Good grades roll through Polk County

Polk County Schools Superintendent, multiple area school principals, and local business leaders unveiled the "B Bus" Aug. 30 in celebration of the first county school grade of B over the last eight years.

POLK COUNTY – For the first time in eight years, Polk County Public Schools have a state grade of “B” and school staff, students and area business leaders are celebrating by sharing the good news in advertising on a special Citrus Connection bus called the “B Bus.”

“Our good news will be rolling through Polk County letting everyone see the B Bus and know that we are a district on the rise,” said Master of Ceremonies and Mulberry High School Senior Class President Brenda Alvarez.

Mulberry High School was one of the Polk County Schools with dramatic grade improvement. The school had a grade of D in 2016 and 2017. Last year the school got a B.

Other Winter Haven area schools with marked improvement include: Garner Elem with F, F, and now C, Snively Elem with D, C and now B, Stambaugh Middle with D, D and now C, Auburndale Central Elem with F, D and now C, Eagle Lake Elem with D, C and now B, Bartow Middle with D, D and now C, Lake Alfred Poly with D, D and now C, Ft Meade Middle/High with C, C and now B and Garden Grove Elem with C, C and now B.

The principals of six schools with grade improvements attended the ribbon cutting, Chris Roberts of Bartow Middle, Julie Grice of LA Poly, Amy Hardee of Ft Meade Middle/Senior, Michael Young of Mulberry, Sheila Gregory of Kathleen Middle and Tom Patton of George Jenkins.

Business partners Tom Phillips of Citrus Connection, Ryan DelliVeniri of ImageDepot Express, Juan and Fabby Bocanegra of Southern Graphic Designs and Donovan Tinsley of Tinsley Creative helped make the B Bus a reality.

Polk County Public Schools have averaged a C for the past eight years. Superintendent Jacqueline Byrd said the feeling she had when the grades came out in June is hard to describe.

“We dream of a better future for our children,” Superintendent Byrd said. “Our B is a huge accomplishment.”

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