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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

15 Gwinnett students named Gates Millennium Scholars

15 Gwinnett students named Gates Millennium Scholars

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. -- A record 15 Gwinnett County high school seniors have been named 2014 Gates Millennium Scholars.

The honor is given annually to some of the top minority students in the U.S. It includes a full scholarship to the college of the student's choice and additional funding for graduate work.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation established the Gates Millennium Scholars program in 1999.

Gwinnett County's recipients include:

Oluwatomisin Adelusi
Brookwood HS
Will attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Micheline Amisi
Archer HS
Will attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Brian Chung
Peachtree Ridge HS
Will attend Dartmouth College

Jonathan Conde-Peraza
Meadowcreek HS
Will attend Emory University

Paula Deroseney
Dacula HS
Will attend Emory University

Tri-Cities HS dominates Shuler Hensley Awards

Tri-Cities HS dominates Shuler Hensley Awards

(WXIA) -- The 2014 Georgia High School Musical Theater Awards, otherwise known as the Shuler Hensley Awards, were held Thursday night, with one Fulton County school scoring the majority of the honors.

Tri-Cities High School's production of Dreamgirls crushed the competition. It won a whopping 13 awards, including Best Musical, Best Director and all the acting prizes.

Milton High School's Legally Blonde won two awards, while Pebblebrook High School's Les Misérables and Wesleyan School's Into the Woods each took home one.

Six students also received special Shuler Scholarships at the ceremony, which took place at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre.

See this year's nominees. The winners are:

19 Gwinnett high schools among America's Most Challenging

19 Gwinnett 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.

Nineteen Gwinnett 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.

2014 Shuler Hensley Awards nominees announced

2014 Shuler Hensley Awards nominees announced

(WXIA) -- The nominees for this year's Georgia High School Musical Theatre Awards, known casually as the Shuler Hensley Awards, were revealed Wednesday.

The awards program celebrates some of the best high school musical theater productions in the state. The award is named for metro Atlanta native Shuler Hensley, a seasoned Broadway performer who originated the role of the Monster in Young Frankenstein and won a Tony Award for playing Jud Fry in the revival of Oklahoma!

Sixty-one public and private high schools from 24 counties are vying for this year's awards. The winners will be announced on Thursday, Apr. 17 during an awards ceremony at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. Tickets are $23 for the general public and can be purchased at shulerawards.org.

Some of this year's notable nominees include:

Fights in high schools: Gwinnett County

Fights in high schools: Gwinnett 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.

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.