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New UCLA interactive tool provides access to homelessness data for all CA school districts

A report released Wednesday  by UCLA’s Center for the Transformation of Schools reveals the unique educational challenges of K-12 students experiencing homelessness across California’s school districts, with a sharp focus on 10 districts that have a large enrollment of such students, according to data from the 2018-19 school year.

Those 10 school districts are Anaheim Union High, Fresno Unified, Kern High, Long Beach High, Oakland Unified, Pajaro Valley High, Redlands Unified, San Bernardino City Unified, San Diego Unified, and San Juan Unified.

The report, “State of Crisis: Understanding School District Educational Patterns for California Students Experiencing Homelessness,” relies largely on student data from the 2018-19 school year because the Covid-19 pandemic has hindered data collection since 2020.

Accompanying the report is an interactive table to search for district-level data on students experiencing homelessness. The table was created in a format that makes the data easy to access and understand. There, anyone can see data on suspensions, graduation, enrollment, chronic absenteeism as it pertains to students experiencing homelessness at each school district.

The idea for the report and the interactive table grew from the response to a related report, also on students experiencing homelessness, that was released in 2020. The report authors received requests from school districts asking for guidance in downloading data from the state’s education databases. While the data can be accessed by the public, it can be difficult to navigate the databases.

The author for the recently-released report, Edwin Rivera, would join video calls with school district personnel and share his screen, guiding them through the databases in search of numbers related to that specific district.

“I, firsthand having collected the data, know how difficult it is to just get through all those [data points],” said Rivera, a research analyst for the UCLA Center for the Transformation of Schools. “So to be able to have it in one place and print out a PDF report that districts can use, that’s one of my goals.”