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Three Piggy Opera is the tale of the perfect STEAM lesson:

Three Piggy Opera is the tale of the perfect STEAM lesson:

MARIETTA, Ga. -- We've always known that fairy tales offer lessons, but a teaching team at Ford Elementary School in Cobb County has found a way to put STEAM into it.

STEAM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering, arts and math.

A team of teachers collaborated to make sure they covered all of those areas with their young students -- through a project called the "Three Piggy Opera."

On the day of the opera, the parents and grandparents of the second graders packed the music room with their cameras poised.

As this story begins, three very hard-working pigs try to go on with their daily duties when a wolf hungry for pork tries to blow down their houses. It's a classic tale with a modern day twist.

5 Cobb students named Georgia Scholars

5 Cobb students named Georgia Scholars

(WXIA) -- Five students at two Cobb County high schools have been named 2014 Georgia Scholars by the Georgia Department of Education.

A Georgia Scholar is a high school senior who has "achieved excellence in school and community life," according to the GDOE. Only 116 students statewide earned the title this year.

To achieve the honor, a student must take challenging courses and earn high grades in them, participate in extracurricular activities and take part in interscholastic events within the school and community.

Cobb County's 2014 Georgia Scholars include:

Hillgrove HS
* Davis Adams
* Mackenzie Rideout

Walton HS
* Kira de Bruyn
* Monica Machado
* Jacqueline Weiland

13 Cobb high schools among America's Most Challenging

13 Cobb high schools among America's Most Challenging

(WXIA) -- The Washington Post has unveiled its 2014 list of America's Most Challenging High Schools.

The newspaper determines the annual rankings through a ratio: the number of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and Advanced International Certificate of Education tests a school gives each year, divided by the number of graduating seniors.

Thirteen Cobb County schools made the list, which features more than 2,000 high schools across the country. The listed numbers are each school's national ranking.

183. Walton HS
495. Lassiter HS
755. Harrison HS
936. Pope HS
1082. Campbell HS
1133. Wheeler HS
1184. North Cobb HS
1206. Kell HS
1334. Sprayberry HS
1474. Hillgrove HS
1523. Kennesaw Mountain HS
1718. McEachern HS
2001. Pebblebrook HS

Additionally, Marietta High School, which is part of a charter system, is No. 1058 on the list.

2014 Shuler Hensley Awards nominees announced

2014 Shuler Hensley Awards nominees announced

(WXIA) -- The nominees for this year's Georgia High School Musical Theatre Awards, known casually as the Shuler Hensley Awards, were revealed Wednesday.

The awards program celebrates some of the best high school musical theater productions in the state. The award is named for metro Atlanta native Shuler Hensley, a seasoned Broadway performer who originated the role of the Monster in Young Frankenstein and won a Tony Award for playing Jud Fry in the revival of Oklahoma!

Sixty-one public and private high schools from 24 counties are vying for this year's awards. The winners will be announced on Thursday, Apr. 17 during an awards ceremony at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. Tickets are $23 for the general public and can be purchased at shulerawards.org.

Some of this year's notable nominees include:

SPSU president Lisa Rossbacher stepping down

SPSU president Lisa Rossbacher stepping down

MARIETTA, Ga. -- The president of Southern Polytechnic State University in Marietta is leaving this summer after 16 years.

Lisa Rossbacher has been named the new president of Humboldt State University in Arcata, Calif.

"During President Rossbacher's tenure, the university experienced unprecedented enrollment growth," said Hank Huckaby, chancellor of the University System of Georgia. "She established strong ties with business and industry, encouraged development of a diverse student body and has been at the forefront of encouraging women to pursue STEM degrees."

Before arriving at SPSU, Rossbacher served in the system's central office as interim executive vice chancellor for academic affairs. She also chaired a task force on online education.

Ga. Race to the Top 'Year Three' Report

Ga. Race to the Top 'Year Three' Report

(WXIA) -- The U.S. Department of Education recently released its "Year Three" Report for the 12 states participating in the Race to the Top grant initiative.

Educational practices and successes in Georgia were highlighted throughout the report.

"We have taken on some major initiatives and our success is a direct reflection of the collaborative efforts between our department, other education agencies and the hundreds of participating teachers, principals and district leaders around our state," Dr. Susan Andrews, Deputy Superintendent of Race to the Top Implementation in Georgia, said in a release.

"While educational reform work is never easy, we are pleased with the significant progress that our state has made as reflected in this report," Andrews added.

Some highlights from the report include:

* Nearly 300 Georgia teachers were placed in state public schools from alternative certification programs.

Ga. Connections Academy accepting students for 2014-15 school year

Ga. Connections Academy accepting students for 2014-15 school year

(WXIA) -- A few seats are still available at Georgia Connections Academy for the 2014-15 school year.

Georgia Connections Academy is a virtual K-12 public school that allows students to learn at their own pace. It is fully accredited and open to all school-age Georgia children.

"We are enrolling 1,000 additional students across all grade levels for the coming academic year," lead principal Heather Robinson said in a release. "We have a waiting list as we open enrollment, so we encourage parents to get their applications in now."

Georgia Connections Academy will hold a number of information sessions across the state for parents who want to know more. Additional enrollment information is available at connectionsacademy.com/georgia-virtual-school.

Upcoming information sessions in the Atlanta area include: