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13 Cobb high schools among America's Most Challenging

13 Cobb high schools among America's Most Challenging

(WXIA) -- The Washington Post has unveiled its 2014 list of America's Most Challenging High Schools.

The newspaper determines the annual rankings through a ratio: the number of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and Advanced International Certificate of Education tests a school gives each year, divided by the number of graduating seniors.

Thirteen Cobb County schools made the list, which features more than 2,000 high schools across the country. The listed numbers are each school's national ranking.

183. Walton HS
495. Lassiter HS
755. Harrison HS
936. Pope HS
1082. Campbell HS
1133. Wheeler HS
1184. North Cobb HS
1206. Kell HS
1334. Sprayberry HS
1474. Hillgrove HS
1523. Kennesaw Mountain HS
1718. McEachern HS
2001. Pebblebrook HS

Additionally, Marietta High School, which is part of a charter system, is No. 1058 on the list.

Ga. Race to the Top 'Year Three' Report

Ga. Race to the Top 'Year Three' Report

(WXIA) -- The U.S. Department of Education recently released its "Year Three" Report for the 12 states participating in the Race to the Top grant initiative.

Educational practices and successes in Georgia were highlighted throughout the report.

"We have taken on some major initiatives and our success is a direct reflection of the collaborative efforts between our department, other education agencies and the hundreds of participating teachers, principals and district leaders around our state," Dr. Susan Andrews, Deputy Superintendent of Race to the Top Implementation in Georgia, said in a release.

"While educational reform work is never easy, we are pleased with the significant progress that our state has made as reflected in this report," Andrews added.

Some highlights from the report include:

* Nearly 300 Georgia teachers were placed in state public schools from alternative certification programs.

Ga. Connections Academy accepting students for 2014-15 school year

Ga. Connections Academy accepting students for 2014-15 school year

(WXIA) -- A few seats are still available at Georgia Connections Academy for the 2014-15 school year.

Georgia Connections Academy is a virtual K-12 public school that allows students to learn at their own pace. It is fully accredited and open to all school-age Georgia children.

"We are enrolling 1,000 additional students across all grade levels for the coming academic year," lead principal Heather Robinson said in a release. "We have a waiting list as we open enrollment, so we encourage parents to get their applications in now."

Georgia Connections Academy will hold a number of information sessions across the state for parents who want to know more. Additional enrollment information is available at connectionsacademy.com/georgia-virtual-school.

Upcoming information sessions in the Atlanta area include:

9 Cobb schools named AP Merit Schools

9 Cobb schools named AP Merit Schools

COBB COUNTY, Ga. -- Nine public high schools in Cobb County were named 2014 AP Merit Schools by State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge.

An AP Merit School is a school where at least 20 percent of students take Advanced Placement exams. At least 50 percent of the exams taken at an AP Merit School earn passing scores of 3 or higher.

Cobb County's schools on the list include:

* Harrison HS
* Hillgrove HS
* Kell HS
* Kennesaw Mountain HS
* Lassiter HS
* North Cobb HS
* Pope HS
* Sprayberry HS
* Walton HS

2 Cobb schools named AP Access and Support Schools

2 Cobb schools named AP Access and Support Schools

COBB COUNTY, Ga. -- Two public high schools in Cobb County were named 2014 AP Access and Support Schools by State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge.

An AP Access and Support School is a school where at least 30 percent of Advanced Placement exams are taken by students who identify as African-American and/or Hispanic. At least 30 percent of the exams taken at an AP Access and Support School earn passing scores of 3 or higher.

Campbell and McEachern high schools made this year's list.

Kids encouraged to 'Plug into Nature'

Kids encouraged to 'Plug into Nature'

(WXIA) -- The Georgia Department of Natural Resources has brought back its Give Wildlife a Chance Poster Contest for 2014.

This year's theme is Plug into Nature, emphasizing the importance of experiencing wildlife and plants firsthand.

All Georgia students in grades kindergarten through 5 are invited to enter the contest. The top 12 winners' posters will be displayed on the DNR's Flickr site and at the Go Fish Education Center in Perry during the first two weeks in May.

Contest entries are due Apr. 16. Three winners will be picked in four categories (kindergarten, grades 1-2, grades 3-4, grade 5).

Visit georgiawildlife.com for more information about the contest.

Seamless Summer program feeds children when school is out

Seamless Summer program feeds children when school is out

(WXIA) -- The Georgia Department of Education will once again offer its Seamless Summer nutrition program when school lets out for the year.

Seamless Summer provides free meals to children under the age of 18. No registration or income verification is required to receive the food.

According to the GDOE, more than 77 percent of the 500,000 breakfasts and 1.1 million lunches it serves during the school year are provided for free or at a reduced price. Georgia ranks in the top five nationwide for states with children who participate in the School Breakfast Program and/or National School Lunch Program.

In the past, more than 2,200 locations across Georgia have served meals through the Seamless Summer program.

Learn more at fns.usda.gov.