The United Way of Erie County, in partnership with Erie’s Public Schools, have announced the new Community School Directors at Harding Elementary and Perry Elementary, United Way’s newest community schools. The two directors will begin work January 2020.

The announcement of these two schools coming on board as community schools was made earlier this year, bringing the total number of schools included in United Way’s community schools partnership to ten countywide.

Shanna Schumacher will serve as the Community School Director at Harding Elementary.

Shanna is an Erie native who attended Edinboro University and received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Education. She is a former classroom teacher and reading specialist who is passionate about building relationships with students and families to help them be successful. Schumacher most recently served as the Literacy Programs Manager at the Achievement Center, supporting community school initiatives at Edison Elementary. She also volunteers with Erie City Moms, HOPE Rescue and United Way’s Raising Readers initiative. She was honored at the 2018 UnifiedErie Youth Work Awards as the recipient of the Youth Empowerment Award.

Michelle Kephart, LCSW will serve as the Community School Director at Perry Elementary.

Most recently, Michelle was the Director of Programs at Family Services of NW PA and oversaw the Functional Family Therapy program, School Based Behavioral Health Program, and the Student Attendance Improvement program. In addition, Michelle was a professor in the social work department at Edinboro University. She brings 22 years of experience in social work and school district teams to the position.

The Community School Director’s (CSD) responsibilities include 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 schools are places where resources from the community are used to improve academic 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 needs of students and families change, so do the supports offered at community schools.

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
6. Diehl Elementary School
7. Perry Elementary
8. Harding Elementary

Additional schools through Erie County include:

9. Iroquois Elementary in the Iroquois School District and
10. Elk Valley Elementary in the Girard School District