We’re overdue in recognizing a special partnership this year between the City of Lakeland and Lakeland High School.
This school year, the City joined forces with PCPS and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay (BBBS) for the School-to-Work program, which provides one-to-one mentoring to help improve graduation rates.
Students (designated as “Littles”) from Lakeland High visit employees (“Bigs”) at the City of Lakeland offices one morning each month during the school year for about three hours. Littles learn post-graduation skills, then spend one-to-one time with their Bigs discussing goals and planning for the future.
BBBS says School-to-Work has resulted in a 100% graduation rate for high school students who complete the program. In 2018-19, Winter Haven High became the first Polk County school to take part in the School-to-Work initiative, partnering with CenterState Bank.
“School-to-Work introduces our students to opportunities that they might not have encountered otherwise. It’s a way to learn new skills and grow in a safe environment, working alongside professionals in our community,” said Jeanette Crowley, PCPS’ senior coordinator of strategic partnerships. “In addition, the program opens students’ eyes to new career possibilities here in Polk County — and it’s a positive experience for the mentors as well.”
PCPS is working to add another high school to the mentoring initiative for 2022-23. Stay tuned for details!