2017 Back-to-School Bashes, Events and Donation Drives

It’s almost school time again!
Find 2017 back-to-school bashes, health fairs and donation drives in Polk County below.
Back to School Freepik
Graphic: Freepik

Upcoming Dates

Student orientation: Tuesday, August 8
First day of school for students: Thursday, August 10
Tax-free holiday: August 4-6


Back 2 School Bash
When: Saturday, July 22, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Where: Oakland Gymnasium, 915 Ave. E, Haines City
What: Stop by this back-to-school event featuring speakers and a guest appearance by Smart Mouth’s Jason Alexander as well as free haircuts, backpacks and food.
Contact: Unity in the Community Central Florida, Dr. Charles Anderson, 863-438-2758, canderson@trinityicc.com
Back to School Bash
When: Saturday, July 29, 10 a.m.-12 p.m.
Where: Wilfred Smith Resource Center, 135 Avenue Y N.E., Winter Haven
What: Join Polk County Parks & Recreation for this free family event featuring free school supplies for children entering kindergarten through the fifth grade (first come, first served). Families will also enjoy music, educational exhibitors and children activities.
Contact: 863-298-7898, borisrodriguez@polk-county.net
Life Church Backpack Outreach
When: Saturday, July 29, 9 a.m.-11 p.m.
Where: 581 Berkley Rd. Auburndale, FL 33823
What: Auburndale’s Life Church will hold a giving for over 700 free school backpacks filled with school supplies for needy families.
Contact: Dawn Simmons, 863-967-5433
Summer Palooza
When: Saturday, July 29, 8 a.m.-1 p.m.
Where: Simpson Park, 1725 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave., Lakeland
What: To introduce New Beginnings High School to the Lakeland community, the school is hosting Summer Palooza so that families and children will have the necessary resources to go back to school. New Beginnings’ Summer Palooza will provide necessities along with educational guest speakers, a warm meal, and entertainment throughout the morning.
Contact: Alicia Brown, 863-298-5666
Back to School First Friday
When: Friday, August 4, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Where: Downtown Lakeland
What: Join the Downtown Lakeland Partnership, MidFlorida & Southeastern University as well as community vendors in celebrating the start of a new school year with school-themed activities. First Friday features free family-friendly entertainment, activities, live music, art receptions, a car show, and the opportunity to check out a great, locally-owned restaurant or retail establishment on the first Friday of each month.
Contact: info@downtownlakelandfl.com
Back to School Bash- Clothing Kids in Our Community
When: Saturday, August 5, 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Where: Auburndale Community Gym, 405 Bennett Street, Auburndale
What: Stop by for free basic back-to-school haircuts, a one-week food supply giveaway, a dunk tank, games, bounce houses and more!
Back to School Block Party
When: Saturday, August 5, 5-7 p.m.
Where: Spence Park, NE 1st St., Mulberry
What: This event is sponsored by Mulberry’s local churches and hosted by the City of Mulberry. Enjoy free food, a basketball tournament, a corn hole tournament, live music, inflatables and more. Backpacks will be distributed at 4pm for those who have pre-registered at the Mulberry Community Center. Stick around for the night swim happening at the Mulberry Community Pool directly after.
Contact: 863-393-8166
IMB Back to School – Color Your Life
When: Saturday, August 5, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Where: Iglesia Manatialde Benndicion, 704 McLeod Ave., Haines City
What: This event will feature face painting, crafts, games, music, a girls beauty workshop, snacks, free backpacks (first come, first serve and must be present), special guest Marilita and more.
Contact: 863-422-3106
Lake Alfred Library Back to School Bash
When: Saturday, August 5, 6-8 p.m.
Where: Lake Alfred Public Library, 245 Seminole Drive, Lake Alfred
What: Get ready for school with the Lake Alfred Library. Win some school supplies, have dinner and get raffle tickets.
Contact: 863-291-5378
New Horizon’s Back to School Bash
When: Saturday, August 5, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Where: New Horizons Church Baptist Church, 11930 US Hwy 98 N, Lakeland
What: Stop by to meet local law enforcement, the Fire Marshal, FHP, etc. as well as to enjoy music, bounce houses, food, games and receive free school supplies.
Contact: 863-858-5865
Rock the Block Back to School Bash
When: Saturday, August 5, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Where: RP Funding Center: George Jenkins Arena, 701 Lime Street, Lakeland
What: Bring the entire family to this free community event featuring giveaways, free backpacks, free haircuts, a health fair, hot dogs, cotton candy, bounce houses and more.
Contact: Harvest Assembly of God: 863-682-7000. The Lakeland Center: 863-834-8100
City of Winter Haven’s Back to School Bash
When: Saturday, August 12, 12-3 p.m.
Where: Winter Haven Recreation and Culture Center Pool, 801 Ave. T NE, Winter Haven
What: School is in session, and we are making a big splash about it. Join the City of Winter Haven for a free family event for school-age children (6-17) for a day of games, food, music and bounce houses at the Winter Haven Recreation and Culture Center Pool.
Contact: 863-291-5656, specialevents@mywinterhaven.com
Free Back to School Bash
When: Saturday, August 19, 12-3 p.m.
Where: Eagle Ridge Mall, 451 Eagle Ridge Dr., Lake Wales
What: Join the Eagle Ridge Mall for free family fun and great giveaways, including school supplies and gift cards.
Contact: 863-676-2300

Health Fairs

Back To School Health Fair
When: Saturday, July 29, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Where: Heart of Florida Regional Medical Center, 40100 US Highway 27, Davenport
What: Good health is the best back-to-school supply your child can have. Don’t miss this free Back-to-School Health Fair combining health and safety education with fun for the whole family including:
– Safety presentations by police and EMS
– Health presentations by local pediatricians and physicians
– Back-to-school screenings and discounts
– Fun Zone with free crafts, face painting and activities
– Free school supplies
– Teddy Bear Clinic
– Drawings for tickets to special events, while supplies last
Contact: 866-997-DOCS

Donation Drives

Back to School Clothing Drive
When: Saturday, August 5, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Where: Top Buttons Upscale Boutique, 236 N. Kentucky Ave., Lakeland
What:All donated clothes will benefit the girls we serve in our Wearing Confidence Program. Clothes can be dropped off either at the Top Buttons Boutique or Viva Vitality.
Some items we would suggest for girls ages 11-18 are:

  • Solid color crew neck shirts
  • White/navy/red polo shirts
  • Khaki/navy pants, skirts, and shorts
  • Denim pants and shorts
  • Belts
  • Solid color zip-up hoodies
  • New white socks
  • Sneakers or close-toed shoes

Contact: 863-450-4060
Stuff the Bus
Stuff the Bus is Central Florida’s largest back-to-school campaign. In addition to the traditional school supplies that are needed such as pens, pencils, wide rule paper, folders with prongs, crayons, markers, backpacks, glue and erasers, you may also donate copy paper, facial tissue, index cards, highlighters, hand sanitizer, zip lock bags, and pencil boxes.
Lakeland: Through Sunday, July 30 at Victory Church (1401 Griffin Rd.)
Lakeland: LkldTV Through end of July their office
Lakeland: Through August 2 at the Wednesday, Lakeland Chamber (35 Lake Morton Drive)
Lakeland: August 2, 7-8:30 a.m., Hall Communications (404 West Lime Street)
Bartow: Through Friday, August 18 at the Bartow Chamber

Vote Learning Resource Center as Polk’s Best Learning Center

We are thrilled to announce that thanks to you and your daily votes last month, the Learning Resource Center has made it to the final round of The Ledger’s 2017 Best of Best Polk contest. Will you help us earn the title of Polk County’s Best Learning & Tutoring Center?

To do so, please vote for LRC daily through Sunday, July 30 under the Kids & Education: Learning Center/Tutor category at TheLedger.com/Contests. The second round of voting began Sunday, July 16, which means we are already days into this final round.
Another way to help is by spreading the word to friends, family and co-workers by email, social media, word of mouth, phone and/or any other ways you can think of. We appreciate any help you can lend.
This voting phase will be used to select the community’s top 3 favorite businesses in 150 categories in Polk County. The winner and finalists in each category will be announced in a special “Best of the Best” section that The Ledger will publish on Friday, September 22.
That’s not all! When you vote in 25 or more categories, you’ll be entered to win a $500 gift card from The Ledger Media Group.
When you vote for LRC, you’re helping us to potentially reach more students and you could win $500. It’s a win-win!
Thanks again for your support and helping us get to this stage of the competition. Thanks in advance for your assistance in this final phase!


The Ledger Best of Best Polk Vote Win 500

Polk 2017-2018 Schools Dates to Remember


Curious about Polk County Public School dates such as the first and last days, student holidays and early release days? Interested in finding out assessment dates for the 2017-2018 school year? Scroll down to find a list of significant calendar dates affecting your PCSB student.
freepik back to school calendar
Graphic by Freepik


August 10 First day of school
September 4 School Holiday- Labor Day
September 18 Student Holiday
October 16 Student Holiday
November 10 School Holiday – Veterans’ Day
November 20-24 School Holiday – Thanksgiving Break
December 22-January 3 School Holiday – Winter Break



January 4 First day back after Winter Break
January 15 School Holiday – MLK, Jr. Day
February 19 School Holiday – Presidents’ Day
March 26-30 School Holiday – Spring Break
May 24 Last day of school

Please note that Oct. 11, 2017, Nov. 15, 2017, Jan. 24, 2018, Feb. 7, 2018, March 14, 2018 and May 16, 2018 were originally Early Release Days. Due to Hurricane Irma, these days are now regular full days.
For more information on the school calendar, upcoming events or Polk school information, please visit the Polk County Public Schools website where we obtained this information.

2017-2018 Assessment Schedule


Date Assessment
September 18-October 6 FSA EOC Algebra 1; Geometry
September 18-October 20 NGSSS EOC Biology 1; Civics; U.S. History
November 27-December 15 FSA EOC Algebra 1; Geometry NGSSS EOC Biology 1; Civics; U.S. History
March 1-9 FSA ELA Writing
April 9-May 11 FSA ELA Reading
April 16-May 11 FSA Math
April 16-May 11 FSA EOC Algebra 1; Geometry NGSSS EOC Biology 1; Civics; U.S. History
April 30-May 4 NGSSS Science (5th & 8th)
July 17-21 FSA EOC Algebra 1; Geometry NGSSS EOC Biology 1; Civics; U.S. History

Click for more Polk County testing information.

If you feel that your child needs help preparing for these assessments, please do not hesitate to contact us to set up One-to-One Tutoring.