Netter Center for Community Partnerships

The Netter Center works with nine University-Assisted Community Schools (UACS) in West Philadelphia. UACS focus on schools as core institutions for community engagement and democratic development, as well as link school day and after school curricula to solve locally identified, real-world, community problems. Programming occurs during the school day, after school, evenings, and summers. The work is supported by government and private funding, as well as the ABCS courses, internships, work-study and volunteer opportunities that bring hundreds of Penn students into the schools. Netter Center UACS site directors collaborate with each school and its community to determine activities that best serve their specific needs and interests. UACS Site Directors are liaisons between Penn and the school, as well as between school and community partners.

Research and Evaluation

Grants, government contracts and donor stewardship require continuous data management and specific reporting in various formats to ensure continued funding (e.g. City Out-Of-School Time (OST) funds, Pennsylvania Department of Education 21st Century Community Learning Center (after school and summer) funds, and US Department of Agriculture SNAP-Ed (nutrition education) funds).  Funding renewal and funding expansion are one success indicator of UACS programming.  Data collected by staff and partners include health, nutrition and fitness improvement, environmental health improvement, and program participation.  The Netter Center has a full-time director of evaluation who is supported by undergraduate and graduate student workers.

Partnership Highlights


Professor Lori Flanagan-Cato’s Academically Based Community Service (ABCS) course “Everyday Neuroscience” works to improve STEM education through K12/University partnerships. This ABCS course provides an opportunity for Penn undergraduates to learn by sharing their interest and enthusiasm for neuroscience with students in grades 9-12 at West Philadelphia UACS. Undergraduates prepare neuroscience demonstrations, hands-on activities, and assessment tools that engage local high school students, increasing the high school students’ interest and knowledge in science, and ultimately promoting lifelong science literacy. This is one of over 70 ABCS courses annually connecting Penn students with the community, with a majority of courses partnering with under-resourced schools in West Philadelphia. 



For more information

Cory Bowman