Community School Connections
Winter 2017
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 have cumulatively made a huge impact so far this school year. Here's a quick look at some impressive stats!
At the The Partnership for Erie's Public Schools 4th Annual "I Believe" Gala held Friday October 13, United Way of Erie County was honored as the 2017 Community Partner of the Year for our work implementing the community schools strategy to help more students and families succeed. WOW, thank you PEPS and Erie's Public Schools! It is only with collaboration like this that we are able to LIVE UNITED.
Bill Jackson, United Way of Erie County president with Bea Habursky, Erie's Public Schools Assistant Superintendent
East Middle School
Community School Director: Jamilia Gates
Singing Ambassadors Help Turn the Fountain Pink
East, a United Way community school, has recently made a big impression on the City of Erie! East Singing Ambassadors participated in the Linked by Pink Breast Cancer Awareness kick off with Mayor Joe Sinnott .

Students worked with Mrs. Valarie Horton Young, a student aide at East. Mrs. Young chose the students along with Community School Director, Jamilia Gates and the group practiced for just three short weeks. In addition, Ms. Kim Overton performed a solo with the group. The performance was well-received by all who attended. Jamilia partnered with Iron Empire to create commemorative shirts for the performance.
Corporate Partner
Lead Partner
Edison Elementary School
Interim Community School Director: Shanna Schumacher
Clothed for Success, Uniform Pantry Opens
Edison Elementary , a United Way community school, had a busy and productive first quarter which included the establishment of uniform, clothing, and food pantries. The first distribution day for the on-site food pantry through Second Harvest Food Bank was October 26.
  • A total of 26 households were served including 44 adults, 54 children and 4 seniors for a total of 102 people.
  • Each family was able to receive up to 35 pounds of food, including hot dogs, chicken, produce, bread, canned goods and boxed items.

Distribution days are held once a month in the Edison Trailer on the school's campus. The Edison Trailer is also home to the clothing pantry. The clothing pantry is stocked with donated winter items, shoes and boys and girls clothing. The uniform pantry is located in the school and is accessible to teachers so they can select donated uniform items for students in their classrooms who do not have school uniforms.

The partnerships formed through the opening of the uniform, clothing and food pantries have been unprecedented!
Corporate Partner
Lead Partner
McKinley Elementary
Community School Director: Sonia Rios
LORD Broadens Young Minds with STEM
McKinley Elementary , a United Way community school, is pleased to announce the launching of LORD Corporation Science Modules . LORD Corporation serves as the corporate partner at McKinley Elementary and is going above and beyond to bring hands-on enrichment science activities to the children of McKinley. STEM activities are aligned with Erie's Public Schools science curriculum.

The LORD team has broadened young minds by taking abstract ideas and connecting them into concrete and tangible concepts of Earth Science, Physical Science and Life Science.

There are no limits to the lengths the volunteers will go to bring the science experience to life for our students! For an example, one of the fourth grade LORD volunteers team members brought his horse to the school to teach about animals. They have arranged to teach three different science models for each grade level over the course of this school year. Staff at McKinley are excited that 575 students will benefit from their ingenuity. So far the students have studied the following: Fifth grade- environment, fourth grade- motion, third grade- rock formations, second grade- earth materials, first grade- clouds, Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten- trees. We can’t wait to see what they will come up with next!
Corporate Partner
Lead Partner
Lead Service Provider
Pfeiffer-Burleigh Elementary School
Community School Director: Meghan Easter
Plentiful Partnerships
Pfeiffer-Burliegh Elementary , a United Way community school, partners with corporate partner Erie Insurance on a regular basis. Prior to the school year beginning, Erie Insurance and UPMC Health Plan volunteers helped ready the school through the beautification school grounds, chalk-walk and red carpet events. Additional NEW partnerships to support Pfeiffer-Burleigh as a community school a include:
  • St. Paul’s Cathedral Episcopal Church providing “Classroom Helper” support to Kindergarten classrooms, and some before and after school clubs/programs. St. Pauls’ also supports uniform and school supply closet.
  • Mercyhurst University and their “Beyond the Gates” initiative includes a Game Day program with 3rd, 4th and 5th grade English Language Learners on a weekly basis.
  • The Community Center partnership continues to evolve with Booker T. Washington Center, including the Family Mainstream Support Program Case Manager and support to families outside of school hours.
  • And let’s not forget, the significant success with the newly formed YMCA Power Scholar Summer Program - on average students gained 1.5 months in English Language Arts and 3 months in math. Also, more than 5,000 meals were served to students and community youth over the summer months through the YMCA's Food & Fun Bus!
Corporate Partner
Lead Partner
Strong Vincent Middle School
Community School Director: Katrina Byrd
Girls on the Move with Junior Fit
Strong Vincent Middle School , a United Way community school, recently began a free group fitness and nutrition program with lead partner, Gannon University. The program, called Junior Fit , an evidence based program specially designed for female middle school students. The goal of Junior Fit is to teach the girls about healthy eating habits, nutrition and fitness they can incorporate into their daily routine and ultimately their lifestyle.

Junior Fit ran twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays for five weeks as a pilot 10/17-11/16. In total, 25 girls grades 6-8 learned about fitness and nutrition through group activities, sports and cooking classes. Every Thursday for 4 weeks the girls had the chance to show off their healthy cooking culinary skills by inviting their family to attend family dinner held at the school.
Corporate Partner
Lead Partner
Learn more about United Way's community schools at