CCRPI shows Chattahoochee improvement since last year


On Monday, April 21, the Georgia Department of Education released the 2013 College and Career Readiness Performance Index results, a “report card” for every school in the state, critiquing schools in performance and improvement in relation to the Georgia Performance Standards.

“What the governor and the state is trying to do is come up with a way to compare schools. It’s a Georgia thing, not a national thing, and they grade you on a lot of different areas,” said Principal Duncan.

Principal Duncan explained how, before the CCRPI, there was no accurate way of ranking schools in the state.

“In the past, if you think about it, if someone was going to say this school was better than another, what did you look at? The only data you really had available was SAT scores… It’s very difficult to this school is number 42 and this school is number 242. A lot of highlights on the high-achieving SAT schools, but SAT, as important as it is, is not a very good indicator at all of the school. When you think about how many kids at this school pay for extra SAT tutoring and go to SAT workshops on a Saturdays, it’s an awful lot. So sometimes that measure is tied to affluency of the area… It’s a good measure of how smart you are, and how you might compare to other college folks, but it’s not a very valuable resource to judge a school’s performance.” Principal Duncan also mentioned the issue with SAT, that dedicating more class time to SAT prep would distract teachers from the Georgia Performance Standards and what they are assigned to teach.

“The new system looks at what we’re supposed to be teaching, which is the Georgia Performance Standards, which are tested on your End-Of-Course-Tests, so it looks at E.O.C.T test results. The E.O.C.Ts are good because they’re eight tests, and so you’re measuring a lot of teachers who all teach E.O.C.Ts, and it also looks at how you’re working with ninth, tenth, eleventh, and twelfth graders, because all four grade levels have E.O.C.Ts,” said Principal Duncan. “It’s also looking at our A.P. participation and our A.P. success, our graduation rate, and it’s looking at the progress we’re making. You’re actually getting awarded points from how you were last year to how you are this year and giving you some credit for how much you’re improving…. It looks at how we work with our special needs kids and our ESOL kids, and it also looks at our attendance rate, so it’s looking at a lot of things we can control and have an impact on… I love the new report card because it looks at what a lot of us can have an impact on, and everyone’s a part of a team, everyone’s accountable.”

Overall, Chattahoochee High School received a total index rating of 93.8, up from 91.9 in 2012, with improvements in all but one criteria. Chattahoochee ranked number two in traditional high schools in the state, behind Northview High School.

“Many people wouldn’t expect us to be number two in the state, to have beaten out some of the other great schools around us,” said Principal Duncan, who credits the improvement in ranking and E.O.C.T results to the implementation of six-week common assessments and a strategic focus on teacher collaboration.

“While the students were not happy about the six-week common assessments, that’s something that’s unique to Chattahoochee High School, and that was a big vision we had a couple of years ago… We let all the underclassmen have an hour-long lunch once a week so that the teachers can meet and work on developing that test and looking at data. We call it PLCs, Professional Learning Communities, so that was a direct plan to allow teachers to meet together to share instructional strategies that are effective, to look at data from tests, to look at how they can improve the data by improving instruction, and decide which questions they would like to retest and develop the six-week common assessments together.”

This new strategy did not provide an instant improvement in performance, however.

“The students and the teachers, I don’t think either initially were excited about taking the six-week common assessments and we initially saw grades drop… and we struggled with that as a school… we talked to the teachers about it to try to make sense of it, but it was a great problem to have because it forced us to go back and have a dialog about what’s happening, and adjust to it… so surprisingly, we had higher E.O.C.T scores than anybody. We beat Northview. We had higher success rate on AP than Northview and all the schools around us. So we’re right there at the very top, and we have great kids, we have great teachers, but we have some great strategies that are paying off.”

For a full list of ratings for Georgia schools and counties, click here.

For 2012 results, click here.


(cover photo courtesy


Band organization holds last concert of the year, honors seniors


On Wednesday night, April 23, parents and siblings of Chattahoochee band students, as well as supportive friends and a few musical alumni, packed into the auditorium for the band organization’s last concert of the year. The concert lasted two and a half hours, with a total of 19 songs played, everything from the classical “1812 Overture” to a purposefully-chaotic, “Stomp”-esque song entitled “Sharpened Stick” to a rendition of “Do You Wanna Build a Snowman?” from the popular Disney movie “Frozen” to an original composition by senior Zak Truett.

The concert showed off all factions of the band organization, including three concert bands, a percussion ensemble, a clarinet choir, a flute choir, a saxophone quartet, and a brass quintet dubbed “Zak Truett’s Ensemble of Oddity,” which performed Truett’s composition, a medley of the 1960’s Batman theme song and “Seven Nation Army.”

“Zak Truett’s Ensemble of Oddity,” performs a medley of the 1960’s Batman theme song and “Seven Nation Army.” (courtesy Nate Harris)

When asked how he composed the piece, Truett said he “took two great songs and put them together.”

Matt King (SO) was the trombone player in the quintet, and surprised the audience by parading through the auditorium in a Batman mask while playing the Batman theme song solo.

“That was fun, a lot of fun,” he said. “We decided to do that two days before.”

During their last performance of the year, many band members took the opportunity to look back on the past year.

“It’s been a great year. I feel like I’ve improved a lot,” said Ido Shani (FR), a French horn player in Symphonic Band.

“It’s been an interesting year. It’s nice to be back on my original instrument [after experimenting with French horn],” said Morgan Duvic (JR), a trumpet player in Wind Ensemble.

“I just started playing tuba in October. I feel like I have girl power because I’m the only girl tuba and I’m going to Wind Ensemble next year, so it’s a good change,” said Haley Brooks (FR).

While many students reflected on the past year, the concert took time to recognize its senior members who will graduate this year. All the seniors wore a yellow rose boutonniere during the concert, and were brought up on stage for a farewell speech from director Nicholas Garofalo.

All the seniors are brought up on stage for a farewell speech from director Nicholas Garofalo. (courtesy Nate Harris)

When asked how he felt about his last band performance, senior French horn player Seth Edwards said he felt “elated, yet sorrowful.”

Senior clarinet player Rachel Smith said she could not put into words how she felt about her last concert.

Senior tenor saxophone player Kevin Carbone said he felt overwhelmed and sad. “It’s finally all over, and I’m kind of glad it’s all over, because it’s been a crazy four years.”

“It’ll be sad missing all the seniors, all the fun of them. It’ll be different in class without them next year,” said trombone player Charles Pepper (SO).

Not all seniors were saddened by their last concert, however. Percussionist Isiah Burgess still had time to crack a joke, saying that “when I performed, I felt like I was playing for the ladies.” Senior Nikolai Washington agreed with Burgess.

“Being in this situation brings back old memories and lays down the foundation for new ones, but in the grand scheme of things, I know it’s for the ladies.”

The concert closes with a “Lion King” medley, with Garofalo joining the group on the drum set. (courtesy Nate Harris)

Senior Josh Shapiro summarized the night perfectly with his opinion regarding the concert. “There was interesting music being played by interesting people.”

The concert closed with a “Lion King” medley, with Garofalo joining the group on the drum set. And while the final note was eventually cut off, the memories of band at Chattahoochee will continue to ring in the hearts of every member.

Said Mr. Garofalo, “It has been a wonderful opportunity to instruct and lead this group of young adults. I am fortunate to have such commited students that really want to excel. This isn’t true at a lot of schools for wind band students, but here at Chattahoochee these guys care. I will miss this part of my family next year. Best wishes, and thank you.”


(cover photo courtesy Nate Harris)

The Science of Summer


Alright, Chattahoochee, we have a problem. There are five weeks left of school before all of you will be haphazardly released into the world for about three months and some of you still have no idea what is going on with the planet around you during this time. Science is cool and you will appreciate knowing a few of these helpful facts during your adventures.

First off, you should know a few things about that really bright round thing in the sky: the sun. It provides light and energy through radiation, which is not as scary as it sounds. Radiation can give you cancer when it is ionizing, so only ultraviolet, x-ray, and gamma radiation have been proven to cause direct harm. The earth is closest to the sun in winter, but the presence of ultraviolet radiation in all sunlight makes it important that you learn the basics of ultraviolet reflection.

Ultraviolet radiation is what causes sun tans, sunburns, Vitamin D synthesis in the skin, and skin cancer. Small amounts of this radiation is not harmful to cells for most people because of the presence of melanin in the skin, which protects DNA from radiation damage by absorbing the light, but people who have very little melanin or people who experience prolonged sun exposure will often display a rosy, painful rash caused by the damage—sun burn.

A natural sun tan and, occasionally, sun-caused freckles occur when the skin produces more melanin in response to ultraviolet, but when DNA cannot be protected by the melanin deposits, mutations can occur. There are several types of skin cancer, the most deadly being melanoma, and the Skin Cancer Society provides guidelines, lessons, and educational materials for anyone interested in protecting themselves and loved ones from the deadly disease.

The most ubiquitously supported method of skin cancer prevention is the use of sun screen. This paste comes in many formulations to satisfy the needs of different climates, activities, and skin sensitivities, but most contain zinc oxide, titanium oxide or other similar compounds that work by scattering ultraviolet rays, thereby preventing their ability to permeate the skin. Sunscreens that advertise UV-A blocking abilities are specialized to reflect the ultraviolet rays that damage DNA and cause premature aging, whereas those that are UV-B specialized only prevent sunburn. Products that protect against both UV-A and UV-B are known as broad-spectrum sunscreen or sunblock if the barrier created is opaque and contains heavy carrier oils.

Sun Protection Factor, or “SPF,” is the measure of how much solar energy is required to cause sunburn while wearing the product correctly. Most sunscreen packages will explain how to properly use their product and, since all formulations act differently, it is very important that you make sure to read the instructions before getting those rays; otherwise, you just applied some very smelly, expensive moisturizer. Also, you can get skin cancer on any part of your body so make sure to wear a hat to protect your scalp and frequently reapply to anywhere that experiences a lot of friction, since these areas will lose their protection more rapidly than other places.

Have fun, be safe and have a great summer. Remember the science of summer and you might just save yourself some sore shoulders in the future.

For more information, click here.


(cover photo courtesy

Hooch lacrosse headed back to playoffs


The 2014 boys lacrosse season has been a season of ups and downs, by and large.

However, the guys team is headed back to the playoffs after an impressive victory over Druid Hills last Friday. Also, on Monday night, the Cougars put up an impressive win over seventh-ranked Walton High School. This most recent win marks the fifth straight win for the guys team, and the lax squad hopes to carry this momentum in to the playoffs, as they will be a fourth seed coming out of the region. These victories can be attributed to the fantastic senior leadership, and the return of previously injured senior Ben Corrigan.

After spring break, Coach Sopko resigned as head coach. The team was then put in a tough situation regarding whom to have as their next head coach. Luckily, Assistant Coach Trask took over the duty as interim head coach, and has yet to disappoint. He started off his head-coaching career with an important region game against Alpharetta. If the Cougars lost, it would have been close to impossible to make the playoffs. However, the resilient group of lax players proved victorious, and have not looked back since.

Although they might not be the highest seeded team in the playoffs, expect the Cougars guys to make a deep run, especially if they are able to carry over this newfound momentum. The Cougars have their challenges set in front of them, but like they’ve done so many times before, are bound to find a way to become victorious.


(cover photo courtesy Hooch Lacrosse)

Atlanta to carry MLS soccer team in 2017


Philanthropist and Atlanta Falcons team owner Arthur Blank has recently announced that a Major League Soccer team will come to Atlanta in 2017. A conference was held on April 18 to host this announcement, and this will mark the addition of the 22nd team to the MLS league. Not much else was discussed at the meeting, but the new stadium that is slated for use starting 2017 will definitely host the team’s home games. “I think Atlanta is a natural fit for Major League Soccer,” states Blank at the interview surrounding the addition of a major team. The name and color of the team and their uniforms have yet to be fully decided. However, Arthur and his companions were wearing a red scarf lined with gold stitching.

Arthur Blank elaborates on the subject stating, “We’ve been talking to executives from MLS for probably 10 years now. It’s been a dream of ours.” The biggest issue, reportedly, was trying to find a suitable arena for contests to be held, but the announcement of the new stadium nullified this constraint.

The commissioner of the MLS Don Garber chimed in at times to say that these future turn of events are in efforts to re enter Southeastern competition into the soccer league. “It’s a growing city, has a rich sports tradition and embodies a new American city that is blossoming with ethnic diversity, is connected globally and has young people who grew up with our game,” states Garber when asked to comment on the announcement.

Look out for more information regarding the new team as news continually becomes available.


(cover photo courtesy

AC/DC, hard rock fans hold their breath

*Information in this article has not been updated since new information has been revealed*


Rock fans across the world felt their hearts drop when classic-rock band AC/DC recently announced their unexpected retirement.  Rhythm guitarist and co-founder of the band was rumored to have suffered a stroke over a month ago.  Reports claim Young could not play songs as well as he could when he picked up the guitar after the stroke.

The rock band had previously scheduled time in a Vancouver studio to record new material for an album celebrating 40 years of rock and roll.  A tour of 40 big cities was also in the works; however, with a crucial member having just fallen, the odds for a record and tour are slim.

As rumors of the bands demise swelled the internet, lead singer, Brian Johnson, stated that the band will continue to make music and not retire.  The Australian gang will be reduced to a quartet for some time while Malcolm Young tries to recover and gain his health back.  When asked about the studio time in Vancouver, Johnson replied with, “We are definitely getting together in May in Vancouver,” he said. “We’re going to pick up some guitars, have a plonk, and see if anybody has got any tunes or ideas. If anything happens, we’ll record it.”

Hard rock fans will continue to hold their breath for Malcolm, AC/DC and the rock and roll community around the world.  As for now, though, the band wishes that Malcolm and his family have their privacy while he recovers.  Whether Young will return to the band is unclear, but the band will utilize their recording time and may possibly release an album in the near future.  It is almost certain to assume that they will not stop rocking until they must all take the “Highway to Hell.”


(cover photo courtesy

Chattahoochee renovations include upgraded lab equipment


New schools like Johns Creek High School have obviated the fact that Chattahoochee is becoming more obsolete – with its last-generation architecture and outdated resources – which has led to a new budget for upgrading the school.  With upcoming renovations to the school (new entry way, lockers, tile flooring, etc.), it is only fair that some of the budget be pushed towards the Career Tech department and the Engineering Lab.  The money has come, and purchases have become apparent throughout the lab, and whether this spending is frivolous or not can be decided by students who, after all, are the main beneficiaries of any school upgrades.

The first addition to the engineering lab, as a result of the new budget, was a brand new band sawCourtesy of
The first addition to the engineering lab, as a result of the new budget, was a brand new band saw. (courtesy

The first addition to the engineering lab, as a result of the new budget, was a brand new band saw, a large, stationary tool consisting of a rotating blade used for cutting wood into intricate shapes.  This new monster has basically replaced the other four band saws in the lab, one of which has been sent to Northview High School to make room.  A couple days later, however, the engineering class soon stumbled upon yet another new band saw, this time blue instead of green, propped up in the “back room,” an area of the lab where large tools are stationed.  The second one has a thicker blade on it, allowing for smoother straight cuts, which has been deemed to speed up the process of those the two during the time of master projects, a group-assigned creation using tools and material available in the lab to solve a problem.

The new Phantom 2 Vision quad copter can hover and fly around to unimaginable heights while taking 1080-pixel video through a self-stabilizing camera built in to it. (Courtesy
The new Phantom 2 Vision quad copter can hover and fly around to unimaginable heights while taking 1080-pixel video through a self-stabilizing camera built in to it. (Courtesy

The most expensive purchase so far, in the engineering lab, is the new Phantom 2 Vision quad copter by DJI.  A remarkable feat of engineering and technology, this large drone can hover and fly around to unimaginable heights while taking 1080-pixel video through a self-stabilizing camera built in to it.  It may have some potential at football games, for it can hold up to four pounds including banners and ribbons; and the camera can make for a useful tool in certain applications; but other than that, the new purchase is little more than a toy showcasing the Career Tech’s advanced laboratory.

So far, these main expenses have drawn up a wealthy price tag of little over a couple thousand dollars, showing some improvement to the lab.  With new renovations to the school coming up, it is not unlikely to see a few more large purchases in the engineering lab.


(cover photo courtesy

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