DATE: July 21, 2017
TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: Steven R. Staples, Superintendent of Public Instruction

Revisions to Virginia’s Best Interest Determination and Dispute Resolution Processes for Students Experiencing Homelessness

This memorandum provides revisions to Virginia’s best interest determination and dispute resolution processes developed to comply with the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, Title IX, Part A of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).  This memo supersedes Superintendent’s Memo No. 51, March 28, 2003, and Superintendent’s Memo No. 56, October 14, 2005.

School divisions are responsible for conducting best interest determinations when deciding if the school of origin is in a homeless student’s best interest.  The parent, guardian, or unaccompanied youth must be provided a written explanation when there is a disagreement about placement, including the right to appeal the decision [§722(g)(3)(B)].  If a dispute arises over eligibility, school selection, or enrollment in a school, the local homeless education liaison must carry out the dispute resolution process [§722(g)(3)(E)].  This includes the state level dispute resolution process contained in the attachments to this memo.

Changes from the 2005 process include:

If you have questions, please contact Patricia A. Popp, State Coordinator, at or (757) 221-7776.



  1. McKinney-Vento Best Interest Determination for School Placement (PDF)
  2. Written Explanation of McKinney-Vento Determination (PDF)
  3. Dispute Resolution Process for Virginia Public Schools – Eligibility for McKinney-Vento Services (PDF)
  4. Dispute Resolution Process for Virginia Public Schools – School Selection or Enrollment (PDF)