Story by Melanie Ave Photographs by Toni L. Sandys of the Times staff
The state gave 64 schools in Florida an F grade last year, among them Shaw Elementary in a high-poverty area of Tampa. While politicians and academics debate school grading, the people at Shaw lived it. From day one of the 2002-03 school year, most everything they did was geared toward the FCATs that loomed eight months down the road, tests that could make or break the school. After that, they waited for their grade, and they prayed. See how third-grader Hershauna Carter, above, and the rest of Shaw Elementary battled the worst label in Florida.