These are the school climate ratings for each of Bulloch County Schools’ campuses based on 2013-2014 data:
Julia P. Bryant Elementary
Sallie Zetterower Elementary
Langston Chapel Elementary
Mattie Lively Elementary
Mill Creek Elementary
Langston Chapel Middle
Southeast Bulloch Middle
Southeast Bulloch High
William James Middle
Breakdown of the ratings: 5 star — excellent; 4 star — above average; 3 star — average; 2 star — below satisfactory; 1 star — unsatisfactory.
Take the survey: www.bulloch.k12.ga.us
Five Bulloch County schools were rated “above average” when the Georgia Department of Education released its first School Climate Star ratings for schools across the state earlier this week.
Brooklet, Julia P. Bryant and Sallie Zetterower elementary schools, Portal Middle and Portal High schools all received four stars out of a possible five in the School Climate ratings, designed to measure the perceived atmosphere of a school in regards to safety, relationships, institutional environment and teaching and learning.
“We have a real community school here in Portal that we take a lot of pride in,” said Dr. Karen Doty, who is in her first year as principal at Portal Middle High School. “We were fortunate enough to score well because we stay focused as a staff to make both the high school and the middle school a positive and special place for our students.”
The Department of Education determined the ratings based on input received last year from each school in the following areas: faculty/staff, parent and student responses to the annual Georgia School Climate Survey; discipline referrals; incidents of bullying, harassment, violence or drug use; and attendance rates by students, teachers and administrators.
All Bulloch public schools outside of the five above received a Climate Star rating of three, except William James Middle, which received a two rating.
And while Bulloch County Schools Superintendent Charles Wilson said he “always welcomes feedback on school performance,” he’s not sure the methodology of the School Climate Star ratings for both gathering the input and then analyzing the resulting data is fully refined just yet.
“I think the state has made some real strides in recent years in developing more accountability for schools and really looking at ways to measure success,” Wilson said. “The questions (on the School Climate Survey) are all well intended and the goal is to understand the perceptions of the stakeholders at a school. We all agree that’s important. A school’s climate becomes its culture, so anything that better helps us truly understand what all the people invested in that school think is a good thing.”
Gov. Nathan Deal signed into law in 2012 the senate bill that now requires annual school climate ratings. These ratings are part of the College and Career Readiness Performance Index scores that are reported each year.
Wilson said the school system conducts its own school climate surveys of students and employees every year.
“Again, we value all input on our performance,” Wilson said. “The state’s initial climate rating is a good first step that I think warrants further development and eventually will become a very helpful tool as we work to improve the learning and social environments in all our schools.”
The Georgia School Climate Survey that will be released in 2016 is still open for parents, students and school personnel to take through March 27. Anyone who wants to offer input that will go into the next Climate Star Rating cycle can access the online survey at www.bulloch.k12.ga.us.
“We are trying to get the word out to all our parents that it’s important to fill out the survey,” Doty said. “We are using our booster club to tell people we want to know how they feel about our school and how we can get better.”
Jim Healy may be reached at (912) 489-9402.