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2015 Shuler Hensley Awards nominees announced

2015 Shuler Hensley Awards nominees announced

ATLANTA -- Twenty-four productions have been nominated for the 2015 Georgia High School Musical Theater Awards, otherwise known as the Shuler Hensley Awards.

The program is named for Tony Award-winning actor Shuler Hensley, a Cobb County native. This year's winners will be announced Thursday, Apr. 23 during an awards ceremony at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre.

Winning a Shuler Hensley Award can reap major benefits for a budding performer. Just ask Jai'Len Josey, who won Best Actress in 2014 for her portrayal of Effie White in Tri-Cities High School's production of Dreamgirls.

Ga. Connections Academy enrollment opens Mar. 3

Ga. Connections Academy enrollment opens Mar. 3

(WXIA) -- Georgia Connections Academy, a free statewide virtual K-12 school, will begin accepting applications for the 2015-16 school year next month.

Enrollment opens Mar. 3. The school can support 4,000 students; spaces are limited and families are encouraged to apply as soon as possible.

A free parent information session will be held Tuesday, Mar. 10 at 6 p.m. at the Hampton Inn Atlanta-Perimeter Center, which is located at 769 Hammond Drive in Sandy Springs. Teachers and currently enrolled families will answer questions and go over the school's curriculum at the session.

For more information about Georgia Connections Academy, visit connectionsacademy.com.

Student arrested for North Hall High School bomb threat

Student arrested for North Hall High School bomb threat

HALL COUNTY, Ga. -- A North Hall High School senior was arrested for writing a bomb threat on a bathroom wall.

Emilio Junior Avalos, 18, faces a charge of making terroristic threats.

The bomb threat was discovered Tuesday afternoon, and the building was evacuated. According to Gordon Higgins of Hall County Schools, students and staff were taken to the school stadium.

Police conducted a sweep of the school campus, but nothing was found.

Parents were notified that they could pick their children up at the upper parking lot off of Mt. Vernon Road, Higgins said.

AP exam participation: Hall County

AP exam participation: Hall County

(WXIA) -- More Georgia high school students are taking -- and passing -- Advanced Placement exams.

Last school year, 89,806 Georgia students took 154,176 AP exams. That's an 8 percent increase in the number of participants and almost a 9 percent increase in the number of tests.

AP exams are graded on a scale of 1 to 5. Passing scores of 3, 4 or 5 often allow the test-takers to earn college credit.

Georgia's seniors earned 86,075 passing scores on their AP exams in 2014, a 9.6 percent increase over 2013.

English Language and Composition was the state's most popular AP exam, followed by U.S. History and World History.

In Hall County, 1,422 students took 2,322 AP exams in 2014, and 794 of those exams earned passing scores.

Here are the AP exam breakdowns for each Hall County public high school:

Chestatee HS
292 students took 482 exams
166 passing scores

2014 Reward Schools: Hall County

2014 Reward Schools: Hall 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.

Hall 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
* Hall County had no Highest Performing schools in 2014

Highest Progress -- Among the top 10 percent of Georgia's Title I schools; make the most progress in improving performance from all student groups for at least three years
* Sugar Hill Elementary School
* West Hall Middle School

2015 Best Colleges: Brenau University

2015 Best Colleges: Brenau University

GAINESVILLE, Ga. -- U.S. News & World Report has released its 2015 list of America's best colleges and universities.

Three Georgia schools earned national rankings: Emory University (21), Georgia Tech (35) and the University of Georgia (62).

Brenau University was featured on some U.S. News lists as well. It is No. 43 on Regional University South Rankings and No. 12 on Best Colleges for Veterans.

The university's graduate school fared well in three areas -- No. 411 for nursing, and Nos. 36 and 58 at its Gainesville and Atlanta campuses, respectively, for occupational therapy.

Brenau also ranked No. 95 on Best Online Graduate Business Programs and No. 107 on Best Online Graduate Education Programs.

See the complete list of top schools at usnews.com.

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.