The small-town atmosphere of Lake Wales is what makes newcomers, as well as long time residents, happy to live in a less hectic place to work and attend school. The Polk County School System provides high-quality educational opportunities to children and adults. Teachers who care, parents who are involved, and students who work hard to achieve success are a winning combination.

The Polk County School System is the eighth-largest school district in Florida, covering 1,858 square miles. Over 77,000 students from pre-kindergarten through adult school are enrolled. The Lake Wales area is served by five elementary schools, one middle school, one high school, one technical academy, two private parochial schools and one private co-educational residential school.

Two colleges, Warner Southern and Webber International University, offer higher education close to home. Warner Southern College is a Christian liberal arts college offering 16 Bachelor of Arts degrees.Webber International University is a private, four-year independent college offering Associate of Science, Bachelor of Science and Master’s degrees in business. The 325-acre campus is located on beautiful Crooked Lake.

Polk Community College is in nearby Winter Haven.

It offers courses paralleling those of the state university system. It is a two-year institution. Two technical schools, Ridge Technical Center and Travis Technical Center, are within easy commuting distance. Other area educational institutions include Florida Southern College, the University of Central Florida, the University of Southern Florida, Webster University and the University of Tampa.

In addition, Lake Wales is home to internationally recognized Vanguard School, a private boarding school that serves the needs of students with learning disabilities. Students from over 20 states and 20 foreign countries have access to three dormitories, three classroom buildings, full gym, physical fitness center, library/media center, pool, and cafeteria.

For information regarding the Polk County education system, call the East Area office or the principals’ offices. Or log on to the Polk County Schools web site at

Hillcrest Elementary 863-678-4216
Janie Howard Wilson Elementary 863-678-4211
Polk Avenue Elementary 863-678-4244
Spook Hill Elementary 863-678-4262
Babson Park Elementary 863-678-4664
McLaughlin Middle School 863-678-4233
Lake Wales Senior High School 863-678-4222
Roosevelt Academy 863-678-4252
East Area Adult School 863-965-5475
Ridge Technical Center


Travis Technical Center 863-499-2700
Calvary Christian Academy 863-676-7210
Lake Wales Lutheran 863-676-7300
The Vanguard School 863-676-6091
Florida Southern College 863-680-4111
Polk Community College 863-297-1000
Warner Southern College 863-638-3801
Webber International University 863-638-1431


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