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-The spring semester is quickly approaching, and Polk County Public Schools is asking for parents help to ensure our meal service keeps running smoothly.

PCPS is asking ALL families of Campus eSchool (online) students to register for pickup meals for the spring semester, if they are planning to use the service.

PCPS also provides pickup meals to all children 18 and under — even if they are not PCPS students — at specific locations.

Parents can click here to register if they wish to receive meals.

PCPS uses the registration information to help with our meal preparations. For more information about our meals program, please see polkschoolsfl.com/lunchlocations.

-A group of citizens has been chosen to help narrow down the candidates for the next top leader of Polk County Public Schools.

The Citizens Screening Committee will evaluate the applications of those applying to become the successor of Superintendent Jacqueline Byrd, who is retiring in June 2021.

The committee’s meetings are open to the public, and are scheduled on Jan. 28, Feb. 11 and Feb. 18. Each meeting will begin at 6 p.m. and take place at the Jim Miles Professional Development Center, 4270 Wallace Road in Lakeland.

Those who do not wish to attend in-person will be able to view the committee’s meetings live via Zoom, a video conferencing application.

The Citizens Screening Committee will send a list of the top qualified candidates to the school board for consideration.

For the latest news on the search for the next superintendent, including applications of those interested in the position, visit polkschoolsfl.com/supersearch.

-Bartow High’s Jon Eckman has been recognized as one of Florida’s top band directors. Eckman is a 2021 recipient of the Oliver Hobbs Award, a prestigious honor given by the Florida Bandmasters Association (FBA). Each school district is allowed one nominee for the Oliver Hobbs Award, and there are no more than four recipients selected by FBA each year. For more information, click here.

-Parents and students will build their tech skills, learn about healthy eating habits, and potentially win a computer through a new educational initiative called Know & Grow that will launch in February. Know & Grow is the latest initiative spearheaded by Synced for Students, a Polk Vision/PCPS partnership created in 2020 to address technological inequity within Polk County. For more information, click here.

-Polk County Public Schools is asking for the community’s help with selecting a mascot for our new elementary school being built in Davenport.

Mascot choices have been narrowed down to two possibilities: Bears or Panthers.

Voting ends Jan. 22. For more information and a link to the online survey, click here.

The school, located at 201 Bella Citta Blvd. in Davenport, will open in Aug. 2021. Measuring 126,834 square feet, the school will serve up to 996 students in the fast-growing East Polk area.

The Polk County School Board has not yet officially approved a name for the school. Following a public survey, a naming committee selected Bella Citta Elementary, which school board members will consider at their Jan. 26 meeting.

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