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Habitat High teaches students skilled labor

Habitat High teaches students skilled labor

HALL COUNTY, Ga. -- When Gov. Nathan Deal launched his Go Build Georgia program, he spoke of 16,000 new jobs that will become available to people with the necessary skills.

A high school initiative in Hall County is making sure that today's students will become some of tomorrow's most employable members of the workforce.

"Habitat High" has students spend a part of their school day building homes for Habitat for Humanity. The students have built eight houses in five years and are currently finishing up their ninth home.

11Alive's Donna Lowry reports.

Poster contest to help combat human trafficking

Poster contest to help combat human trafficking

ATLANTA -- All Georgia high school students are invited to participate in a poster contest to promote a national hotline for reporting and preventing human sex trafficking.

The contest, sponsored by the Georgia Department of Education, is open to students in grades nine through 12.

The posters' primary focus should be the national hotline (1-888-373-7888), presented in a creative way to grab people's attention. Judges will pick two winners -- one for an English poster and one for a Spanish poster -- from each of the state's 16 Regional Education Service Agencies.

Regional winners will receive cash prizes -- $100 for first place, $50 for second place and $25 for third place. The winning posters will also be displayed in schools across the region.

Two state winners -- one in English and one in Spanish -- will each receive $250.

State looking at repealing education spending law

State looking at repealing education spending law

TUCKER, Ga. -- Georgia is considering throwing out a law requiring 65 percent of state funding to be spent in public school classrooms.

A state commission tasked with overhauling how Georgia funds K-12 education voted Wednesday to draw up legislation repealing the unpopular law. The move is part of a larger effort to update the state's educational laws, known as Title 20.

The law was passed in 2006 as part of a national push to make sure schools were spending taxpayer dollars in the classroom, not the principal's office, to help boost student achievement. But state officials say the law hasn't impacted student performance and hamstrings schools.

The education finance commission began meeting in June 2011 after state lawmakers passed a bill calling for the state to study education funding.

Georgia 9th graders will have to choose career paths

Georgia 9th graders will have to choose career paths

ATLANTA -- Here's a question: Did you know what career you wanted to pursure in night grade?

Next fall, all high school freshman in Georgia public schools will have to determine a career path and take classes tailored to that goal.

"The governor signed house bill 187 into law this past session, which mandates that we have career pathways for all students beginning in the fall of 2012," said State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge. "It's a national model. Many states are already using career clusters and career pathways."

There are 17 careers clusters and each one has a core of subjects students must take. The process is similar to working on a major in college. Students will have the opportunity to switch career pathways throughout their time in high school.

State tax credit program raises $50M for scholarships

State tax credit program raises $50M for scholarships

ATLANTA -- The Georgia Department of Revenue stamped its approval on $50 million in donations under the Georgia Scholarship Tax Credit Program.

The program lets people and businesses get tax credit for donations to scholarships for Georgia children to attend private schools.

Fifty million dollars is the most allowed under the program. In 2012, the statewide cap on donations will increase by the annual increase in the Consumer Price Index until 2018.

Individuals can donate up to $1,000, while married couples have a donation cap of $2,500. Corporations can donate up to 75 percent of their state income tax liability.

The American Federation for Children estimated more than 6,000 students last year got scholarships to attend private schools through the program.

Hall County participates in State Superintendant's healthy lunch program

Hall County participates in State Superintendant's healthy lunch program

ATLANTA – Bleckley, Colquitt and Hall counties were selected for the “Feed My School for a Week” program during the 2011-2012 school years. The program will teach Georgia students about where their food comes from making them more aware of the importance of proper nutrition.

According to the State Superintendant Dr. John Barge, “Georgia is second in the nation in childhood obesity. The Freed My School for a Week program is a great first step in raising students’ awareness of nutritional options as well as promoting healthier meals in our schools”.

The schools will be hosting a guest speaker, holding taste tests, and will hold an essay contest. During a one-week period, in the spring semester, all lunches served will consist of 75-100 percent Georgia grown food. State schools have been, progressively, attempting to integrate Farm-to-School meals.

Also, during the week, schools will hold additional educational activities and art contests. 

$10 million in low interest student loans up for grabs

$10 million in low interest student loans up for grabs

ATLANTA -- State officials have re-opened the pool for $10 million in low interest student loans. 

Lawmakers had set aside $20 million to help families after an overhaul of the lottery-funded HOPE scholarship took effect this summer.

Only about 5,200 students applied for the loans during the initial application period, which ended in July.

The Georgia Student Finance Authority has now re-opened the application process for the remaining $10 million in available loans.

Students have until Oct. 31 to apply for the Student Access Loan Program. 

For applications and details, visit GAcollege411's website.