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Ga. Connections Academy enrollment opens Mar. 3

Ga. Connections Academy enrollment opens Mar. 3

(WXIA) -- Georgia Connections Academy, a free statewide virtual K-12 school, will begin accepting applications for the 2015-16 school year next month.

Enrollment opens Mar. 3. The school can support 4,000 students; spaces are limited and families are encouraged to apply as soon as possible.

A free parent information session will be held Tuesday, Mar. 10 at 6 p.m. at the Hampton Inn Atlanta-Perimeter Center, which is located at 769 Hammond Drive in Sandy Springs. Teachers and currently enrolled families will answer questions and go over the school's curriculum at the session.

For more information about Georgia Connections Academy, visit connectionsacademy.com.

AP exam participation: Hall County

AP exam participation: Hall County

(WXIA) -- More Georgia high school students are taking -- and passing -- Advanced Placement exams.

Last school year, 89,806 Georgia students took 154,176 AP exams. That's an 8 percent increase in the number of participants and almost a 9 percent increase in the number of tests.

AP exams are graded on a scale of 1 to 5. Passing scores of 3, 4 or 5 often allow the test-takers to earn college credit.

Georgia's seniors earned 86,075 passing scores on their AP exams in 2014, a 9.6 percent increase over 2013.

English Language and Composition was the state's most popular AP exam, followed by U.S. History and World History.

In Hall County, 1,422 students took 2,322 AP exams in 2014, and 794 of those exams earned passing scores.

Here are the AP exam breakdowns for each Hall County public high school:

Chestatee HS
292 students took 482 exams
166 passing scores

2014 Reward Schools: Hall County

2014 Reward Schools: Hall County

(WXIA) -- The Georgia Department of Education has released its list of 2014 Reward Schools.

Such schools are identified under the state's waiver from the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. They are Title I schools that fall into one of two categories.

Hall County's 2014 Reward Schools include:

Highest Performing -- Among the top 5 percent of Georgia's Title I schools; have highest absolute performance from all student groups for at least three years
* Hall County had no Highest Performing schools in 2014

Highest Progress -- Among the top 10 percent of Georgia's Title I schools; make the most progress in improving performance from all student groups for at least three years
* Sugar Hill Elementary School
* West Hall Middle School

Free digital textbooks available to Ga. students

Free digital textbooks available to Ga. students

(WXIA) -- The Georgia Department of Education has made free interactive digital textbooks available on its website.

Students, parents and educators are welcome to use the books, which feature games, discussion questions, quizzes and other study elements.

They are available for middle and high school courses in such subjects as language arts, math, science, social studies, electives and several world languages -- Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Latin and Spanish.

State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge said students who have used the digital textbook have had much classroom success with them.

Visit gavirtuallearning.org to access the textbook materials.

2 Hall schools named Alert Schools

2 Hall schools named Alert Schools

(WXIA) -- The Georgia Department of Education has released its 2014 list of Alert Schools, which includes two schools in Hall County.

An Alert School cannot be identified as a Priority or Focus school under Georgia's waiver from the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. It must show a lack of progress on statewide assessments among all students over the past three school years, and is based on the lowest achievement of the "all students" group.

Hall County's Alert Schools include Oakwood Elementary School and West Hall High School.

Oakwood Elementary was also on the 2013 list of Subgroup Alert Schools, in the Hispanic subgroup. White Sulphur Elementary School was in the White subgroup in 2013, but was not featured on this year's list.

Lanier Career Academy was a Graduation Rate Alert School in the White subgroup in 2013.

Back to school: Free and reduced-price lunch guidelines

Back to school: Free and reduced-price lunch guidelines

(WXIA) -- Thousands of Georgia students return to the classroom this week, and many of them meet the requirements for free and reduced-price meals during the school day.

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"It is important to provide our students with healthy, nutritious meals to help improve their chances of success and increase their learning opportunities," Georgia Department of Education School Nutrition Director Nancy Rice said in a statement. "Research indicates that eating habits affect learning. We want to ensure all our children are well nourished and ready to learn."

Families that qualify for free and reduced-price lunch will get applications from their children's schools.

Students can receive the meals if:

Back to school surprise: Weekend roadwork canceled

Back to school surprise: Weekend roadwork canceled

(WXIA) -- This weekend will be a holiday for Georgia families in more ways than one.

The Georgia Department of Transportation has suspended construction-related lane closures on all major interstates and highways within five miles of malls and shopping districts.

This will allow parents and students to enjoy the tax-free shopping weekend without the added stress of road delays.

"The sales tax holiday is an opportunity for Georgians to save a little money during these challenging economic times," GDOT Commissioner Keith Golden said. "The department is glad to offer some relief from lane closures as families prepare for school."

11Alive Ways to Save reporter Valerie Hoff has some of the best tax-free weekend deals. Find out how to get the most bang for your buck.