Sheridan Elementary Becomes the Lehigh Valley’s Newest Community School

With funding provided by Bill and Denise Spence, the Allentown School District elementary school will benefit from new programming and increased services.


Approximately 600 students and their families will reap the rewards of increased services and support as Sheridan Elementary becomes a Community School. Lead partners Allentown School District, United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley (UWGLV) and Communities In Schools of Eastern Pennsylvania (CISEasternPA) announced the union today, bringing the total to 31 Community Schools across the region.


Community Schools help level the playing field for schools with a higher poverty rate by organizing programs and services in one central place for students and families. These programs and services connect families to basic essentials, implement student health initiatives, deliver career services and coordinate after-school and summer programs, effectively empowering parents to strengthen their role as partners in education.

“Sheridan Elementary becoming a Community School marks a new chapter in our strategic alignment with the leadership of the Allentown School District,” said Jill Pereira, Vice President of Education and Impact, UWGLV. “We seek to demonstrate our commitment to equity. Adding Sheridan as a Community School allows us to serve students, families and the community through this model.”

CISEasternPA provides a Community School Coordinator who links families to resources that help provide a safer, healthier and more stable learning environment. Community School Coordinators establish supports to address unique challenges, such as chronic absenteeism or low reading proficiency. As a result, Community School students increase their reading and math scores and excel in other academic areas.

“Allentown School District and United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley continue to expand their collaborative partnership with Communities In Schools, and we are excited that Sheridan has been selected as the newest school in the district to become a Community School,” said Thomas Parker, Superintendent, Allentown School District. “The Community School model supports the coordination of services and resources that will positively impact students and their families in a pocket of our community that needs it most.”

“Communities In Schools of Eastern Pennsylvania believes in the power of strategic partnerships, and we are so excited to join efforts with United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley and Allentown School District,” said Tim Mulligan, President & CEO, CISEasternPA. “The new Community School at Sheridan Elementary is a win-win for students and families. Our students, families and partners welcome this tremendous investment from Bill and Denise Spence.”

Financial support for Sheridan Elementary is provided by former PPL Corporation Chairman and CEO, Bill Spence and his wife, Denise.

“Denise and I believe that there is nothing more important in a child’s life than having access to a good education,” said Bill Spence. “We felt that partnering with United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley, a trusted and highly regarded organization, would provide the oversight and insights needed to ensure that Community Schools will be successful.”

The Lehigh Valley Community School Network serves 18,888 students in 31 schools in Allentown, Bethlehem Area, Easton Area and Bangor Area school districts. For more information, contact Beth Tomlinson at betht@unitedwayglv.org.

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