Polk parents learn plan to save failing schools

Posted at 10:45 PM, Aug 18, 2016

Thursday evening Polk County administrators held meetings for parents at five failing schools to inform them about their plan to improve those schools.

Boone Middle School, Kathleen Middle School, Lake Alfred-Addair Middle School, Denison Middle School and Westwood Middle School received "D" letter grades. The Florida Department of Education rejected the district's improvement plan once and created a new plan, submitted early this week.

Administrators will travel to St. Augustine at the end of the month to present the plan. The state can approve it, deny it or defer it.

Superintendent Jacqueline Byrd hopes the new plan will be approved. It includes more work and incentives for teachers. Byrd said they cannot do this alone, and she wants parents to know exactly what they are doing.

"I can't speak for the state, but I can (say) we're moving forward, and we just need everybody to understand that we want what's best for our students here at this school and the other four schools in our entire district," Byrd said.

Superintendent Byrd said these specific schools were almost given a "C" grade.

"It's not good enough for any of us, and that's why we're committed to doing the work. That's why we're sharing the information of what it's going to look like (and) what we're going to be doing in our schools, and we're going to continue focusing on improving our entire district," Byrd said.

Parents said they want the best education possible for their children, and they don't want to be fearful their schools will close down.

"We have faith. So we gotta have faith in the teachers and the system, so let's see if it'll work," Miriam Bermejo said.