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Polk County Public Schools is proud to announce that six schools will no longer remain in turnaround status after significantly improving their students’ academic performance, according to the latest data from the Florida Department of Education.

Six schools are expected to earn a grade of C, based upon analysis of student scores from this spring’s mandatory statewide exams, known as the Florida Standards Assessments (FSA). These six schools previously held a grade of D:

  • Alta Vista Elementary
  • Dixieland Elementary
  • McLaughlin Middle School & Fine Arts Academy
  • Philip O’Brien Elementary
  • Purcell Elementary
  • Snively Elementary

A news conference will be held at 9 a.m. on Friday (Aug. 6) at the Jim Miles Professional Development Center, 4270 Wallace Road in Lakeland.

RSVPs are appreciated for planning purposes. You can RSVP by emailing

Turnaround schools are closely monitored by the state and must follow improvement plans to increase their grade. FLDOE calculates school grades using FSA scores.

This year, the state will not be issuing school grades, as many schools statewide saw their scores drop significantly during the pandemic. However, school districts can opt-in to receive a letter grade. This process takes about 30 days to complete.

“Although we are not obligated to accept letter grades for all of our schools, it makes sense to opt-in for these six schools,” said Frederick Heid, current PCPS superintendent. “We are proud of their success. We should acknowledge and celebrate their hard work.”

Jacqueline Byrd, who retired in June as PCPS superintendent, spent years supporting the district’s turnaround schools, devoting resources toward their improvement plans.

“I am absolutely thrilled for the students, teachers, and staff members from the six schools,” Byrd said. “Their accomplishment is even more impressive when you consider all of the challenges of the pandemic. They kept fighting and didn’t let any obstacles stand in their way. We should rightfully celebrate their achievement.”

Byrd, Heid and administrators from these six schools will be available for comment at Friday’s news conference.

In addition, Heid will also be available for general back-to-school questions.

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