Tag Archives: Education


USF Poly to Host Social Media Seminars

(Lakeland, Fla., April 27, 2009) – “They wanted a sequel, so we’re giving it to them,” says Tamara Sakagawa. “We plan to provide some free, valuable information so people can use social media to grow, sustain or manage their businesses.”

Sakagawa and Chuck Welch will present a social media seminar April 29, 11:00 a.m. – noon and 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. at the University of South Florida Polytechnic. Sakagawa is the City of Lakeland’s community redevelopment agency manager, and Welch publishes two popular news sites, Lakeland Local and Metro I-4.

The workshop is part two of Welch’s social media presentation that the Lakeland Community Redevelopment Agency hosted in March.

“Last month was why.’ This month is ‘how,’” says Welch. “It’s a quick, hands-on class for those committed to social media.”

According to Sakagawa, USF Poly’s Open Use Computer Lab provides an ideal location for the workshop.

“This event is really more useful to people if they can work along with the instructor.  I had originally thought of making this a bring-your-own-laptop event, but that just seemed cumbersome. “

In addition to making its computer lab available for the workshop, USFP has plunged into the world of social media. The school has a presence on Facebook and recently launched a successful marketing campaign to increase its followers on Twitter.

Sakagawa first experimented with social media last year when she opened a Facebook account. She started to wonder how it and other forms of social media could help small businesses with limited marketing budgets.  She originally planned the first workshop for Dixieland Community Redevelopment Area businesses.  Because the topics are so universal, she says, she opened the event to anyone in the community, with a specific focus on small business owners.

Sakagawa uses each event as an opportunity to share some information about the city, the Dixieland CRA and the Redevelopment Agency.  She also sees it as a networking opportunity for businesses and citizens, who, she hopes, will decide to locate or shop in, or learn more about, Dixieland.

“I see these seminars as civic engagement and customer service,” she says.” “We need to communicate with our citizens about what we do, how we do it, and why things happen.  These events give us a chance to not only share some insight into what’s going on but also get feedback from the public. We want to know what people and businesses need, how we can help, what services have value.  Each event gives us an opportunity to learn more about what we can do, or do differently, to stimulate investment and keep the local economy churning.”

According to Sakagawa, the Dixieland CRA’s Facebook page and a new downtown website — plandowntownlakeland.com — have helped to engage a different segment of the public. Previous forms of outreach included direct mail, addressed primarily to property owners, news releases and legal ads.

“We would always see the same people at public meetings, and we would wonder how to connect with younger people or people who could not, or would not, take time out of their days to come to a meeting or workshop. The website and blog let us share concepts with an online audience and get additional and frank feedback as we update the plan for downtown Lakeland.  Facebook has allowed us to share information with a different audience, one we hope will stop and think about the businesses in this area.”

For more information on the workshop contact Tamara Sakagawa at 863-834-6011 or tamara.sakagawa@lakelandgov.net. Or if you would like to host a social media workshop for your organization contact Chuck Welch at (863) 614-0434 or Welch@lakelandlocal.com



LAKELAND, Fla. – (April 21, 2009) – The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has awarded Polk Public Schools a $1.4 million education grant to enhance Kathleen High School’s Central Florida Aerospace Academy (CFAA), an aviation-oriented high school/career academy located on the campus of the Sun ‘n Fun Fly-In.

The Central Florida Aerospace Academy is part of Florida’s A++ legislation requiring high schools to implement professional and career academies in high wage, high skill professions. Students enrolled in the aerospace academy receive instruction in avionics, pre-engineering and aerospace technologies. Currently, the academy’s avionics track prepares students for a career as avionics technicians. The pre-engineering and aerospace technologies tracks provide technical knowledge and experience and introduce students to the aerospace environment with a focus on flight, navigation, aircraft systems and design.  They also provide an excellent background for continued college studies in engineering and aerospace.  The academy is also preparing to offer an Air Force JROTC program.

A portion of Polk’s grant money will be used to enhance the academy’s curriculum through intensive, activity-based “discovery mode” lessons.  Learning activities will embed mathematics and science standards and concepts into workforce education courses leading to specific certifications.  Grant monies will also be used for additional professional development for CFAA instructors.  The University of South Florida-Tampa and USF Polytechnic-Lakeland will assist with curriculum development.  Resources of Lakeland’s Traviss Career Center and Polk Community College will also be utilized.

The NASA grant program awarded a total of $11.5 million to public school districts, state-based education initiatives and not-for-profit education organizations across the country.  Individual grants ranged from $300,000 to the $1.4 million.  Polk received the largest grant award at $1.4 million.   Other grant recipients included the Chicago Public Schools, Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va., the Georgia Department of Education and the Council of Chief School Officers in Washington. D.C.

Community and education partners involved in the CFAA are the Polk Public Schools, Polk Public Schools Workforce Education Department, Sun ’n Fun Fly-In, Florida Air Museum, Lakeland Lindner Regional Airport, University of South Florida-Tampa, USF Polytechnic, Polk Community College, Gulf Coast Avionics, Central Florida Development Council, FAA Safety Team and Production Studios and Traviss Career Center.


USF Polytechnic offers Summer Tutoring in Reading and Writing

USF Polytechnic offers summer tutoring in reading and writing for first through eighth graders.

(Lakeland, Fla., April 14, 2009) — The University of South Florida Polytechnic is offering its Summer Tutoring in Reading and Writing (STRW) program for first through eighth grade students who are experiencing reading difficulties. Tutoring is provided by graduate candidates who are completing their master of arts in reading from USFP and who are current elementary and middle school teachers in the community. STRW is supervised by Drs. Sherry Kragler and Ruth Sylvester from the division of Childhood Education and Literacy Studies.

Students who are selected to participate are assessed using multiple informal reading and writing assessments. Based on the results of these assessments, an instruction plan is developed and implemented for each child by their assigned tutor. Instruction may be one-on-one or in small groups.

Tutoring sessions will be held from 9:00 AM – 12:30 PM Monday and Wednesday on June 8, 10, 15, 17, 22, and 24. The cost for the summer tutoring is $40.00.

Transportation to USF Polytechnic is the responsibility of the child’s parent or guardian. At the end of the project the child’s parent or guardian will receive a progress report.

Parents and guardians can go to poly.usf.edu/RWTutoring and select “Register Online” to register and pay the $40.00 registration fee. Registration deadline is May 8.

For more information contact Tracey Cayson  863.667.7072, tcayson@poly.usf.edu


Ribbon Cutting – Learning Resource Center

Learning Resource Center of Polk County, Inc.
1628 S. Florida Ave
Lakeland, FL 33803

“The Learning Resource Center of Polk County, Inc. (LRC) was founded by the Junior League of Greater Lakeland, Inc. in 1975 to help students by providing personalized supplemental education programs and consulting services for parents. At that time it was known as the Learning Disabilities Center and its primary purpose was to serve students with specific learning disabilities and provide support for their parents. The name changed in 1977, as programs for the learning disabled grew in the public school system, and LRC expanded its services to help all students maximize their learning potential.

From its humble beginnings as a small volunteer group working in borrowed space, LRC today has over 300 certified teachers who provide county wide services to over 3,000 students ages five through adult.”

Congratulations to Executive Director Pam Craven and the entire LRC team on the beautiful new building. Thanks to Mayor Buddy Fletcher, Board Members, Hugh Autry, Andy Hernandez, and Paul Norris for attending.