Keywords for this page: Board Members; School Board
This map displays the most current boundaries of our seven school districts. To learn which district you reside in simply type your address (minimum of street and city) into the search box and hit enter. When the address is found the map will automatically zoom to the location and provide you with address information. By clicking on the colored portions of the map it will display information about that district and board member. Clicking on the school icon will provide you with a complete list of all schools in that district. You can easily move the map in any direction you would like by clicking and holding the mouse button down and dragging in the desired direction. On the top left the plus sign will zoom in, and the minus sign will zoom out.
|Pat McManus||Executive Assistant to the School Board||534-0529||51348|
|Sheila Phelps||Director, Internal Audit Services||519-3781||51276|
|Wesley Bridges II||General Counsel||534-0773||51566|
Today, the Polk County Public Schools serve more than 95,000 students in grades K-12 with thousands of adults served through technical and adult school programs.
One-hundred-plus years ago, Polk's school district was nothing more than a loosely knit system of tiny rural schools that opened and closed depending on the local economy and population.
Although formal education probably existed earlier, records show that John Snoddy was the county's first official school superintendent, serving from 1886 to 1888.
During this period, some schools were established that still exist today, including Bartow High School (known then as Summerlin Institute), which opened in 1887, and the original building for Combee Elementary, which opened in 1886.
The school system began to expand after the turn of the century, with larger schools constructed to serve growing communities.
New facilities included Bartow Elementary (1916), Medulla Elementary (1905), Frostproof Elementary (1908), Griffin Elementary (1911), the old Mulberry High (now Purcell Elementary, 1912), Winston Elementary (1911), and Winter Haven High (1915).
Several of these schools continue to exist on the same property even though the original wooden buildings have burned or been replaced with brick structures; other schools moved to better locations within the community.
The Roaring '20s brought a building boom to Florida and created a building boom in the school system too.
New schools during that period included: Alturas (1920); Auburndale High (1924); Babson Park (1920); Cleveland Court (1926); Davenport (1927); Dixieland (1924); Eagle Lake (1926); Eastside (1927); Haines City High (1922); Inwood (1927); Kathleen Middle (1927); Lewis (1926); and Highland City (then known as Haskell School, 1922).
Many of the school buildings first erected in the 1920s are still in use today.
The local community has always played a key role in Polk County schools. Many schools adjusted their calendars to meet the needs of the local economy. For instance, schools like Polk City Elementary (1926) and Kathleen Elementary (1950) were called "Strawberry Schools" because they closed during winter months so children could help with the strawberry harvest.
Today, Polk County is among the nation's 40 largest school systems. Its nearly 160 school campuses are as different as the years in which they were built and the students they serve. However, the School Board is committed to providing an equitable and consistent educational program at all schools, and each year the district spends millions of dollars to upgrade buildings and technology as students prepare for the 21st Century.
Board members are elected for staggered four-year terms. In 1998, the size of the School Board increased to seven members.