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Polk County’s public schools are showing off all of the special programs its schools offer at a School Choice Showcase on Thursday, Jan. 19, at Lakeland Square Mall.

Families can learn more about the school choice options available at the elementary, middle and high schools. Special programs include everything from agricultural science studies at Lake Gibson High School to aerospace engineering and mechanics at Kathleen High School to visual and performing arts at Harrison School For The Arts.

The showcase begins at 4 p.m. and closes at 7:30 p.m.

The School Choice Showcase coincides with the application window for the upcoming 2023-24 school year, and helps parents, guardians and students find the right school or program for them. It is the most important enrollment time of the year for students hoping to get into one of dozens of special programs offered by Polk County Public Schools.

The application window is currently open and ends Feb. 15. It is the annual opportunity to apply for special programs for the 2023-24 school year. Families can apply for their students to attend a variety of PCPS programs, including:

  • Magnet/choice schools
  • Career academies at middle and high schools
  • International Baccalaureate and Cambridge AICE

PCPS has one of the top career academies program in the nation.

Families must submit their applications online via the Parent Portal during the application window. All applications are chosen based on a lottery system, with the exception of IB/Cambridge programs, which have academic requirements, and Harrison School for the Arts, which relies on auditions or portfolios.

All Polk County high schools have special programs or academies that help students graduate with certifications in their field of choice or challenge them with rigorous academics in preparation for or in participation with colleges and universities. In addition, most middle schools offer a pre-academy program, as do many elementary schools.

“We created our School Choice Showcases this year to give families a convenient way to explore the education options in their area,” PCPS Superintendent Frederick Heid said.

Information on the various programs for Polk County public and charter high schools and Lakeland-area elementary and middle schools are listed below. Click on the school names for additional information.

Polk County Public and Charter High Schools

Auburndale High

  • Architecture & Design Academy
  • Agritechnologies Academy
  • Digital Graphics Academy
  • Medical Academy

Bartow High School

  • Culinary Academy
  • Criminal Justice Academy
  • Bartow Medical and Fire Academy
  • Future Educators Academy
  • Architecture, Construction and Engineering Academy
  • iGrow Agriculture Academy
  • Academy of Design

International Baccalaureate at Bartow High School

Davenport High School

  • Academy of Hospitality and Marketing
  • Academy of Leadership, Technology and Agricience

Fort Meade Middle/Senior High School

  • Academy of Leadership and Business
  • Agrowtechnology Academy
  • Construction Academy
  • Pharmacy Technician Academy
  • Hospitality and Marketing Academy

Frostproof Middle/Senior High

  • Ag Dogs Academy
  • Medical Services Academy

George Jenkins High School

  • Academy of Design & Technology
  • Academy of Engineering (Engineering Track)
  • Academy of Engineering (Drafting Track)
  • GEICO Academy of Advanced Business Management
  • Medical Academy
  • Academy of Legal Studies
  • Academy of Veterinary Science

Haines City High School

  • Academy of Children’s Educational Studies
  • Academy of Media of Productions
  • Environmental Agriculture & Technology Academy
  • Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Core
  • Visual Art Academy
  • Performing Art Academy
  • Physical Education

Haines City High School International Baccalaureate

Harrison School For The Arts

Kathleen High School

  • Agricultural Science Academy
  • Digital Media Technology Academy
  • Academy of Health Sciences
  • Central Florida Aerospace Academy

Lake Gibson High School

  • Education Academy
  • Culinary Arts Academy
  • Academy of Agriscience and Agricultural Biotechnology
  • Polk Academy of Business and Technology
  • Academy of Finance
  • Academy of Health

Lake Region High School

  • Water Academy
  • Agriscience Academy
  • Construction Academy of Lake Region
  • Culinary Team
  • TLC Academy
  • iMAGINATION, Inc. (iMAG)
  • Medical Academy
  • Fine Arts Academy

Lake Wales Senior High

  • Agriculture Academy
  • Culinary Academy
  • Design, Technology and Innovation Academy
  • Early Childhood and Teacher Academy
  • Film and Media Communications Academy
  • Health Science Academy
  • International Baccalaureate Program at Lake Wales High https://www.lakewaleshigh.com/ib

Lakeland High School

  • Fine Arts
  • Veterinary Academy
  • Style! Fashion Academy
  • Multimedia Communications Academy

McKeel Academy of Technology

  • The CREaTE (Computer Science, Robotics, Electronics and Technical Education) Academy
  • Legal Studies Program
  • Medical Academy
  • Digital Imagery Academy
  • Scholastic Program for highly motivated students

Mulberry High School

  • Academy of Health & Environmental Sciences
  • Academy for Applied Technologies
  • Academy of Multimedia Communication

Polk Pre-Collegiate Academy

Polk State College Collegiate High

Polk State Chain of Lakes Collegiate High School

Polk State Lakeland Gateway to College Collegiate High School

Ridge Community High School

  • Construction Academy
  • Culinary Arts Academy
  • Academy of Education
  • Medical Academy
  • Veterinary Assisting Academy

Summerlin Academy

  • Rigorous academics are taught in a military-structured environment

Tenoroc High School

Travis Technical College

  • Various trade certifications

Lakeland Area Elementary and Middle Schools

Achievement Academy – Lakeland

  • For special needs students

Bill Duncan Opportunity Center

Carlton Palmore Elementary

Cleveland Court Elementary

  • STEM Accelerated Academy

Combee Academy of Design & Engineering

Crystal Lake Elementary – A Community Partnership School

  • Offers a variety of supports and services for students, families and community members

Crystal Lake Middle

  • AquaCulture
  • CASE Academy – science or engineering  academic path
  • STEAM Academy

Dixieland Elementary

Doris A Sanders Learning Center

  • Serving students with varying exceptionalities from 5 to 22 years of age

Dr. N.E. Roberts Elementary

Edgar L. Padgett Elementary

Griffin Elementary

Highlands Grove Elementary

James W. Sikes Elementary

Jesse Keen Elementary

Kathleen Elementary

Kathleen Middle

  • Agriculture Pre-Academy
  • Pre-Academy of Culinary Arts
  • Medical Pre-Academy

Lake Gibson Middle

  • Agricultural Science
  • Business
  • Culinary Arts
  • Pre-Medical
  • Media Design

Lakeland Highlands Middle

  • Accelerated Academy — for students with high academic achievement
  • A.E.R. – Aviation, Engineering, Robotics
  • Agriculture
  • Arts & Entertainment
  • Culinary Arts
  • Medical
  • Media Design
  • Video Game Design

Lakeland Montessori Schoolhouse

Lakeland Montessori Middle

Lawton Chiles Middle Academy

  • International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme
  • Arts & Design
  • Language – Spanish and Latin

Lincoln Avenue Academy

  • International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme World School

Magnolia Montessori Academy

McKeel Central Academy

South McKeel Academy

Medulla Elementary

Mi Escuela Montessori

  • Bilingual immersion education

North Lakeland Elementary

Oscar J. Pope Elementary

Philip O’Brien Elementary

R. Bruce Wagner Elementary

  • STEM Program

R. Clem Churchwell Elementary

REAL Academy

  • An alternative school for non-traditional students who need additional support to graduate

Rochelle School of the Arts

  • Arts Curriculum
  • STEAM Curriculum

Rosabelle W. Blake Academy

  • Community Service
  • Leadership
  • Short Film

Scott Lake Elementary

Sleepy Hill Elementary

Sleepy Hill Middle

  • Advantages
  • STEM
  • Pre-Aerospace Academy
  • CSI Academy
  • Certification for 3D CAD (Computer Aid Design)

Socrum Elementary

Southwest Elementary

  • Digital Media Academy

Southwest Middle

  • Pre-Agriculture
  • Pre-Culinary
  • Pre-Media Design
  • Pre-Business Technology
  • STEAM Academy

Valleyview Elementary

Wendell Watson Elementary

Winston Academy of Engineering

Contact information for additional help:

  • Career academy applications: 863-519-8438
  • Magnet school applications: 863-534-0631 ext. 788
  • Parent Portal help: 863-519-7600 (ext. 1 for Pupil Accounting)

SEND CORRECTIONS, questions, feedback or news tips: newstips@lkldnow.com

Kimberly C. Moore, who grew up in Lakeland, has been a print, broadcast and multimedia journalist for more than 30 years. Before coming to LkldNow in the spring of 2022, she was a reporter for four years with The Ledger, first covering Lakeland City Hall and then Polk County schools. She is the author of “Star Crossed: The Story of Astronaut Lisa Nowak," published by University Press of Florida. Reach her at kimberly@lkldnow.com or 863-272-9250.

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