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Back to School [Infographic]

July 21, 2016
Illustration of book bag and books in front of a school.

The hot Georgia sun says that we're still in the middle of summer, but some students have already started back in classes for the fall! Public schools in Georgia open this year between July 14 and Sept. 6.

Jump start your school year mindset with this infographic, and get ready for class!

Jump to the text alternative of this infographic.

Graphical representation of the text provided in this blog


This legislative session, the Georgia General Assembly passed Senate Bill 364. Effective July 1, this act reduced the amount of testing for kindergarteners through high school seniors. It also refined the teacher evaluation system as follows:

  • 30% student growth
  • 20% professional growth
  • 50% teacher evaluations and observations

The new system reduces the importance of student growth for teacher evaluations.

Bus Safety

Students who ride school buses must keep these safety rules in mind when waiting for their ride to school:

  • Get to the bus stop on time, 5 minutes before your bus is scheduled to arrive.
  • Pack your book bag before leaving home.
  • Wait for the bus in a safe location.
  • Stay on your side of the road.
  • Wait in an orderly line when the bus arrives.

Beware of the “danger zone” surrounding all sides of the school bus with a 12 foot margin. The most dangerous areas are close to the bus by its rear, right tire and the front.

Course Highlights

Career, Technical and Agricultural Education (CTAE) is available for Georgian high school and middle school students. In CTAE courses, students explore options for future careers. Students completing 3 or more classes in a program area are considered CTAE concentrators.

  • 91% of Georgia school districts have CTAE programs available to students.
  • 95% of CTAE concentrators graduate from high school.
  • 60% of Georgia high school students participate in a CTAE program.
  • 57 % of Georgia middle school students participate in a CTAE program.

Georgia schools stress the importance of the fine arts in a complete education. Schools can receive STEAM certification for integrating Science, Technology, Engineering and Math infused with meaningful arts integration. Schools can also apply to be part of the Fine Arts Diploma Seal program. Qualifying students in participating schools receive a seal on their diploma signaling that they are ready for college and careers in fine arts related industries.

College and Career Prep

High school students and parents should be aware of college entrance tests, such as the PSAT, SAT and ACT.

  • The PSAT is a practice test for 10th graders, and is paid for by the state of Georgia. High school sophomores will take the PSAT on Oct. 19, 2016.
  • The SAT measures critical thinking skills. Find location and fees, and register to take the SAT online with CollegeBoard. The next few SAT dates are Oct. 1, Nov. 5 and Dec. 3.
  • The ACT assesses general educational development. Find location and fees, and register to take the ACT online. The next few ACT dates are Sept. 10, Oct. 22 and Dec. 10.

Move on When Ready (MOWR) is Georgia’s dual enrollment program for qualified high school students. In MOWR, students take college courses to receive high school credit and college credit simultaneously.

Career Clusters and Pathways show students the relevance of what they’re learning in the classroom to their future careers. Participating students pick one out of 17 clusters, each containing multiple pathways. Once they’ve chosen their cluster, students take CTAE classes tailored to the chosen topic.

This should give you a good insight into what’s coming. Whether your child has already started back in classes, or if you have over a month before they get on the school bus, you can get the ball rolling now by staying informed. Keep up with the latest education news by connecting with the Georgia Department of Education on Facebook and Twitter.

Rachel Hart

About the Author

Rachel Hart is the User Experience Designer for Digital Services Georgia. On, she makes government material approachable with writing, infographics, videos, and other imagery.

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