“But if the community schools approach were to fulfill its lofty promises, it would need to be workable for the people who had to implement it.
One of those people was Amy Grande, the community school director at McKinley Elementary School, one of the five schools in the initial pilot.
Born and raised in Erie, Grande has lived in the community her whole life. Prior to being hired for her job at McKinley, she had volunteered in the district starting in 2009, and then was hired as a gym teacher and an athletic coach.
Although she felt she knew her community and its problems—and felt confident that the community schools approach could help address those problems—she wasn’t sure how teachers would welcome having yet another program come into their school, especially one that saddled the school with the responsibility to address community conditions outside of the school.
It turned out she didn’t need to worry: ‘The teachers’ first reactions were, ‘Thank God you’re here,’ she says.”