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 Combating Homelessness through Education

Students in the Monarch cafeteriaMonarch School​ is a unique campus serving the needs of some of the more than 17,400 homeless children in San Diego County. It’s the only school in the country dedicated exclusively to educating homeless students.

Monarch’s mission is to help the county’s most vulnerable children break the cycle of homelessness through education. Traditional public schools may not be equipped for the transient nature of homeless children. The average student comes to Monarch three years behind their grade level, yet for every six months a child is at Monarch, he or she typically progresses more than a year academically.

The National Center on Family Homelessness reports that homeless children are eight times more likely to be asked to repeat a grade, three times more likely to be placed in special education classes, and twice as likely to score poorly on standardized tests. These students face a range of educational hurdles, including getting to and from school, obtaining appropriate clothing, and finding a quiet place to study. Monarch’s specialized programs help children overcome these barriers so they can focus on learning.

Without the education and programs at Monarch, some of these kids would be at risk of becoming chronically homeless. Education is the best chance these children have to avoid poverty and homelessness. 

Monarch has served San Diego for over 25 years and is a model and prototype for other communities to combat homelessness through education. The San Diego County Office of Education runs the program for students in kindergarten through grade 12.

The school opened in San Diego 1987 and moved to a new, larger campus​ near downtown San Diego in May​.​​