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Graduation rates: DeKalb County

Graduation rates: DeKalb County

(WXIA) -- Georgia's 2014 high school graduation rates were released Thursday.

This year's statewide average is 72.5 percent, up slightly from last year's 71.5 percent. It's also the third consecutive increase in the percentage of seniors who graduate from the state's public high schools.

MORE | Ga. graduation rates up this year

DeKalb County's 2014 graduation rate is 62.3 percent. At 100 percent, DeKalb Early College Academy in Stone Mountain and DeKalb School of the Arts in Avondale Estates tied for the county's highest graduation rate.

Other graduation rates in DeKalb County include:

Students invited to Pizza Farm 2014

Students invited to Pizza Farm 2014

FOREST PARK, Ga. -- How do you expose urban youth to Georgia’s agriculture? You open a Pizza Farm!

Fourth and fifth grade students from the Atlanta metropolitan area will learn about Georgia agriculture by making, and eating, pizza at the second annual Pizza Farm event.

County agents with the Cooperative Extension Metro Collaborative of Fulton, DeKalb, Gwinnett, Cobb and Clayton counties will lead the event set for Oct. 21-23 at the Georgia State Farmers Market in Forest Park, Ga. The students will learn how dairy, vegetables, grains and meats come together to make the pizza.  

AP exam participation: DeKalb County

AP exam participation: DeKalb 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 DeKalb County, 4,857 students took 7,481 AP exams in 2014, and 2,955 of those exams earned passing scores.

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

Arabia Mountain HS
289 students took 395 exams
114 passing scores

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.

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.