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Ga. Cyber Academy graduates first class

Ga. Cyber Academy graduates first class

(WXIA) -- The Class of 2014 is the very first class to graduate from Georgia Cyber Academy, the state's free online public school.

The school will hold a graduation ceremony at noon on Saturday, May 31 at the Gwinnett Center. More than 300 graduating seniors are scheduled to walk across the stage.

"We're so proud of each of our graduates, all of whom have taken the individualized learning that comes with GCA's online curriculum and worked with GCA's world-class teachers to adapt it to best serve and support their own academic successes," GCA head of school Matt Arkin said in a release.

Members of GCA's Class of 2014 were accepted to some of the country's top colleges and universities, including Cornell University, Georgia Tech, the University of Alabama and the University of Georgia.

Students encouraged to read this summer

Students encouraged to read this summer

(WXIA) -- The Georgia Department of Education has created a 2014 Summer Reading Challenge for students in all grades.

The program was announced Thursday at Timber Ridge Elementary School in Cobb County. Its goal is to close the achievement gap that widens during the summer months, when children often don't read.

"No student should have to start the school year having fallen behind," State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge said. "That's what we know, and that's what we're committed to preventing, because that loss is preventable."

The challenge encourages students to read for at least 15 to 30 minutes every day. The GDOE outlined suggested summer goals for children based on their school years:

* K-2: 10 books
* 3-5: 8 chapter books
* 6-12: 5 fiction books and 5 nonfiction books

4 Decatur students named Georgia Scholars

4 Decatur students named Georgia Scholars

(WXIA) -- Four Decatur High School students have been named 2014 Georgia Scholars by the Georgia Department of Education.

A Georgia Scholar is a high school senior who has "achieved excellence in school and community life," according to the GDOE. Only 116 students statewide earned the title this year.

To achieve the honor, a student must take challenging courses and earn high grades in them, participate in extracurricular activities and take part in interscholastic events within the school and community.

Decatur High's 2014 Georgia Scholars are Natalie Lefton, Solveig Olson-Strom, Taylor Randleman and Ruthie Stewart.

Race this weekend: Beat the Street for Little Feet

Race this weekend: Beat the Street for Little Feet

DECATUR, Ga. -- Run a 5K through beautiful downtown Decatur this weekend.

Beat the Street for Little Feet will raise money for Oakhurt Cooperative Preschool. The race will be held at the school on Saturday, May 3. Registration opens at 7 a.m. and will be followed by the 5K at 8 a.m., a 1-mile race at 8:45 a.m. and a fun run at 9 a.m.

The 5K costs $25 in advance and $30 on race day. The 1-mile run is $20 ahead of time and $25 day of, while the fun run is $15 in advance and $20 at the event.

All runners will receive T-shirts featuring Pete the Cat, a beloved children's character created by Georgia author and illustrator James Dean. Children who participate in a tot trot will be given Pete the Cat medals.

Visit rungeorgia.com for more information about the event.

Oakhurt Cooperative Preschool is located at 830 West College Avenue.

9 DeKalb high schools among America's Most Challenging

9 DeKalb 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.

Nine DeKalb 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.

178. DeKalb School of the Arts
325. Chamblee Charter HS
606. Tucker HS
808. Dunwoody HS
935. Lakeside HS
1241. Druid Hills HS
1666. Southwest DeKalb HS
1687. Arabia Mountain HS
1962. Cross Keys HS

Additionally, Decatur High School, which is part of a charter system, is No. 205 on the list.

Fights in high schools: DeKalb County

Fights in high schools: DeKalb County

(WXIA) -- Last 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.