Five additional schools added to United Way’s Community School Initiative

Local News

Federal grant money is being allocated for all of Erie’s Public Schools to be part of the United Way’s Community School Initiative.

More than $2 million will be used to enable five more of Erie’s Public Schools to become part of the program. The community school initiative is expanding all thanks to federal dollars.

More than a program, it’s a strategy that 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.

Bill Jackson, president of United Way of Erie County, says this will have a lasting impact on the community.

“Our commitment to education is very important because that’s the future of our entire community, that our children grow up ready and able to participate in our economy and their productive lives in whatever they choose to do. What’s good for them is good for all of us.” Jackson said.

The additional five schools include four elementary schools:

  • Grover Cleveland
  • Joanna Connell
  • Jefferson Elementary
  • Lincoln Elementary

This also includes Woodrow Wilson Middle School. Superintendent Brian Polito says there is data to support this plan.

“We’ve seen a lot of benefits over the years with the community schools model. It’s actually research-based and proven to really level the playing field for students and reduce that achievement gap, especially in schools with high poverty.” Polito said.

Andrea Gloystein, Principal of Strong Vincent Middle School, says this program is invaluable to Erie students.

“Strong Vincent has been a community school for the past four years and I’ve been here all four years. The difference it’s made to our school community is honestly transformational.” Gloystein said.

$2.5 million will be used over a three-year period. Once it’s completed, all Erie’s Public School students entering Erie High School will have graduated from community schools.

“We’re trying to remove every barrier that would be in place for reasons why a student wouldn’t come to school because we know school is where they have to be.” Gloystein said.

In total, $90 million was allocated to Erie’s Public Schools. The funding must be spent by 2024.

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