What is a Community School?

A Community School is a neighborhood hub that students, families, staff and the surrounding community can take pride in. These groups all play a vital part in the success of the school, helping ensure that every student is successful. Community Schools offer academic support, social and emotional learning, and health and wellness resources. The result is a network of schools that provide family and community engagement in a safe and supportive climate.

What We Do

United Way for Southeastern Michigan’s Community Schools model focuses on:

Family Engagement
Studies show when parents and families are actively engaged at school, students are more likely to demonstrate academic success. Resources like family engagement institutes, parent leadership coalitions and family resource centers help every student achieve academic success.

Community, corporate and advocacy partners provide support through various resources and advisory committees.

Literacy is an essential skill for all students to be successful lifelong learners. We provide literacy experiences in and out of school that encourage a love of learning. Programs like funded literacy partnerships, My Home Library and literacy resource fairs provide additional support.

Wraparound support
Partner agencies help students and families access resources, including utility assistance, housing, clothing, food assistance and community-based nutrition programs. United Way programs like 2-1-1, Better with Breakfast and Meet Up and Eat Up make it possible.

How It Works: P.R.I.D.E.

Healthy and thriving communities value P.R.I.D.E.


Students, parents, schools and communities leverage resources to prepare for positive developmental growth and success.

Families persistently empower change while maintaining positive relationships between the school district and the community.

Cross-functional relationships promote collaboration with education, business and philanthropic stakeholders that align students and families with basic needs, a community voice, capacity building resources and digital services.

Communities are inclusive and allow a safe space for all community members to bring their unique perspectives.

Stakeholders actively participate in the process of building up the community while providing guidance and tools to help the community achieve a favorable outcome.

Our School Districts

Our pilot program is in five schools across four districts in Southeastern Michigan. We collaborate with these districts to replicate the model and expand our reach across the region. Our initial focus is on communities with a disproportionate number of families who struggle to meet their basic needs, based on our most recent ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) Report.

Our school districts include:

  • Hazel Park Schools
  • Pontiac School District
  • River Rouge School District
  • Southfield Public Schools