Community School Connections
Quarter 3 - 2017-2018
Building a stronger Erie, one school at a time.
The community schools model is a strategy ( not a program ) for organizing school and community resources around student success. A community school is both a place and set of partnerships that help address health, wellness and the social needs of its students, families and the surrounding neighborhood. Schools become centers of the community, open to everyone, all day, every day, evenings and weekends.  Community Schools represent a strategy, not a program.
United Way's five community schools cumulatively make a HUGE impact on students and families! Here's a quick look at some impressive stats January 19, 2018 - April 3, 2018
Recently, a delegation from United Way's community schools initiative visited Allentown, PA for a listening tour and briefing with representatives from the Greater Lehigh Valley United Way and schools served through their community schools .

The visit included discussion about United Way's role as a backbone organization for the model as well as two site visits to Fountain Hill Elementary and Broughal Middle School .

This site visit was an excellent opportunity for our local delegation to learn from an established community schools initiative. Discussions focused on building trusting relationships, establishing positive school cultures, aligning programs and services with school needs, and leveraging resources. This trip also validated the framework for community schools that your local United Way established here in Erie, setting up a strong foundation for long-term success and sustainability.
Strong Vincent Middle School
contributed by Community School Director: Katrina Byrd
STRONG Wellness with Gannon University
Akira is a sixth grader at Strong Vincent , a United Way community school.

Akira, and other female students along with their families participated in community school lead partner, Gannon University’s 11th annual Wellness Fair at the Recreation and Wellness Center.

This free event was split into three separate three-hour long program segments throughout the day from 4pm-12 midnight, all of which focused on different aspects of health and wellness. Activities included therapy dog sessions, Zen meditation, a dunk tank manned by the baseball team, intellectual gaming and demonstrations by the cheer team. In addition to health and wellness education, a free pasta dinner and refreshments were served.
Corporate Partner
Lead Partner
Pfeiffer-Burleigh Elementary School
contributed by Community School Director: Meghan Easter
Mentoring and More for Pfeiffer-Burleigh Family
Kamiyah started at Pfeiffer-Burleigh Elementary as a 1st grader, transferring from a different school within Erie's Public Schools. Upon arrival, Meghan, community school director worked with the school’s administrative team and Kamiyah’s mother to discuss academic concerns and ways the school could offer resources to support Kamiyah and ensure her success.

Kamiyah’s mother was able to meet her teacher during parent-teacher conferences and review her academic growth. It was during this time, that mom shared that home stresses had been impacting the overall well-being of the family. Help was offered including providing the family with holiday gifts and meals to make Christmas-time less stressful. Mom was able to attend a local support group, Erie City Moms. This group offered opportunities for Kamiyah’s mother engage with others through self-care and mentorship, while providing a hot meal and childcare at a local church.

It was through these experiences that Kamiyah’s mom was able to continue to connect with the school to ask for help to meet the needs of not only her daughter, but the entire family. We have been able to connect Kamiyah with extended school day programming offering her specific intervention to meet her academic and enrichment needs. Kamiyah also receives reading and math help, participates in fun and engaging enrichment activities, and is able to receive a healthy dinner – which has been able to support both Kamiyah and her family’s needs.
Corporate Partner
Lead Partner
Edison Elementary School
contributed by Community School Director: Tami Krzeszewski-Conway
The Aden Family
The Aden family is new to Edison Elementary, a United Way community school . The group of eight cousins stick together as a close-knit unit both at school and in the community.

When the idea of attending the Boys and Girls Club (a committed community school partner) after school was introduced to the students, their faces immediately ignited with excitement. Tami, Edison's community school director, spoke with them about the various types of activities that occur at the club on a daily basis, which grew the children’s eagerness even more. 

Tami also spoke with both moms about the opportunity and explained that transportation was unavailable at this time, but the moms agreed the students could walk home together after attending. There were some delays with figuring out how the students would get home at the end of programming. The delays had deflated the students spirits but with reassurance that the school will continue to partner with the parents to problem solve, their eagerness quickly returned.

Eventually, the Boys and Girls Club was able to provide scholarships to each of the family members, to eliminate the financial barrier that would have prevented the children from participating in activities.

After the first day at the club, the students came into Tami's office with beaming smiles and shared their experience of getting to play basketball in the gym for the first time, enjoy the game room and eat dinner. The Aden family continues to go to the club on a daily basis. As comfort and feelings of security increase, staff members continue to encourage each of the children to explore activities that excite them as a group and individually.
The Boys and Girls Club is a vital community school partner and serves numerous students on a daily basis after school and during the summer. The emphasis on developing strong relationships has impacted countless students at Edison.
Corporate Partner
Lead Partner
McKinley Elementary
contributed by Community School Director: Sonia Rios
Annabelle is a cheerful second grade student at McKinley Elementary, a United Way community school . She is full of excitement as she eagerly participates in community school activities.

Annabelle has received  lessons about diversity, careers, financial, relationship building, and student engagement thanks to community school partners including the Multicultural Community Resource Center, Junior Achievement, Sisters of Saint Joseph Neighborhood Network, the Highmark Caring Place and Marquette Savings Bank. She has also received books thanks to the generous support of Barnes & Noble Erie.

Annabelle's favorite field trip was to see Petite Rouge at the Erie Playhouse, available at no cost to the students or school. She attends Barton Tutoring two times a week with a reading program volunteer or an Edinboro University Teacher Candidate, trained to give Annabelle extra practice learning specific literacy skills. Her phenomenal leaps in reading have given her more confidence in her ability to learn in the classroom.

Annabelle’s grandmother, Ann, mentioned, “We love everything about McKinley and community schools.” Annabelle’s older sister Yvonne and cousin Wyatt also both attend McKinley.

“They give us emotional to academic support. I can call to talk to anyone at the school and they are all willing to help. They are like a second family to us,” Ann continued. Annabelle's family is able to benefit from services and partnerships the school offers such as the Second Harvest fresh produce truck, uniform closet, and winter clothing items. The one that brought the greatest joy to the family was the complete holiday dinner through generous donations from LORD, Edinboro University, and Erie's Public Schools Employees “We would not have been able to have Christmas for our families without it.
Corporate Partner
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Lead Service Provider
East Middle School
contributed by Community School Director: Jamilia Gates
Partnering for Dance Residency
Faith, is an eighth grade student at East, a United Way community school .

This quarter she began learning the art of ballet with teacher Lea Bodine. Through a community school partnership with Erie Arts & Culture, Faith was able to learn through a dance residency that is offered to students during the school day and after school.

During the 3rd quarter, Faith and other students learned ballet and modern dance . For the 4th quarter, students will begin learning the jazz and modern tap dance genres. The dance program will continue for the remainder of the school year.
Corporate Partner
Lead Partner
Learn more about United Way's community schools at