Zoning, Homework Among Topics of Discussion at Sleepy Hill Middle Town Hall

Zoning, Homework Among Topics of Discussion at Sleepy Hill Middle Town Hall

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School Board member Kay Fields during a town hall at Sleepy Hill Middle

Polk County School Board member Kay Fields held her second town hall event Tuesday evening, where employees, parents and students shared concerns, ideas — and compliments — with the school district’s top leadership.

Fields has made meetings like the one at Sleepy Hill Middle a key feature of her fifth term on the School Board. She held her first town hall in January at Kathleen High.

Approximately 50 attendees took the opportunity to speak directly to Fields, as well as Superintendent Jacqueline Byrd, Deputy Superintendent John Hill, Chief Academic Officer Michael Akes, Sleepy Hill Middle Principal Kathryn Blackburn and other representatives of the school district during Tuesday’s event.

“I really appreciate everything everyone at this school does. I know they work extremely hard to educate our students and to make them ready for the world,” said Zuleika Register, who has twin seventh-graders at Sleepy Hill, and who took Tuesday’s event as a chance to tell district leadership she’d like for her children to receive more homework.

“To have a platform like this to bring my concerns to the School Board and the superintendent, it’s a great opportunity to really be heard.”

Amy Hamilton, who’s taught at Sleepy Hill since it opened 20 years ago, spoke passionately about the need for the school district to reexamine the school’s attendance zone. Sleepy Hill Middle, located just north of Lakeland Square Mall, draws students from as far as South Lakeland, she said, which results in long bus rides, tired children and a weakened sense of school community.

Byrd said she and the School Board will be discussing zoning for the school.

“I love this school. It’s my home. If I’m not here, I feel lost,” Hamilton said. “I think it’s great to have an event like this so that teachers, parents and all sides can hear what’s really going on. I think more of these events should be done. It allows people to be in on the conversation.”

Adults weren’t the only ones who had their voices heard at the Sleepy Hill Middle meeting. Seventh-grade student Elijah Brown commented that students can play a big part in improving the school environment.

“Some of the teachers give everything they have to helping the kids in their classroom,” Brown said. “But the students really don’t give them enough respect for everything they do.”

Stay tuned for details on Fields’ next town hall.