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2015 Shuler Hensley Awards nominees announced

2015 Shuler Hensley Awards nominees announced

ATLANTA -- Twenty-four productions have been nominated for the 2015 Georgia High School Musical Theater Awards, otherwise known as the Shuler Hensley Awards.

The program is named for Tony Award-winning actor Shuler Hensley, a Cobb County native. This year's winners will be announced Thursday, Apr. 23 during an awards ceremony at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre.

Winning a Shuler Hensley Award can reap major benefits for a budding performer. Just ask Jai'Len Josey, who won Best Actress in 2014 for her portrayal of Effie White in Tri-Cities High School's production of Dreamgirls.

Ga. Connections Academy enrollment opens Mar. 3

Ga. Connections Academy enrollment opens Mar. 3

(WXIA) -- Georgia Connections Academy, a free statewide virtual K-12 school, will begin accepting applications for the 2015-16 school year next month.

Enrollment opens Mar. 3. The school can support 4,000 students; spaces are limited and families are encouraged to apply as soon as possible.

A free parent information session will be held Tuesday, Mar. 10 at 6 p.m. at the Hampton Inn Atlanta-Perimeter Center, which is located at 769 Hammond Drive in Sandy Springs. Teachers and currently enrolled families will answer questions and go over the school's curriculum at the session.

For more information about Georgia Connections Academy, visit connectionsacademy.com.

Ga. Department of Education names Student Advisory Council members

Ga. Department of Education names Student Advisory Council members

(WXIA) -- State School Superintendent Richard Woods has named the 64 young Georgians who make up his 2015 Student Advisory Council.

The council is composed of middle and high school students who meet periodically throughout the school year to discuss the impact of state politics in the classroom.

More than 1,000 students statewide applied to join the council. The members were chosen on a series of essays that focused on public education.

"It is essential, as we work to develop child-focused, classroom-centered policies, to hear directly from students," Woods said. "These students feel the impact of our decisions every day and, if we're going to improve their educational experience, we have to bring them to the table."

The Student Advisory Council will meet Feb. 27, Mar. 11 and Apr. 28 at the Georgia Department of Education office in Atlanta.

Several members are from metro Atlanta, including:

10 north Ga. students chosen for Disney Dreamers Academy

10 north Ga. students chosen for Disney Dreamers Academy

(WXIA) -- Ten high school students from the Atlanta area are among only 100 teens nationwide to be selected for the 2015 Disney Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey and ESSENCE Magazine.

The winners were selected from among nearly 10,000 applicants nationwide. They will travel to Walt Disney World Resort in March to participate in a prestigious educational and mentoring program.

Dreamers, as program participants are called, will learn life skills such as communication techniques and networking, and will explore possible career paths.

Visit disneydreamersacademy.com for more information.

Metro Atlanta's Dreamers include:

Graduation rates: Bartow County

Graduation rates: Bartow 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

Bartow County's 2014 graduation rate is 70.2 percent. At 75.7 percent, Woodland HS in Cartersville has the county's highest graduation rate.

Other graduation rates in Bartow County include:

* Adairsville HS: 67.2 percent
* Cass HS: 67.2 percent

AP exam participation: Bartow County

AP exam participation: Bartow 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 Bartow County, 393 students took 636 AP exams in 2014, and 400 of those exams earned passing scores.

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

Adairsville HS
117 students took 207 exams
138 passing scores

2014 SAT scores: Bartow County

2014 SAT scores: Bartow County

(WXIA) -- Georgia's 2014 SAT scores were released Tuesday morning.

About 77 percent of the state's high school seniors took the test in 2014. Mean scores include:

State of Georgia
Critical Reading: 488
Math: 485
Writing: 472

In Bartow County, 362 students took the SAT in 2014. Mean scores include:

Bartow County
Critical Reading: 490
Math: 486
Writing: 462

Here are the SAT breakdowns for each Bartow County public high school:

Adairsville HS
100 test-takers
Critical Reading: 484
Math: 485
Writing: 459

Cass HS
127 test-takers
Critical Reading: 477
Math: 477
Writing: 445

Woodland HS
135 test-takers
Critical Reading: 506
Math: 495
Writing: 480