HOUSTON An accelerated charter program in the Houston Independent School District is helping homeless students graduate.
High School senior Dominique Stewart could be considered a survivor.
You just got to be strong about situations, said Stewart. You got to take the negative and turn it into a positive.
Abandoned by her parents, shuttled in and out of foster care and the juvenile justice system, Stewart is one of nearly 3,000 students HISD considers homeless.
Yet Stewart is on the verge of graduating.
Going to class every day, doing extra courses, extra work in each class, Stewart explained.
She was able to do the extra work thanks to an accelerated charter program at Furr High School.
Dr. Peter Messiah, manager of Safe Schools, said the accelerated program is one of the many ways HISD reaches out to homeless students like Stewart.
We do provide them with credit recovery options, we provide them with clothing, we also help with school supplies and try and get them back to their school of origin, Dr. Messiah said.
The district has a broad definition of what s homeless. Not only are kids who live on the streets or in shelters considered homeless, but students who live with family members or friends, or in substandard housing are as well.
People don t identify as homeless because they say, I am not homeless, I am living with someone, said Dr. Messiah. But we need them to know they are in the situation from economic hardship, and they are eligible for services.
Stewart, who is now living with a mentor, came to Furr High School in August as a sophomore. Thanks to the accelerated online program, she is scheduled to graduate in December.
For more information on Assistance, HISD's homeless program, call (713)-556-7020.