Society & Culture

Annual conference highlights new school climate rating system

Athens, Ga. – The fourth annual Safe and Welcoming Schools Conference sponsored by the University of Georgia College of Education will examine school climate and the new School Climate Star Rating system now implemented for public schools across the state.

The conference draws educators from across Georgia and takes place May 29 at the Hilton Garden Inn in downtown Athens. This year’s event is designed in part to help school districts understand the new school climate rating system developed by the Georgia Department of Education.

This report combines scores from parent, teacher and student surveys, school discipline reports, and attendance to create an overall rating. The 2013-2014 school year is the first time this rating system has been used. Schools are awarded both a numerical score on a scale of 0-100 and a star rating of up to five stars.

This rating can be used by administrators as a starting point for discussions about overall school climate, said Katherine Raczynski, director of the Safe and Welcoming Schools program in the College of Education. Opening keynote speaker Garry McGiboney, deputy superintendent of the Georgia Department of Education, will describe how the state came to focus on school climate as an important foundation for student achievement.

Other speakers will discuss how to interpret an individual school’s star rating report, ways to engage students, parents and staff in improving school climate, and steps for setting up a positive framework to prevent discipline problems. Sessions will be led by Allison Nealy and Amy Reschly, professors in the College of Education, as well as Raczynski and speakers from the Georgia Department of Education. Nearly 100 school administrators are expected to attend.

Registration is open but limited spaces are available. The conference is 8 a.m.-4 p.m. and registration is $149 (lunch is included). To register, see×9.