The United Way Community Schools  Partnership began three years ago.

With funding from the agency and corporate partners, eight schools are now part of the effort to overcome poverty and other obstacles to education.

One of the schools is Erie's Edison Elementary School on East Lake Road.

Teacher Karen Stoops says her job is easier since Edison became a community school.

She said, "It has taken a little bit of the stress off the teachers so we can focus more of our time on actually teaching."

Longtime Principal Kevin Harper says there is no question that learning has improved.

He said, "The classroom has become more of an environment of learning."

The community schools model involves making the school a hub for all sorts of activities to help students and their families.

At Edison that means a community room is stocked with thousand of donated books plus all sorts of games and puzzles for kids and their families.

Nearby there is a clothing pantry for kids in need and a food pantry as well.

And specialists also come to the school to help children deal with problems.

Plus the school has partnerships, including a corporate partner in GE Transportation.