Get Involved!

Whether they’re assisting in classrooms, mentoring children on a one-on-one basis, or lending their time and efforts to district-wide initiatives, volunteers play a vital role in Polk County Public Schools’ mission of delivering a high-quality education to every student.

Volunteer Circle Icon

Ready to get involved and make a meaningful difference in the lives of our children?

Here’s how to become an approved Polk County Public Schools volunteer:

1. Complete a volunteer application

2018-2019 Volunteer Application
English
 | Spanish

2. Submit completed application

Submit your completed application to your school along with a $25 check or money order made payable to the Polk County School Board. This fee covers your Florida Department of Law Enforcement background check, which is required for all applicants, and your volunteer identification badge.

3. Wait for your application to process

Allow up to three weeks for your application to process. Once your application has been processed, you will be notified about your approval status via mail.

4. Get your ID badge and attend orientation

Get your identification badge from your school and attend a school volunteer orientation.

Approved volunteers seeking to transport students in their private vehicles must complete an additional application found here.

There are Many Ways to Get Involved

Whether you’re seeking to become an approved volunteer to help multiple children, you’re a parent interested in being more active in your child’s education, or you’re a student seeking community service hours, Polk County Public Schools has lots of options for you to get involved.

Here are some of the ways you can get involved in Polk County Public Schools. For more information, contact the Public Relations Department at 863-534-0636, or the Polk Education Foundation at 863-534-0803.

Become a Mentor

The mentor program brings together positive role models from the community and students who can benefit from one-on-one attention.

Speak During the Great American Teach-In

Share your life experiences and inspire children to begin thinking about their futures.

Join AmeriCorps Polk Reads

Work one-on-one with children to help them improve their reading skills.

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Become a Mentor

The mentor program brings together positive role models from the community and students who can benefit from one-on-one attention. Anyone can become a mentor, including business leaders who want to help develop the future workforce, retirees who want to share their life experiences, and those who have time, talents, and patience to give.

Students are selected by teachers and guidance counselors. Parents sign a permission form for participation in the program.

Students and mentors work together weekly at the school site to improve grades, set goals for improved attendance and behavior, or to explore the student’s career interests. Mentors participate in a two-hour training that reviews volunteer policies, school procedures and strategies to use with students.

Mentors help students develop self-confidence, academic competence, a caring attitude toward others, and reading skills that will help them be successful in school so they can be successful in life. The following activities are designed to help mentors accomplish these goals.

For more information contact the department of Public Relations & Strategic Partnerships at 863-534-0636.

When Students Are Mentored They:

Improve their attendance rate - 98%
Have fewer discipline referrals - 33%
State that they can now say 'No' to peer pressure - 78%
Say their personal relations skills are improved - 72%
Experience improved networking skills - 54%
Feel more satisfied in their jobs - 67%

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Speak During the Great American Teach-In

The Great American Teach-In is an annual event coordinated by the Polk County Public Schools’ Department of Public Relations and Strategic Partnerships to celebrate American Education Week.

During this event, members of the community are invited to speak to students about their careers, travel and hobbies, and how their early educational experiences relate to their current lives.

Students enjoy the opportunity to hear real stories from real community members. Each year Teach-In volunteers inspire students to stay focused and keep looking ahead to the future. In previous years, volunteers have come in costume, shown students their work-related equipment, performed songs, dances and plays, offered potentially life-saving information, showed off their pets, discussed career options, shared precious souvenirs, talked about other parts of the world, cooked delicious meals, stepped down from the pedestal of celebrity to meet students at their level, or simply read a story.

The Teach-In introduces students to career options they might never have considered, hobbies they might never have discovered, and activities they might never have experienced.

Want to join the fun? Contact the school of your choice and offer to be part of this exciting and meaningful event.

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Join AmeriCorps Polk Reads

AmeriCorps Polk Reads is a grant-funded reading tutoring program.

Members, also called tutors, provide one-on-one tutoring in reading to children in grades kindergarten through third at selected school sites. These sessions target the five components of effective reading instruction — phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary development, reading fluency and reading comprehension strategies.

AmeriCorps Polk Reads is made possible through a partnership between the Polk Education Foundation, Polk County Public Schools, and Volunteer Florida, Inc., as well as local support from the George W. Jenkins Fund within the GiveWell Community Foundation, GiveWell Community Foundation, and proceeds from the PEF’s Stepping Out for Education event.

For more information, visit americorps.gov, or call the Polk Education Foundation program manager at 863-519-8850.

Current and former members may check their Education Award balances online here.

Volunteer with Take Stock in Children

A public-private partnership, this school-based mentoring organization has positively affected the lives of more than 11,000 children since 1995.

Access a Polk County Public Schools Community Center

These locations provide valuable resources for both parents and students.

Join a Parent Organization

Parent organizations raise funds and deliver other means of support to their schools.

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Volunteer with Take Stock in Children

Take Stock in Children is an award-winning program that provides scholarships, mentors, and hope for a better future to Florida’s most deserving low-income, at-risk children.

The promise of a college scholarship is just one motivating factor for children participating in the program. Upon entering the Take Stock in Children program, students are matched with trained, caring adult mentors who meet with them once a week to help with academics, provide college and career guidance, and strengthen their social skills.

Mentors provide students with valuable guidance, motivation and life lessons that students carry with them beyond grade school and into college and the workforce.

A public-private partnership, this school-based mentoring organization has positively affected the lives of more than 11,000 children since 1995.

Visit the state website to learn more about Take Stock in Children.

To become a Take Stock in Children mentor, submit an application to the Polk Education Foundation at 1530 Shumate Drive, Bartow, FL. For more information, call the program coordinator at 863-519-8077, or the college success coach at 863-519-8076.

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Access a Polk County Public Schools Community Center

Help your child gain computer skills, or brush up on your own, by visiting a Polk County Public Schools Community Center. These locations offer computer services and training for both students and adults.

Contact the center for information and hours of operation. Click here for attendance login from a community center.

If you’d like to establish a community center, complete the Community Center Donation Agreement, and fax it to 863-647-4251.

If you need further information about becoming a Community Center, please contact Jenny Cramatte.

All Locations

Bartow

Girls, Inc. Bartow Branch
650 W. Main St.
Bartow, FL 33830
863-533-5000

Luster All Training Center of Hope
320 S. 8th Ave.
Bartow, FL 33830
863-533-9520

West Bartow Front Porch
925 W. Polk St.
Bartow, FL 33831-0773
863-533-1773

Triple Eagle Community Development Corporation
450 W. Main St.
Bartow, FL 33830
863-632-6126

Bradley

Bradley Community Center
P.O. Box 289
Bradley, FL 33835
863-428-2324

Dundee

Dundee Elementary
215 Frederick Ave.
Dundee, FL 33838
863-421-3316

Fort Meade

Fort Meade Middle/Senior High School
700 Edgewood N.
Fort Meade, FL
863-285-1180, ext. 264

Fort Meade Community Center
10 S.W. 3rd Street
Ft. Meade, FL 33841
863-285-1111

Help of Fort Meade
121 W. Broadway St
Fort Meade, FL 33841-3305
863-285-6090

Frostproof

Frostproof Middle-Senior High, Media Center
1000 N. Palm St.
Frostproof, FL 33843
863-635-8507

House of Praise Ministries, Inc.
208 Hopson Road
Frostproof, FL 33843

Haines City

Bethune Neighborhood Center
915 Ave. E
Haines City, FL 33844
863-421-3720

Boone Middle School, Media Center
Computer classes in Spanish
225 S. 22nd St.
Haines City, FL 33844
863-421-3302

Covenant Community R.E.A.C.H. Project
1010 Ave. C N.E
Haines City, FL 33845

Lakeland

Boys 2 Men/Sister Act 2
940 W. 6th St.
Lakeland, FL 33805
863-686-5772

Boys & Girls Clubs of Lakeland — North
1525 Martin Luther King, Jr. Ave.
Lakeland, FL 33805
863-686-0721

Boys & Girls Clubs of Lakeland — South
950 Pinewood Ave.
Lakeland, FL 33801
863-683-3371

Churchwell Elementary
8201 Park Byrd Road
Lakeland, FL 33810
863-853-6011

Coleman-Bush Building
1104 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Lakeland, FL 33805
863-834-6035

EPIC Church
1115 E. Memorial Blvd.
Lakeland, FL 33801

Family FUNdamentals
1021 Lakeland Hills Blvd.
Lakeland, FL 33805
863-686-1221, ext 222

First Baptist Church at the Mall
1010 E. Memorial Blvd.
Lakeland, FL 33801
863-682-0163 ext. 310

Girls, Inc. Jenkins Building
1220 W. Highland St.
Lakeland, FL 33815
863-688-5802

Medulla Community Center
1049 Parker Road
Lakeland, FL 33811
863-647-4035

Ray Lewis Computer Center at Simpson
Park Community Center
175 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave.
Lakeland, FL 33805
863-834-2574

Wabash Community Center
1230 Southern Ave.
Lakeland, FL 33815

Lake Wales

B Street Community Center
230 B St.
Lake Wales, FL 33853
863-679-8091

Mary Norma Campbell Youth Center
2226 Karen St.
Lake Wales, FL 33898

Winter Haven

Chain of Lakes Achievers, Inc.
1900 Havendale Blvd., Suite D
Winter Haven, FL 33881
863-299-7177

Church of God the Bibleway
3707 Ave. M N.W.
Winter Haven, FL 33881
Contact: April Stubbs

Citrus Center Boys and Girls Club
2400 Havendale Blvd. N.W.
Winter Haven, FL 33883

Compassion Action for Haitians, Inc.
Florence Villa CDC
111 Ave. R N.E.
Winter Haven, FL 33881
863-299-3263

Eloise Resource Center
710 Snively Ave.
Winter Haven, FL 33880
863-298-4485

Wilfred Smith Community Center
135 Ave. Y N.E.
Winter Haven, FL 33881
863-293-1478

Winter Haven Cultural Arts & Recreation Center
801 Ave. T
Winter Haven, FL 33881
863-291-5675

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Join a Parent Organization

Parent and community members provide valuable resources and programs to Polk County Public Schools when they participate in parent organizations. These organizations collaborate with schools on events, fundraisers and numerous other initiatives that help to create engaging and supportive learning environments.

While these organizations work closely with the schools, they have separate financial requirements and obligations. All organizations must comply with district audit requirements, carry liability insurance, register with the IRS and Florida Department of Revenue, and apply for a Florida sales tax number.

Types of parent organizations:

PTA/PTSA — Parent Teacher Associations/Parent Teacher Student Associations are affiliated with the state and national PTA/PTSA. For more information on Polk County PTA, call Janet Lamoureux at 863-899-7301.

PTO — Parent Teacher Organizations are affiliated with the national PTO.

All parent organizations participating in fundraisers must have the permission of the principal and complete required district forms.

Monthly financial reports, including a detailed transaction listing and a copy of the bank statement, are to be submitted to the school principal. Other important financial documents include:

Make the Most of Parent-Teacher Conferences

One of the most important ways you can get involved is by communicating effectively with your child’s teacher.

Create a Learning Environment at Home

There are lots of ways you can support the learning your child does at school.

Attend the Community Involvement Conference

This annual event offers a wide variety of information for parents, community members and school leaders.

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Make the Most of Parent-Teacher Conferences

When you and your child’s teacher work together, you are a powerful team. Here are some tips to help you make the most of parent-teacher conferences.

Before the conference, make a list of your questions and concerns, such as:

  • What kinds of activities does my child do well in at school?
  • Where does my child have difficulty?
  • Does my child get along with other children?
  • Does my child follow the directions and guidance of adult leaders?
  • What can I do from home to assist and support my child?
  • Is my child working up to his/her ability?
  • Does my child participate in class discussions and activities?
  • Has my child missed any classes other than the ones I contacted the school about?
  • Have you noticed any sudden changes in the way my child acts? For example, have you noticed any squinting, tiredness, or moodiness that might be a sign of physical or other problems?
  • What kind of tests are being done? What do tests tell about my child’s progress?
  • How does my child handle taking tests?
  • Also, ask your child if he/she has any questions about school. Find out what subjects your child likes most and least, and why. Ask your child if there is anything he/she would like you to discuss with the teacher.

On the day of the parent-teacher conference, arrange childcare for your other children so you can give your undivided attention to the conference. Make sure you allow yourself plenty of time to get to the school, and be on time. Share information about your child, including personality traits, problems, habits and hobbies; the better the teacher knows your child, the better your child’s experience in school will be. If your spouse can’t attend the conference, make sure you ask any questions or address any concerns he/she may have as well. Also make sure to take notes to remind yourself of important points later.

After the conference, immediately start on the action plan you and the teacher developed, if applicable. Discuss the plan with your child, and make sure he/she knows that you and the teacher care. Monitor your child’s behavior, and check your child’s classwork and homework to make sure the action plan is working. Stay in regular touch with the teacher to discuss your child’s progress.

Other tips for establishing good communication with your child’s teacher and school include:

  • Join the PTA, PTSA or PTO.
  • Get acquainted with the school principal and your child’s teachers early in the school year.
  • Take part in school activities, such as PTA meetings, school plays and book fairs.
  • Volunteer to help with field trips, class parties, fundraisers and other school events.
  • Call teachers or school officials if you have questions about assignments, grades or school policies.
  • Be sure to notify the school when your child is absent. Make arrangements to pick up homework during long absences.
  • Notify the school promptly of changes to your address or phone number.
  • Notify the school in advance if you cannot attend parent-teacher conferences or other meetings. If necessary, make special appointments to meet with teachers.
  • Don’t wait until your child is in the 12th grade to start thinking about his/her goals and interests. Get acquainted with the school counselors and know what courses your child should be taking to prepare for college or the workforce.
  • Avoid criticizing school officials in front of your child; handle complaints directly with the appropriate school personnel.

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Create a Learning Environment at Home

Learning shouldn’t end when the final bell rings. Here are some ways to create educational environments in your home, and to ensure your children are prepared for the next school day:

  • Encourage reading in your home, and make story time an everyday habit.
  • Ensure your child gets adequate sleep.
  • Limit TV and video time.
  • Provide a well-balanced healthy diet, even for teenagers.
  • See that your child attends school regularly and is on time.
  • Set aside a homework/study routine each school night.
  • Encourage completion of all assignments.
  • Attend all events in which your child participates.
  • Talk and listen to your child about school activities each day.
  • Ask for help or advice when your child is struggling or having a problem.
  • Provide ongoing enrichment.
  • Show respect and support for your child, the teachers and the school.
  • Support the school in developing positive behaviors.
  • Understand student expectations for each grade level and course.
  • Know how to access scholarship and financial aid information for higher education.
  • Make sure your school has your current address and phone number.
  • Praise your child’s efforts.
  • Schedule at least one teacher conference during each year.
  • Read everything that comes home from school and check your child’s backpack regularly.
  • Monitor test scores and performance carefully.
  • Say “good job” and “I knew you could do it.”
  • Ask, “What do you think?” — and really listen to your child’s answers.
  • Say, “Tell me about it,” to encourage your child to talk about assignments.
  • Show your child how his/her schoolwork applies to real-life situations.
  • Visit local libraries regularly to introduce your child to information and resources.
  • Talk with your child about his/her day.
  • Set high but realistic standards and recognize that every child is different.

Here are some additional resources that will help you create a positive learning environment at home and motivate your child:

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Attend the Community Involvement Conference

The Community Involvement Conference is an annual event that includes a series of workshops focusing on topics of interest to parents, community members and school leaders. The event also includes a guest speaker and panel, and features a variety of program, fundraising and community resource vendors. Information about each year’s Community Involvement Conference will be posted here prior to the event.

Utilize Parent & Family Resource Centers

Parent & Family Resource Centers offer workshops, materials, and events to support the entire family.

Attend or Serve on a School Advisory Council

School Advisory Councils develop and help to implement school improvement plans.

Attend or Serve on the District Advisory Council

District Advisory Council members help influence district-wide decisions.

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Utilize Parent & Family Resource Centers

Parent & Family Resource Centers offer workshops, materials, and events to support the entire family.

The goal of Polk County Public Schools’ Parent & Family Resource Centers is to educate, equip and partner with students and their support systems by offering a wide variety of relevant and effective programs and resources. By building strong parent-learning communities, the school district aims to increase student achievement and empower parents to raise children who are successful in school and life.

Parent & Family Resource Centers are available to all parents of students who attend Title I schools. Parents are welcome to visit, take part in workshops, and check out materials to help their child with academic skills at home.

Here are just some of the workshops and materials available at Parent & Family Resource Centers: free Rosetta Stone, financial literacy and nutrition workshops; information and resources from local businesses and community organizations; reading, writing, math and science materials for grades pre-K through 12, all of which are linked to Polk County’s curriculum and based in state standards; parent resource books; computers with internet access; ACCESS partner; materials available in English, Spanish and Haitian-Creole; and free game nights.

Additionally, each of the Parent & Family Resource Centers offer homework assistance on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons from 3 to 6 p.m. Contact one of the centers for more information.

The Title I Books Bridge Bus visits each of the Parent & Family Resource Centers weekly. The bus offers parents and students computers with internet access and printing capabilities, online subscriptions, iPad classes and free books. Parents must remain on site while students are using the Books Bridge Bus.

For additional information about the Books Bridge Bus, contact the Family & Parent Resource Center of your choice, or the senior coordinator of library media services at 863-647-4714. More information can also be found on the Books Bridge Bus Facebook page.

Parent & Family Resource Centers are open at the following times:

  • Monday, Wednesday, Friday: elementary sites are open 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.; middle school sites are open 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday and Thursday: 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. or 12:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. for evening classes. Check with the center you plan to use for specific hours.

Parent & Family Resource Centers

Combee Elementary
2805 Morgan Combee Rd
Lakeland, FL 33801
( 863) 668-3035

Garner Elementary
2500 Havendale Blvd NW 
Winter Haven, FL 33881 
(863) 965-5488

Sleepy Hill Elementary
2285 Sleepy Hill Road
Lakeland, FL 33810
(863) 815-6787

Frostproof Elementary
118 W. 3rd Street
Frostproof, FL 33843
(863) 635-8600

Mulberry Middle
500 Martin Luther King Ace
Mulberry, FL 33860
(863) 425-9288

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Attend or Serve on a School Advisory Council

Each school has a School Advisory Council (SAC) whose members:

  • Determine school improvement priorities.
  • Publicize the School Improvement Plan.
  • Support School Improvement Plan implementation.
  • Evaluate the School Improvement Plan.
  • Assist in the decision-making process and approval of expenditures of District Lottery Funds and School Recognition Funds, as well as review the school budget.

For more information, access the SAC Handbook.

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Attend or Serve on the District Advisory Council

The purpose of the District Advisory Council is to assist the superintendent and the School Board in making decisions pertaining to the school district as a whole and to the school system’s educational philosophy, goals, programs and the Florida Program for School Improvement and Accountability in accordance with state law and School Board policy.

The DAC is comprised of representatives from each school’s School Advisory Council, who are selected by their SAC members, or the superintendent or his/her designee.

For more information on DAC, contact the senior coordinator of strategic partnerships at 863-534-0818.

Earn Community Service Hours

Students can earn credit, scholarships and graduation recognitions by getting involved in the school district or other facets of our community.

Donate to the Polk Education Foundation

Your financial support can make a huge difference in the lives of Polk County’s students.

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Earn Community Service Hours

Adults aren’t the only ones who are encouraged to get involved! By engaging in community service projects, students can earn credits and recognition at graduation, and qualify for scholarships.

Students provide more than 100,000 hours of service to Polk County every year through the community service program. Community service coordinators at each high school coordinate the application process and approve the hours and locations where students serve.

Ready to get involved? Start by contacting your high school Community Service Coordinator to register with the community service program. Community service hours served before registering with the program coordinator will not be counted. Service hours must be pre-approved before students begin to log hours.

For more information, contact the district resource specialist trainer for 6-12 school counseling services at 863-519-8197.

Important documents:

Additional information:

For ideas on where to serve your community, visit Volunteer Polk or United Way of Central Florida.

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards have been given to more than 80,000 middle and high school students across the country for helping the less fortunate, promoting health and safety, protecting the environment, and serving their communities through many other volunteer activities. Click here for more information and to apply.

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Donate to the Polk Education Foundation

Your financial support can make a huge difference in the lives of Polk County’s students. For more information on supporting Polk County Public Schools, visit the Polk Education Foundation, call 863-534-0519.