Polk schools honors school board members’ ‘dedication and service’
Published 5:25 pm Wednesday, January 14, 2009
&dquo;We are certainly blessed to have a board that puts the needs of its students and staff in the forefront of all of its decisions,&dquo; says Superintendent of Polk County Schools Bill Miller. &dquo;We are grateful for each member&squo;s dedication and service.&dquo;
As citizen-leaders of the county&squo;s public education system, Polk&squo;s BOE members, who represent each of the county&squo;s communities, meet each month to create and update policies for the everyday operation of the system; approve budgets; hire educators; develop a comprehensive accountability system to determine the effectiveness of the overall program; act as advocates both for students and the schools; and recognize outstanding programs and services. The BOE tackles all of these tasks in an effort to achieve its ultimate goal of providing its students with an all-encompassing educational experience.
In addition to the tasks mentioned above, the BOE works closely with the local government to complete numerous facility renovations and improvement projects each year in an effort to meet the growing needs of the system&squo;s increasing student population. The BOE was instrumental in the completion of major renovation and/or improvements to each of the system&squo;s seven schools in recent years.
The construction of a classroom addition at Sunny View Elementary is currently underway and renovations of the old Polk Library Building and the opening of Polk High&squo;s Virtual Early College at 51 Walker Street took place in the summer of 2008. In 2007, the construction of a new classroom facility at Tryon Elementary School was completed along with extensive renovation work on the school&squo;s existing structure. Also in Sept. 2007, the BOE was instrumental in overseeing the completion and implementation of a hands-on science lab at Polk Central. In years prior, the BOE worked together with community members to see the fruition of the high school&squo;s farm, the opening of a new state of the art Middle School as well as additions to the High School and Sunny View Elementary.
The BOE&squo;s strong emphasis on accountability is reflected in students&squo; test scores, which have consistently ranked among the top of both state and national averages in recent years. The system strives to meet all goals of the &dquo;No Child Left Behind&dquo; legislation and ranks 15th among 115 school systems statewide in local per-pupil spending. To date, 36 Polk teachers have earned extra certification by the prestigious National Board for Professional Teaching standards.
In 2008, Sunny View Elementary School received its third consecutive Title I award as well as the Governor&squo;s Real D.EA.L. Award. In 2007, Tryon Elementary School was named a National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education and Polk County High School was named a Bronze Medal School in U.S. News and World Report&squo;s America&squo;s Best High Schools list.