VALDOSTA — Lowndes County Board of Education learned Monday that one county school has received a five-star rating.
The board was presented with the 2015 School Climate Ratings, which is calculated using data from the “Student Health Survey 2.0, Georgia School Personnel Survey, Georgia Parent Survey, student discipline data and attendance records for students, staff, administrators and teachers.” 
Of the 11 schools in the Lowndes County district, one school, Pine Grove Middle School, was ranked as a five-star school; nine were ranked as four star, and Lowndes High School received a three-star rating, according to official reports.
There will be several changes coming for the 2016-17 school year in Lowndes County.
Two elementary schools will be adding two additional teachers to keep pace with the projected student enrollments, according to information distributed at the meeting,
Rodney Green, assistant superintendent announced the addition of several courses for grades 6-12. Lowndes High School will be adding college-readiness math, math of finance and computer science principles, he said. 
Pine Grove Middle School will receive its second high school credit bearing course — physical science, Green said. 
An update to both the student behavior code as well as policy for compulsory school attendance were announced and affirmed. The updates to both policies attempted to clarify language, according to board members.
The one significant change to the behavior code was the addition of a rule with regards to the possession of cell phones or other electronic devices. The rule states students are now allowed to possess cell phones and other electronics providing the device is out of sight and powered off. 
Other topics of discussion included the approval of future Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax projects for schools in the county, the confirmation of a bid to resurface school parking lots and the approval of the new Local Facilities Plan, which needs to be renewed every five years. 
The board also approved the purchase of a new digital press to be used at Lowndes High School. The press will cost almost $60,000 according to the purchase agreement from Xerox. Ken Overman, assistant superintendent for finance in Lowndes County said the expense is actually less if the product is purchased rather than leased. 
The next board meeting will be June 20, and the purpose will be to approve the budget for fiscal year 2016-17. 
Michael Praats is a reporter at the Valdosta Daily Times. He can be reached at (229) 244-3400 ext. 1257.