Community Schools Bridging the Gap Between School and Home
For many students living in poverty, the community school model provides a network of support that makes life - and learning - a little easier.
Saige, a 10-year-old fifth grader at Roosevelt Elementary School in Allentown, Penn. has glasses, dimples and dark curly hair she wears in a long ponytail down her back. She also has long limbs and is a little on the tall side. It’s the perfect frame for a young girl who plays the cello, which she does for two hours, five days a week with an orchestra of other school kids.
Saige is a member of El Sistema, a social action music program for underserved and special needs students who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to participate in intensive daily music instruction and large ensemble performances. The program is sponsored by the Allentown Symphony Orchestra, a community partner of Roosevelt Elementary. Roosevelt is one of 14 United Way Community Schools in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley, about 40 miles west of Philadelphia, where community partnerships like the one with El Sistema offer an array of programming for students and families.
Supporting community schools goes hand in hand with the United Way’s mission to identify and resolve needs within American communities by leveraging the power of local organizations. As any educator knows, schools and students always have needs—now more than ever. With state and local budgets cut to the quick, community support may be the only way to address those needs.
Poverty Presents Challenges That Extend Beyond the Classroom