Students at community schools are proving United Way's Community Schools Model is working

Monday Dec 5th, 2022

The results are in. Students at community schools are proving United Way's Community Schools Model is working.

How do we know that?

Across the state, employees and supporters of public education have been anxiously awaiting the results of the spring 2022 Pennsylvania System School Assessments (PSSAs), which are released in tandem with growth scores calculated through the Pennsylvania Value-Added Assessment System (PVAAS).

The scores for the 2021-2022 school year reveal quite a bit about the state of our education system after the unfinished learning crisis caused by COVID-19 closures and virtual learning. 

PVAAS is a key indicator United Way uses to measure success in community schools. Even if students are not proficient in their core academic subjects, if they grow academically at a faster rate than what is expected of them, they will catch up.

These PVAAS scores illustrate exciting, substantial growth in our United Way community schools, particularly in our five pilot schools now into the sixth year of implementation.

The chart below illustrates that across community schools in the City of Erie, 2022 PVAAS results show student academic growth that is well above the state average district-wide.

"We are very excited about this news and know we would not be here without the support of United Way and the Community Schools Model," said Erie's Public Schools superintendent Brian Polito. With the hard work of dedicated school administrators, teachers and staff committed to continuous improvement and implementing the Community Schools Model with fidelity, the positive results for students in Erie's Public Schools are here.

And, similar positive results have been documented at United Way's county community school partner districts in GirardIroquois and Union City.

Dr. Reuben Jacobson shared, "Effective curricula and instructional materials coupled with the Community Schools Model is a proven strategy to accelerate academic growth for students in public education. Student achievement relies on both a core instructional program and the supports to address nonacademic barriers children are facing."