Meet Community School Directors Amy and Ari of McKinley Elementary

  1. What sets your Community School apart from the others in the APN?

We are a small but happy school—we are a close-knit family, and we really value the friendships and relationships that are made here at McKinley. Thanks to the help of our wonderful partner, Rodale, we also have a beautiful community garden (and the only community school to have a garden!) This garden is  unique because all the classes really were a fundamental part of building and creating this dream.

  1. What is your school’s #1 goal for the current school year?

We have many goals and things to focus on, but our primary goal would definitely be to improve our families’ access to health services.

  1. How has your Community School’s partnership with the Boys & Girls Club of Allentown helped your students?

Boys & Girls Club has always played such a huge role in supporting our school—whether it was through providing Backpack Buddies to 15 of our families, or helping assist families with Christmas gifts during the holidays, we really have benefited from having BGCA as our lead partner. This year, especially, we have come to depend on the Turner Street Girls Club a lot more because so many of our students are now participating in their after school programs, which are offered 5 days a week and are great learning supports for the students.

  1. What type of educational support do students as your school need the most?

I would definitely say that many of our students do need that 1:1 attention; whether it is homework help, or just receiving assistance with improving their reading/writing or math skills, our students need that positive attention and guidance, especially since many of their parents may be working and so they aren’t getting a lot of these very necessary educational supports at home.

  1. What made you want to be a Community School Director in Allentown?

CSD - AmyAmy Jahn de Torrez was working at Christ Lutheran Church and assisting with community outreach, when she soon found herself working with many of the McKinley families. She soon realized that she loved being in a school setting, and so much of her work at CLC was so interconnected with the role of a Community School Director, that moving over to McKinley was such a natural fit. Because of Amy’s relationship with CLC, the partnership of McKinley and CLC has only blossomed every year since. Amy loves to be able to help support and strengthen families through her role as a CSD, and truly has a gift for what she does.

Ari Kantrow—After serving all of last year as an Americorps VISTA member in two of Allentown’s community schools CSD - Aariel(Roosevelt and SMMS), I realized that working in a community school is truly a unique experience, and I really loved being able to develop such strong relationships with the families and support them and help their students succeed. After Amy decided to pursue student teaching for a few months and the opportunity to fill in as a CSD at McKinley arose and I began to meet the incredible staff and families of McKinley, I realized that there was no other place that I would rather be.


Raub Middle School Student Assistance Team Celebration

We were happy to help Raub Middle School celebrate the achievements of their student assistants at last week’s Raub Middle School Student Assistance Team Celebration night.

Congratulations to Raub students for their committed support to teachers and faculty!

Raub Middle School SAP



Determining student educational achievement through annual state testing

The Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA), Keystone Exams, and Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) are statewide measures used to tell if students are achieving Pennsylvania’s academic standards in reading, mathematics, science and writing.

According to the federal No Child Left Behind Act, students must be 100% proficient in reading and math by 2014. The PSSA results allow schools and districts to evaluate their students’ progress to make full proficiency a reality. The federal Act also requires states to determine annually whether schools and districts in Pennsylvania achieve AYP. Student performance on the PSSA tests are among the components used to make those determinations.

By using these standards, educators, parents and administrators can evaluate their students’ strengths and weaknesses to increase students’ achievement scores.

PNLV encourages parents and families to connect with your children’s school, and learn what you can do to support your child’s learning and performance for the upcoming 2014 PSSA, Keystone, and AYP.

To see Pennsylvania’s 2013 PSSA, AYP, and Keystone data, follow these links:

PSSA and AYP Data

Keystone Results


PNLV to once again support McKinley’s Odyssey of the Mind team

McKinley's Odyssey of the Mind team 2013Next Monday, October 21, begins the McKinley Elementary School team Odyssey of the Mind practices for the 2013-2014 competition.

Dawn Robinson-Weldon of PNLV will be coaching the McKinley Elementary team for the second year in a row.  For those who aren’t familiar with OOTM it is “an international educational program that provides creative problem-solving opportunities for students from kindergarten through college.

Team members apply their creativity to solve problems that range from building mechanical devices to presenting their own interpretation of literary classics. They then bring their solutions to competition on the local, state, and World level. Thousands of teams from throughout the U.S. and from about 25 other countries participate in the program.”

The McKinley Elementary team will be beginning their third year of competing.  The last two years the team has been able to compete at the regional level, and this year will strive to compete at the state and national levels, as well.

Please support Allentown schools participating in Odyssey of the Mind by volunteering. For more information, visit


St. Luke’s Dental Van helps APN kids with their smiles

St Lukes Dental Van

St. Luke’s University Hospital Mobile Dental Services has completed another successful summer of dental services provided to the children of the APN.

The St. Luke’s Dental Van, in partnership with APN and Resurrected Life Community Church were able to serve over 35 children with dental screenings, cleanings, fillings, and sealants.

Dental screenings and care are paramount to children’s health, and are also an important part of kindergarten readiness.

We look forward to the van’s return in spring 2014.


Volunteers needed for new after-school program in APN

We’re looking for a few good volunteers to help us with a new after-school program starting in October. Can you help us?


STEAM+ flyer


Start of school year in Allentown School District means new dress code and uniforms

We’re excited for the start of the new school year in Allentown next Tuesday! Hopefully by now all families have obtained the school uniforms that are now required for all students in the Allentown School District.  The two APN Head Start classes that will begin at Mosser Elementary will also be required to wear uniforms.

ASD’s website sites the following reasons for deciding on uniforms:

1. We want to establish a business-like climate in our schools that indicates we are serious about learning and about safety.
2. Uniforms result in economic savings for parents and guardians over the usual costs of dressing students for a school year.
3. Discussions with the staff and the results of community surveys indicate strong support for a uniform dress code

See below for a list of the stores that carry uniforms. Also, attached a pdf of the English and Spanish guidelines for ASD uniforms.

The Archive: 627 Hamilton Street, Allentown, PA (uniforms available)

Boscovs: 400 Lehigh Valley Mall, Whitehall, PA (uniforms available mid-June)

Cintas Uniform Company: Online Catalogue (uniforms available year-round)

Forman Mills: 2150 MacArthur Road, Whitehall, PA (uniforms available)

French Toast Uniforms: Online Catalogue (uniforms available)

JC Penney Online: (uniforms available)

Kmart: (any area store) (uniforms available)

Lands’ End: Online Catalogue (uniforms available)
NOTE: Allentown School District Preferred School Number: 900157074
800-469-2222 (for phone orders)

New York Urban, Inc.: 740 Hamilton Street, Allentown, PA (uniforms available)

Sears: 1259 Whitehall Mall, Whitehall, PA (uniforms available)

Walmart: (any area store) (uniforms available)

Acceptable Clothing Brands:
French Toast
Generic/Store Brands
Land’s End



Promise Neighborhoods supports the Walking School Bus

The staff of Promise Neighborhoods of the Lehigh Valley is pleased to support the Walking School Bus in the Allentown Promise Neighborhood downtown by volunteering to escort students to school. Central Elementary School, one of the three elementary schools located inside the APN, has a Walking School Bus since there is no bus system to provide transportation to all of the students who go there.

Walking School Bus

WSB volunteers include Central Elementary school staff (principal and assistant principals, teachers, community school director), parents, and community volunteers.

Each morning before school, three volunteers walk down the streets of Center City Allentown ringing a bell to get everyone’s attention. The bell is actually the most recognizable thing about the WSB since everyone can hear in the distance and knows what it signals. Volunteers wear orange and yellow vests and carry stop signs to be used for street crossings. Parents greet the volunteers at their doors and the kids line up behind the volunteers. The adults safely guide them on their walk to school as the children wave goodbye to their parents.

Walking School BusDepending on the day, anywhere from six to 40 children take advantage of the Walking School Bus. It creates a safe pathway for kids to get to school and fosters a sense of community. We are proud to have the WSB in our neighborhood and even more proud to be a part of it!