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What parents need to know about Minecraft

What parents need to know about Minecraft

ATLANTA -- Minecraft is one of the most popular video games for kids, who use digital blocks to explore their creative side.

But it can be confusing for parents and grandparents, especially since some younger children end up with nightmares after playing the game.

"You can kill creepers and zombies and they can kill you back," said sixth-grader Dakota Lawrence.

"The next minute, there could be something there and it freaks you out, whether it's a spider or a creeper or a skeleton," added classmate Piper Jones

"With creepers, if you actually get too close, they hiss and then explode." said sixth-grader Jessica Wilson

Lawrence, Jones and Wilson are students at Otwell Middle School in Forsyth County.

State to investigate spike in Forsyth road deaths

State to investigate spike in Forsyth road deaths

CUMMING, Ga. -- Forsyth County saw a 144 percent increase in its number of roadway fatalities from 2009 to 2012.

Now, the Governor's Office of Highway Safety will share safety tips with the county's drivers in an attempt to bring that number back down.

Making a Safer Forsyth, a four-day highway safety tour, will kick off this Wednesday, May 7 at Lanier Technical College in Cumming. It will stop at schools, businesses, parks and senior centers across the county.

The tour is designed to educate children about the importance of wearing seat belts as a way to be safe in the car. It will also teach teens and adults about staying sober behind the wheel.

Making a Safer Forsyth is presented by the GOHS, Georgia State Patrol, Forsyth County Schools, the Forsyth County Sheriff's Office and the Georgia Department of Public Health, among other agencies.

5 Forsyth high schools among America's Most Challenging

5 Forsyth 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.

Five Forsyth 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.

130. South Forsyth HS
351. Lambert HS
508. West Forsyth HS
1479. Forsyth Central HS
1549. North Forsyth HS

See the full list at washingtonpost.com.

2014 Shuler Hensley Awards nominees announced

2014 Shuler Hensley Awards nominees announced

(WXIA) -- The nominees for this year's Georgia High School Musical Theatre Awards, known casually as the Shuler Hensley Awards, were revealed Wednesday.

The awards program celebrates some of the best high school musical theater productions in the state. The award is named for metro Atlanta native Shuler Hensley, a seasoned Broadway performer who originated the role of the Monster in Young Frankenstein and won a Tony Award for playing Jud Fry in the revival of Oklahoma!

Sixty-one public and private high schools from 24 counties are vying for this year's awards. The winners will be announced on Thursday, Apr. 17 during an awards ceremony at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. Tickets are $23 for the general public and can be purchased at shulerawards.org.

Some of this year's notable nominees include:

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: