Two ‘double-F’ charter schools spared automatic closure in baseline grading year

Florida released a new batch of A-F grades to schools, but without some of the usual negative consequences.

The 2022-23 school year was the first under a new state assessment system. The state has waived any negative consequences stemming from low school grades in this initial baseline year.

Among the beneficiaries of this safe harbor are two charter schools that received their second consecutive F grades: Duval County’s Wayman Academy of the Arts and Hillsborough County’s Village of Excellence Academy.

In normal years, they would face automatic closure unless they could show their performance was comparable to that of nearby public schools. That and other consequences will resume in future years. The state offered a similar accountability pause in 2015, the last time it made a major change in assessments.

The state Department of Education calibrated this year’s school grades to match the distribution of letter grades given out in the 2021-22 school year. Manny Diaz Jr., the state’s education commissioner, described the 2022-23 letter grades released today as a “starting point for future achievement.”

The transition to a new assessment system also means the state does not yet have data on the learning gains students have made from one year to the next. That means this year’s letter grades primarily reflect students’ test scores, as well as acceleration and graduation rates in middle and high schools. Learning gains will return in future years’ school grade calculations.

Avatar photo

BY Travis Pillow

Travis Pillow is Director of Thought Leadership at Step Up For Students and editor of NextSteps. He lives in Sanford, Fla. with his wife and two children. A former Tallahassee statehouse reporter, he most recently worked at the Center on Reinventing Public Education, a research organization at Arizona State University, where he studied community-led learning innovation and school systems' responses to the Covid-19 pandemic. He can be reached at tpillow (at)