Polk State’s collegiate high schools achieve top marks

Posted on by Polk Newsroom

Polk State College’s three collegiate high schools have achieved top marks from the Florida Department of Education for the 2021-2022 year.

Polk State Lakeland Collegiate High School and Polk State Chain of Lakes Collegiate High School received A grades, and Polk State Lakeland Gateway to College Collegiate High School achieved a Commendable school improvement rating, which it receives in place of a school grade due to differences in its mission and charter. Commendable is the highest rating.

“Polk State College’s collegiate high schools are dedicated to excellence and the success of our schools continues to benefit Polk County’s students through quality education,” said Gateway Principal Meesha Downing-Townsend. “At Gateway, I am proud of our students, faculty, and staff who helped us achieve our Commendable rating and who work to ensure our continued excellence.”

Gateway has received Commendable ratings since 2017. Lakeland Collegiate and Chain of Lakes have received A grades since 2015 and boast 100% graduation rates.

They did not receive grades in 2021 pursuant to the FDOE’s emergency order which made school grades optional for the 2020-2021 school year due to impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, but Polk State’s charter schools have consistently seen success.

“I am exceedingly proud of the students, faculty, and staff who have worked diligently to earn a school grade of A once again,” Chain of Lakes Principal Patrice Thigpen said. “Chain of Lakes continues to provide the perfect balance of high school traditions and real college experience for East Polk County junior and seniors. We look forward to continuing this legacy for many years to come, and we encourage students seeking such an opportunity to contact us.”

Polk State’s three charter high schools allow students to simultaneously complete requirements for their high school diplomas while earning college credits. In many cases, students graduate with both their high school diplomas and Associate in Arts degrees.

Of the 2022 graduating classes, 58% of students achieved their associate degrees and approximately $3.4 million was earned in scholarships. Graduates continue their education at Polk State, State University System institutions, and Ivy League schools.

“Each year, our faculty, staff, and students work hard to achieve excellence. Once again, our efforts have paid off as we are recognized as a top performing school in the state of Florida,” Lakeland Collegiate Principal Rick Jeffries said. “I am so proud of this great accomplishment.”

Chain of Lakes and Gateway collegiate high schools are still enrolling students for the 2022-2023 Academic Year. The applications and more information are available at the following links for each school: