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Class Notes: Middle school programs of choice open for applications
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Applications are now open for rising sixth-graders at the Da Vinci Academy and the Earhart-Edison Exploration Academy, Hall County’s programs of choice for middle school students.

Each program will accept approximately 80 students for the 2015-2016 school year.

The application process for both programs is open to all Hall County students. The programs look for students who are high-achieving, but students do not have to be classified as gifted to apply.

Applications for the 2015-2016 school year are due by Dec. 18 for both programs. Applications are available at

The Da Vinci Academy, at South Hall Middle School, specializes in art, science and technology. The Earhart-Edison Academy at North Hall Middle School specializes in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics areas and emphasizes teamwork, communication, creative learning and problem-solving.

Each program will hold parent information meetings in October and November. The Da Vinci meetings require preregistration.

Da Vinci Academy parent information meetings:

When: Tuesday from 6- 7 p.m.; Thursday from 5-6 p.m.; Nov. 10 from 6-7 p.m.;

Spanish language meeting Nov. 4 from 6-7 p.m.

Where: Da Vinci Academy, 3215 Poplar Springs Road, Flowery Branch.

More info:

To preregister: Contact Cris Price at 770-533-4004 or

Earhart-Edison parent information meetings:

When: Thursday from 7-8 p.m.; Nov. 6 from 5-6 p.m.

Where: North Hall Middle School media center, 4856 Rilla Road, Gainesville.

More info: Kathy Mellette at kathy. or Michele Hood at or visit

Lanier Tech GED program reaches new milestone with 645 graduates

Lanier Technical College graduated the largest number of General Education Development students in the state last year, according to Linda Barrow, vice president of adult education at the school.

A total of 645 students earned a GED after participating in the school’s GED preparation program during fiscal year 2014, which ended in June, Barrow said.

She said the school only recently learned of the achievement because it took months to compile the data.

Barrow said the program serves people 16 or older, and has served people well past retirement age.

“It just warms your heart to see a grandmother and granddaughter, or mother and daughter, or two brothers walk the aisle to get their GED,” she said.

She said the program is free of charge, thanks to state and federal grants, except for the $160 fee to take the test. She said the average student participates in the program for six to nine months before taking the test, but some may stay only one month while others may stay longer.

“It’s very adaptable to students’ needs. Small group instruction always, because we feel like students learn better and are less intimidated,” Barrow said.

She said the program is designed to help people move forward no matter where they are academically.

“Sometimes life gets in the way,” Barrow said. “We’re a second chance for people to finish high school.”

In addition to the GED program, Lanier Tech’s adult education department runs programs for people learning English as a foreign language and people preparing to seek U.S. citizenship.

Jennifer Jacob Brown covers education issues for The Times. Share your thoughts, news tips and questions with her: