair to all schools located within the North Valley Zone of Choice. Click here to read more: https://www.schooldatanerd.com/2018/05/06/homeless-students-in-los-angeles-part-1/