Case Study

Crystal Lake Elementary School, A Community Partnership School

Long-Term Outcomes

  • Improve High School Graduation
  • Improve College & Career Readiness

Introduction to the Community School concept and the history of how Crystal Lake Elementary was chosen…

The Community Partnership School model focuses on the whole child (physical, mental, social and emotional health, and well-being) and takes a holistic approach in providing supports for the child. The purpose of the Community Partnership School is to increase overall lifelong success in education, employment, and health for those served.

Our goal is to make this a success and replicate this concept at other schools. All of the schools we researched could benefit from the community school concept. We plan to learn valuable lessons at Crystal Lake Elementary that will help us in the future.

John Small, Deputy – Superintendent, Polk County Public Schools

Year One Update

A Director for the Community Partnership School was hired in May of 2018 and, together with the School Principal, immediately began making preparations for transitioning to the Community Partnership School model starting Fall 2018. Through a shared system of governance, representatives from the five core partner organizations, along with leadership from the School District and the community, worked together as a Cabinet.

Students at Crystal Lake Elementary School performing for parents and family during Fine Arts Night.

A top priority for leadership was the completion of the Needs Assessment which was essential in determining the initial programs and range of services. Crystal Lake students, parents and family members, as well as residents from the surrounding neighborhood participated in the surveys. Respondents helped define not only what but when services and supports should be offered to best meet their needs and schedules.

While the Assessment was being performed an additional priority was securing the key staff members necessary to coordinate the various programs and services that will be through the School. A Health Programs Coordinator was on-boarded in January 2019 to coordinate health and wellness services, data collection, community service/monitoring, and serve as liaison between the school and Central Florida Healthcare on campus providers. In Spring 2019, an After- School Programs Coordinator was hired to focus on extended learning services such as tutoring, enrichment, and clubs, and to coordinate all after school on-campus activities.

Central Florida Health Care held a ribbon cutting ceremony on May 16, 2019 signifying the opening of the Crystal Lake Community Health Center. The Center is situated on the school campus and provides services not only to students and their parents, but also members of the surrounding community.

With the needs assessment completed and three dedicated staff members in place, the Community Partnership School is well positioned for the 2019-2020 School Year. Plans are to add the necessary services and supports to achieve goals of improved academic performance, increasing student attendance and reducing absenteeism, creating a positive school culture, improving student health, and increasing the level of parent, family and community engagement.

Crystal Lake Elementary School is registered with the UCF Center for Community Schools which is internationally recognized as the premier resource for innovations in community education. To ensure consistency in the quality of programming as well as to provide a strategy and framework fidelity, the University of Central Florida has developed a process to Certify Community Partnership Schools that demonstrates alignment with the UCF Standards. Crystal Lake Elementary School is tracking to become fully UCF Community School certified during the 2020-2021 school year.

Community School Partners provided an update to members of the United Way of Central Florida Tocqueville Society on the implementation of the model at Crystal Lake Elementary (Seated L to R) Penny Borgia, United Way of Central Florida; Lynn Wilson, Polk County Public School Board; Amy Bratten, Ed.D., Southeastern University; Lawrence Best, Central Florida Health Care; Kim Long, Polk Vision; Andrea Hagan, Heartland for Children; (Standing) David Robinson, DSM Technology.

Core Partner Organizations:

  • Central Florida Health Care
  • Heartland for Children
  • Polk County Public Schools District
  • Southeastern University
  • United Way of Central Florida

At Polk County Public Schools, we believe in educating the whole child, and the community school initiative is a perfect representation of that commitment. At Crystal Lake Elementary, we are removing the barriers that often stand between children and their full academic potential. By providing access to health care, after-school tutoring, and the wide variety of other resources available at Crystal Lake, we’re clearing the way for our children to learn, grow, thrive and prepare for successful lives. This school stands as a wonderful example of what is possible when numerous organizations come together with a shared purpose – and what better purpose than our future, the students of Polk County. We are very thankful for the support of all the core partners who have made the community partnership school possible.

Jacqueline Byrd, Superintendent, Polk County Public Schools

Crystal Lake Elementary, a Community Partnership School is financially supported by:

  • George Jenkins Family Foundation Iron Horse Foundation
  • George W. Jenkins Fund within the GiveWell Community Foundation
  • United Way of Central Florida Community Impact Grants
  • Publix Super Markets Charities
  • Suncoast Credit Union through the Polk Education Foundation

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