Effingham County schools got a four-star rating from the state Department of Education on how well they spend money, and 11 schools got four stars in the state’s school climate rating.
The ratings were part of the district’s CCRPI — College and Career Ready Performance Index — and the financial efficiency rating is determined by the amount of per pupil spending and student achievement over a three-year period.
“We are thrilled we got four stars for financial efficiency,” said Noralee Deason, information systems coordinator for Effingham schools.
Effingham schools were in the 21stpercentile for spending and had a CCRPI average of 83.1
“It looks even better when we look at the state scores,” Deason said.
Out of 180 school systems, only one achieved a five-star rating. Twenty-one had four stars, and eight others had 4.5 stars.
“We’re very proud of those results, and I think it’s a testament to the job the board does and the school district does in ensuring our kids get a great value for their dollar.”
The school climate rating is made up of four components, including a survey of students, parents and staff, drug and substance-free learning, suspension rates and attendance ratings. Previously, the CCRPI included a standard called school-wide agreement that the schools did not do well on, Deason said.
“The principals hated it,” she said. “It was confusing.”
Two schools received three stars in the CCRPI ratings. Schools’ scores can be reduced if those schools are deemed to be unsafe or have disproportionate discipline ratings.
South Effingham Elementary had the highest school climate rating of Effingham’s elementary schools, with a score of 82.9, eclipsing Rincon Elementary. SEES had a final score of 94.871, and Ebenezer Elementary was second at 94.043 in its final score.
Among the middle and high schools, Ebenezer Middle had the highest school climate rating of 75.809, and South Effingham Middle had the highest total score of 85.743.
Deason pointed out that most of schools in the state were rated at three to four stars. The CCRPI takes into account weighted suspension rates. Deason said Effingham County High School and some others struggled with suspension rates.
“That kept them from four stars,” she said.
Even if a student is placed in the alternative school or in-school suspension or expelled, that can count against a school.
“You would think ISS wouldn’t count against you because they’re still in school and they’re doing their work,” said Superintendent Randy Shearouse.
Deason said there are opportunities for improvement in alternative disciplines, and the school system can look at how often students are being suspended for repeated tardies, cell phone violations or dress code violations. Possible other avenues of punishment are detention or work detail.
“We do need to take a look at that,” Deason said.
Said school board member Beth Helmly: “I want to ask them to come here and show me how to solve the problem about a kid who won’t behave in the classroom.”
Guyton Elementary, the other school rated at three stars for its climate, had its scores affected by battery incidents, Deason said. She said a school administrator following the rules for reporting minor incidents between students could have that judged as a more serious altercation.
“The state’s matrix for reporting these things is very confusing,” she said.