United Way and TPS announce Schools as Community Hubs initiativeWritten by Jason Mack | | firstname.lastname@example.org
The United Way of Greater Toledo announced May 10 the Schools as Community Hubs initiative in partnership with Toledo Public Schools, the Toledo Federation of Teachers and the Toledo Association of Administrative Personnel. It is a community-based initiative managed by the United Way to offer resources to students, parents and area residents.
“The Schools as community hubs is going to be a very important feature of the Toledo Public Schools as we move forward,” said Jerome Pecko, superintendent of Toledo Public Schools. “The local organizations we have met with before are very excited. We anticipate nothing but good coming of this. The concept of a community hub inside a school gives us the opportunity as educators to provide more assistance to the parents of the students that we work with every day. That is huge in terms of the opportunity we think our students will have as a result of that.”
The program will be implemented this fall at the Leverette and Robinson buildings with each school having a lead non-profit organization managing the community involvement. The United Way will put out a Request for Proposals to the community in order to choose the lead organization for each school.
“This is going to be led by the teachers, the administrators, the neighborhood, the parents and the kids,” said Bill Kitson, president and CEO of United Way of Greater Toledo. “They’ll co-create the kind of hub they need in their neighborhood. Eventually, what you see at Leverette will be different than what you see at Robinson, because those neighborhoods are different. The programs and services they need are going to be different.”
The goal of the program is to turn schools into the center of their neighborhoods while helping students achieve the ultimate goal of graduation.
“We know those formative years from kindergarten all the way through eighth grade are critical,” Kitson said. “If we can wrap a community around them so they know when they leave that school and walk down the street that their neighbors are with them in the challenge of graduating, it’s going to be an important and special thing. Ultimately, we need the entire neighborhood to grow with those kids.”
The new program will also lead to additional investing in Toledo communities by organizations such as the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) which has invested more than $90 billion in central Toledo communities over the last 20 years according to LISC Senior Executive Director Hugh Grefe.
“The powerful strength of the idea of Schools as Hubs cannot be underestimated,” Grefe said. “It is incredibly important to have those schools be hubs of community life in every possible way. We’ll be able to feel confident we can bring even more resources to Toledo to invest in the areas around targeted schools. That makes us more excited.”
Read the May 15 edition of the Toledo Free Press for additional details on the new program.