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Community Schools initiative gains momentum

LORD Corporation announced as additional corporate partner to support McKinley Elementary

At McKinley Elementary School on Friday, September 9, officials from Erie’s Public Schools in partnership with United Way of Erie County will announce LORD Corporation as an additional confirmed corporate partner in the Community Schools initiative.

The community school model is a strategy 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 students and their families. The goals of community schools are to address non-academic barriers to learning and increase community engagement in the success of the school.

“At LORD, we believe strongly in the power of industry and education partnerships. Creating innovative approaches to optimize learning for students in our community is a critical step toward developing a skilled workforce,” said LORD Corporation CEO, Ed Auslander. “We are incredibly excited to be a partner with McKinley Elementary School, Erie’s Public Schools and United Way of Erie County in this important initiative.”

At a press conference held previously, officials from Erie’s Public Schools in partnership with United Way of Erie County announced the first cohort of schools selected for Erie’s community schools initiative.

1. Edison Elementary School (PreK-5)

2. Emerson-Gridley Elementary School (PreK-5)

3. McKinley Elementary School (PreK-5)

4. Pfeiffer-Burleigh School (PreK-8)

5. Wayne School (PreK-8)

With an initial investment from corporate partners that will fund the new positions of Community School Directors, these schools will implement the community school model to offer opportunities and services to students and their families including health, mental health, and mentoring; more after school and summer learning opportunities for students; activities and classes for children, families and community members in the evenings and on weekends. To date, the following additional Corporate Partners have been confirmed: GE Transportation, Hamot Health Foundation, Highmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield and an anonymous donor. So far, total funds committed from all corporate partners exceeds $900,000 over three years.

Why Community Schools work:

• Engaged school district leadership

• School principal leading the vision and process at each site

• Community School Director, employed by a community-based organization or institution of higher education, working full-time in the school with funding support from Corporate Partners

• Site-based leadership team comprising parents, educators, community and business partners

• Facility access before, during and beyond school hours

United Way Young Leaders also distribute school supplies at McKinley Elementary

  • Since 2009, United Way of Erie County’s Young Leaders Society (YLS) has annually “adopted” the fifth grade classes at McKinley Elementary School in the City of Erie.

  • YLS members have selected McKinley because it has one of the highest student populations living in low-income households.

  • YLS distributed homework supplies to each 5th grade classroom during a coordinated drop off event on Friday, September 9, 2016 ahead of the Community Schools corporate partner announcement.

  • Additional outreach as part of the McKinley Project includes providing polo shirts in the fall, sweatshirts in the winter, healthy snacks and notes of encouragement during the PSSA testing period, sponsoring an annual field trip and purchasing summer reading books at the conclusion of the school year. YLS members also speak to the fifth graders each month about their careers and the paths that led them there.

  • The McKinley Project is made possible thanks to the generosity of United Way's YLS members. Ten percent of all donations from YLS members go directly to support this project.