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  What is a Community School?

A community school is both a place and set of collective partnerships between Rochester Public Schools, United Way of Olmsted County, the individual school site, and other community resources. Its integrated focus on academics, health, social services, youth and community development, and community engagement leads to improved student learning, stronger families, and healthier communities. A full-service community school has components engaging instructions, expanded learning opportunities; college, career, and citizenship; health and social support; community engagement; early childhood development; family engagement; and youth development.

Meet Our Team

Franklin Elementary School

Meet your Franklin Community Site Facilitator, Kara Merrill


Gage Elementary School

Meet your Gage Community Site Facilitator, Julie McLaren
Julie McLaren headshot

Julie believes that our students are changing the world for the better. She feels community schools can empower students by providing a strong academic foundation, developing global and community connections, and clearing barriers. Julie has been with Rochester Public Schools since 2008 as a teacher, implementation associate, and instructional coach. When she isn’t working, you can find her exploring town with her children, drinking coffee and reading, or hiking in the wilderness.  

Connect with Julie

Phoenix Academy

Meet your Phoenix Community Site Facilitator, Jasmine Bissell
Jasmine Bissell Photo

Jasmine is originally from North Carolina and lived in Texas before moving to Rochester in March 2018. Jasmine graduated from Winona State University’s Social Work program and, like most people in the field, felt most fulfilled when being of service and helping others. She has a passion for equity, advocacy and accessibility and loves that she has the opportunity to mesh these callings together into truly meaningful work. In her free time, Jasmine enjoys painting, listening to podcasts, and spending time with loved ones.  

Connect with Jasmine

John Adams Middle School

Meet your Phoenix Community Site Facilitator, Eric McRae


John Marshall High School

Meet your John Marshall Community Site Facilitator, Erin Vasquez
Erin Vasquez

Erin is motivated by her students’ innate curiosity to learn, the desire to continue to learn ways to better serve students and families and the excitement that continuously fills the air in every school building. When Erin is not at work, you may find her hitting the bike trails with her children, delving into a good book, or planning her next travel adventure.

Connect with Erin

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