Pfeiffer-Burleigh Elementary, a United Way community school visit

Wednesday Feb 1st, 2023

Earlier this week, a group of community leaders toured Pfeiffer-Burleigh Elementary to learn more about how United Way community schools, a data-driven, evidence-based public education model, bring a wide-range of resources into schools to remove barriers to learning, providing children the support they need to achieve academic success.

The leaders included board member Katie Jones, ERIEBANK; Gary Lee, Diverse Erie; Corey Cook, Erie Downtown Development Corporation; Johnny Johnson retired teacher from Erie’s Public Schools; Sean Lyons and Del Birch, Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership; Amanda Duncan, Radius CoWork, and Deonte Cooley, Mercyhurst University. 

Meghan Easter, community school director and Jamie Petruso, principal, showcased improvements to the library, playground and gymnasium/cafeteria thanks in part to Pfeiffer-Burleigh's corporate partner, Erie Insurance. Meghan also shared many of the nonacademic barriers students at Pfeiffer-Burleigh face as identified in their Community School Action Plan and the progress that has been made to address and eliminate some of these barriers.

Learn more about Pfeiffer-Burleigh’s notable data updates from their 2021 – 2022 Annual Progress Report.

As we celebrate the start of Black History Month, it’s important to share the rich history behind how Pfeiffer-Burleigh was named after Mr. Harry T. Burleigh.

Pfeiffer-Burleigh Elementary School was dedicated on May 4, 1980 and co-named after famed composer Mr. Harry T. Burleigh. During his career, Burleigh wrote and arranged more than 90 songs, both sacred and secular, and when his funeral was held at St. George's, his friends like W.C. Handy and the full choirs sang "Deep River", "Swing Low Sweet Chariot", and "I Know de Lord Has Laid His Hands on Me".

Harry Thacker Burleigh, singer, composer, arranger, accompanist, scholar, and grandson of an ex-slave was one of the outstanding songwriters of the early twentieth century. He finally gained some of the recognition he deserved in his home town of Erie, Pennsylvania when an elementary school, Pfeiffer-Burleigh, was co-named in his honor. Learn more about the remarkable contributions Harry T. Burleigh made to American music.