What Parents Need to Know
Is your child currently in high school? Curious about what they are learning, what tests they will take, or what supports and options are in place to help them transition into college or a career? The Georgia Department of Education knows that as a parent you have questions and deserve answers. Whether your child just entered high school or is about to graduate and begin their future, hopefully you will find useful information that makes you a more informed parent and your student academically successful.
What does my student need to know to graduate?
What tools are available to help my student prepare for the future?
What supports are in place to help my student be successful?
What options may be available to students?
What scholarships and programs are available to my student?
What else may I need to know?
Common Core Georgia Performance Standards
Georgia is currently implementing a new standards-based, world-class curriculum called the Common Core Georgia Performance Standards or CCGPS. The CCGPS outline clear expectations for what students should know and be able to do at each grade level and in each core subject. Click above to learn more about the standards
Georgia Performance Standards
The Georgia Performance Standards (GPS) provide clear expectations for instruction, assessment, and student work. They define the level of work that demonstrates achievement of the standards, enabling a teacher to know “how good is good enough.” The performance standards isolate and identify the skills needed to use the knowledge and skills to problem-solve, reason, communicate, and make connections with other information. They also tell the teacher how to assess the extent to which the student knows the material or can manipulate and apply the information. Click on the link above to learn more information about the GPS and discover resources necessary to help meet the educational needs of your children.
Common Core Georgia Performance Standards in Mathematics
Students should experience mathematics as interesting, relevant, and important as a course of study and as a bridge to the real world of jobs and adult responsibilities. This means going beyond memorization into a world of inquiry, reasoning, and problem solving. As part of the Common Core Georgia Performance Standards (CCGPS), schools throughout Georgia began implementing a new mathematics curriculum in 2005 called the CCGPS for Mathematics. Grade 6 was implemented in 2005; K-2 and 7 in 2006; grades 3-5 and 8 in 2007; and grades 9-12 during 2008-2011. For more information click above.
Advanced Placement (AP)
Advanced Placement courses are college-level courses offered by trained high school teachers in the regular high school setting. Typically about one-third of the students in Georgia public high schools are enrolled in AP courses. In May of each year, AP students take the AP exam(s). Students who score at the 3, 4 or 5 level may be able to earn college credit for these courses taken in the high school. To learn more about AP classes offered in Georgia click above.
Career, Technical and Agricultural Education
Career, Technical and Agricultural Education (CTAE) provides all Georgia students with the opportunity to select at least three sequenced electives in a career pathway, along with recommended academic course work, to prepare them to continue their education at any level or enter the world of work. To learn more about career pathways in the CTAE program click above or view the booklet below.
- Courses and Textbooks
Click above to find detailed information about courses offered by Georgia schools and the textbooks used to teach them.
Assessments and Testing
There are many resources to help students prepare for standardized tests. Click above to view an explanation of the assessment programs administered across grade levels as well as to find resources to help your student prepare for the various assessments given in Georgia schools. Also, you will find general assessment program information and currently scheduled test administration dates.
- End of Course Tests (EOCT)
Georgia Law mandates that the State Board of Education adopt end-of-course assessments in grades nine through twelve for core subjects to be determined by the State Board of Education. Currently there are eight assessments. Assessments are given in the following courses: Mathematics I: Algebra/Geometry/Statistics, Mathematics II: Geometry/Algebra II/Statistics, United States History, Economics/Business/Free Enterprise, Biology, Physical Science, Ninth Grade Literature and Composition, and American Literature and Composition. Click above or view the EOCT Brochure below to learn more about the tests. Student study guides are also available on the link below for review.
- Graduation Tests (GHSGT)
All students seeking a Georgia high school diploma must pass the Georgia High School Graduation Tests (GHSGT) in four content areas as well as the Georgia High School Writing Assessment (GHSWT). These assessments ensure that students qualifying for a diploma have mastered essential core academic content and skills. Students take the graduation tests for the first time in the eleventh grade. Students who do not pass on the first attempt have multiple opportunities to receive additional instruction, retest, and qualify for graduation before the spring of the twelfth grade. Click above or view the GHSGT Brochure below to learn more about the tests. Student study guides are also available on the link below for review.
Click above to access tests that consist of the same kinds of questions that appear on the state's assessments in Reading, English/Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies in the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT), the End of Course Tests (EOCT), and the Georgia High School Graduation Tests (GHSGT).
Based on Georgia Law, performance-based writing assessments are administered to students in grades three, five, eight, and eleven. Statewide writing assessments serve the purpose of improving student writing and writing instruction. Click above or view the GA Writing Assessment Brochure to learn more about these tests.
- Graduation Rule
In 2007, the Georgia Department of Education revised the requirements for obtaining a high school diploma from Georgia public high schools. The new requirements pertain only to students who entered ninth grade for the first time in the 2008-2009 and in all subsequent school years. To learn more and see the requirements click above. For the requirements in Spanish click the link below.
Note: The Georgia Department of Education does not have authority in issues regarding student participation in high school graduation ceremonies. For information regarding this matter please contact your local school district.
- College Readiness
The Georgia Department of Education is dedicated to the goals of improving student achievement on high stakes college entrance tests such as the SAT and the ACT and to providing students more opportunities for rigorous coursework through Advanced Placement courses. The College Readiness unit works to ensure college and workplace readiness for all students by providing professional learning and technical assistance to teachers, counselors, and administrators.
GACollege411 provides parents, students, and educators complete access to the information needed when planning for college. This informative, free online resource enables visitors to explore careers, seek college advice, select a college, prepare for the SAT and ACT, plan high school courses, learn about financial aid, search for scholarships, and more. Click above to visit the website.
- Youth Apprenticeship Program
The Youth Apprenticeship Program is a structured combination of school-based and work-based learning. Through a coordinated effort involving business and industry, a Youth Apprenticeship addresses the dual task of preparing students for the world of work and providing Georgia with a highly skilled, technologically competitive workforce. The Youth Apprenticeship program enables a student to receive a high school diploma, a post-secondary certificate or degree, and certification of industry-recognized competencies applicable to employment in a high-skilled occupation. To learn more click above.
- ACCEL Program
The Accel program is for students at eligible high schools who wish to take college level coursework for credit towards both high school and college graduation requirements. Eligible students must meet certain criteria explained below. The program is offered during the fall, winter, and spring terms of the school year. To learn more about this program click above.
- School Guidance and Counseling Services
Click above to find out information about school counselors and the school counseling program in Georgia. Counselors can provide students with a variety of information and support. This covers everything from helping students select classes and identify possible careers to obtaining personal and psychological counseling. If you are a parent, and think your child would benefit from the services of a school counselor, please contact your local school. If you believe that your child is not getting the type of counseling he or she needs, please contact your local school district central office.
- Graduation Coaches
Graduation Coaches identify at-risk students and help them succeed in school by keeping them on track academically before they consider dropping out. The coaches identify, recruit and engage parents and concerned adults, organizations and government agencies to serve in a variety of ancillary roles. To find out more about the role of Graduation Coaches click on the link above or view the brochure below. To find out if your school has a graduation coach, contact your school’s principal.
- School Social Work
Click above to find out information about school social workers in Georgia. School social workers serve as the vital link between home, school and community. They help address non-academic issues in the lives of students and their families to ensure academic success in the classroom. If you are a parent, and think your child would benefit from the services of a school social worker, please contact your local school.
- Student Support Teams
Student Support Teams (SST) exist in every Georgia school and function as problem-solving groups. Students are referred to the SST for the purpose of finding ways around the roadblocks that impede the student’s success. Any unresolved problem that is impeding the learning process may be referred to the SST, by a teacher, administrator, parent or even a student. Click above to learn more about this program.
- 21st Century Community Learning Centers
The 21st Century Community Learning Centers program provides federal funds to establish or expand before school, after school, or summer school learning opportunities for eligible students. To learn more about 21st Century Community Learning Centers or to locate a center in your area click above.
- Supplemental Educational Services (SES)
Supplemental Educational Services (SES) are free tutoring and academic enrichment services offered to eligible students in Title I schools to increase academic achievement. SES are high quality research-based educational programs. These services provide additional academic instruction, and are offered outside of the regular school day. To determine if your student is eligible or to find a list of SES providers in your area click above or contact your local school.
- ExPreSS Programs
The purpose of ExPreSS (Exam Preparation for Science and Social Studies) is to provide free tutorial support for high school students in preparation for retaking the Science or Social Studies Georgia High School Graduation Tests (GHSGT). There are two ways students can participate in ExPreSS: Online or face-to-face. The Online ExPreSS offers students the opportunity to participate in learning modules that are self-paced and based on the instructional plans created for the face-to-face program. The face-to-face program, called Project ExPreSS and is a target, statewide, two week summer program. To learn more about Online ExPreSS or Project ExPreSS click on the link above.
- Credit Recovery Program (GA Virtual School)
The Georgia Department of Education Credit Recovery Program provides the opportunity for a student to “recover” credit for a course that he or she was previously unsuccessful in earning academic credit for graduation. Credit Recovery programs, in general, have a primary focus of helping students stay in school and graduate on time by allowing them to retake a course at their own pace. Credit Recovery courses are on-line courses and are not facilitated by a teacher. To see a list of Credit Recovery courses or to learn more about the program click above.
- Remedial Education Program
The Remedial Education Program is an instructional program designed for students in grades 6-12 who have identified deficiencies in reading, writing, and math. This program provides individualized basic skills instruction as mandated by Georgia Law in the areas of reading, mathematics, and writing. Click above to learn more.
- Homeless Children and Youth Education Program
The McKinney-Vento Education for Homeless Children and Youth program is designed to address the problems that homeless children and youth face in enrolling, attending, and succeeding in school. To learn more about this program and the services it offers click on the link above.
- Migrant Education Program
The Migrant Education Program (MEP) is a federally funded program designed to support comprehensive educational programs for migrant children to help reduce the educational disruption and other problems that result from repeated moves. To learn more about this program and to see if your child qualifies for services click on the link above.
- Neglected and Delinquent Children Education Program
The Neglected and Delinquent Children Education Program is designed to improve educational services in local and State institutions, as well as in residential facilities. In addition, it provides these children with services needed to ensure graduation from high school and to make a successful transition from institutionalization to completing school, continuing education or employment. To learn more about this program and the services it offers click on the link above.
- School Psychological Services
School psychologists are employed in Georgia schools in order to prevent or deal with the most severe learning and behavior problems. They consult on academic and behavioral interventions with teachers, parents and Student Support Teams (SST). They advise on every level of the Response to Intervention (RTI), from the most basic approaches up to the level of highly specialized program interventions. To learn more about school psychologists click on the link above or contact your local school to see how your child can benefit from these services.
- Response to Intervention
Response to Intervention (RTI ) is a learning process that matches general education classroom instruction to each student’s learning needs. In other words, educators respond to a student’s academic and/or behavior challenge with the right amount of intensity in classroom learning supports. These instructional techniques are called interventions. In Georgia, educators respond with instructional interventions, through a four-tier instructional-support process called the Georgia Student Achievement Pyramid of Interventions. Delivery of interventions at each tier is based on the student’s success in meeting the Georgia Performance Standards (GPS). Interventions intensify at each escalating tier. To learn more click on the link above.
- English Language Learners
English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) is a state funded instructional program for eligible English Language Learners (ELLs) in grades K-12. Title III is a federally funded program which provides eligible Local Education Agencies (LEAs) with sub-grants to provide supplemental services for ELLs. Both ESOL and Title III hold students accountable for progress and attainment in English language proficiency. The ESOL Program is a standards-based curriculum emphasizing social and academic language proficiency which enables (ELLs) to use English to communicate and demonstrate academic, social, and cultural proficiency. To learn more about this program click on the link above.
- Georgia Virtual School
The Georgia Virtual School is an internet-based public school housed in the Georgia Department of Education serving public, private, and home schooled students throughout the state. Georgia certified teachers guide students through each course online as they would in a traditional school setting. Virtual courses can be taken as actual classes during the school day or as a supplement to further enhance or improve a student’s course of study. To learn more or to register for a class click above.
- Magnet Schools
Magnet schools are public schools that offer a targeted learning environment that attract students interested in specific content areas, such as mathematics, science, technology and fine arts. To learn more about these schools or to see a list of magnet schools in Georgia click above.
- Charter Schools
Charter schools are public schools that operate with freedom from many of the local and state regulations that apply to traditional public schools. Charter schools allow parents, community leaders, and others the flexibility to innovate and provide students with increased educational options within the public school system. To learn more about Charter Schools click above.
- State Schools
Georgia provides equal opportunity to students with special needs through three state-run schools: Atlanta Area School for the Deaf, Georgia School for the Deaf, and Georgia Academy for the Blind. To learn more about these schools click above.
- Georgia Special Needs Scholarship
The Georgia Special Needs Scholarship provides eligible special education students with school choice opportunities. To learn more about this program or to find out if your student is eligible click above.
- Public Choice
If a child attends a Title I school that has been identified by the state for school improvement, corrective action, or restructuring, parents can choose to send their child to another public school that is not so identified. Districts must let parents know each year if their child is eligible to transfer to another school, and districts must give parents more than one transfer option if more than one exists. To learn more about public school choice click above.
- Alternative Education
Georgia strives to provide an inspiring and meaningful educational experience to students who have academic or behavior learning needs that may best be met in a non-traditional setting. To learn more click above.
- School Choice: Intradistrict Transfers
Under Georgia law O.C.G.A. 20-2-2131, parents of K-12 public school students in Georgia now have the option to enroll their child in any school that is located within the local school district in which they now reside. By July 1 of each year, school systems must notify parents of schools in the district which have available space and which of these schools parents may choose to request a transfer for their children. To learn more about this law click on the link above.
- HOPE Scholarship
Georgia's HOPE (Helping Outstanding Pupils Educationally) Scholarship is available to Georgia residents who have demonstrated academic achievement. The scholarship provides money to assist students with the educational costs of attending college in Georgia. To find eligibility requirements, award amounts, and other information click above.
- Robert C. Byrd Honors Scholarship
This program, which is federally funded and state-administered, is designed to recognize exceptionally able high school seniors who show promise of continued excellence in postsecondary education. Students receive scholarship awards in the amount of $1,500, renewable for up to three additional years. They are meant to help with college expenses. To learn more about this program and eligibility requirements click above.
- United States Senate Youth Program
The United States Senate Youth Program was created to help outstanding high school students broaden their knowledge and understanding of Congress and the legislative process in our nation's capital; to demonstrate the importance of a freely elected legislature in the perpetuation of an effective democratic system of government; and to dramatize, in particular, the crucial role the Senate performs in the maintenance of our government. Each year two elected high school student body officers from each state are selected to attend a week long internship program in Washington D.C. To learn more about this program and eligibility criteria click above.
- Governor's Honors Program
The Governor's Honors Program (GHP) is a six-week summer residential instructional program designed to provide intellectually gifted and artistically talented Georgia high school students challenging and enriching educational opportunities not usually available during the regular school year. Activities are designed to provide each participant with opportunities to acquire the skills, knowledge and attitudes to become independent, life-long learners. Rising juniors and seniors in Georgia's public, private, and home schools may be nominated by their teachers to attend. To learn more about the program and other guidelines click above.
- Georgia Scholar Program
The Georgia Scholar Program identifies and recognizes high school seniors who have achieved excellence in school and community life. Applications are distributed to local school system Georgia Scholar Program Coordinators annually in November. To learn more about this program speak to your local school system or click above.
- Superintendent's Student Advisory Council
The State Superintendent of School’s Student Advisory Council is a group of about 50 high school students from across the state who discuss how decisions made at the state level are affecting students throughout Georgia. Members meet a few times throughout the school year with the State School Superintendent and are advisors that act as liaisons between the Department of Education and the students of Georgia. Students may apply for the advisory council at the beginning of each school year by obtaining an application from their school or from the Georgia Department of Education’s website towards the end of July. To learn more about the Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council click above.
The Georgia Teen-age and Adult Driver Responsibility Act (TAADRA) of 1997 requires that local school systems certify that a student’s attendance pattern and discipline record permit him or her to have a Georgia learner’s permit or driver’s license. To learn more about what is required by your local school system to comply with the Law click above.
- Georgia High School Graduation Tests (GHSGT) Waivers and Variances
According to State Rule 160-1-3-.09, Waivers and Variances of High School Graduation Assessments Guidelines, students may receive a Georgia regular education diploma through the assessment waiver or variance process (for one or more of the tests) if they meet specific criteria. To see frequently asked questions regarding GHSGTs or learn more about the wavier and variance process click above.
- School Nutrition
The School Nutrition Program works to help local school systems deliver quality breakfast and lunch meals, as well as to provide education programs that contribute to the nutritional well-being of students to increase academic performance at school. To learn more about School Nutrition Programs click above.