Polk County Schools Begin a New School Year

The 2009-2010 school year began in Polk on August 24.  The last day of school for the year is Wednesday, June 9, 2010.

2009-2010 School District Facts:

· 91, 581 students expected for 09-10

· 161 school sites include traditional elementary, middle and high schools,  career centers, adult schools, alternative schools and charter schools.

· There are also 19 Head Start centers located on school campuses and three stand-alone Head Start centers in Frostproof, Haines City and Winter Haven. Head Start sites in Lakeland are at the following elementary schools: Crystal Lake, Dixieland, Jesse Keen, Socrum and Winston. There are also 52 schools throughout the county with pre-kindergarten programs.

· The school district is using a $1.3 million grant from the Helios Foundation to develop high-quality programs to transition middle school students to high school.  The grant was obtained through a partnership with the Florida Association of School Administrators and the objective is for Polk to develop a model that can be replicated in other Florida school districts

· The school district is also using a $600,000 Readiness And Emergency Management For Schools Program federal government grant. The grant will be used to improve plans that addresses all four phases of emergency management: prevention-mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery.

Polk has one new school opening in 2009-2010, Spessard L. Holland Elementary,  it has a physical address of Bartow but serves students in south Lakeland-north Bartow. It is located west of U.S. Highway 98 in the south Lakeland, Highland City, north Bartow area.

Spessard L. Holland Elementary Profile

Namesake: Spessard L. Holland, 1892-1971. Holland was a Florida governor (1941-1945) and four-term U.S. Senator (1946 – 1971). He was founder of the large Florida-based law firm, Holland & Knight.  The law school administration building at the University of Florida is also named for Holland. Holland’s University of Florida affiliation is also part of the school as the school’s nickname is the Gators. The gator-theme is prevalent throughout the school with gator photographs.  Mr. Holland’s portrait is also prevalent throughout the school. 

Physical address: 2342 E. F. Griffin Road, Bartow. Spessard L. Holland Elementary is the first large-scale and stand-alone public school opening with a  Bartow address since 1976.  

Principal: Melody Butler. She previously was an assistant principal at Lakeland’s Carlton Palmore Elementary.

School Construction Cost: $21.5 million

Square footage: 96, 486

Acreage: 22

Student Capacity: 832

Special Features: courtyard design for campus security, instructional areas and spaces include SmartBoards and sound enhancements

About Rachel Lawrence

Rachel hails by birth from a small town on the outskirts of Erie, PA and has recently dove into a new life in Lakeland, FL. A natural people-person and lover of the written word, Rachel is passionate about photography and creating a lovable brand and bringing it to the masses.