Changes coming to Polk’s after school care

Published 10:00 pm Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Polk County Schools is pleased to announce the district is finalizing plans for a comprehensive After School Program to be offered to students and families for the 2017-2018 academic year.

The program will be very similar to the school-based program offered in the past, providing a quality student experience with an emphasis on academic support and enrichment and integration of other activities. A loss of federal funding for After School programming will mean there will be a charge for participation.

Polk County Government and the Polk County Parks and Recreation Department have agreed to partner with Polk County Schools and merge the existing fee-based program currently operated at Stearns Gym with the system’s school-based services to create a new After School model. Final details and applications will be available soon, but Polk County Schools wanted parents, families and the community to know as much as possible in order to better plan for the upcoming year.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Here is a quick overview of the 2017-2018 school year program:

• After School will be available to any resident student, beginning at age 4 and through grade 8, from 3-6 p.m. Monday through Friday

• The program will be available on the first day of school and will last throughout the academic year

• After School will also be available in a full-day format on teacher workdays and over school breaks from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., with the only exceptions being state holidays or days schools are closed due to bad weather

• Students will have opportunities to participate in enrichment, engage in arts and physical activity, receive homework and tutoring support

• After School will be available at all Polk County elementary schools and Polk County Middle

• Polk Recreation will no longer operate its After School program during the school year, but will provide summer programming once school is out

• The cost will be $40 per week for one student for “regular” school weeks, with an increase for weeks in which students will participate in full-day programming

• A discounted student rate will be available for families with more than one participating child

• The individual student rate may be reduced to $20 per week for those who qualify based on family income level, similar to the guidelines for free-and-reduced lunch qualification

• Due to ongoing contributions from community agencies, foundations, and individuals, families can apply for sponsorships to pay for After School participation

Polk County Schools will be publishing more information including a “weekly” calendar for the school year that outlines the rates and charges for each week of After School programming, as well as the discounted rates for multiple children.

Polk County Schools believes that quality After School programming benefits students, families and the entire community. The district welcomes support from any organization or individual interested in donating funds or resources to the After School program.

Thermal Belt Outreach Ministry (828-894-2988) is currently accepting tax-deductible donations on behalf of Polk County Schools to provide sponsorships for students to participate in this program. Please contact Aaron Greene at 828-894-3051 or for more information on how you or your organization can help.

Applications for After School will be available in early August on the district’s website, at Meet the Teacher events and for pick-up at each participating school. Please contact Linley Foster at 828-894-3051 or with any questions or for more information.

– article submitted by