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Congressman Johnson announces 2014 winners of CBCF scholarships

Congressman Hank Johnson (GA-04) announced the winners of the 2014 Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Spouses Education Scholarships. The five winners hail from across the Fourth Congressional Dis


OCG News' Back-to-School section

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Local schools get set for Open Houses

By Amanda Usher

As the 2014-2015 school year quickly approaches, a new school year means new Open Houses.

School administrators will open their doors soon as they invite parents and students to get prepared for the upcoming school year.


“Open House is a great opportunity for students and families to meet their administrators and classroom teachers, obtain school supply lists and receive a general orientation to the new school year,” says Cindy Ball, executive director of information and community relations for Rockdale County Public Schools (RCPS). “It is also a great time to learn how to navigate their campus, inside and out, for those attending the school for the first time.” 

For RCPS, Open House will begin Monday, July 21, with the STEM Academy at Memorial Middle from 4-6 p.m.


Open House for freshmen only at the following high schools will be held Monday, July 21, from 5-7 p.m.: Salem High School, Rockdale High School and Heritage High School.

On Tuesday, July 22, 5 to 7 p.m., all other high school students are encouraged to attend their Open House. The Rockdale Career Academy will hold its Open House from 4-7 p.m. and Alpha Academy will have one from 5-7 p.m.

Rockdale elementary schools’ Open Houses will be held Wednesday, July 23, from 5-7 p.m.

On Thursday, July 24, 9 to 11 a.m., the Early Learning Center at RCA (3-to-4 year-olds) will have its Open House.


As for middle schools, the list of Open Houses is as follows on Thursday, July 24: Edwards Middle School (4-7 p.m.); Memorial Middle School (5-7 p.m.); General Ray Davis Middle School (5-8 p.m.) and Conyers Middle School (5-7 p.m.). Conyers Middle School will also hold a 6th grade orientation at 4:30 p.m.


Quinn Hudson, director of communications for DeKalb County Public Schools (DCPS), agrees with Ball that Open Houses afford parents and students the opportunity to meet new staff and visit any classroom. He also added that parents may use this event as a chance to join the Parent/Teacher Association (PTA).


“It is also a time to learn about various topics including: testing, assessments, grading procedures, the Parent Portal, school and District student achievement initiatives, school safety procedures, parental involvement opportunities, parent-teacher conference schedules and other pertinent school-based information,” Hudson said.

Open Houses will be held for all DeKalb public schools beginning on Aug. 6 with elementary schools from 2-4 p.m. and middle schools from 4:30-6:30 p.m.


On Aug. 7, ninth graders and new students are welcome to attend Open House from 2-4 p.m. while returning high school students may visit their school from 4:30-6:30 p.m.


Jorge Quintana, public information officer for Gwinnett County Public Schools, said each school in Gwinnett has its own schedule and parents should visit for that information.


Not only can parents meet their child’s teachers and join the PTA, but they can also buy school spirit wear, learn how to be supportive of their child from home and establish communication for the rest of the school year, Quintana said.


DFCS seeks help with school supplies

The DeKalb County Department of Family and Children Services (DFCS) is hosting an ongoing back to school drive for needy children.

“It’s never too early or too late to think about back to school and the students who cannot afford necessary supplies,” said DeKalb County Commissioner Larry Johnson, who is helping get the word out about the drive. “DeKalb DFCS would like to provide school supplies for hundreds of DeKalb children in every grade level and could use your help.”  

Needed supplies include: book bags (boys and girls; elementary and middle school; clear and pattern book bags); notebook paper (wide rule), subject notebooks with wire; number 2 pencils; ink pens (black or blue); mechanical pencils; rulers; calculators; binders; glue sticks; tissue; crayons; index cards and highlighters.

If you or an organization would like to contribute items for the supply drive, contact. Johnnie Carey at 404-370-5493, 404-387-1131 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


New Hope sets Back-to-School rally

New Hope Christian Ministries, 1738 Fairview Road, Stockbridge, will host a Back-to-School rally on Saturday, July 26, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Free book bags and other school supplies will be given to needy children while supplies last. Church organizers say the rally is being held to bring out families and show them the importance of having a healthy family unit.

For more information, visit or call 678-368-3929.  


Canaan Land Church International ready to “Give a Kid a Chance”

Canaan Land Church International, 3755 Centerville Highway, Snellville,
will host its 8th annual “Give A Kid A Chance” back-to-school event on
Saturday, July 26, 10a.m. – noon.

Children will receive new book bags packed with school supplies.
There’ll be health screenings, parent forums, children’s activities, free
haircuts and various vendors as well.

With the support of local businesses and community partnerships, the
church hopes to provide the school supplies to 500 students.


Greenbriar Mall ready for Back-to-School Jam

Greenbriar Mall, 2841 Parkway, S.W., Atlanta, will host its “Back-to-School Jam” on Saturday, July 26, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

The annual event features a book bag giveaway, Kids Zone, Youth Teen Summit, voter registration drive, vendor fair and live entertainment. Book bags will be distributed to students in Grades 1-5. This year, Amerigroup will also distribute 100 pre-K book bags.

Supplies will be given on a first-come, first-served basis. Children can enjoy inflatables, face painting, balloon artists and a game truck.

Book bag give away requirements:Child (or) children must be present to register and receive book bag(s). Pre-registration for book bag(s) will be on the day of the event starting at 10 a.m. Parents or guardians will receive a wristband after registering. Book bags will be distributed at 4 p.m.

Last year, more than 3,500 Southwest Atlanta families attended the annual Back to School Jam. 404-344-6611.


Oakhurst Medical Center Back 2 School Health Fair and Family Fun Day

Oakhurst Medical Center, 5582 Memorial Drive, Stone Mountain, will host a health fair and back-to-school rally on Saturday, Aug. 2, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

The free event will offer school supplies to families while supplies. Children ages 4 – 17 can receive immunization shots, if parents bring immunization record. Healthy, food beverages and snacks will be provided.

The community can also take advantage of free health screenings such as blood pressure and HIV testing, and visit informational booths focused on optimal health and breast cancer awareness.

There will be live entertainment, carnival games, face painting, rock climbing, obstacle course zones, and contests and prizes. For more information, call 770-808-0144.


Atlanta library system offers help for critical tests

The Atlanta-Fulton County Public Library System will host the “Testing Resources at Your Library,” series to offer free help for high school students during the month of August.

On Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2 p.m., the system’s Central Library, One Margaret Mitchell Square, Atlanta will offer study materials, practice tests, exercises, skill-building courses and eBooks on standardized test preparation. Reservations are required: 404-730-1875.

On Saturday, Aug. 23, 12:30 p.m., the Mechanicsville Branch, 400 Formwalt Street SW, Atlanta, will offer all teens a stress-free, four-hour ACT practice exam to determine their strengths and weaknesses. Reservations are required: 404-730-4779.

On Thursday, Aug. 25, 4 p.m., the Fulton Branch, 4055 Flat Shoals Road, Union City, will conclude with “Testing Resources at Your Library.” Students and parents are invited to come to the branch and become familiar with online testing and tutoring resources available at the library for Praxis, GED, SAT, ACT, LSAT, ASVAB and other standardized tests. 770-306-3092.


New immunization requirements for seventh-graders

Beginning this school year, all students entering seventh-grade are required to have the meningitis vaccine and the “T-dap” booster shot for tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis.

In the past, it was highly recommended to have the meningitis vaccine administered around age 11; Now the state has made the vaccine mandatory.

Pertussis, commonly referred to as whooping cough, can first appear masked as the common cold, with symptoms such as a runny nose, low-grade fever and occasional cough. Symptoms worsen over one to 10 weeks, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Meningitis is an infection of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. Viral meningitis is fairly common and not as dangerous, but bacterial meningitis, typically passed from one infected person to another, can be deadly.

The only way a family can opt out of the required vaccinations in Georgia is by having a medical or religious waiver.

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