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5 Hall high schools among America's Most Challenging

5 Hall 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.

Five Hall 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.

904. Flowery Branch HS
1078. North Hall HS
1238. Chestatee HS
1416. East Hall HS
1552. West Hall HS

Additionally, Gainesville High School, which is part of a charter system, is No. 1969 on the list.

See the full list at washingtonpost.com.

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:

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.

7th Amendment essay competition to award 2 scholarships

7th Amendment essay competition to award 2 scholarships

(WXIA) -- The Georgia Trial Lawyers Association is holding a scholarship essay competition for high school seniors.

The contest focuses on the 7th Amendment, which is an American's right to a trial by jury.

To enter, a college-bound senior must write an essay in response to this question:

Since the ratification of the Bill of Rights in 1791, the 7th Amendment Right to Trial by Jury has been the cornerstone of the Civil Justice System. And yet, in the two-plus centuries since, the Right to Trial by Jury has been under near-constant assault. In your opinion, what role does the 7th Amendment play in the 21st Century, and why do you believe that it is important to safeguard this right?

All essays must be submitted to the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association no later than Monday, Apr. 7. One grand prize winner will receive a $1,000 college scholarship. The runner-up will get $500.

Clemson signs 6 Ga. students

Clemson signs 6 Ga. students

(WXIA) -- Six young men from Georgia will become Clemson Tigers in the fall.

The students committed to the South Carolina university Wednesday during National Signing Day festivities.

Recruits include:

* Adam Choice, running back
Lives in Thomasville
Attends Thomas County Central HS

* Demarre Kitt, wide receiver
Lives in Fayetteville
Attends Sandy Creek HS

* Kyrin Priester, wide receiver
Lives in Lilburn
Attends Brookwood HS

* Milan Richard, tight end
Lives in Savannah
Attends Calvary Day School

* Korie Rogers, linebacker
Lives in Flowery Branch
Attends Buford HS

* Deshaun Watson, quarterback
Lives in Gainesville
Attends Gainesville HS

COMPLETE COVERAGE | National Signing Day 2014