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Fights in schools: Forsyth County

Fights in schools: Forsyth 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.

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:

4 Forsyth schools named AP Merit Schools

4 Forsyth schools named AP Merit Schools

FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. -- Four public high schools in Forsyth County were named 2014 AP Merit Schools by State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge.

An AP Merit School is a school where at least 20 percent of students take Advanced Placement exams. At least 50 percent of the exams taken at an AP Merit School earn passing scores of 3 or higher.

Forsyth County's schools on the list include:

* Forsyth Central HS
* Lambert HS
* South Forsyth HS
* West Forsyth HS

Forsyth superintendent announces retirement

Forsyth superintendent announces retirement

CUMMING, Ga. -- Forsyth County Schools Superintendent L.C. "Buster" Evans will retire at the end of the 2013-14 school year.

Evans announced his retirement plan during Thursday's Forsyth County Board of Education meeting. He has worked for the school system since 2007, capping off a 30-year career in public education.

"We will be forever grateful to Dr. Evans for his outstanding leadership and for taking our district to unbelievable levels of achievement," Board of Education Chairperson Darla Light said in a release. "We wish him the best in his new career pathway and know that he will continue to make a difference in the future of our state."

Upon retiring on June 30, Evans plans to begin working on learning and career development opportunities for adults.

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.

Seamless Summer program feeds children when school is out

Seamless Summer program feeds children when school is out

(WXIA) -- The Georgia Department of Education will once again offer its Seamless Summer nutrition program when school lets out for the year.

Seamless Summer provides free meals to children under the age of 18. No registration or income verification is required to receive the food.

According to the GDOE, more than 77 percent of the 500,000 breakfasts and 1.1 million lunches it serves during the school year are provided for free or at a reduced price. Georgia ranks in the top five nationwide for states with children who participate in the School Breakfast Program and/or National School Lunch Program.

In the past, more than 2,200 locations across Georgia have served meals through the Seamless Summer program.

Learn more at fns.usda.gov.