With medical clinic and other services, Polk Co. gets first 'community school'

LAKELAND, FLA. - A new type of school, called a "community school,” is coming to Polk County. Crystal Lake Elementary in Lakeland will be the first one in the district.

The school will have a clinic on campus to provide medical care for students. Students and families will also be able to get mental health counseling and food from the school if they can't afford it.

The district picked Crystal Lake Elementary in part because it’s in a low-income area where people have limited access to healthcare and other services. The hope is having these services available will allow the students to excel in school.

“We want to have a higher graduation rate,” Deputy Superintendent John Small said. “We're starting at the youngest age level we address to hopefully catch those children before they fall through the cracks.”

The school district is partnering with dozens of organizations in the area, including United Way of Central Florida and the University of Central Florida.

If this pilot program goes well, the district could expand it to other schools in Polk County.

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