School Mission

"At Oscar J. Pope Elementary, we believe that all can and will learn.  We expect everyone to work together, respect themselves and each other and to learn the skills that are taught."

School Vision

"Oscar J. Pope Elementary School has support from the staff, parents, and the community.  Our students are successful and actively engaged in active, purposeful, hands on activities.  Our teachers are enthusiastic and all classrooms present a warm and inviting atmosphere where the love of reading and writing is consistently encouraged.  Learning experiences that involve critical thinking and problem solving are evident.  Technology is used to help students access knowledge and to practice the skills necessary for success in the workforce.  Our campus provides a safe and orderly environment for all.  All students demonstrate respect for school rules.  Staff members and transportation staff reinforce those rules in a positive manner."

School History


Initial Development

Oscar J. Pope Elementary School is named in honor of the late Oscar Josiah Pope, an early Lakeland citizen who advocated for education and Polk County students.

Oscar J. Pope Elementary School is proud to be a federally funded Title One school located in the Eaton Park suburb of the greater Lakeland metropolitan community.  Built on a previous air field in 1965, Oscar J. Pope Elementary School has provided excellence in education to all students for forty nine years.  Oscar J. Pope Elementary School prides itself on being a neighborhood school that services students in grades Pre-Kindergarten through Fifth with an approximate enrollment of 485 students.

From its beginning, Oscar J. Pope Elementary School has provided education to students in both regular and exceptional education programs.  Currently, Oscar J. Pope Elementary School provides exceptional education services in exceptionalities including but not limited to orthopedically impaired, physically impaired, developmentally delayed, deaf/hard of hearing, emotional/behavioral disorders, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and students included in the Autism spectrum.

Recent History

Recently, the former West Polk County Child Training Center portion of Oscar J. Pope Elementary School underwent an extensive renovation.  This center, built as an addition to the main structure in 1972, formerly housed exceptional education classrooms and, at one time, the guidance offices.  After months of hard work, the renovations performed have provided our students, parents, faculty, and community members with a new computer lab, science lab, music facility, art studio, and offices for the reading resource teacher, ESE and Title One facilitators.

Administrative History

The first principal of Oscar J. Pope Elementary was John Lovelace in 1965.  In 1970, Jay W. Erwin was named principal, a position he held until his death in 1998.  Janel Barber, a former assistant principal at OJP, returned to the school in 1998 following the death of Mr. Erwin.  Mrs. Barber was principal from 1998 to 2009.  In 2009, Angela Gordon became the principal.  Mrs. Gordon stayed at OJP until 2012 when she moved to Bartow Middle School.  In the summer of 2012, Qvonda Birdsong, a former assistant principal at OJP, became the principal.

The first assistant principal of the school was William S. Brophy, a former school librarian.  Mr. Brophy held the position of assistant principal from 1973 to 2000 when he retired.  Following Mr. Brophy's retirement, Sheila Dyer (now principal at Floral Avenue Elementary) became assistant principal, a position she held until 2006.  In 2006, Samantha Sitek joined the school as assistant principal following Ms. Dyer's promotion to Floral Avenue Elementary.  In 2009, Qvonda Birdsong was named assistant principal, a position she held until 2012 when she was promoted to acting principal at OJP.  In the summer of 2012, Charlie Huntley became assistant principal.

21st Century Learning

Oscar J. Pope Elementary School provides all students with access to cutting edge technology.  Each classroom is equipped with a SMART interactive white board, Lightspeed Surround Sound System, LCD projector, and multiple Internet-capable computers, laptops, and/or tablets.  Teachers have the ability to access laptop carts and Kindles to provide students with the opportunities to further their learning through technology.  Teachers also use SMART Airliners to maximize learning and classroom management. 

Oscar J. Pope Elementary teachers utilize the gradual release model of instruction, differentiate instruction for all learning levels and modalities, and integrate best instructional strategies each day to maximize student success. 

Through the award winning Instructional Television program "Stallion Quest News" at Oscar J. Pope Elementary, all members of the Stallion family are engaged with school events and building school spirit.  Students especially enjoy the "Fabulous Friday Gold Ticket Drawing" as well as the monthly "Student of the Month" shows.

Teacher and Employee of the Year

Teacher and School Related Employee of the Year

Teacher of the YearCongratulations to Cheris Williams and Louise Camacho for being nominated by their colleagues as the Teacher and School Related Employee of the Year.  Mrs. Williams began her career with Polk County Public Schools as a Title One paraeducator.  Through the years, she transitioned into a student specific paraeducator role before being hired as a first grade teacher at Oscar J. Pope Elementary in 2011.  Mrs. Williams consistently leads her grade level in activities which promote school spirit and family involvement.  Congratulations Mrs. Williams!

School-Related Employee of the YearMs. Camacho has been a member of the OJP family since 1997!  Ms. Camacho is a child of deaf adults which greatly impacted her role here at the school.  Ms. Camacho serves as an American Sign Language interpreter, and can often be found assisting deaf or hard of hearing parents during parent nights, meetings, and at other school functions.  Ms. Camacho is also fluent in Spanish and assists Spanish speaking guests frequently.  We are very lucky to have Ms. Camacho as part of our OJP family.

Action 100

"Action 100 is a 12-step Response to Intervention (RtI) school transformation model designed to aggressively transform school cultures for sustainable student achievement.  This framework, built on the architecture of the Common Core Standards, jump-starts low-performing schools in their move toward accelerated and continuous reading improvement."  (Source:  American Reading Company Web Site;

The Action 100 system delivers these key benefits:

  • Every K-2 student to grade level proficiency
  • Every 3rd-8th grade student to gain 30 points on state tests
  • Keyed to Common Core Standards

Click here for more information on Action 100.

Positive Behavior Support

Oscar J. Pope Elementary School is proud to utilize the Positive Behavior Support (PBS) program school wide.  Positive Behavior Support (PBS) gives people a new way to think about behavior.  PBS is based on understanding why problem behaviors occur - the behavior's function.  This approach to behavior can occur on a school-wide level, in a specific setting, classroom, or with an individual student.  PBS provides a positive and effective alternative to the traditional methods of discipline.  PBS methods are research-based and proven to significantly reduce the occurrence of problem behaviors in the school, resulting in a more positive school climate and increased academic performance.  PBS is consistent with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) which advocates the use of positive behavior interventions and school-based disciplinary strategies that reduce or eliminate the need to use suspension and expulsion as disciplinary options."  (Source:  Florida's Positive Behavior Support Project;

Students at Oscar J. Pope Elementary School are praised and rewarded for positive behavior choices.  "OSCAR"brations are held to celebrate student behavior successes.  During the 2013 - 2014 school year, OSCARbrations included outdoor games, water sports, popcorn and movies, and Wacky Wear Day!

Click here to view our parent informational pamphlet. 

Code of Conduct & Other School Policy

Enrolling at Oscar J. Pope Elementary School

In order to enroll at our school, you must live within our geographic attendance zone boundary or your child must have an IEP designating OJP as his/her flow school.  To check to see if you are zoned for our school, please go to and search your address.

If you are zoned or flow to our school, your child will need birth date verification, immunization record, a physical dated within one year, and two proofs of residence.  Your child will not be enrolled or assigned to a homeroom class until all paperwork is received and verified by school personnel.  If you have questions about this paperwork, please call the school and speak with Gladys Delabastide.

Code of Conduct

Oscar J. Pope Elementary adheres to the Polk County Public Schools Code of Conduct.  Each child receives a copy of the current Code of Conduct Handbook during the first week of school in August.  Parents are requested to sign the forms and return them to school as soon as possible.

2014-15 Student Code of Conduct

2014-15 Student/Parent Acknowledgement Form

2014-15 Directory Opt-Out Form

2014-15 Image/Technology Form

Polk County Schools Dress Code Policy

Oscar J. Pope Elementary School follows the Polk County Schools dress code policy.  The school shirt colors are hunter green, navy blue, and white.

Show your Stallion pride by purchasing the official O.J. Pope Stallions t-shirt.  T-shirts are available for $6.00 in the office.

Please click here for the Polk County Schools dress code policy.

Show Your Stallion Pride!

Click here to download the instrumental version (MP3 format) of our alma mater.

Click here to download the lyrics.