United Way announces $2M U.S. Department of Education Grant to Boost Community Schools

Tuesday Jul 28th, 2020

United Way of Erie County along with representatives from partners Erie’s Public Schools, Gannon University and UPMC Western Behavioral Health at Safe Harbor announced the details of a recent grant award from the U.S. Department of Education. This grant, the largest single award to United Way in the organization’s 105-year history, will further support United Way’s community schools initiative aimed at removing barriers to learning so students and their families can succeed. The federal grant will total $2,031,397 over the course of a five-year grant period. The amount is 27.5% of the total costs of the project. 72.5% of the total costs of the project will be financed by non-governmental sources.

Since partnering with United Way of Erie County to implement the community school model at five pilot schools, starting in 2016-17, great strides have been made to leverage and align community resources around student success.

The project, entitled “Removing Barriers to Learning through Case Management in Erie’s Community Schools” is designed to serve 3,138 high-risk, low-income students attending the five pilot United Way community schools.

These include Edison Elementary School (PreK-5), McKinley Elementary School (PreK-5), PfeifferBurleigh Elementary School (PreK-5), East Middle School (6-8), and Strong Vincent Middle School (6-8) in Erie’s Public Schools. Each school is a Title I Schoolwide building.

This project is expected to strengthen capacity to better utilize services for truancy, health, and community resources through incorporating case managers at each school. Case management will also allow two new services to be introduced, including home visitations and resource coordination.

Goals for this project include: increasing social, health, and mental health services and supports; increasing overall school attendance and decreasing truancy and chronic absence; increasing family and community engagement and supports; and implementing evaluation strategies that can build a predictive model that supports the development of an early warning system.