United Way names Mercyhurst University as Lead Partner at Diehl Elementary

Friday Mar 15th, 2019


Officials from United Way of Erie County in partnership with Erie’s Public Schools are moving ahead with the transformational student success initiative known as community schools at Diehl Elementary, the organization’s eighth school countywide.

Community schools are places where resources from the community are used to improve student success. Community schools offer programs that focus on health and social services for students and parents. Rather than sending students to services throughout the city and county, these services are brought into the school. The schools become the center of the area they serve, with access before, during and after school hours, including the summer months. As the needs of students and families change, so do the supports offered at community schools.

United Way is pleased to announce the Mercyhurst University has been named the lead partner at Diehl Elementary within Erie’s Public Schools.

The Lead Partner of a United Way community school is an entity whose vision and mission matches that of the community school model and can point to specific services and strategies in their resource pool that will enhance opportunities for students and families to learn and be successful.

“For more than two decades, Mercyhurst University has partnered on projects with Erie’s Public Schools to benefit children and their families, including our Carpe Diem Academy extended-day program, which is offered at several Erie schools, including right here at Diehl,” said Mercyhurst President Michael T. Victor. “That we have yet another opportunity to help make a difference in the Diehl School community is gratifying. We look forward to working collaboratively with all our community school partners.” - Michael Victor, Mercyhurst University president.

In November 2018 the Diehl community school corporate partner coalition was announced. Companies making up the coalition include: Accudyn, American Tinning and Galvanizing, Custom Engineering, Lincoln Recycling, McInnes Rolled Rings, Reddog Industries, Smith Provision and Team Hardinger. Corporate partners are vital to the work of community schools because they provide financial support. Many corporate partners also support their school's’ specific needs through volunteer engagement efforts, professional development and in-kind resources.

In addition to the announcement of lead partner, it was announced that the next step is for a Community School Director to be hired.

The Community School Director (CSD) is a strategic thought partner responsible for executing the coordination and alignment of resources within a community school to achieve specific educational goals. The role of a CSD is complex and requires a dynamic person who can effectively navigate and interconnect multiple systems to achieve success for children and families. The CSD is accountable to the principal and the community school leadership team. They lead the development and implementation of a comprehensive community school action plan that guides all of the partnerships and resources brought into the school, focused on removing barriers to learning for economically disadvantaged students.

Community School Director Application Process

Qualified candidates should apply via Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled.  The community school partnership hopes to have a Community School Director in place by May.

United Way community schools already in place in Erie’s Public Schools include:

  1. East Middle School
  2. Edison Elementary School
  3. McKinley Elementary School
  4. Pfeiffer-Burleigh School
  5. Strong Vincent Middle School

Additional schools through Erie County include Iroquois Elementary in the Iroquois School District and Elk Valley Elementary in the Girard School District.

Why Community Schools Work:

  • Engaged school district leadership
  • School principal leading the vision and process at each site
  • Community School Director, employed by a community-based organization or institution of higher education, working full-time in the school with funding support from Corporate Partners
  • Site-based leadership team comprising parents, educators, community and business partners
  • Facility access before, during and beyond school hours

Helpful Links:

Tweetable Highlights:

  • @UnitedWayErie and @ErieSD announce @MercyhurstU as lead partner in countywide #communityschools initiative
  • @UnitedWayErie + @MercyhurstU plans to hire #communityschool director at Diehl Elementary in #EriePA