February 16-- Three of Vidalia's four schools have received a top state rating regarding their climate for learning and the fourth is less than a point behind.
Assistant Superintendent Lucy Claroni briefed the Vidalia school board on the 2016 rating at its February meeting.
"Three of our schools had a five-star rating and that's excellent. It just shows that the culture of a school has a real positive effect on the academic achievements of our students," she said.
The schools with the top rating are Vidalia High School, J.R. Trippe Middle School and J.D. Dickerson Primary School. Sally Meadows Elementary School got four stars.
"The school climate ratings are based on surveys of students, teachers and parents and their perceptions of the school climate; student discipline; student survey data on the use of illegal substances, violence, bullying and unsafe instances in a school; average daly attendance of teachers, administrators and staff and the percentage of students with fewer than six unexcused absences," Mrs. Claroni noted.
In 2015 Vidalia High School got a three-star rating and the other schools all got four stars.
Mrs. Claroni believes a program the school system started to educate students on the benefits of positive behavior has had an impact on the climate in the schools.
"Kids are given guidance on how to behave in classrooms, the cafeteria, the hallways and the restrooms and those are our expectations. When good things happen in the school then positive things happen and I think that's made a difference," she said.
The climate rating also addresses the financial resources available to schools. According to Claroni, Vidalia spends about $7,800 on each student each year which she says is less than many school systems which got lower climate ratings.