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Local schools character measured in star ratings released by state
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Most local schools received a four-star rating for the quality and character of school life, according to data released today by the state Department of Education.

Hall County had 29 of 33 schools ranked “4” on a 1 to 5 scale, and Gainesville had six of eight schools ranked 4. Five stars represent an excellent school climate, and one star represents a school climate most in need of improvement, according to the state.

The climate rating is determined by surveys of students, parents and teachers plus student discipline information and attendance records, according to the state education department.

Will Schofield, Hall County superintendent, said the climate rating has been compiled for the past few years. He said he did not know it had been released for 2015 and had not seen the data Wednesday.

The county schools do not place a great deal of emphasis on the ratings, he said.

Gainesville schools leaders did not respond to inquiries about the ratings.

Hall County had five schools with “5” ratings in 2014, and all five were rated “4” for 2015.  Those were Davis Middle, North Hall Middle, Flowery Branch Elementary, Oakwood Elementary and Chestnut Mountain Creative School of Inquiry.

The county schools with lower than a “4” ranking were Lyman Hall Elementary, 2; Lanier Career Academy, 2; White Sulphur Elementary, 3; and Spout Springs School of Enrichment, 3.

The Academy at Wood’s Mill had the only “2” rating for Gainesville schools. Enota Multiple Intelligences Academy was rated “3,” dropping from a “4” in 2014.

The other six Gainesville schools had “4” ratings. Three schools — New Holland Core Knowledge Academy, Centennial Arts Academy and Gainesville Middle School — moved up one notch, from 3 to 4 from 2014 to 2015.

Compare climate ratings with the state’s College and Career Ready Performance Index, which measures student achievement. Hover over or tap data points for more information.

The School Climate Star Rating is a diagnostic tool to determine if a school is on the right path to school improvement, according to the DOE website.

Georgia is the first state in the nation to include school climate as an early indicator in its academic accountability system, the College and Career Ready Performance Index, according to the state.