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What is a Charter School?

Charter schools are tuition-free public schools of choice, but each charter school is governed independently. Unlike traditional public schools, every charter school must demonstrate success, or it will lose its charter.

The Education Foundation of Osceola County, Inc. is a not-for-profit entity organized exclusively for educational purposes. The initial mission of the Foundation included providing mini-grants to teachers for innovative classroom programs and supporting district efforts to recruit quality educators. The Foundation embarked on an additional effort in 1992. That year, the District’s strategic plan called for the establishment of a scholarship fund, which would guarantee the first year of college tuition for every graduating senior in Osceola County.

Today, the Foundation is a solid, non-profit organization led by a 40-member board of directors. The board is made up of parents, corporate executives, community leaders, and elected officials. This board has increased the foundation’s programs to serve educators and district staff in their efforts to give Osceola County’s students the best education possible. The Education Foundation of Osceola County, Inc. partners with National Academic Educational Partners, Inc. (NAEP), a long-standing and successful educational services company and partner.

PM Wells Charter Academy is a member of the NAEP family of schools. NAEP manages private and municipal charters for grades Pre-K through 12 and trains teachers, leaders, and district administrators all over the nation in the latest instructional best-practices.

For more information on NAEP, please visit

Charter Schools are...

  • Tuition-free and open to all students,
  • Non-sectarian, and do not discriminate on any basis,
  • Publicly funded by state dollars based on enrollment, like other public schools.
  • Held accountable to state and federal academic

Who can attend a charter school?

Charter schools are open to all students; however, charter schools are allowed to target students within specific age groups or grade levels, students considered at-risk of dropping out or failing, Students wishing to enroll in a charter school-in-the-workplace or charter school-in-a-municipality, students residing within a reasonable distance of the school, students who meet reasonable academic, artistic or other eligibility standards established by the charter school, or students articulating from one charter school to another.

How are charter schools governed?

Charter schools are governed by an independent, volunteer governing board and operate under a contract or “charter” with their sponsor, usually their local school district, that monitors progress, student achievement, and ensures the school meets academic and financial requirements.

What role do alternative charter schools play in Florida’s system of public education?

Alternative charter schools give students a chance to complete their high school education in a nurturing environment that understands their particular needs and challenges. Alternative programs are graded by the state using the School Improvement Rating (SIR) matrix.

Are charter schools graded?

Yes. Charter schools are evaluated and assigned a school grade by the Florida Department of Education using the same standards and criteria used to grade district-run public schools. Alternative charter schools are graded using the School Improvement Rating (SIR) matrix.

How long have charter schools been operating in Florida?

Charter schools have been providing high quality education options for families in Florida since 1997 — helping students make great academic strides and have provided quality education options where there once where none. There are more than 650 charter schools in Florida today with student enrollment exceeding 271,000 (2015-16).

What has caused the growth of charter schools?

Florida parents overwhelmingly support education choice and feel that finding the best education option for their child – whether district-run magnet, public charter, or private school – is important. A national survey revealed that 78% of parents with school-age children support having a charter public school open in their neighborhood. Support was even greater among low-income parents, with 88% in favor of having a charter school in their community.

Do charter school students take state assessment exams?

Yes. Just like students attending a district-run public school, charter schools students must take standardized state exams (like the FSA) and meet federal academic benchmarks. According to reports by the Florida Department of Education.

Are charter school teachers certified?

Yes. Teachers employed by or under contract with a charter school must be certified like those working in a district-run school.

Are charter schools making a difference?

Yes. Florida’s charter schools are helping students achieve academically. According to a Florida Department of Education’s report: Student Achievement in Florida’s Charter Schools – A Comparison of the Performance of Charter School Students with District-run Public School Students (April 2017):

  • In 65 of the 77 comparisons, students enrolled in charter schools demonstrated higher rates of grade level performance (scoring a level three or above on the statewide assessment).
  • The percentage of students making learning gains was higher in charter schools in 82 of the 96
  • In 22 separate comparisons, the achievement gap – used to analyze the learning gap between white students and African-American students, and white student and Hispanic students – was lower for charter school students in 20 of the

The country’s major charter school networks are seeing stu- dents finish college at a rate 3 – 5 times greater as the national average for low-income students in district-run schools, according a new Richard Whitmire series, “The Alumni.”