Polk County Schools recognizes work of its seven school board members

Published 4:20 pm Thursday, January 14, 2010

Polk County Schools recently honored its seven Board of Education (BOE) members in recognition of National School Board Appreciation Month during the Boards regular monthly meeting on Monday, January 11, at Stearns Education Center

Polk County Schools board members, Geoffrey M. Tennant, Chairman; Sherry H. Page, Vice-Chair; Lucinda T. Allen, Rick N. Covil, James W. Cowan, Judy N. Jackson and Melanie B. Talbot, were thanked for their continued efforts to provide the systems approximately 2,600 students with a comprehensive, quality education.

Polk students are extremely fortunate to have these good people who serve as their Board of Education, says Superintendent of Polk County Schools Bill Miller. Our Board members diligently work to ensure a meaningful, quality education for our students while always keeping Polks students best interests at the heart of their decisions.

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As citizen-leaders of the countys public education system, Polks BOE members, who represent each of the countys 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 systems increasing student population. The BOE was instrumental in the completion of major renovation and or improvements to each of the systems seven schools in recent years.

The construction of a classroom addition at Sunny View Elementary was completed this summer. Polk Highs Virtual Early College was opened in the previous Public Library building at 51 Walker Street 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 schools 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 the High Schools 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 BOEs strong emphasis on accountability is reflected in students 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 federal legislation and ranks 15th among 115 school systems statewide in local per-pupil spending. To date, 40 Polk teachers have earned extra certification by the prestigious National Board for Professional Teaching standards.

In October of 2009, Polk County was among the top ten districts recognized by the Department of Public Education for achieving a high rate of graduation among all student populations. In 2008, Sunny View Elementary School received its third consecutive Title I award as well as the Governors 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 Reports Americas Best High Schools list.