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2022 National Community Schools and Family Engagement Conference

Wednesday Jun 8th, 2022

United Way of Erie County was well represented last week at The Institute for Educational Leadership’s 2022 National Community Schools and Family Engagement Conference in Los Angeles, California. The conference theme, Uniting for Every Child's Opportunity, was both a reminder and a call to action for conference goers.

The conference website captured the theme through three words: Reflect, Transform and Inspire. Reflect: Together, Covid-19 and the racial discord created one of the more profound teachable moments in most of our lifetimes. In the face of adversity, there is no learning from mistakes or building on success without reflection. Transform: For many children, youth and families, normal was insufficient. Creating a new normal that eliminates inequities of access and opportunity requires a major transformation of our practices, our partnerships, and our systems. Inspire: To soar is to fly or rise high. If we continuously reflect and transform together, our students, families, educators and communities will soar, reaching new heights and advancing better outcomes.

United Way team members were selected to present a breakout session titled: From Planning to Action to Impact – Improving Attendance at Community Schools
Presenters were:
  • Mike Jaruszewicz, Vice President, Community Impact
  • Amy Grande, McKinley Community School Director 
  • Stephanie King, Director of Education
  • Dana Suppa, McKinley Elementary School Principal, Erie’s Public Schools 
The team spoke about a multi-prong attendance improvement initiative focused on education, awareness, school-based incentives, safer walking routes to school and walking school busses and how these attendance strategies have students in Erie, PA on a pathway to success.

Thanks to Full Service Community School grant funding from the U.S. Department of Education, additional United Way staff including Lori Krause, Erica Jackson, Sara Naughton, Rachel Pierce and Tammy Rader along with representatives from Erie's Public Schools and UPMC Western Behavioral Health at Safe Harbor were able to join more than 3,500 participants. Those attending the conference were able to engage in a plethora of learning and networking opportunities designed to increase their knowledge of Community Schools and Family Engagement, sharpen their skillsets to lead collaboratively and implement effective strategies.