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3 Cherokee high schools among America's Most Challenging

3 Cherokee 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.

Three Cherokee 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.

1411. Creekview HS
1834. Etowah HS
1853. Sequoyah HS

See the full list at washingtonpost.com.

Fights in schools: Cherokee County

Fights in schools: Cherokee County

(WXIA) -- This week, 11Alive News received a shocking video clip from a viewer. The footage showed a teenage boy being repeatedly punched in the face in a locker room at Parkview High School in Gwinnett County.

WATCH | Teen beaten at school

The video prompted an investigation into reports of violence and fights in Georgia's public schools. The Georgia Department of Education provided 11Alive News with four years' worth of discipline incident reports for every school in the state.

WATCH | 11Alive's Doug Richards investigates violence at school

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.

Cherokee HS students place in Booth Museum contest

Cherokee HS students place in Booth Museum contest

CANTON, Ga. -- Eight Cherokee High School students placed in Booth Western Art Museum's recent Writing through Art literary competition.

The winners include:

Essay
2nd place: Ashley Holton
3rd place: Jose Hernandez
Honorable mention: Alyssa Deaton
Honorable mention: Barbara Valeria Ortega
Honorable mention: MacKenzie Rogers

Short Story
1st place: Savanna Morrison
2nd place: Ansley Key
Honorable mention: Rachel Wilson

Cherokee High teachers Susan Buice and Justin Jones encouraged their students to enter the contest.

Booth Western Art Museum is located at 501 North Museum Drive in Cartersville.

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.