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Georgia 9th graders will have to choose career paths

Georgia 9th graders will have to choose career paths

ATLANTA -- Here's a question: Did you know what career you wanted to pursure in night grade?

Next fall, all high school freshman in Georgia public schools will have to determine a career path and take classes tailored to that goal.

"The governor signed house bill 187 into law this past session, which mandates that we have career pathways for all students beginning in the fall of 2012," said State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge. "It's a national model. Many states are already using career clusters and career pathways."

There are 17 careers clusters and each one has a core of subjects students must take. The process is similar to working on a major in college. Students will have the opportunity to switch career pathways throughout their time in high school.

Test scores now used in teacher evaluations

Test scores now used in teacher evaluations

ATLANTA -- Georgia is on the verge of beginning a new pilot program to evaluate teachers and for the first time will factor in student test scores.

"This is something we've been trying to change for years.  The old system simply doesn't take into consideration what is happening in our classrooms today," said State School Superintendnet Dr. John Barge.

It's  called value-added score -- looking at how much students improve in a year -- but Barge insists that's not all educators will be measured by.

"It is a component of the evaluation, but by no means is it the overriding thing we'll be using," said Barge.

The state's pilot begins in January and will initially include about 5,000 teachers and several hundred principals from schools that were part of the Race to the Top federal grant application.

College and Career Motivation Week kickoff at B.E.S.T. Academy

College and Career Motivation Week kickoff at B.E.S.T. Academy

ATLANTA -- Atlanta Public Schools' annual College and Career Motivation Week began at 10 a.m. Monday with a ceremony at B.E.S.T. Academy on the city's west side.

All Atlanta high schools celebrate the week with special themed programs, such as Dress for Success and College Spirit. The week of activities is aimed at getting students excited about applying for college and focused on their futures in school and the workforce.

Additional programs include a career awareness session featuring professionals and industry experts who will share their real-life success stories with APS high school students.

For more information, visit www.atlanta.k12.ga.us.

State tax credit program raises $50M for scholarships

State tax credit program raises $50M for scholarships

ATLANTA -- The Georgia Department of Revenue stamped its approval on $50 million in donations under the Georgia Scholarship Tax Credit Program.

The program lets people and businesses get tax credit for donations to scholarships for Georgia children to attend private schools.

Fifty million dollars is the most allowed under the program. In 2012, the statewide cap on donations will increase by the annual increase in the Consumer Price Index until 2018.

Individuals can donate up to $1,000, while married couples have a donation cap of $2,500. Corporations can donate up to 75 percent of their state income tax liability.

The American Federation for Children estimated more than 6,000 students last year got scholarships to attend private schools through the program.

APS board members spared from chopping block

APS board members spared from chopping block

ATLANTA -- The Georgia Board of Education has decided not to recommend removing the members of Atlanta's school board en masse, authority the legislature gave the state board earlier this year.

State board members voted unanimously at a special meeting late Wednesday not to enforce Senate Bill 79 against Atlanta Public Schools.

The bill, which cleared the General Assembly last April, gives the governor the power to remove local school board members whose districts have been put on probation because of board governance shortcomings and have failed to get their accreditation restored.

However, before such a step can be taken, the measure requires the state board to hold a hearing and make a recommendation to the governor.

The legislation passed just three months after the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools put APS on probation, labeling the district's board dysfunctional due to infighting between rival factions.

"I Am College Material" Scholarship Fair on 11/3 to help low income families with scholarships

"I Am College Material" Scholarship Fair on 11/3 to help low income families with scholarships

ATLANTA – In an effort to help students and parents secure funding for college, Atlanta City Councilmember Aaron Watson (Post 2 At-Large) and Atlanta Board of Education member Yolanda Johnson (District 6) have teamed up with The Scholarship Academy (TSA), a local nonprofit scholarship preparatory program, to launch the “I am College Material” Scholarship Fair.

Voters weigh education sales tax with SPLOST

Voters weigh education sales tax with SPLOST

ATLANTA -- Voters in two cities and six counties in Metro Atlanta will decide on Nov. 8 whether to renew a one-cent sales tax for school construction.

The education SPLOST is one-cent special purpose local option sales tax that was first approved by voters in Atlanta, Decatur and Fulton, DeKalb, Gwinnett, Cherokee, Douglas and Henry counties in 1997.

On Tuesday, Nov. 8, voters will be asked to continue that tax with SPLOST IV.