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Back to School

Back to School Start Dates July 28th (Thursday) 
  • Rockdale County


July 29th (Friday)  
  • Lamar County Newton County 


August 1st (Monday)
  • Cherokee County: New school opening – the new/replacement Dean Rusk Middle School.  The new facility will accommodate current and projected enrollment and allow for the transition to the State’s Grade 6-8 model, which provides for more challenging coursework and career and fine arts electives for sixth-graders.  The 255,000-square-foot school, in addition to instructional classrooms, also includes a gymnasium, cafetorium, art and music rooms, cyber café media center, global learning center and computer labs.  
  • Cobb County Schools
  • Barrow County 
  • Clayton County 
  • Henry County 
  • Morgan County
  • Paulding County 
  • Pickens County 


August 2nd (Tuesday)  
  • Floyd County 
  • Greene County
  • Haralson County


August 3rd (Wednesday) 
  • Bartow County
  • City of Atlanta
  • City of Marietta
  • Gilmer County
  • Griffin-Spalding 
  • Oconee County
  • Walker County
  • Walton County


August 4th (Thursday) 
  • Carroll County
  • Chattooga County
  • City of Buford
  • Fannin County
  • Forsyth County 
  • Gordon County
  • Stephens County
  • Towns County


August 5th (Friday) 
  • West Georgia College Move-In date for First Year students  
  • Banks County
  • Coweta County
  • Dawson County
  • Habersham County
  • Hall County 
  • Heard County
  • Jackson County
  • Jasper County
  • Lumpkin County
  • Madison County
  • Monroe County 
  • Oglethorpe County
  • Union County


August 7th (Sunday) 


August 8th (Monday) 
  • City of Calhoun
  • Dekalb County 
  • Douglas County
  • Fayette County
  • Fulton County 
  • Gwinnett County 
  • Rabun County
  • White County
  • Whitfield County


August 9th (Tuesday)
  •  University of West Georgia – 2nd Move-in Day for Returning students.  
  • Clarke County 


August 10th (Wednesday)  
  • Butts County
  • City of Decatur
  • Troup County


August 11th (Thursday)  
  • Thomaston-Upson County


August 12th (Friday)  


August 13th (Saturday) 


August 15th (Monday)  


August 18th  (Thursday)


August 19th/20th (Friday and Saturday) 


August 20th (Saturday)  


August 22nd (Monday)  
  • Chattahoochee Tech goes back to school.  First day (No dorms) 
  • Pike County


DeKalb school named for John Lewis; debate sparks racism allegations

When DeKalb County school board member Stan Jester questioned the procedure for naming a school after U.S. Rep. John Lewis, another board member suggested his questions may be racially motivated.

“If this was a white man’s name going on this building, would it be a problem?” asked Joyce Morley. “No.”

Morley said she asked some of the same questions Jester did, but came back confident that the due diligence was proper.

Jester said policy required three meetings for naming the school, though only two were held. He also mentioned that the district policy on naming anything for someone says a person should be deceased five years before it can happen.

Member Vickie Turner noted Jester supported renaming a gymnasium in his own district for an educator who passed away last year, which was against the district’s naming policy. It struck her odd that he had an issue with shirking the policy now.

Jester said race had nothing to do with his decision.

“I’m disappointed and somewhat offended,” Jester said. “This is not about race, it’s local control.”

The board voted 6-1 to name the school after Lewis. It also voted unanimously to approve naming a school for President Barack Obama.

‘Pro-white’ group’s Stone Mountain rally prompts school to move prom

A Gwinnett County high school is moving its prom from Stone Mountain Park, citing concerns about a “pro-white” rally scheduled there earlier the same day.

Peachtree Ridge High School announced Wednesday it has moved its prom from the Atlanta Evergreen Marriott Resort in Stone Mountain Park to the Westin Buckhead Atlanta, school district officials said. The prom will be on the same date and time, Saturday, April 23, from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. The Evergreen Marriott released the school from its contract, officials said.

Gwinnett school district spokeswoman Sloan Roach said some parents were worried about student safety upon learning a “pro-white” group, Rock Stone Mountain, planned a rally at the park the same day. Two other groups announced plans to protest the Rock Stone Mountain rally.

The school’s principal alerted parents earlier this month about the rally and said Peachtree Ridge was working with park authorities to ensure students would be safe at the prom.

Several groups have had rallies at the park in recent months after officials announced plans last year to create a monument there to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

School worries Stone Mountain ‘pro-white’ rally may disrupt its prom

A Gwinnett County high school is working with law enforcement to ensure the safety of students planning to attend its prom at Stone Mountain Park because it’s scheduled the same date as a rally by a self-proclaimed “pro-white” group and counter demonstrations.

Peachtree Ridge High School has scheduled its prom on Saturday, April 23 at the Atlanta Evergreen Marriott Resort in Stone Mountain Park. A “pro-white” group, Rock Stone Mountain, has planned a rally at the park the same day. A Confederate Heritage group has also scheduled a rally to protest Rock Stone Mountain.

Additionally, the “All Out Atlanta” coalition group is organizing a protest.

Peachtree Ridge High School principal Jeff Mathews sent an email to parents late Wednesday alerting them about the issue.

“As always, the safety of our students is our primary focus and we do not anticipate any issues, as the two events do not overlap in time or location,” Mathews wrote. “Please know that we are working closely with local law enforcement and Stone Mountain Park officials to ensure the safety and security of our students during this special school event.”

The Rock Stone Mountain rally is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. The prom is scheduled from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.

A Stone Mountain Park police spokesman told Channel 2 Action News that they plan to bring in extra security to keep the demonstrators away from each other.

Several groups have had rallies at the park in recent months after officials announced plans last year to create a monument to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Prior coverage:

Rebel rebel: Planned ‘white power’ rally at Stone Mountain draws opposition from other flag backers

Stone Mountain Park police prepare for April 23 ‘pro-white’ rallies

A monument to MLK will crown Stone Mountain

Why students don't have to stand for Pledge of Allegiance in Florida

Compiled from Associated Press and Florida News Service reports.

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Students excused from having to daily recite the Pledge of Allegiance in Florida public schools would no longer have to stand and hold their hands over their heart either, under a bill that is headed to the House floor.

The House Education Committee on Wednesday unanimously approved a bill (HB 1403) that would change how students are notified of their right to skip the daily pledge and what the excused student must do during the pledge.

Current law requires schools to conspicuously post a notice, telling students they don’t have to recite the pledge if a parent asks in writing for a student to be excused. The law also requires excused students to still stand and hold their hands over their hearts while the pledge is recited.

The bill would allow the notice to instead be placed in a student handbook, and excused students would no longer be required to stand or hold their hands over their hearts.

The bill was filed after a parent of a child at a Panhandle school told the school district it was not following notice requirements. A Senate companion bill has not yet been heard in the first of its three required committees.

Staff, parents protest Atlanta school turnaround plans

Days after Atlanta school superintendent Meria Carstarphen unveiled her plans to improve low-performing schools by closing some and putting others under the management of charter school groups, school employees, parents and others sharply criticized those plans during a standing room-only school board meeting on Monday.

“Why do we want to take neighborhood control away from the neighborhoods?” JaTawn Robinson asked the board. “I beg of you to turn around and revamp your strategy.”

Carstarphen announced late Thursday plans to close one school, merge four others and put five others under the management of charter school groups. It’s an attempt to improve the schools and keep them out of state control if voters approve Gov. Nathan Deal’s Opportunity School District plan this fall.

After the meeting, APS volunteer Duane Milton said he applauded Carstarphen’s “immediacy.”

“What she’s doing is what has to be done,” he said.

» MAP: Which Georgia schools got an "F" on the 2014 CCRPI?

If the Opportunity School District is approved, the state would be able to take over a limited number of Georgia’s lowest performing schools and close them, run them or convert them to charter schools.

Some of the changes Carstarphen recommends would happen next school year, including putting Thomasville Heights Elementary School under the management of a nonprofit affiliated with Atlanta’s Drew Charter School. That nonprofit — Pupose Built Schools — would eventually manage four schools, including Carver High School.

Carstarphen said Monday that the charter school organizations that would manage schools—Purpose Built Schools and Kindezi, which currently operates two Atlanta charter schools—have a record of success. Those groups would be able to make changes that the school district couldn’t on its own, she said.

“They’re choosing to label it privatization or charter schools,” she said of critics. “It’s not.”

The board votes on Carstarphen’s recommendations March 7.

School lunches: Here’s what your kids will be eating if this bill passes

A bipartisan Senate agreement expected to be voted on Wednesday will include some changes to the meals your children will be offered at school, and it may be changes that would bring them to the table.

The bill, which is expected to be passed by the full Senate, will offer more flexibility to the nations nearly 100,000 public schools as it eases requirements on the use of whole grains and delays a deadline to cut the level of sodium in school lunches.

The legislation has grown out of complaints by some schools that the requirements for their meals – changed in 2012 with the support of first lady Michelle Obama – are burdensome and that children are not eating the food.

To qualify for federal reimbursements for free and reduced-cost meals, schools are required to meet federal government nutrition guidelines. The guidelines set in 2012 imposed limits on the amount of fats, calories, sugar and sodium that meals could include.

Many schools balked at the standards, saying children would not eat the healthier options. Wednesday’s vote comes after a bill that would have allowed schools to opt out of the program entirely failed in 2014.

Per the bill, the Agriculture Department would be required to revised the whole grain and sodium standards for meals within 90 days of its passage.

Here’s how the legislation would change what school lunchrooms are serving:

Grains: Currently, all grains served in public schools must be whole grains, meaning the food made from grain must have been made using 100 percent of the original grain kernel. The new legislation requires that 80 percent  of the grains used be whole grain or more than half whole grain. (Currently, schools may request waivers from the whole grain requirement.)

Salt: The implementation of stricter standards for the amount of sodium in school meals would be delayed until 2019 under the new legislation. The bill would also fund a study into the benefits of lowering salt levels in school meals.

Waste: The problem of waste is a big one in school lunches. Under the new legislation, the Department of Agriculture and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would be tasked with coming up with a way to reduce what is not eaten by students – particularly fruits and vegetables. Children are currently required to take the food on the lunch line, but many toss them without touching a bite.

Summer programs: More money would be allocated for summer feeding programs – where school lunchrooms offer meals for children who qualify.

DeKalb teachers to get pay raise

The DeKalb County Board of Education has approved Superintendent Dr. Stephen Green's proposal to increase salaries for teachers, principals and other certified school-based personnel. 

More than 8,700 employees, including 6,000 teachers, will receive the raises beginning with their January 15, 2016 paycheck. 

Green says "With these salary adjustments we are making an investment in the quality of teaching and learning in our schools."  He says the primary focus is to improve academic performance of students. 

The $21.5 million annual increase will make salaries more competitive. 

The board decided based on extensive analysis of five metro Atlanta school districts, not including Atlanta Public Schools, the DeKalb County School District was well below the metro average for teachers with 7 to 17 years of experience.  These teachers will receive a pay raise that brings them up to the metro average.  All other teachers will see a pay hike of 2-percent. 

High school principals will see their pay increase 5-percent; principals in middle schools 3-percent; and elementary school principals will get a 2-percent raise. 

Media specialists, counselors, psychologists, Lead Teacher for Special Education, social workers, academic coaches and instructional specialists will also get raises. 

Salaries for certified pre-K teachers will be included and adjusted based on levels of experience and certification. 

Instructional paraprofessionals on Tier 6 and above on the salary schedule will get 2-percent raises.  Any parapro below Tier 6 will get one-percent added to their paychecks.

No Child Left Behind overhaul: What the new guidelines may look like

The House is set today to vote on a rewrite of the controversial No Child Left Behind education bill that has, for nearly a generation, increased the federal government’s role in elementary and secondary education in America.

The update to NCLB, called the “Every Student Succeeds Act,” (ESSA) will loosen some of the restrictions the NCLB placed on schools and transfer much of the job of measuring school progress to the states.

Here’s what NCLB is, what it requires and how it will change under ESSA

What is NCLB? 

The No Child Left Behind Act increased the role of the federal government in elementary and secondary education holding schools responsible for the academic progress of all its students – particularly focusing on  poor, minority and special education students and students for whom English is a second language.

It was not without many critics who railed against its heavy federal involvement  in local school  districts, the goals which many came to believe were unrealistic and the penalties that were deemed  harsh for “underperforming” schools.

How will it change under “Every Student Succeeds” Act, or ESSA?

  • States set their own goals for educating students and the rate at which the goals should be met. Under NCLB, the government  set the goal of every child in American public schools being proficient in math and reading by the end of the  school year in 2014. No state made that goal.
  • States still have to test students in math and reading in Grades 3 through 8 and then one year in high school. The results must be publicly reported.
  • Each state must come up with a way to judge a school’s performance. What would now be considered an “underperforming” school would be one which sits in the lowest-performing 5 percent of schools in the state.
  • Goals in judging how a school performs would have to include test scores, graduation rates and English proficiency rates. States,  however,  can include other factors they consider important to a school’s performance.
  • Instead of the sometimes severe actions underperforming schools could face under NCLB, each state will decided what action will be taken and how long the school could be considered “underperforming” before the action is taken.
  • The federal government  can no longer threaten to withhold funding as a means to force states to use test scores to evaluate the performance of teachers.
  • States would be able to use different (approved) tests in different parts of the state, instead of having  to use one test to measure for the entire state.
  • The Education Department may not give states incentives to use any particular set of teaching standards such as the curriculum guidelines  found in Common Core.
  • Title 1 money would not follow a low-income student to another school of their parent’s choice.  It would stay at the school to which it was first issued.
  • The new law would encourage caps on the time students spend taking standardized tests.
  • The language released Monday is based on a framework agreed to this month by a conference committee composed of lawmakers from both parties and both chambers of Congress.

Click here for the final text of a compromise bill that rewrites No Child Left Behind.  


Photos: America's Top 10 party schools

29 items
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