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End-of-Course Test results released

End-of-Course Test results released

ATLANTA -- The Georgia Department of Education released system-level results for End-of-Course Tests (EOCT) Tuesday morning.

Parents and students can now visit the Georgia Department of Education's website to see how students in their school system performed. Results for individual schools will be released by July 31.

EOCT tests are more important than ever because they have replaced the graduation tests that kept many students from getting a diploma.

The tests now count for 20% of a student's final grade, up from 15%.

By 2015, students will have to pass all eight tests, spread over their course of their high school careers, to graduate.

Students in 3 Atlanta schools go back to class

Students in 3 Atlanta schools go back to class

ATLANTA -- Tuesday is the first day of school for hundreds of students who attend three year-round schools in the Atlanta Public School system.

RELATED | One year later: A look back on APS

Boyd, Hutchinson and Centennial Elementary Schools are the only ones in APS that don't use a traditional calendar.

"I think one of the reasons why we've done so well academically is because of the year-round calendar," said Keisha Gibbons, the principal at Boyd.

The year-round calendar includes nine weeks of instruction followed by three weeks off.

The summer break lasts five weeks.

2012 CRCT Results | Atlanta Public Schools

2012 CRCT Results | Atlanta Public Schools

ATLANTA -- More Georgia students than ever are exceeding standards on the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests, according to new data released Thursday.

MORE | See all the results here

The 2012 CRCT results show the performances of students in grades 3-8. The biggest overall gains were in Grade 5 Social Studies (six percentage points) and Grade 8 Science (seven percentage points).

"The best news in the 2012 CRCT report is that more of our students are exceeding the standards," State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge said in a statement. "Teachers are doing a great job teaching the more rigorous Georgia Performance Standards and they are to be applauded for raising expectations for all students."

Ga. Connections Academy gets high marks from parents

Ga. Connections Academy gets high marks from parents

ATLANTA -- Georgia Connections Academy has made the grade.

The state's first free virtual charter school received very positive feedback from the parents of its students during the 2011-12 school year.

Almost 90 percent of the parents who responded to a survey gave the school a grade of either A or B, and 92 percent they would recommend GACA to other parents. Eighty-five percent of parents said they were more satisfied with GACA than with their children's previous schools.

About 52 percent of the school's 610 families responded to the survey, according to GACA officials.

"Our parent satisfaction survey really illustrates our commitment to accountability," principal Heather Robinson said in a statement. "We value this parent feedback and use it to help make our virtual school program better. I am very pleased with the results, in particular the positive feedback about our teachers and the curriculum."

School districts cut jobs, boost class sizes

School districts cut jobs, boost class sizes

ATLANTA -- School districts are cutting teachers, enacting furloughs and increasing class sizes to fill budget holes.

RELATED | Local school budgets cuts are the new normal

The Atlanta school board has approved cutting 375 positions and giving employees four furlough days next school year. The district is trying to make up for an expected $47 million shortfall.

In Gwinnett, the budget includes two furlough days and 600 jobs cut from the payroll. It also means two more students per classroom.

Atlanta Schools consider cutting dropout prevention program

Atlanta Schools consider cutting dropout prevention program

ATLANTA -- The Atlanta Board of Education will try to cut $47 million from the budget Monday and among the programs on the chopping block is Communities in Schools (CIS), a dropout prevention program.

"We've been doing this for 40 years. We've helped graduate thousands and thousands of kids," said Patty Pflum, Executive Director, Communities in Schools Atlanta.

The program works by identifying kids who are at-risk and working with their families to help them overcome any barriers to staying in school.

For instance, at Thomasville Heights Elementary where Shamyya Wyatt serves as the CIS program coordinator, parents are recruited to help with outreach.

Keisha Robinson is a mother of seven who works at the school as a parent liaison.

"She helps bring the parents into the school and we also do parents workshops together. Go out into the community, just to bring the parents in," Wyatt said.

As Students End School Year, Boys & Girls Clubs Offers Way to Fight “Summer Brain Drain"

ATLANTA -- This month, millions of kids begin their summer breaks, looking forward to vacations, pool time and carefree days. But studies and experience show a lack of mental stimulation causes them to unlearn much of what they were taught over the school year.  Boys & Girls Clubs across the country offer young people a safe, exciting place to spend their summer months, with staff and resources to fight the effects of this “Summer Brain Drain.”

The reality for today’s kids is that many will find themselves with few structured activities, caregivers who are working all day, and too much unsupervised television, video game and computer time.

President Touts Concerns Over Summer Learning

Also known as “summer learning loss” or the “summer slide,” this issue is a growing problem for American children.  In 2010, President Obama noted, “Students are losing a lot of what they learn during the school year during the summer.”