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Carmel Elementary Student Ambassadors shine

Carmel Elementary Student Ambassadors shine

WOODSTOCK, Ga. -- The Carmel Elementary Student Ambassadors are comprised of 5th grade students who apply and are recommended by their teachers as responsible, caring student role models.

Some of their duties include raising and lowering the school flags, helping out at the grandparent breakfast, and collecting items for school and community food/toy drives. They are also instrumental in the implementation of the new student welcome bag program.

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.

Carmel Elementary students compete at State Tech Fair

Carmel Elementary students compete at State Tech Fair

WOODSTOCK, Ga. -- On Mar. 8, 12 Carmel Elementary School students traveled to Macon to compete in the Georgia Technology Fair.

The students qualified for the state competition by placing first in their categories at the Piedmont Regional Technology Fair in January.

"It was a great day for the Carmel Colts! The entire school is proud of their achievements!" Carmel's Computer Club coaches said. The Carmel Computer Club is coached by Carmel Teachers Merry Willis and Ashley Roth.

• 3rd grade student Katy Wheeler became the state champion in Case Modification.
• 3rd grade students Matthew Shea and Garrett Smith finished in 2nd for Game Design.
• 3rd grade student Lily Norrell finished in 2nd place for Non Animated Graphic Design.
• 4th grade students Slade Rebeles and Peyton Schroeder placed 3rd in Project Programming.

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.