United Way Announces Lead Partner at Harding and Perry Elementary Community Schools

Monday Oct 7th, 2019

United Way of Erie County and Erie’s Public Schools officials are pleased to announce the lead partners at Harding Elementary and Perry Elementary community schools have been selected.

At United Way, we know education is the key to breaking the cycle of poverty in our community. That is why in 2016, United Way shifted its focus to education and launched the community school model in Erie County.

United Way’s community schools initiative brings a wide range of resources directly into the school to support students and their families, removing barriers to learning so children can be successful in school... and life! Community Schools become hubs, rich with resources for students and their families.

The lead partner at Harding Elementary will be the YMCA of Greater Erie. The lead partner at Perry Elementary will be the Erie Family Center. With this announcement comes the immediate hiring of a community school director at each school. Lead partners employ community school directors.

A community school director works closely with the principal and Community School Leadership Team to guide ongoing needs, resource assessment, and develop the Action Plan that guides all of the non-academic activities in the school. This position is funded through United Way and is employed by the Lead Partner. Interested applicants are encouraged to learn more about each position.

“For more than 160 years, the YMCA of Greater Erie has been nurturing kids through programs and services that engage, inspire and teach. We believe that all kids have potential. We believe that it’s important to create intentional opportunities to strengthen families. We believe that when neighborhoods get better, our community gets better. We are excited to be a partner at Harding Elementary School and work with school administration, faculty, and parents to support generations of children and their families in their unique journey,” said Tammy Roche, Vice President, Membership, Marketing and Financial Development for YMCA of Greater Erie.

“The Erie Family Center is excited to partner with Eriez Magnetics and United Way to become the lead partner for Perry Elementary. Through this partnership we (Erie Family Center) hope to strengthen the school, family involvement and community partnerships to better support the Perry Elementary students,” said Kristen Costa, Director of the Erie Family Center.

Eriez Magnetics is already in place at each school as the corporate partner, which was announced at the end of the last school year. Corporate partners are vital to the work of community schools through their financial support and many also support other specific needs through volunteer engagement efforts, professional development and in-kind resources.

In the community school model, community-based organizations serve as Lead Partners, helping to mobilize community assets and coordinate resources, in cooperation with school staff. Each school’s Lead Partner employs a Community School Director who works in close relationship with the principal and the community school Leadership Team.

After the success of the first five community schools in the City of Erie, Erie’s Public Schools made a commitment to expand the model throughout the school district. In collaboration with United Way, Diehl Elementary was the next Erie’s Public School identified to become a community school followed closely by Harding Elementary and Perry Elementary.

For United Way, the strategy is countywide with community schools also in place at the Iroquois and Girard School Districts.