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2014 Reward Schools: Clayton County

2014 Reward Schools: Clayton County

(WXIA) -- The Georgia Department of Education has released its list of 2014 Reward Schools.

Such schools are identified under the state's waiver from the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. They are Title I schools that fall into one of two categories.

Clayton County's 2014 Reward Schools include:

Highest Performing -- Among the top 5 percent of Georgia's Title I schools; have highest absolute performance from all student groups for at least three years
* Clayton County had no Highest Performing schools in 2014

Free digital textbooks available to Ga. students

Free digital textbooks available to Ga. students

(WXIA) -- The Georgia Department of Education has made free interactive digital textbooks available on its website.

Students, parents and educators are welcome to use the books, which feature games, discussion questions, quizzes and other study elements.

They are available for middle and high school courses in such subjects as language arts, math, science, social studies, electives and several world languages -- Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Latin and Spanish.

State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge said students who have used the digital textbook have had much classroom success with them.

Visit gavirtuallearning.org to access the textbook materials.

2 Clayton schools named Alert Schools

2 Clayton schools named Alert Schools

(WXIA) -- The Georgia Department of Education has released its 2014 list of Alert Schools, which includes two schools in Clayton County.

An Alert School cannot be identified as a Priority or Focus school under Georgia's waiver from the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. It must show a lack of progress on statewide assessments among all students over the past three school years, and is based on the lowest achievement of the "all students" group.

Clayton County's Alert Schools include Edmonds Elementary School and Harper Elementary School.

Students shut out of new Riverdale charter school

Students shut out of new Riverdale charter school

RIVERDALE, Ga. -- A brand new charter school in Clayton County was scheduled to open Monday morning, but when students put on their uniforms and arrived at the building, they were not allowed to go inside.

Utopian Academy for the Arts in Riverdale was denied the right to open by the Clayton County School Board for three years. The Georgia Charter Schools Commission finally approved the start-up charter school last year.

But a county official reportedly told Utopian Academy principal Artesius Miller that he needed a business license to access the school and, because he didn't have one, the building could not receive a certificate of occupancy.

Back to school: Free and reduced-price lunch guidelines

Back to school: Free and reduced-price lunch guidelines

(WXIA) -- Thousands of Georgia students return to the classroom this week, and many of them meet the requirements for free and reduced-price meals during the school day.

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"It is important to provide our students with healthy, nutritious meals to help improve their chances of success and increase their learning opportunities," Georgia Department of Education School Nutrition Director Nancy Rice said in a statement. "Research indicates that eating habits affect learning. We want to ensure all our children are well nourished and ready to learn."

Families that qualify for free and reduced-price lunch will get applications from their children's schools.

Students can receive the meals if:

Back to school surprise: Weekend roadwork canceled

Back to school surprise: Weekend roadwork canceled

(WXIA) -- This weekend will be a holiday for Georgia families in more ways than one.

The Georgia Department of Transportation has suspended construction-related lane closures on all major interstates and highways within five miles of malls and shopping districts.

This will allow parents and students to enjoy the tax-free shopping weekend without the added stress of road delays.

"The sales tax holiday is an opportunity for Georgians to save a little money during these challenging economic times," GDOT Commissioner Keith Golden said. "The department is glad to offer some relief from lane closures as families prepare for school."

11Alive Ways to Save reporter Valerie Hoff has some of the best tax-free weekend deals. Find out how to get the most bang for your buck.

Thousands enroll in Ga. Pre-K Program

Thousands enroll in Ga. Pre-K Program

(WXIA) -- More than 80,000 Georgia children are enrolled in the state's Pre-K Program for the 2014-15 school year.

Pre-K is open to all 4 year olds, regardless of household income. Assistant commissioner Susan Adams said that it is the first school experience for many children.

"For this reason, we take our roles very seriously, and we work really hard to provide Georgia's children with positive and meaningful experiences," Adams said in a release.

In Pre-K, students study language, literacy and math while making new friends and building foundations for lifelong learning. The Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning recommends parents visit their children's classrooms in advance to familiarize them with their new surroundings, and dress them in comfortable clothes and shoes every day. If students have a tendency to feel lonely, parents can send them to school with family photos to cheer them up, and blankets or stuffed animals to snuggle at naptime.