At United Way, we know it’s important for supporters and community leaders to see our work in action to understand the full scope of the Community School Model. That’s why we offer community school impact tours.
Impact tours are a terrific way to highlight the work of community school directors and the activities happening every day within our local public schools through the Model.
Tour attendees can visit a school to meet and discuss how individual schools are addressing nonacademic barriers to learning. Tours include members of United Way's leadership team, our community school director, the principal, teachers and on occasion the superintendent, case managers, counselors, lead partner representatives, the Blue Coats and other partners who are providing resources right in the schools. Attendees are shown around the school building and campus to learn firsthand about the many programs and activities, from student leadership programs to after school enrichment classes to family engagement events, provided to students and families. Tours focus on both challenges faced and successes achieved uniquely by each school.
Recently, we spoke with Amanda Russell, SHRM-CP, HR Generalist with Parker Hannifin following a tour of McKinley Elementary.
Q. What impressed you?
A. We were impressed by several aspects of our tour, starting with the student leaders who greeted us at the door! McKinley’s Community School team is passionate about their students’ success. One thing that I didn’t realize before the tour is that they work to reach their goal of student academic success by identifying and addressing nonacademic barriers.
Q. How would you describe the school culture?
A. During our visit at McKinley Elementary the teachers, students and staff were friendly and engaged.
Q. What are some of the things you learned about a United Way Community School?
A. During our tour, we learned how impactful the United Way Community School partnership is in the Erie community. Through support from United Way, schools are set up for successful implementation of the model. One particular data point that stood out to our team about the model at McKinley Elementary is that, since starting, 100% of students reported feeling safe at school.
After announcing the gift from The Erie Community Foundation in support of Erie High School as United Way’s seventeenth community school, leaders in attendance at the press conference toured Erie High in partnership with Erie's Public Schools. The tour focused on the Career Technical Educational programs offered at Erie High and the extensive renovations to the building including the gymnasium, pool and football field and track. The Community School Model will enhance current programs already occurring and bring much-needed social services into the building.
“After touring Erie High, I was so impressed at what I experienced and thought how can I make the public aware of the amazing things Erie's Public Schools is doing,” said Anita Kuchcinski, United Way board member and Senior Vice President Commercial Market Executive at Northwest Bank. “I had no idea that the Erie High students had vocational options right in their school. Everyone should see the great advances happening at Erie High.”