DeKalb Schools continue to decline, School Climate Star ratings show

McNair High School received one star, the lowest rank, on the state's school climate ratings for 2016.

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McNair High School received one star, the lowest rank, on the state's school climate ratings for 2016.

DeKalb County continues its reign as the state district with the highest number of schools with an unsatisfactory culture for 2016, according to the state’s “School Climate Star” rating system.

The ratings released Thursday by the Georgia Department of Education are derived from a variety of sources, including surveys of parents and school staff and discipline and attendance data. A five is the top score, and 312 schools statewide ranked there versus 259 in 2015. Seventy-five schools scored at the bottom, down from 87 the previous year.

The Georgia Department of Education reports that 12 DeKalb County schools received an unsatisfactory score on school culture, down from 14 in 2015, but still more than seven in 2014.

DeKalb County School District officials did not respond to emails seeking comment.

Georgia Department of Education officials say a link exists between a positive school climate and grade-level reading.

“The data makes a compelling case: the better a school’s climate, the higher its percentage of students reading on grade level by third grade,” officials said.

In schools with a 1-star rating, approximately 12.7 percent of third-graders score as proficient learner or above on 2016 Georgia Milestones. In 5-star schools, the number is 43.5 percent.