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Climate star ratings show success for nearly all local schools

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Education

All but one school each for the Rome and Floyd County school systems received an above average or excellent climate star rating, according to data released by the Georgia Department of Education.

The ratings assess the climate of schools on a five-point scale. The highest score is five stars ranked as excellent, four stars rank above average, three stars means average, two stars means below satisfactory and one star is considered unsatisfactory.

To form the ratings, students, parents and teachers are surveyed. Attendance, student discipline incidents, and instances of drug use, bullying, and violence also play into the ratings.

“School climate refers to the quality and character of school life — the ‘culture’ of a school,” according to a state DOE news release. “A sustainable, positive school climate fosters youth development and student learning, which are essential elements for academic success, career-skill improvement, and overall quality of life.”

Eleven Floyd County schools and two Rome schools received five-star ratings. The number of Floyd County schools receiving five stars was up two from 2016, while Rome dropped one.

Pepperell High, Armuchee Elementary and Garden Lakes Elementary all received the highest rating after posting four-star ratings in 2016. Pepperell Primary dropped from five stars to four stars. All other schools retained their same ratings from 2016.

West Central Elementary and West End Elementary both received five-star ratings. Main Elementary for Rome and Coosa High for Floyd County both received three-star ratings, the same rating they had in 2016. These two schools were the only local ones to have three-star ratings in 2017.

Anna K. Davie Elementary, which was the only other Rome school to have a three-star rating in 2016, went up to a four-star rating. East Central Elementary was the only other Rome school to have a different rating from 2016, going from five stars to four stars.

Floyd County Schools Superintendent John Jackson said the system is pleased with the four- and-five-star ratings and it is not overly concerned with Coosa High’s three stars because it’s bound to improve. Included in an improving school climate, he said, is athletic success — most recently the volleyball team winning the state championship.

“When you’re winning everything is up,” said Jackson, adding that a winning record for the football team also plays into it.

Dawn Williams, the chief of school improvement and accountability for Rome City Schools, said the positive reinforcement model under the PBIS initiative has led to a drop in disciplinary incident across the system and continues to improve school climate.