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August 2011

Back To School



Back To School

Kindergarten • Two boxes of 8 count crayons • Two primary pencils with erasers • One large bottle of glue • Two composition books • Small pencil or supply box or zippered supply pouch • One box gallon size freezer bags • One box quart size freezer bags First Grade • One dozen #2 pencils • Small pencil or supply box or zippered supply pouch • One large bottle of glue • One box of 16 count crayons • Six plain folders with pockets and brads • Two spiral notebooks (70 sheets per book) • One box gallon size freezer bags • One box quart size freezer bags • One large pink eraser

Second Grade • Two packs loose leaf notebook paper - wide ruled • One large pink eraser • One box of colored pencils • Six plain folders with pockets and brads • One dozen #2 pencils • One large bottle of glue • One box of 16 count crayons Third Grade • Two packs loose leaf notebook paper - wide ruled • Two dozen #2 pencils • Two packages of cap erasers • One ruler (1/16th measure) • One yellow hilighter • Eight plain folders with pockets and brads • One box of 16 count crayons • One large bottle of glue

August 2011

Fourth Grade • Two packs loose leaf notebook paper • Two dozen #2 pencils • Two packages of cap erasers • Eight spiral composition books • One yellow hilghter • Eight plain folders with pockets and brads or loose leaf binder with dividers One package of 24 crayons and/or one package of colored pencils Fifth Grade • Two packs loose leaf notebook paper • Two dozen #2 pencils • Two packages of cap erasers • Eight spiral composition books • One yellow hilighter • Eight plain folders with pockets and brads or loose leaf binder with dividers • One package of 24 crayons and/or one package of colored pencils

Families pledging to spend less on school supplies By MARK ALBRIGHT

St. PeterSburg timeS


Back-to-school shopping messages have peppered apparel chain ads since the July 4 fireworks. Office Depot, Staples and Walgreens set up Back to School aisles a few weeks ago. Already, Toys “R” Us staged a “Pack to School” sale offering deals on backpacks. Spooked by a marathon jobless recovery, high gas prices and slumping home prices, families with schoolage children are promising to spend no more than in last year’s lackluster back-to-school season. Surveys show more people don’t plan to start shopping until a week or two before school

resumes in late August. “The good news is this season we have moved beyond people spending exclusively on price,” said Matthew Shay, president of the National Retail Federation. “They want quality and selection, too. But it’s still based on need and saving anywhere they can on the basics.” Indeed, the biggest industry trade group found the average back-toschool budget for families with K-12 kids slipped to $603, down $2 from a year ago. Families sending kids to college, who buy more furniture and electronic gadgets, plan to spend $809, down $27 from a year ago. That all portends another budget-

minded back-to-school season with sales of $68.8 billion, essentially the same as last year. “I’m trying to spend less even though I have another child starting school this time,” said Tonya Watson, 30, a mother of five who works at a nursing home that’s been cutting employee work hours. Judy and John Zook, who is enduring reduced pay and higher benefits contributions at his Pinellas County school maintenance job, face a similar squeeze. They’re helping outfit their single-parent daughter’s kids who share their home. “We used go to buy eight or nine outfits for every one of them at depart-

ment stores,” Judy Zook said. “Since the recession, it’s only three or four outfits and they’re from Walmart.” Consumer confidence took a hit this month, thanks to gas prices, distractions like congressional gridlock and surveys that show consumers are less optimistic about a full recovery within a year. TJMaxx and Marshalls are touting beefed-up selections of the latest darkwash denim jeans, belted cardigans for girls and lightweight hoodies for boys. There’s the usual flurry of new products like Sharpies dry gel notes Highlighter ($6.99 a four-pack) and washable laundry marker pens ($10.49 for six, but on special for $2.79 at Walgreens).

August 2011

Back To School

Colleges want money for dual enrollment students


NeWS Service florida Feeling pinched by drops in funding from the state and a heavier reliance on tuition dollars, Florida public colleges are eyeing changes to dual enrollment courses as a way to free up money. Hundreds of local high school students in Lake Wales, Bartow, Fort Meade and Frostproof take advantage of such an opportunity now with both Polk State College and South Florida Community College in Avon Park. High school students who take college courses, also known as dual enrollment, don’t pay tuition. Colleges are loosely paid for the cost of educating them through enrollment-based funding by the state Legislature. But the portion of the budget that comes from the state has shrunk, with tuition paying more of college operating costs. With around 42,000 Florida students enrolled in dual enrollment courses, according to Department of Education statistics, that amounts to over $50 million colleges don’t receive in tuition. Florida’s college presidents have begun lobbying effort to change how dual enrollment is structured and paid for. It’s in the early stages, but college presidents have already met with superintendents and both agree that changes are in order. They are expected to file legislation in a few months for next year’s session. But tinkering with dual enrollment is a tricky issue for colleges, which are hesitant to alarm the public school system by changing how much high schools are paid for students who take dual enrollment courses, or eliminating dual enrollment programs. “We are just trying to find a solution that is viable to the Legislature and palatable to the public school system and secondary school system, where we are not trying to grab money from them because that’s not what we want,” said St. Johns River State College President Joe Pickens, a former legislator. High school students who meet cer-

tain criteria are able to take college courses while in school, also known as “dual enrollment.” Unlike Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate courses, these students are taking actual college courses either at one of the 28 Florida college campuses, online or at a high school. It’s become increasingly popular with high school students and their parents because it saves them money on college by essentially getting the courses for free, giving them a jump-start prior to attending college. But one issue for colleges is how high schools receive funding for students who take dual enrollment courses. Under current law, high schools can count students who are taking dual enrollment courses as part of their “FTE” or full-time equivalent. How many students — or FTEs — a school has directly affects how much funding it receives. “There are instances all over the state including at (St. John’s River State College) where we have students at a high schools that are taking all six of their classes at the college, or all six are dual enrollment classes, and the high school still gets to report them for purposes of getting one FTE,” Pickens said. Colleges also get to count dual enrollment students as part of their overall enrollment, which is loosely related to how much state funding they receive. But it doesn’t result in strict

bumps in funding the way it does for K-12 schools. But college presidents are wading carefully into this issue, courting superintendents, and pleading their case before the State Board of Education at its June meeting. Changes to dual enrollment will be difficult to navigate politically because public schools have suffered from their own budget cuts aren’t likely to give up funding without a fight. “Dual enrollment is a good program, it’s a wonderful program,” said Sen. Bill Montford, D-Tallahassee, who heads up the Florida Association for District School Superintendents. “Just like any other program, we have to look at cost/benefits, we have to look at how the costs are shared.” When there was plenty of money to around, dual enrollment wasn’t an issue, he said. Now, “clearly there is an issue,” Montford said. “We are eager to sit with college presidents and discuss dual enrollment. It’s due it’s time and we are looking at that.” Pickens said one potential solution lies in Bright Futures scholarships. By providing courses at no tuition cost to students, they are also preventing the state from having to pay for Bright Fu-

Agencies, churches help defray the cost By MARY CANNADAY Staff Writer

COST | 15

tures scholarships for those students, Pickens said. Most high school students eligible for dual enrollment would likely receive Bright Futures, he said. “Isn’t it fair to have a conversation with us that we should receive some payment out of the Bright Futures savings for us offering dual enrollment?” Pickens said. “The fairest thing for us is to get Bright Futures tuition. It wouldn’t cost the student anything, or parent anything. It wouldn’t cost the school districts anything.” But with the state budget projections next year looking nearly as grim as last year, it won’t be easy for lawmakers to find millions to pour into the Bright Futures scholarships, which it cut this year by 20 percent. Pickens said he did not want to be “alarming” and reluctantly suggested an alternative choice could be for the Legislature to change how it calculates payment for dual enrollment, giving credit to whomever provides instruction, which would result in more dollars flowing to the colleges. But Pickens stressed that this was not the goal. “That becomes a money grab and a turf war with K-12, which we don’t want to have,” Pickens said, adding that he is searching for a compromise. “It may take awhile, but we at least want to have a dialogue,” But one lawmaker who helps write the state’s higher education budget said she wasn’t eager to change dual enrollment, saying it was a popular program that helps students graduate faster. “Right now, the colleges are feeling… the same kind of cuts the universities are experiencing in the K-12 system,” said Sen. Evelyn Lynn, R-Ormond Beach. “It’s a very difficult time and they are looking for any source of income they can get.”

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The start of the school year is an exciting time, unveiling new friends, teachers and classes. Even the most avid beach-lover feels some excitement when the first bell rings. This can also be a time that strains the budget, however, especially in families who have several school children in today’s hard times. There are a few measures, however, that help alleviate the expense, most of them thanks to concerned Lake Wales residents. To the rescue are school supply giveaways, the state’s “tax holiday,”

free physicals, school uniform scholarships, and health checks for athletes and other students. (And the wonderful world of super-cheap school supplies at retail stores. Grab ‘em while you can.) Although it does seem that there are fewer organizations collecting this year, there are still a number who are stashing the pencils, crayons, paper and hygiene items kids will need. There will also be games from 5 to 6 and Praise and Worship at 6:30 p.m. • Publix Super Markets are offering customers the option of purchasing school supply bags at check-out,



Back To School

August 2011

How to enroll your child in Polk County public schools

This is geared specifically towards parents and they can access to Online Grades, Bus Delays and Required Immunizations at The following documents are required to enroll in a Polk County school: • A certified birth certificate • Immunization record (transferred to a Florida blue card) • A physical dated within one year • Two proofs of residence • The proofs must be from different categories, and show your name and physical address: • Apartment or home lease agreement, mortgage document, or property tax record • Current utility bill (electric, gas, phone, cable, water) • Voter registration document • Proof of government benefits (disability, Medicare, food stamps, HRS correspondence) • No driver’s license, personal bills, automobile registration, or insurance can be used. ■ If you are not able to provide any TWO of the documents listed above because you live with someone else, you may use an affidavit of Residency. The affidavit must be notarized by a notary public of the State of Florida, and along with that we will need two proof of residence for the person you are staying with. • Request for Temporary Assignment■Affidavit of Residence■Both forms must be submitted together Once the necessary documents are in hand, take all of them to the school for which you are zoned. Not sure what school is in your zone? Search for Schools in Your Area here. Please contact Pupil Accounting at 863-534-0716 if you have any questions.

How to Transfer Your Child to Another School Parents seek to enroll their children in a school other than their “zoned” school for a variety of reasons. For example, some parents desire a school that is geographically closer to their home, work, day care (reasons of convenience). In other cases, parents may be dissatisfied with their child(ren)’s

current school(s). Please note that these are not sufficient reason to grant transfer requests. The Polk County School System operates under federal guidelines and judicial rulings, and is therefore not able to grant transfer requests based on the above reasons.

• Request Form • In County Request for School Transfer form • Out of County Request for School Transfer form•Two proofs of residence • The proofs must be from different categories, and show your name and physical address:

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Polk County dress code rules The Polk County School Board has a mandatory dress code for all elementary and middle school students. There are many positive reasons for a school dress code, including: • A dress code encourages students to express their individuality through personality and academic achievements, not outward appearances • A dress code puts the focus on academics, not fashion, because they project a neat, serious, businesslike image • Schools with dress codes have fewer discipline problems because students aren’t distracted • Dress codes can be less expensive • Dress codes eliminate the visible differences between needy and wealthy children • Dress codes eliminate pressure to wear brand name clothing, “gang colors,” etc. • Dress codes create a sense of school pride and belonging Listing of Acceptable Clothing Traditional (non-winter) Dress Code The Dress Code does not allow for clothing with colored trim, stripes, embroidery, decoration, etc. It also does not provide for overalls (overalls with pants or shorts), sweat pants, knit pants/ skirts, leggings, etc. A small logo is acceptable on otherwise approved clothing items.

Bottoms: Navy, Black or Khaki/Tan • Walking Shorts, Slacks, Skorts, Skirts, Skirted jumpers • Must be plain, solid-color Twill, Corduroy or Denim fabric Tops: White or navy with collar • Must have long or short sleeves • Knit polo-type, Oxford or woven dress shirts, blouses, turtlenecks • School T-shirts are OK (available through our school office) • Every school may add another collared shirt color. Call schools for school colors. Other dress code rules: • A belt is required if the garment has belt loops. • Shirts (including T-shirts) must be tucked in. • Shorts/skirts must be mid-thigh or longer. • Shoes must be safe and appropriate. • Clothes must be appropriate size, with waist of garment worn at student’s waist. • Clothing that is too tight or too loose is not appropriate for school. • School administrators will determine if clothing is appropriate for school and complies with district rules. For more specific information on the student dress code, please refer to the Code of Student Conduct.

Winter/Cold Weather On very cold days, students who walk, bike, etc. may need to wear sweatpants, etc. over their school clothes on their way to/from school. However, any clothing that doesn’t meet dress code requirements must be removed before school begins. Jackets, sweaters, coats, etc. Any kind of jacket/coat/cardigan is OK if it meets regular dress code rules • May not be disruptive, distracting, display offensive language/symbols, etc. • School staff may ask students to remove jackets • Any pullover garment that is worn all day (sweater, sweater vest, sweatshirt) should: ■ Have a collar OR be worn with a collared uniform shirt or official school T-shirt underneath ■ Must be solid white, solid navy or the school’s additional solid shirt color (school sweatshirts with no hoods are OK) ■ Must not have any colored trim, stripes, decoration, etc. (small logos are OK) *Applies to all Elementary and Middle School students **Polk County Public Schools Student Code of Conduct, Section 2.10, E.5.F. (Elementary); Section 2.09, E.5.F. (Secondary)

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August 2011

Back To School


Uniforms getting mixed reception Some parents concerned about cost

By MARY CANNADAY Staff Writer Lake Wales High School will embark on a path this year that is already controversial, but one that officials hope will bring discipline and a sense of community to the school. The students will be required to wear uniforms; a mandate that is drawing mixed reactions. Principal Donna Dunson said there are a number of reasons the Charter School System approved high school uniforms. Among these are creating a sense of community; improving safety by being able to tell if unauthorized people are on campus; and doing away with gang colors and inappropriate dress. Also, and Dunson said she has actually heard from students about this; it takes away the pressure and expense of fashion competition. She read from an e-mail she received from an incoming LWHS student, which said, “It sounds crazy, but I just want to say thanks. I consider bringing the uniforms to Lake Wales a blessing.” Dunson also said she personally did a student survey, and 59 percent of the students were OK with the idea of uniforms; not crazy about it, but realizing that something needed to be done about the appearance of many high school students. But, it’s not the students who are weighing in on the uniforms: it’s the parents, who in most cases will be paying for them. Dane Simpson, who led the committee of six LWHS teachers who explored the issue last year, reiterated most of the benefits mentioned by Dunson, but said some of the committee members were concerned about families who might struggle to afford the new uniforms. Several parents have indeed expressed this frustration. Although a couple of moms and dads said say they feel high school kids should be allowed greater individuality in dress; many seem to have genuine concerns about

Shaquille Snell, a Mallori Odom models junior at Lake Wales the black collared shirt High School, tries on which is part of the one of the men’s polo new required uniform shirts that are part for Lake Wales High of the Lake Wales School. The shirts cost High School uniform, $17.75 each and are required for the embroidered with a upcoming school year. Lake Wales High logo. the cost; especially for the shirts and jackets, which have an embroidered logo. Anne Lazzari, who has two sons at Lake Wales High School, said that for each of her sons to have an approved shirt for each day of the week, the cost would be about $200. The shirts, which can be bought through two approved vendors in Lake Wales, cost $17.75 each, or $19.75 for sizes 2x and 3x. Five shirts each for two students cost $189.75 with tax included, or $211.33 for a 2x or 3x. This does not include the cost of khakis, belts, acceptable shoes, nor the jackets which will be sold later this year at a yet-undetermined price. Venus Lott, who has a daughter at Lake Wales High School, said the khakis required by the dress code are a problem as well. “Kids that age almost have to buy Dickies to get a good fit, and those are expensive,” she said. Lott also said that the stores often run short of khakis because so many schools require them now. She said she also has a daughter at Polk Street Elementary, and had a hard time finding khakis for her last year because so many merchants sold out. Dunson and Simpson both said that high school students sometimes spend more on tennis shoes than on the en-

ENROLL FROM PAGE 4 • Apartment or home lease agreement, mortgage document, or property tax record • Current utility bill (electric, gas, phone, cable, water) • Voter registration document • Proof of government benefits (disability, Medicare, food stamps, HRS


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ages, at 1156 N. Scenic Hwy., phone number: 678-8047; and Polka Dots and Company, at 224 E. Stuart Ave.; 6767315. The shirts are available now. The school also plans two fitting and purchasing days, on campus, and have specific times set up alphabetically by last name. On Thursday, July 28; students whose last names start with A-L can come between 2 and 5 p.m., and between 5 and 8 p.m. for M-Z. On Saturday Aug. 6, students with the last initial A-L should come between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., and M-Z hours 1 p.m. through 4 p.m. Additionally, parents of students not currently on the reduced or free lunch program can fill out applications at the fitting event, Dunson said. The dress code also requires that outerware be from an approved vendor with the embroidered logo, unless the student already has outerware with some type of school identification, such as a band or sports jacket. Dunson said the price for the uniform jackets has not yet been set, but there will be a wide variety of types available. The LWHS teachers will also be required to sport the LWHS embroidered logo, which Dane Simpson said they all felt was fair. “We should set an example,” he said. In the teachers’ case, they can choose the clothing, but any shirts worn in the course of the work day must have the logo. “When you do this (have uniforms) it creates a sense of community,” Dunson said.


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tire cost of a uniform. However, there is a recognition that these are hard times for many families, especially with the high unemployment rate, so help is available, Dunson said. There are subsidies or “scholarships” available for students on the free or reduced school lunch program. The school has a list of these students that will be available at the school’s on-site uniform purchasing days, July 28 and Aug. 6. Parents can also call the school ahead of time at 678-4222 to discuss financial arrangements, such as buying through a payment plan. “We will help in every way we can,” Dunson said, and she noted that in the first year of similar uniforms at Bok Academy, uniform scholarships totalled $13,000, and at least that much will be available at LWHS through a private donor. “At Bok, it took people a while to get used to it,” she said. By the third year, a majority of parents were on-board, she noted. Dunson was previously principal at that school. Some parents questioned why the expensive shirts, with the embroidered logo, when one can get plain-colored shirts at Dillard’s for $6? “Because they look nice, and they last longer,” Dunson said, noting that the higher quality shirts often last long enough to be passed on to future students. Four companies bid on the shirt/ jacket contract, and the two chosen are both local, which Dunson said would make shopping and trying-on easier and would help the local economy. The local vendors are Applied Im-

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Back To School

August 2011

New FCAT standards, old grading method, lower scores By JAMES COULTER Correspondent

Lower scores on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test in Polk County last school year are partially due to new testing standards, said Wilma Ferrer, senior director of assessment, accountability & evaluation. The new version of the FCAT, the FCAT 2.0, was created using Next Generation Sunshine State Standards, developed and administered this year by the Florida Department of Education, Ferrer said. Previous FCATs were created according to former Sunshine State Standards. “Usually when you change standards and give a harder test, scores drop for some students and schools,” Ferrer said. The FCAT 2.0 has content matching new and more rigorous reading and math standards, but those sections

were graded based on the old standards, said Kris Ellington, deputy commissioner for accountability, research and measurement. She compared a formula linking the new content to the old scoring scheme to grading on a curve. While that doesn’t allow for a meaningful comparison of statewide scores to last year’s results, it does permit fluctuations and valid comparisons at the district, school and student levels, Ellington said. The method, known as the equipercentile method, was selected this year by the FDOE in order to comply with federal requirements on submitting test scores, Ferrer said. But even though the FDOE considers the method fair and legally defensible, Ferrer claims it does not provide a fair or accurate comparison. “This method tries to keep the status quo, but we have seen that this has not been the case in some grade levels in

POLK COUNTY SCHOOL FCAT TEST SCORES The following FCAT scores are of the statewide passing average of 3 and above, and of the averages from individual schools in Bartow, Frostproof, Lake Wales, and Fort Meade schools. For scores from theses and other schools, visit the Florida Department of Education website at

Statewide: 3rd Grade: Reading, 72; Math, 78 4th Grade: Reading, 71; Math, 74 5th Grade: Reading, 69; Math, 63 6th Grade: Reading, 67; Math, 57 7th Grade: Reading, 68; Math, 62 8th Grade: Reading, 48; Math, 68 9th Grade: Reading, 48 10th Grade: Reading, 29

Polk Avenue Elementary (Fort Meade): 3rd Grade: Reading, 42; Math, 82 4th Grade: Reading, 56; Math, 81 5th Grade: Reading, 61; Math: 36

Bartow Elementary Academy: 3rd Grade: Reading, 91; Math, 93 4th Grade: Reading, 92; Math, 95 5th Grade: Reading, 95; Math, 89

James E. Stephens Elementary (Bartow): 3rd Grade: Reading, 60; Math, 70 4th Grade: Reading, 66; Math, 65 5th Grade: Reading, 51; Math, 44

Floral Avenue Elementary (Bartow): 3rd Grade: Reading, 80; Math, 63 4th Grade: Reading, 63; Math, 74 5th Grade: Reading, 67; Mat, 48

Spook Hill Elementary (Lake Wales): 3rd Grade: Reading, 61; Math, 78 4th Grade: Reading, 68; Math, 80 5th Grade: Reading, 67; Math, 54

Gibbons Street Elementary (Bartow): 3rd Grade: Reading, 49; Math, 70 4th Grade: Reading, 57; Math, 51 5th Grade: Reading, 54; Math, 57

Bartow High School: 9th Grade: Reading, 50 10th Grade: Reading, 41

Spessard L. Holland Elementary (Lake Wales): 3rd Grade: Reading, 93; Math: 95 4th Grade: Reading, 91; Math: 94 5th Grade: Reading, 61; Math: 89

Hillcrest Elementary (Lake Wales): 3rd Grade: Reading, 55; Math, 74 4th Grade: Reading, 60; Math, 81 5th Grade: Reading, 66; Math: 61 Janie Howard Wilson Elementary (Lake Wales): 3rd Grade: Reading, 61; Math, 75 4th Grade: Reading, 59; Math, 73 5th Grade: Reading, 63; Math, 54 Lewis Anna Woodbury Elementary (Fort Meade): 3rd Grade: Reading, 46; Math, 60 4th Grade: Reading, 49; Math, 58 5th Grade: Reading, 55; Math: 48

PHOTO BY CHRISTINE ROSLOW Mrs. Herman, a fourth grade teacher at Gibbons Street Elementary School, and Mrs. Lumbra, a Reading Academic Intervention Facilitator, prepare students in March before they took the FCAT Writes test. Polk,” Ferrer said. “My biggest concern lyze the performance data per school is that high stakes decisions are based to determine specific areas for focus,” on FCAT scores, and with this method, Nickell said. “Long-term plans are to we are comparing apples to pinelook at performance trends over time to apples.” look for patterns that can be addressed Reading and math scores were through additional targeted supports, released June 6. Third-grade reading put those supports in place, and closely scores were released earlier this year. monitor to determine level of effectiveReading and math scores for Polk are ness.” below the state average which, by The district is also requesting that the contrast, has changed little since last DOE validate the third grade results, year. Polk County got a C on the FCAT which help determine school grades this year, dropping a letter grade from and AYP designations, Ferrer said. High last year. performing schools can reap cash re“This is going to affect school grades, wards. Failing grades can result in staff especially our lowest 25 percent makchanges and other penalties. ing learning gains and Adequate Yearly The test will take on additional Progress,” Ferrer said. importance in 2014 when a new merit The school district plans to analyze pay plan for teachers goes into effect. performance data in order to deterFCAT and other test scores will be a key mine how to best improve future test factor in determining which teachers scores, Superintendent Sherrie Nickell qualify for performance raises. said. The Associated Press contributed to “The immediate plans are to anathe content of this article.

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August 2011

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Beware of bullying: How it works in Polk County

Bullying is the first form of violence that many experience and it is not fun. The American Medical Association has determined that bullying is a publichealth issue with short and long term consequences for everyone involved. A study reported by Time magazine (April 18, 05) states that 47 percent of sixthgraders said they were bullied at least once in the course of five school days. Victims of bullying report being unhappy, often earn lower grades, and occasionally retaliate. Warning signs that a student is being bullied may be subtle, so it is important for parents to keep a vigilant watch for any changes in behavior which may indicate bullying is taking place. If you suspect that your child is being bullied, report the incident to school personnel and talk with educators at your child’s school about bullying. Overall, everyone is affected by a classroom climate that allows bullying, because such a climate is not conducive to learning. Teachers, parents, and children are encouraged to use bullying prevention activities, materials and computer/internet resources to create a school climate that eliminates bullying. Children learn best in environments where they feel safe, respected, and are encouraged to take risks. Question 1: What is Polk County’s definitions of bullying and harassment? Answer 1: The Polk County Schools definition of bullying closely follows the terms of the Jeffrey Johnston Stand Up for All Students Act, and defines bullying as: “Bullying” means systematically and chronologically inflicting physical hurt or psychological distress on one or more students or employees. It is further defined as: unwanted purposeful written, verbal, nonverbal, or physical behavior, including but not limited to any threatening, insulting or dehumanizing gesture, by and adult or student, that has the potential to create an intimidating, hostile or offensive educational environment or cause long term damage; cause discomfort or humiliation; or unreasonably interfere with the individual’s school performance or participation, is carried out repeatedly and is often characterized by an imbalance of power. Bullying may involve, but is not limited to: 1. Unwanted teasing 2. Threatening 3. Intimidating 4. Stalking 5. Cyber stalking 6. Cyber bullying 7. Physical violence 8. Theft 9. Sexual, religious, or racial discrimination 10. Public humiliation 11. Destruction of school or personal property

12. Rumor or spreading of falsehoods 13. Bullying can take many forms; boys and girls tend to bully differently and generally their methods target whatever the bully’s group values the most. Boys are often physical and threatening; girls will attempt to alienate the victim from their social groups. “Harassment” means any threatening, insulting, or dehumanizing gesture, use of technology, computer software, or written, verbal or physical conduct directed against a student or school employee that: 1. Places a student or school employee in reasonable fear of harm to his or her person or damage to his or her property; 2. Has the effect of substantially negatively impacting a student’s educational performance, or employee’s work performance, or either’s opportunities, or benefits; 3. Has the effect of substantially negatively impacting a student’s or employee’s emotional or mental wellbeing; or 4. Has the effect of substantially disrupting the orderly operation of a school Question 2: How do I tell the difference between rough play, fighting and bullying? Answer 2: The first step in untangling the differences between bullying and other forms of aggression is to define what bullying is and how it differs from “normal” childhood conflicts. The following table illustrates the differences between rough play, fighting and bullying. Rough Play: Fighting: Bullying: Usually friends; often will do the same things again Usually not friends; Typically not repeated Not friends but will be repeated Power not an immediate Issue Power close to equal Power is not equal Not about hurting Trying to hurt each other Bully is trying to hurt, humiliate Affect is friendly, mutual Affect is negative, angry Affect varies between the victim and bully

bullying, which involves repeated incidents, harassment can be a one-time occurrence. Question 4: What Causes People to Bully? Answer 4: In general, bullies are using behavior that they have determined will gain them status and feelings of control, and they derive satisfaction from inflicting either physical or emotional pain on others. They usually seek victims they can successfully bully. Victims do not “ask for it,” but there is a group of victims who are not socially successful, and may annoy others, perhaps in an attempt to gain attention from their peers. Bullies use this annoying behavior to justify their own actions. To many bullies, their victims were “asking for it.” Question 5: What are the signs and symptoms of bullying? Answer 5: • Frightened to walk to school • Schoolwork is going downhill • Has damage clothing, etc. • Becomes withdrawn • Starts fights with peers or friends • Has headaches, stomachaches, or other stress symptoms • Cries in bed at night • Having nightmares • Possessions or money is missing • Unexplained bruises, cuts, etc. • Anxious when their cell phone rings or they get a new e-mail Question 6: How Can I Help My Child If He/She Is Bullied? Answer 6: • Affirm the Child - “You were right to tell me about this.” “I’m glad you asked me to help you with this.” • Ask Questions - “Tell me more

Question 7: What are ways for your child to address bullying in school? Answer 7: There are several ways your child can protect his/herself: • Remind them not to fight, this is dangerous and will only make the problem worse • Bullies tend to pick on children who are isolated. See if you can pair your child with other children who do not support bullying. • Remind them to avoid places where supervision is limited Question 8: How do I report bullying? Answer 8: There are several methods for reporting suspected bullying incidents: • Contact a school by phone and report it to school personnel • You can make a report in person • You can complete the Bullying and/ or Harassment Form Question 9: What can I expect the school to do once I report bullying? Answer 9: Once a bullying incident is reported, the following actions occur: • Administrators will acknowledge receipt of your report in three school days • A preliminary review of the incident may be conducted to determine need for the investigation

In addition: • Today the average age of a homeless person is nine(9). • Children and families are the fastest growing subset of the homeless, representing a staggering 40% of the population. • The average homeless family is a twenty-year-old mother with children under the age of six. • Along with the 400,000 families who are officially homeless, another 25 million live doubled- and tripled-up with family and friends because they lack a permanent residence of their own. • Polk County has approximately 2,632 homeless individuals at any given time.

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about what happened.” “Has this happened before?” “Did anyone try to help you?” • Assess the Student’s Safety - Determine what the child needs in order to feel and be safe now. • Take Action - Talk to the teacher, school counselor, or administrator. You can also fill out the Bullying Report Form online or download a copy and give a completed copy to the school.

Did you know that there are approximately 350 school aged enrolled homeless children in Polk County?

Question 3: How do I tell the difference between bullying and harassment? Answer 3: Bullying occurs when a student or group of students targets an individual repeatedly over time, using physical or psychological aggression to dominate the victim (Hoover & Oliver, 1996; Rigby, 1995; USDOE, 1998). The repeated incidents function to create and enforce an imbalance of power between bully and victim. Harassment involves any action that can be severe enough that it keeps a child from being successful in school. However, unlike

The items most needed for homeless students are school supplies including: backpacks, zip binders (Trapper Keepers), paper, 3-prong folders, spiral notebooks and calculators (scientific and graphing). In addition, school uniforms, gift cards for food, medical and dental services, as well as hygiene items such as shampoo, conditioner, soap, deodorant, hair brushes and feminine products are always in need.


If you’d like to help, please bring your items to the Bartow Chamber of Commerce before 5:00 p.m. on Friday, August 19. Financial contributions will also be accepted. Make checks payable to: Bartow Area Chamber Foundation.

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August 2011

Legislature: E-books the norm by 2015-16 Official: Devices could cost schools $10 million By MARY CANNADAY Staff Writer

Under an education funding bill Florida Gov. Rick Scott recently signed, public schools will be required to begin switching to electronic textbooks by 2015-16. Half the state’s textbook budget must be used for downloads and only curriculum available in digital format can be adopted. The dilemma? The textbook budget is only for content, not for the electronic reading devices themselves (E-Readers.) According to Dr. Paula Leftwich, senior director of K through 12 curriculum and instruction for the Polk County School District, text budgets have two parts; 50 percent for purchase of state-adopted text materials and 50 percent flex funds, which can be used for such items as math games, manipulative materials, etc. There is currently no allowance for technology. There are 90,000 students in Polk County district schools, Leftwich said, so purchasing even the most basic electronic readers, at $100 each, would run close to $10 million. Dr. Sherrie Nickell, Polk’s superintendent of schools, said, “It’s going to be quite an undertaking and I’m not sure how we’re going to pay for it. But, hopefully we can get started down that path soon.” Additionally, textbook publishers will soon face the mammoth task of converting all their materials to electronic form. The changeover will be expensive, but could end up saving money, with numerous downloads available on one device, rather than requiring six or seven books for each student. And it will alleviate the expense incurred when a student moves out of the district and fails to return textbooks, which cost up to $100 each, Leftwich noted. Not to mention the relief to students who will no longer have to lug 50 pound backpacks. And, not to mention the savings in warehouse space for thousands of textbooks. Also, the content would be dramatically more current. Leftwich cited science as an example. Textbooks are currently adopted for a six-year cycle. Science changes so rapidly that the texts are sometimes out of date before they arrive at the district, Leftwich said. Some schools already have a toe in the water In the Lake Wales charter system, the conversion has already begun to some

extent, with iPads and other reading devices widely available in many of the schools. Earlier this year, an anonymous person donated $1 million to Lake Wales High School for iPads, versatile devices that can be used for reading as well as

“spin” the planet. “It (the technology) will never take the place of a book, but you can do a lot more with the devices. For example, you can highlight a word to get the correct spelling. Thousands of books are available online also — the possibilities are endless,” he said. ‘Old school’ book lovers not so sure Postings to Nicholas Carr’s online blog “Rough Type” demonstrate that not ev-

other applications. Bok Academy Middle asic ost b d. m School e uy th al sai also has o to bone offici s s l o begun eryone scho ion, ublic t $10 mill p k incorporatlikes the new l s Po ts in would co n ing technolFlorida law. e d each 0 stu ogy, and even 90,00 s at $100 e r a k elementary There nic boo school students electro are well on the road to high tech. Damien Moses is the incoming principal at Bok Academy Middle School, and for five years has been principal at Hillcrest Elementary. He is in favor of the shift to e-books. “It’s where technology is headed,” he said. “You can access e-books anywhere; on your phone, or on a slate — and it saves trees,” he noted. Moses also thinks the devices might be a boon to boys, “who may not like to read books, but put technology in their hands and they just take off.” It will be easier for teachers to be prescriptive to individual student needs also, Moses noted. He demonstrated some of the bells and whistles that can hold the attention of kids accustomed to life in nanoseconds. On his iPad, he has a Solarsystem app, which shows the planets in correct alignment, allows the user to “visit” individual planets through a fingertip, and even allows the user to

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Another unfunded mandate? Is this to be another unfunded mandate, at least as far as the cost of the e-readers? Questions officials are still asking: • How will e-readers for 9,000 students be paid for? • Will this be a recurring cost? Will the wear and tear of daily use require replacements each year? • Will expensive devices be required in order to store the amount of data in, for example, a dictionary? • Will training be available for parents, staff and even students who are not familiar with the technology? • Will the cost be shifted to parents due to education budget cuts? Mary Cannaday can be reached by email:

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For example: “I still use a Latin dictionary I was given in ninth grade, when dinosaurs roamed the earth. Good luck holding onto that in a Kindle Book.” Another says “I remember sitting at the dining-room table with my son and working out math problems, side by side. That’s going to be a bit harder.” And — “Does the title “Fahrenheit 451” sound familiar?” (That refers to a Ray Bradbury novel where in future America reading is outlawed and the title refers to a temperature at which paper burns.) Carr quipped: “Remember: When print is outlawed, only outlaws will have print.”



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August 2011

Back To School

Kindles for the kids


BEA raising money to get Kindles for fifth graders By JEFF ROSLOW Editor If things go as planned this coming school year the fifth grade students at Bartow Elementary Academy will have Kindles in their hands. All the school needs is about $15,000. “I’m hoping to get the big push,” said Reba Coil, BEA’s teacher resource specialist. “I hope to order them by October but that may not happen.” Coil is hoping to raise $15,000 to make that happen. She has sent notes to parents and about 150 businesses in Bartow to try to raise money. “We can make it part of the curriculum,” said Coil. For those who don’t know a Kindle is an electronic reading device from developed to display books and hundreds of newspapers and magazines. There are more than 650,000 books available for the Kindle and each Kindle can hold up to 1,500 of them. But while some readers may not know that, most of the kids do. “The children don’t have issues with this,” said Damien Moses. “We’re the ones with the issues. They’ve been born into an age of technology. We’re used to doing research in the library while they know how to go to Google and get that information.” Moses was the principal at Hillcrest Elementary School in Lake Wales and will be the principal at Lake Wales High School this year. Last year Hillcrest got four or five iPad computers for each classroom and they have taken students to new levels. “It’s a wonderful tool, but it will never take the place of quality instruction,” he said. He cited an example where a teacher was giving a lesson in fractions and that teacher found a program on the computer to help. It proved successful to the students and on the FCAT this past year the number of students who scored a Level 3 or better was above 80 percent in the fourth grade. “We showed a tremendous gain in math this year,” he said. Coil said getting the Kindles will help the students in a number of ways. Not only will they help put students a step ahead of being required to get some textbooks online as the Legislature has mandated, it will take them a step further in the STEM program. STEM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. These are considered the core technological underpinnings of an advanced society.

PHOTO PROVIDED Bartow Elementary Academy is conducting a fundraising drive to try to get Kindles for some of its students. Kindles are a way to get into the engi“The up front cost is probably more neering portion. expensive (for Kindles) but these things “We’re trying to focus a little on engi- can last four to five years,” she said. neering,” Coil said. “We’re trying to get “Sometimes with books they rip and teachers to think outside the box and they fall apart and we have to buy 88 we’re trying to get the students to be copies of each book,” adding books last thinkers, not just look at the books.” probably about two years. But how soon they can get the “And they can also get newspaper Kindles is the question. Coil sent the articles,” she said. Not only that, notices out shortly before school ended last year and so far she’s gotten $1,000 from Madrid Engineering. “Madrid Engineering is a high-tech company and any company involved in engineering and physical science and that kind of technology understands you have to have the proper tools to do your job,” company owner Larry Madrid said. “My people couldn’t do their work unless they had pretty high technology computers on their desks.” He said the use of high-tech devices at such a young age can only be an advantage. “I want Bartow to be at the forefront for this,” he said. Coil believes more money will be coming in. She said it’s moving slowly now because the word is just getting around. The Parent-Teacher Organization is quite active at the school and has already indicated it can help support the program once it starts. Each text the school buys from can cost about $7-$8, but Coil said that is a savings over buying literature books the students can read.

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students can instantly get definitions of words right on the screen they are reading, have quick access to encyclopedic information, and teachers can use the Kindle to send students homework, study guides and more. Coil said in order to use them parents would have to sign a waiver form in which they would be financially responsible for the device should something happen to it and the school would also disallow student access to unacceptable sites. Students also would be able to download books on their own if necessary. “A student could download the latest Harry Potter book, but when they give back the computer we would return it,” she said. It could be an example of what could and probably will come to other schools. “They talked about raising money and it does flow well into the technology. It’s going to have a lot of multiple uses and specific curriculum,” said Brian Warren, the director of Magnet, Choice and Vouchers with Polk County Schools. “We were excited about the technology, partnerships with the parents and the momentum behind. It could be an example of what is to come.” Any size donation will be accepted to help buy Kindles for students at the school. Checks can be sent to Bartow Elementary Academy, c/o Kindle Project, 590 S. Wilson Ave., Bartow, FL 33830. Call 534-7218 or contact Coil at by e-mail.


Difference between Choice and Magnet Schools: Choice schools differ from magnet schools in that magnet schools’ sole purpose was to originally desegregate schools and are specifically identified in the Polk County desegregation agreement. Choice schools can be created in response to community or school interest in choice. Definition of a Charter School: Charter schools are public schools operating under a performance contract or “charter.” The charter allows the school to operate under defined rules and regulations. As part of the contract between the charter school and the sponsor (the school board), charter schools are held strictly accountable for academic and financial results. Purpose of a Charter School: Charter schools are independent public schools, which are fiscally and academically accountable to the sponsoring school system, but exempt from district and most state statutes. The schools also have control over 95% of the student funds generated through student enrollments. This freedom is intended to allow charter schools to be more innovative, demonstrate better student performance, and make the local school the agent of change for the students the school serves.


Types of Charter Schools: • Start Up Charter Schools- Start up charter schools are educational institutions that did not exist prior to being granted charter school status. These brand new schools are often started by parents, community members, business partners, etc. These schools may offer a specialized curriculum or serve a specific student population such as at-risk students or special needs students. • Conversion Charter Schools- A conversion charter school is an existing public school that converts to charter school status. This process requires agreement from the teachers and parents of the charter school, the submittal and approval of a charter application by the sponsor, and the negotiation of a charter contract. Final approval of a charter contract is voted on by the school board after a public hearing.

August 2011

Charter Schools

Our Children’s Academy 555 Burns Avenue Lake Wales, 33853 Phone: 863-679-3338 Fax: 863-679-3944 Principal: Sharon McManus

Janie Howard Wilson Elementary 306 Florida Avenue Lake Wales, 33853 Phone: 863-678-4211 Fax: 863-678-4217 Principal: Beverly Lynne

Achievement Academy - Lakeland 716 E. Bella Vista Street Lakeland, 33805 Phone: 863-683-6504 Fax: 863-688-9292 Principal: Paula Sullivan

Babson Park Elementary 815 N. Scenic Highway Babson Park, 33827 Phone: 863-678-4664 Fax: 863-678-4669 Principal: Kenneth Henson

New Beginnings High School 3425 Old Lake Alfred Road Winter Haven, 33881 Phone: 863-272-1816 Principal: Ashlee Wright

Hillcrest Elementary 1051 State Road 60 E. Lake Wales, 33853 Phone: 863-678-4216 Fax: 863-678-4086 Principal: Vacant

Achievement Academy - Bartow 695 E Summerlin St Bartow, 33830 Phone: 863-533-0690 Fax: 863-534-0798 Principal: Paula Sullivan

Achievement Academy - Winter Haven 2211 28th St NW Winter Haven, 33880 Phone: 863-965-7586 Fax: 863-968-5016 Principal: Paula Sullivan

Fax: 863-688-1607 Principal: Michele Spurgeon

Phone: 863-956-4434 Fax: 863-956-3267 Principal: Debra Richards

A.C.E. Charter School 710 E Bella Vista St Lakeland, 33805 Phone: 863-686-3189 Fax: 863-682-1348 Principal: Gay Ratcliff

Polk Avenue Elementary 110 E. Polk Avenue Lake Wales, 33853 Phone: 863-678-4244 Fax: 863-678-4680 Principal: Gail Quam

Lake Wales Senior 1 Highlander Way Lake Wales, 33853 Phone: 863-678-4222 Fax: 863-678-4064 Principal: Donna Dunson Lakeland Montessori Middle at The Polk Museum of Art 800 East Palmetto St. Lakeland, 33801 Phone: 863-688-7743 Fax: 863-812-4689 Principal: Curtis Romey Lakeland Montessori Schoolhouse 1124 N. Lake Parker Avenue Lakeland, 33805 Phone: 863-413-0003 Fax: 863-413-0006 Principal: Josie Zinninger

Berkley Accelerated Middle 5316 Berkley Road Auburndale, 33823 Phone: 863-984-2400 Fax: 863-984-2411 Principal: Jill Bolender

McKeel Academy 1810 West Parker Street Lakeland, 33815 Phone: 863-499-2818 Fax: 863-603-6339 Principal: Dr. Linda Acocelli

Berkley Elementary 5240 Berkley Road Auburndale, 33823 Phone: 863-968-5024 Fax: 863-968-5026 Principal: Randy Borland

McKeel Elementary 411 North Florida Avenue Lakeland, 33801 Phone: 863-499-1287

Bok Academy 13901 Highway 27 Lake Wales, 33859 Phone: 863-679-2517 Fax: 863-679-2602 Principal: Damien Moses

Polk Pre-Collegiate Academy 5316 Berkley Road Auburndale, 33823 Phone: 863-984-2443 Fax: 863Principal: Cathy Carver Polk State College Collegiate High School 3425 Winter Lake Rd. LAC Bldg. Lakeland, 33803 Phone: 863-669-2322 Fax: 863-669-2944 Principal: Sallie Brisbane Ridgeview Global Studies Academy 1000 Dunson Road Davenport, 33896 Phone: 863-419-3171 Fax: 863-419-3172 Principal: Ralph Frier South McKeel Academy 2222 Edgewood Drive South Lakeland, 33815 Phone: 863-510-0044 Fax: 863-510-0021 Principal: Judith Morris

VPK Open Enrollment

Chain of Lakes Collegiate High School 999 Avenue H N.E. Winter Haven, 33881 Phone: 863-298-6800 Fax: 863-298-6801 Principal: Bridget Fetter

Register your 4 yr. old for the up coming VPK School Year.

Compass Middle Charter 550 E. Clower Street Bartow, 33830 Phone: 863-519-8701 Fax: 863-519-8704 Principal: Harry Williams

The Y Participates In The Polk County Health Department Food Program. This Includes Breakfast , Lunch and Snacks.*

Discovery Academy of Lake Alfred 1000 N. Buena Vista Dr. Lake Alfred, 33850 Phone: 863-295-5955 Fax: 863-295-5978 Principal: Kevin Warren

*VPK students are eligable for the program if they are in the continuing care after VPK is over each day.

Hartridge Academy 1400 US Highway 92 Winter Haven, 33881

1001 Burns Ave. • Lake Wales



Definition of a Charter School: Charter schools are public schools operating under a performance contract or “charter.” The charter allows the school to operate under defined rules and regulations. As part of the contract between the charter school and the sponsor (the school board), charter schools are held strictly accountable for academic and financial results.

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August 2011

Back To School

Fort Meade schools honor 2010-11 volunteers


SCHOOL PHONE NUMBERS Alturas Alturas Elementary 519-3917 Bartow Bartow Adult and Community School 534-7450 Bartow High 534-7400 Bartow International Baccalaureate 534-0194 Bartow Middle 534-7415 Floral Avenue Elementary 534-7420 Florida Sheriffs Youth Villa 533-7137 Gause Academy of Leadership & Technology 534-7425 Gibbons Street Elementary 534-7430 Stephens Elementary 534-7455 New Beginnings 533-7252 Polk Life & Learning 534-7440 Polk Virtual School 534-7214 Spessard L. Holland Elementary 648-3031 Fort Meade Anna Woodbury Elementary 285-1133 Fort Meade Middle-Senior 285-1180 Lewis Elementary 285-1150 Frostproof Ben Hill Griffin Jr. Elementary 635-7820 Frostproof Elementary 635-7802 Frostproof Middle-Senior 635-7809 South County Center 635-6846

No school can go without good volunteers, and Fort Meade had two of the best during the 2010-11 year. Honored as Volunteer of the Year at Lewis Anna Woodbury Elementary is Lucille Vaughn. Here, she helps carve a pumpkin. One of her most important projects is working with kindergarten students to help improve their reading scores. Polk County had 26,901 volunteers last year performing 801,624 hours of service, an estimated in-kind monetary donation of $16.072 million.

Applications are available at each Polk County school for the 2011-12 free and reduced price meal program. The National School Lunch and Breakfast program provides free and reduced price meals in the Polk Public Schools for needy children unable to pay the full price for meals. Criteria for eligibility includes household size and income. Complete information, guidelines and eligibility requirements is available at the Polk County Public Schools Foodservice Department at 534-0588. There are specialized instructions for foster children, families of homeless and migrant children and children in other circumstances. The application includes instructions for households that receive SNAP or TANF. Florida income eligibility guidelines for free and reduced price meals are listed below.

Early release days

Highland City Highland City Elementary 648-3540 PHOTOS PROVIDED

Free, reduced price meal applications now available

Lake Wales McLaughlin Middle And Fine Arts Academy 678-4233 Roosevelt Academy 678-4252 Spook Hill Elementary 678-4262 Mulberry Kingsford Elementary 701-1054 Mulberry High 701-1104 Mulberry Middle 701-1066 New Horizons 428-1520 Purcell Elementary 701-1061

Schools throughout Polk County will release students one-hour early on the following dates. • September 14, 2011 • October 5, 2011 • November 9, 2011 • December 7, 2011 • January 11, 2012 • February 1, 2012 • February 15, 2012 • March 7, 2012 • April 11, 2012 • May 2, 2012


Praise & Worship Free Food Give-aways Guest speaker: Dave Edwards

Nell Smith was honored as the Fort Meade Middle Senior Volunteer of the Year. Smith (standing beind students in the white hat) is the heart of the school’s band booster organization, recruiting volunteers, raising funds and serving as the president last school year.

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August 2011

There are a few more days to stuff the bus Project helps homeless students get ready for school By PEGGY KEHOE Staff Writer

More than 2,500 students in Polk County were considered homeless during the 2010-11 school year, Polk County Public Schools homeless liaison Dee Dee Wright told members of the Chamber Young Professionals. The previous school year 2,289 kids met the criteria; this past year the number rose to 2,507. Homeless children or youth are “individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence,” Wright explained. have school-aged children themselves.” This includes those who are sharThe month-long campaign began at ing housing due to economic harda CYP luncheon on July 21 at the Barship; living in motels, campgrounds or tow Civic Center. The Bartow Chamsubstandard trailers; living in shelters; ber Young Professionals is a program awaiting foster care placement; livdesigned to offer social networking, ing in cars, parks, professional development and volunabandoned buildteer opportunities to ambitious young ings, bus stations; professionals, ages 21 to 42. or “unaccomMembership in the group is geared panied youth,” toward improving career opportunistudents who ties, developing leadership abilities, aren’t in the cusbuilding personal networks and giving tody of a parent or back to the greater Bartow community. guardian. These Members make connections with peers students may be from various industries and have acPHOTO BY PEGGY KEHOE “couch surfing” cess to community leaders. at friends’ homes. Dee Dee Wright, homeFor more information on the Bartow Chamber Young Professionals kicked off their campaign to Stuff the Bus with school supplies and When enough fos- less liaison for Polk Chamber Young Professionals, call the personal items for Polk County’s 2,500 homeless students. Contributions and monetary donations ter homes aren’t County Public Schools from the community are welcome and may be taken to the Bartow Chamber of Commerce. Chamber at 533-7125, or e-mail cathavailable, children spoke to Chamber are sometimes Young Professionals Tucker of TD Bank and CYP chairwomBartow Chamber Young Professionshuttled from one about the growing an. “I think this is a good project for als are seeking help to “Stuff the Bus,” Chamber Executive Director Jeff Clark to another tempo- number of homeour group, as so many of our members a month-long campaign to collect contributed to this story. less students in Polk rarily. donations for Polk County’s students in In America, the County. need. average age of a Anyone may donate to the drive by homeless person is 9, Wright said. taking donations to the Bartow ChamA Congressional act sets out the ber of Commerce until Aug. 19. education rights of homeless students: According to Wright, the items most free, appropriate public education; needed this time of year are school immediate enrollment while documensupplies including backpacks, zip bindtation is collected; free breakfast and ers, paper, three-prong folders, spiral lunch; transportation; and the right notebooks and calculators (scientific to remain in their school of origin, and graphing). even if they move. Transportation is an In addition, school uniforms, gift unfunded mandate, Wright noted, but cards for food, medical and dental said the Polk Schools transportation services, as well as hygiene items such department had been “phenomenal” in as shampoo, conditioner, soap, deodorproviding transportation for 244 kids in ant, hair brushes and feminine prod2009-10, and 351 in 2010-11. ucts are always needed. Remaining in their original schools In Florida, 49,117 students were is important for students, Wright identified as living in a homeless situaexplained, because with every school tion during the 2009-2010 school year, change, a student may fall months Our award winning programs offer these advantages and more. with the majority identified as elemenCall to reserve your child’s spot today! behind. tary students, Wright said. Thirty-one Polk County Schools Hearth Project Polk County students were identified seeks to help these students by collectas living in a car or on the streets in ing supplies and seeking grants. But 2009-2010. community help is needed, too. “It’s just shocking,” said Catherine

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August 2011

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Mark Wilcox Center to close Future for drug intervention undetermined

By MARY CANNADAY Staff Writer After a two year-struggle, its state funding cut off in 2009, the Mark Wilcox Center in Winter Haven is closing. The school has served about 500 students a year with its 10-day substance abuse intervention program. Now it has fallen to the cost-cutting that’s ravaging Florida’s education system. The school’s $250,000 budget has been covered from other revenues for the past two years, but this year’s lean budget prevents

that from continuing, according to Nancy Woolcock, assistant superintendent of Learning Support. Some district personnel will still be housed at the school, but the drugabatement program is no longer, and replacing it to meet student needs is the dilemma. Discussion of alternatives left several Polk County School Board members unsatisfied at a special work session June 22. The need for the program is clear, with Bruce Tonjes, associate superintendent of school-based operations,

Drives help kids get school supplies Back-to-school time means lots of new pencils, pens and paper, plus all those other supplies students need for the new school year. Local businesses are helping fill that need with collection drives. Polk County State Farm agents are collecting school supplies at their offices through Aug. 26 to help thousands of needy families and children in the community. All donated supplies will be given to the Polk Education Foundation. Supplies needed are: Spiral and composition notebooks, binders, folders, planners/agendas;

notebook/loose leaf paper, printer paper, graph paper; #2 pencils, black and blue pens, colored markers, colored pencils, highlighters, erasers, pencil pouch; crayons; calculators, rulers, flash drives; and solid colored backpacks Donations can be taken to the offices of Polk State Farm agents Michell Githens in Bartow, Cheryl Beckert, Buzz Tarver, Teresa Connell and Jim Lanier. With the growing number of homeless students in Polk County Public Schools, Aqui Chiropractic Clinic, LLC, is continuing its annual School Supply Drive for the fifth year.

Back to school checklist If your son or daughter is a high school student turning 18, you’ve probably spent some time shopping for school supplies and the latest fashions, working out the schedule for the academic year, maybe even looking into colleges. If your young senior is collecting monthly Social Security benefits, here’s one more thing to add to your “Back-toSchool” checklist. To make sure that Social Security benefits continue beyond age 18, eligible students must obtain certification from school officials that they are still in high school and provide it to Social Security. Otherwise, monthly Social Security benefits automatically stop when a student turns 18. For more information about Social Security student benefits, visit www. The website outlines how the process works with instructions on what the student and school official must do to ensure that benefits continue past the student’s 18th birthday. With the appropriate certification, Social Security generally does not stop benefits until the month before the month the student turns 19, or the first month in which he or she

is not a full-time high school student, whichever is earlier. Some students receive Social Security survivors benefits because a parent is deceased. Others may get dependent benefits because their parent receives Social Security retirement or disability benefits. Benefits for minor children generally continue until age 18 — or 19 if they’re still in high school. The only exception to this rule is if a student is disabled and eligible for childhood disability benefits. In that case, a separate application for benefits is required.

noting that 37 percent of the district’s expulsions are related to substance abuse. “We will try to come up with a plan of action for kids with drug problems,” Woolcock said, but one of the suggestions, that of creating intervention packets for parents, did not sit well with the board. “From what I am hearing, we are going to give parents a packet and expect them to deal with it?” Board Chairperson Kay Fields asked. When Tonjes noted that marijuana is often

Stuff the Truck for Mulberry students “Stuff the Truck,” sponsored by Polk County Sheriff’s Office and the Greater Mulberry Chamber of Commerce will help ensure needy children in the Mulberry school district will not go without school supplies this school year. On Thursday, Aug. 18, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., anyone wishing to donate school supplies can bring the items to the SunTrust/Chamber office at 400 N. Church Ave., Mulberry. Needed supplies are backpacks, zipup binders, spiral notebooks, paper (wide and college-ruled), pens, pencils, crayons, markers, highlighters, hand sanitizer, erasers, calculators (scientific and graphing), scissors, and rulers. The supplies will be given to Mulberry High School, Mulberry Middle School, Purcell Elementary,

Social Security’s website includes: A downloadable version of the required Student’s Statement Regarding School Attendance (Form SSA-1372) that must be completed by the student, certified by the school, and returned to Social Security; answers to frequently asked questions for school officials and students; and a field office locator to find the address of your local Social Security office. So as you’re buying school supplies, trying out back-to-school fashions, and figuring out when the holiday break begins, don’t forget to visit officials.

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Kingsford Elementary, and Sikes Elementary. Sheriff Grady Judd will be on hand to help greet the public and thank those who are volunteering and donating. PCSO school resource deputies, including Deputy Sheriff Ricky Newman, who is the owner of Newman’s Own BBQ, also will be there to cook and serve hot dogs. If you can’t make this event, the Greater Mulberry Chamber will accept donations at their office Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., or the Polk County Sheriff’s Office Mulberry Sheriff’s Station, 104 S. Church Ave., Mulberry, will accept donations as well, Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. For more information, call the Greater Mulberry Chamber at 4254414.

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in the home, condoned by the parents, Fields added “That’s a good point; it’s ludicrous to expect this to work. I can’t support this plan,” she said. Jerome Corbett, senior director of specialized services, told the board that details are still being hammered out. Board Member Hazel Sellers said that Interact, formerly known as The Drug Resource Center, had volunteered to help, and the board concluded that possible links with providers would be explored to bridge the gap left by closing the Wilcox Center.


Back To School

August 2011

Solving the mysteries of math and science Help your student tame tricky subjects in school

Gone are the days when basic reading, writing and arithmetic were the gold standards for a child’s education. Today there’s a much greater emphasis on STEM education — Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics — in order to prepare students for the world they’ll be adults in. But as of now, however, many kids just aren’t ready. According to the National Science Foundation, eighty percent of jobs in the next decade will require some form of math and science, yet only 29 percent of American fourth grade students, a third of eighth grade students, and barely 18 percent of 12th grade students perform at or above the proficient level in science. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Nobel Prize winner for medicine Dr. Michael Brown wrote that “We must demystify math and science so that all students feel the joy that follows understanding.” This is where parents and caregivers come in. How You Can Help A 2010 survey by the National Science Teachers Association found that the vast majority (94 percent) of science teachers wish their students’ parents had more opportunities to engage in science with their children. However, more than half (53 percent) of parents of school-aged children admit that they could use more help to support their child’s interest in science. Here are some things that parents and caregivers can do to help their students not only make it through science and math classes, but actually enjoy them and see how they can impact their lives. Make It Fun There are plenty of ways to engage in math and sci-

ence online. Check out some of these websites: — The Exploratorium is a museum of science, art and human perception located in San Francisco, California. There’s plenty of exploring to be done at their website, www.exploratorium. edu. — There’s a wide variety of subjects and activities at National Geographic’s site, www. and the Nova site at www. — You can find fun math games at www. and TV shows such as “Mythbusters” and “Life” on the Discovery Channel or “Through the Wormhole,” “Meteorite Men,” and “SciFi Science” on the Science channel all offer engaging and fun explorations of science. Hands-on experiences are some of the best ways for kids of all ages to learn. — Look for local science museums, camps and programs that let kids play, build, experiment, get messy and have fun. — Students of all ages can help with citizen science projects, such as the ones at NASA. At gov, they can sign up to help study images from Mars, track meteorites hitting the moon, and help sort through the massive amounts of data gathered about Earth from space. — Check out library books and websites for at-home science and math projects. Using those skills in fun ways helps the lessons stick and keeps students interested.

dents need some extra help clarifying difficult concepts and reinforcing what they learned in the classroom. The For Dummies series of books can be helpful resources to do just that. They offer practical exercises and lessons for mastering the essential concepts of these sometimes tricky subjects. — Is your student having trouble with exponential and logarithmic functions? Or getting tripped up by graphing trig functions? Then “Pre-Calculus Workbook For Dummies” (Wiley) can help clear things up. The authors offer ten missteps to avoid in pre-calculus, such as Going Out of Order (of Operations), Oversimplifying Roots, Forgetting to Flip the Fraction, and Canceling Too Quickly. — Chemistry is sometimes called the central science because in order to have a good understanding of the other sciences, you need to have a good understanding of chemistry. “Chemistry For Dummies, 2nd Edition” aims to help demystify the subject with concrete examples, illustrations and figures along with the text. Whether in middle school, high school or college, it’s possible for your student to gain a greater understanding

of subjects that may seem out of reach. It just takes a helping hand. You can find additional resources for many math and science subjects at www. Help with the Essentials Students prepping for exams, studying new material, or who just need a refresher can have an easy-to-understand review guide that covers an entire course by concentrating solely on the most important concepts. “The Essentials For Dummies” series of books provide clear explanations, and are perfect for cramming, textbook supplements, and parent resources. These titles are currently available online and in bookstores: “Physics Essentials,” “Chemistry Essentials,” “Biology Essentials, “Pre-Algebra Essentials,” “Statistics Essentials,” “Calculus Essentials,” “Algebra I Essentials,” “Algebra II Essentials,” “Geometry Essentials,” “Grammar Essentials,” “Spanish Essentials,” and “French Essentials.” Learn more at


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August 2011

Back To School


MYSTERIES: Helping your student FROM PAGE 14 How Biology Affects Your Life From “Biology For Dummies, 2nd

Edition” (Wiley, June 2010) If you or your student has ever wondered what on earth biology had to do with real life, wonder no more:

— Keeping You Fed — If plants didn’t produce their own food, you wouldn’t have anything to eat. So you can thank the process of photosynthesis the next time you sit down to a luscious looking salad or steak dish. — Providing You with Clean Water — Wetlands are areas that are saturated by water most of the time. They act like natural sponges, holding onto water and slowly filtering it around the plants that live there. Plants and organisms absorb human wastes such as fertilizers and sewage, cleaning the water and making it safer for humans and other animals to consume. Staying Alive — Every minute of every day, your cells are quietly working away, digesting your food, sending signals that control your responses, transporting oxygen around your body and making all of your bodily processes happen. Chemistry Fun Facts From “Chemistry For Dummies, 2nd

Edition” (Wiley, June 2011) Here are some interesting ways to look at the world of chemistry: — A chemical substance can be both a good guy and a bad guy. The only difference is where and in what concentration it’s found. For example, a person can overdose on water if he drinks enough of it. The same goes with the ozone in the stratosphere. On one hand, it shields us from harmful UV radiation. But on the other, it can be an irritant and destroy rubber products. The floating property of ice is one of the reasons that life is able to exist on earth. If ice were denser than water in the winter, the water at the top of lakes would freeze and sink. Then more water would freeze and sink, and so on. Pretty soon, the lake would be frozen solid, destroying most of the life — such as plants and fish — in the lake. Instead, ice floats and forms an insulating layer over the water, which allows life to exist, even in the winter. – Family Features


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through Sept. 3, and are distributing those through the Care Center, 6766678. • The Moose Riders, Moose Women and Moose Men have been busy rounding up school materials, and have also received two big boxes of supplies donated by Phase Three Tavern on Orange St. The Moose drive is for the students of Polk Avenue Elementary only, and the Moose Riders will roar up to the school’s main entrance at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 17 to hand out supplies, according to coordinator Jim Harper. • Students can be stylish and have the supplies they need at a back to school bash scheduled Saturday, Aug. 20 at Triple Eagle. The “Beliving in Dreams Back to School Bash” will have school s upplies, free haircuts and hair braiding to name a few things. It starts at 10 a.m. and will go until about 3 p.m. at Triple Eagle, 450 W. Main St., Bartow. For information, call 860-8553. • Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2420

has been collecting supplies, and has a large amount of book bags, pencil, erasers, liquid soap, hand sanitizer and other school must-haves, according to organizer Shelby Zarfos. The distribution plan is being firmed up, and more information on that can be obtained by calling Shelby at 863-393-8408. • The Care Center is still collecting supplies, and those who wish to donate can do so by taking school supplies to the center at 140 E. Park Ave. Those needing school supplies can call the center at 676-6678. • Mike Pearce State Farm is asking the community to donate school supplies, which the agency will present at the Teacher’s breakfast to be held Aug. 19 at First Baptist Church in Lake Wales. The supplies will be distributed to teachers who can hand them out as needed. • Lake Wales High School is instituting a uniform policy this year, and uniform scholarships are available to students on free or reduced lunch plans. Further information can be obtained by calling the school at 678-4222.

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