Community School Connections
Quarter 1 2018-2019
Building a stronger Erie, one school at a time.
United Way's 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.
United Way's eight community schools in place throughout Erie County cumulatively make a HUGE impact on more than 5,000 students and families!
United Way's community school model works to remove barriers that prevent students, and their families, from being successful. Did you know that one of the biggest issues facing many of our local schools is the fact that students are not attending school regularly? If students are not in class, how can we expect them to be academically successful?

Thanks to a $250,000 Erie Community Foundation Transformational Philanthropy 2.0 grant, United Way is facilitating the implementation of several attendance strategies to support the five original community schools in the City of Erie. In collaboration with our community school partners, students and families will have a better understanding of why school attendance matters, as well as a range of supports to help them get to school safe…and on time.

Stay tuned for some exciting announcements regarding this work after United Way’s Annual Meeting on February 21st!
United Way's six community schools in collaboration with Erie's Public Schools are Diehl Elementary, East, Edison Elementary, McKinley Elementary, Pfeiffer-Burleigh Elementary and Strong Vincent
Diehl Elementary School
Corporate partners step up to make dream of Diehl community school a reality
Earlier this month, it was announced that Diehl Elementary will become United Way's sixth community school in Erie's Public Schools and eighth countywide.

Diehl's principal, Tim Sabol, has long been a supporter of community schools, having helped launch the model at one of the first schools in 2016.

The dream of Diehl Elementary being a United Way community school is now a reality thanks to an unprecedented corporate partner coalition, many from the manufacturing sector. The eight companies making up the coalition include  Accudyn Products, American Tinning & Galvanizing, Custom Engineering, Lincoln Recycling, McInnes Rolled Rings, Reddog Industries, Inc., Smith Provision Company, Inc. and Team Hardinger .
Pfeiffer-Burleigh Elementary School
contributed by Community School Director: Meghan Easter
Community support of PB creates collective impact
Thousands of ServErie volunteers, represented by various organizations and community partnerships throughout the city of Erie, banded together in support of a common goal with this year’s ServeErie Summer Project 2018 at Pfeiffer-Burleigh, a United Way community school.

Summer 2018 signified the opening of the second year as a Community School and the summer project at Pfeiffer-Burleigh Elementary could not have come at a more impactful time.

The ServErie summer project was able to support the Community School initiative at Pfeiffer-Burleigh by providing the framework necessary to create significant structural and cosmetic changes to the school that both directly and indirectly aligned with the school’s Community School Action Plan. Community School priority needs such as: maximizing shared spaces and repurposing existing/underutilized spaces; supporting shared expectations for school pride and ownership; as well as continuing to provide a safe and supportive school environment for all stakeholders, are just some of examples of the ways this project impacted the work of the Community School initiative at Pfeiffer-Burleigh Elementary.

Although there were numerous areas of transformational change that occurred, a focal point identified early on in planning was potential renovation to the Pfeiffer-Burleigh’s school library. Pfeiffer-Burleigh administration and Corporate Partner, Erie Insurance, had proposed the idea of this renovation to ServErie; A project that had been envisioned within this longstanding partnership between Erie Insurance and Pfeiffer-Burleigh, but in the past had been unable to be brought to fruition due to cost restraints of such a substantial makeover. Leveraging the support provided through the summer 2018 ServErie project, with regard to volunteers, artistic vision and project management, and the opportunity for alignment with funds set aside from Erie Insurance, allowed for this transformational library renovation project to occur. The investment from our Corporate Partner, Erie Insurance, and our community partner, ServErie, showcased to our students, families, and staff what can be accomplished through a collective action approach. For more about Erie Insurance's Booktober watch this video !

Being the recipient of ServErie’s Summer Project 2018 provided an impact that transcended what was captured on the three day project, or even the days leading up to that long weekend. It created a ripple effect of positivity that would continue into the new school year. Walking into the 2018-2019 school year looked a little different for Pfeiffer-Burleigh Elementary staff, students, and families. Changes not only physical to the building itself, but an emotional influence as well. As Alejandro referenced in the
video, walking into newly renovated spaces he feels “at home.” There was a revived sense of hope that was created because of the project and it reaffirmed to the larger community that education and student success is important and our students and families took recognition of that.
Corporate Partner
Lead Partner
Strong Vincent Middle School
contributed by Community School Director: Katrina Byrd
Strong Vincent STEAMS ahead with LORD Corporation
On October 3, in a continuing effort to strengthen Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM) education, LORD Corporation hosted its 8th annual STEAM event at Strong Vincent, a United Way community school .

More than 70 LORD employees instructed five hundred 7 th  and 8 th  graders via educational stations, with lessons covering all facets of technology and STEAM careers. A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter and a commercial helicopter provided by Sen. Scott Wagner were also present at the event.
Corporate Partner
Lead Partner
Edison Elementary School
contributed by Community School Director: Tami Krzeszewski-Conway
Edison 5th grader jumps to help at every chance
During the long summer days, most children are at home playing, but not Ammar Aloush. 

Ammar chose to come to Edison Elementary, a United Way community school, everyday over the summer – taking off only three days to help his mom care for his newborn brother. During the last day of school, Ammar told Edison staff that he “will come back every day to help around the building.” Staff thought, maybe Ammar would show up for a week or two until he got bored, but Ammar came every day diligently throughout the summer. He helped move items, clean spaces, stuff folders and decided to join the Summer Camp program in the afternoons.
When summer began, Ammar was shy and self-conscious about his language skills. His native language is Arabic. Ammar would barely speak with staff except to get directions about various tasks. By the end of summer, Ammar was sharing stories about what he did the night before, his love for painting, and even making jokes. He was even awarded with the JET24's Good Kid in August.

With Edison becoming a community school, we were able to welcome Ammar and support him as he found meaning and purpose throughout the summer. We connected Ammar to Summer Camp programming and provided him the opportunity to experience several field trips. Staff built a strong rapport with family as well, who then were comfortable enough to come into school despite the fear of the language barrier and ask for a crib for the new baby. The emphasis on relationship building that the Community Schools model promotes, was embraced by adults and a student who returned for his fifth grade year feeling confident, ready to learn and connected to those who care about him.  
Corporate Partner
Lead Partner
McKinley Elementary
Amy Grande announced as Community School Director
Meet Amy Grande , United Way's new Community School Director at  McKinley Elementary !

Amy, an Erie native, graduated from East High School in 2003 and went on to obtain a B.A. in Psychology and dual minors in Athletic Coaching and Sports Behavior from Gannon University. Amy pursued her Graduate studies at California University of PA, earning a M.S. in Sports Management.

Amy has spent her career dedicated to working with at-risk youth, teens and families in the Erie community, most commonly in the nonprofit sector. She has a passion for Health & Wellness and since 2009, has coached High School Girls' Basketball within  Erie's Public Schools  and Erie Crossover.
Corporate Partner
Lead Partner
Lead Service Provider
East Middle School
contributed by Community School Director: Jamilia Gates
Erie City Mission's Urban University receives
Positive Youth Development award
East Middle, a United Way community school began working with the Erie City Mission to bring Urban University to students two years ago. .

Urban University After School program is comprised of two, 8-week semesters (Fall and Winter) that also include multiple service opportunities and extracurricular excursions. This program is open to East Middle School students.
Our goal is to develop and equip emerging student leaders, within this student body, through hands-on, career focused courses, intentional mentorship and practical faith application.

Daily they work at developing leadership skills and building leaders through many different faith based programs.  Urban University was recently awarded the Asset Builder of the Year Award by Positive Youth Development of Erie County
Corporate Partner
Lead Partner
Iroquois Elementary School
contributed by Community School Director: Kerrie Grande
First ever Trunk or Treat held
On Friday, October 26, 2018, Iroquois Elementary, a United Way community school , partnered with local family chiropractor and community member, Dr. Steven Krauza, to host our first annual Trunk or Treat event. A total of 16 local businesses and organizations in Lawrence Park and Wesleyville participated in the event and more than 600 community members and school families attended the Trunk or

Our families and community members were treated to popcorn, face-painting, a DJ and a photo booth, along with candy from our festive and creative trunks. We are so thankful that our community was supportive and excited about this event. The school was thrilled with the response from the community and are already looking forward to planning for next year!
Corporate Partner
Lead Partner
Elk Valley Elementary School
contributed by Community School Director: Kim Ozimek
Clearing the way for parent engagement
The goal of increasing parent engagement begins with ensuring parents have what they need to be active and involved members at Elk Valley Elementary, a United Way community school . That's why at the start of the 2018-2019 school year, Elk Valley implemented mandatory clearances for all parents and guardians that would like to volunteer in any capacity within the school day. 

A responsibility of the director at a community school is tasks like assisting parents with obtaining the necessary documents to complete their clearances. In September, EVES offered both morning and evening sessions for parents to come in to the school and have use of the computer lab. A total of six parents obtain clearances and mandated reporter training during those sessions. Since then, word and interest has spread and now more than 50 parents have turned in their clearances!
Corporate Partner
Lead Partner
Learn more about United Way's community schools at