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Weekly INBrief: January 27, 2021

Wednesday Jan 27th, 2021

Community School Directors show resourcefulness in 2020

Community School Directors creativity, resourcefulness and flexibility have been critical to the success of continuing to support students and families with basic needs and supplies, technology, school attendance and behavioral/mental health services during the past 10 months.

In addition, community schools have been able to strategically leverage their corporate partners and other community resources to continue to address the many hardships, in a holistic way, of both students, their families as well as teachers and school support staffFrom providing emergency food boxes with support froCurtze, to hosting wellness days for teachers icollaboration with the YMCA, to providing winter boots, coats, hats and gloves to school children thanks to the generosity of community members, community schools continue to exemplify United Way’s commitment to breaking the barriers of poverty, whatever it takes.   

Shanna Schumacher, community school director at Harding Elementarycreated a Year in Review 2020 which represents the impressive work of all community schools.   

We were built for this: model pivots to address basic needs

Due to pandemic stockpiling, items never before thought of as "basic needs" including toilet paper, medical grade masks, paper towels, disinfecting wipes/sprays, and hand sanitizer have now been in high demand for families at community schools.

And, while many community schools had existing school pantries that would provide students with traditional supplies to break down barriers to learning: clean clothes, school supplies, backpacks, winter clothing, toothbrushes, etc., the need for vital cleaning and hygiene products grew quickly. Throughout the pandemic basic needs pantries have been depleted, while needs stay high. Across the initiative, there has been a push for donations, with a focus on cleaning and hygiene products to ensure families are staying safe and healthy. Here are two examples of major impact from the work of United Way's community school directors pivoting to address needs of families we serve:

  • From May-August 2020, community school directors across the initiative, collected more than 36,000 items to be donated to families in need through their pantries. For Erie Public Schools community schools only, this number is 27,096.
  • From May - August 2020, community schools in EPS provided nearly 85,000 meals to students in need. These meals were often coupled with educational materials, community resources, contact information, and United Way's 211 Helpline cards.

Community School 101 Video Series

Watch each of our eleven Community School 101 videos

  1. What are community schools?
  2. Why does United Way support community schools?
  3. What is United Way's role with community schools?
  4. What is a Community School Director's role?
  5. What is the role of a community school principal?
  6. What is the role of a lead partner?
  7. How are community schools funded?
  8. How do community schools identify their priorities?
  9. How are additional partners brought into the community?
  10. How do we talk about and promote community schools?
  11. Who do you contact for more information?