U.S. Education Secretary Tours Lehigh Valley Community School

Community Schools have been working in the Greater Lehigh Valley for 15 years
Photo credit: Kurt Bresswein | For

On the cusp of a new school year, U.S. Secretary of Education Dr. Miguel Cardona recently spent time touring Donegan Elementary School in Bethlehem Area School District to see first-hand how Community Schools support Lehigh Valley students and families.

Secretary Cardona was joined by Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Noe Ortega and U.S. Congresswoman Susan Wild during a visit to Bethlehem on Tuesday, August 10.

Principal Erin Medina and Community School Coordinator Rosa Carides-Hof led guests on a tour highlighting the realities within education right now and how Donegan operates as a Community School to address needs so that students, families, and communities can thrive.  

“Community Schools have been working in the Greater Lehigh Valley for 15 years. Secretary Ortega was inspired by the collaboration and strength with our local community partnerships and is eager to hear more about our model to advance this work so that it can be expanded to other Pennsylvania communities. Overall, our United Way and Lehigh Valley Community Schools shined a little brighter in the eyes of people seeking solutions to pressing educational and community conditions,” remarked Jill Pereira, Vice President, Education and Impact, United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley (UWGLV).

Pereira participated in the tour along with Senior Director of Education Beth Tomlinson, representatives from UWGLV partners Lehigh University and Wind Creek and BASD Superintendent Dr. Joseph Roy, who also serves on the UWGLV Board of Directors.

Much praise and appreciation was directed to United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley for what we have built with Community Schools. Secretary Cardona recognized United Way’s advocacy for collective impact. With federal budget funds available to support the expansion of Community Schools, he asked to learn more about the infrastructure needed to bring this systemic model to more communities around the country.

Donegan Elementary School is one of 31 Community Schools serving 18,888 students in four districts across the Greater Lehigh Valley. For more on Secretary Cardona’s visit, click here for coverage from