George Walton Comprehensive High School

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George Walton Comprehensive High School
Walton High School Seal.png
Address
1590 Bill Murdock Rd.
Marietta, Georgia
United States
Coordinates 33°59′20″N 84°26′30″W / 33.988776°N 84.441776°W / 33.988776; -84.441776Coordinates: 33°59′20″N 84°26′30″W / 33.988776°N 84.441776°W / 33.988776; -84.441776
Information
Type Public (charter) high school
Established 1975
Principal Judith McNeill
Grades 9–12
Enrollment 2,636
Campus Suburban
Color(s) Red, white, and blue
Nickname Raiders
Yearbook The Legend
Website

George Walton Comprehensive High School, also known as Walton High School, is a public high school located in Marietta, Georgia, United States. It is in eastern Cobb County and is a charter school in the Cobb County School District. It is a School of Excellence and one of the top schools academically in the state. It is one of the larger high schools in the East Cobb area. As of the October 2, 2012 FTE count, there were 2,636 students attending Walton, making it the largest in the district by population.

For many years Walton has been among the top high schools in Georgia in SAT scores.[1][full citation needed] In 2006, almost 800 Walton students took over 1,800 Advanced Placement exams, making it the school with the greatest number of test-takers in Georgia. Walton was also one of six featured "Outstanding American High Schools" out of 96 total by U.S.News & World Report in 1999 because of its high parental involvement and overall high level of achievement.[2] In 2011, Walton was ranked 67 by Newsweek based on new factors: graduation rate (25%), college matriculation rate (25%), AP tests taken per graduate (25%), average SAT/ACT scores (10%), average AP/IB/AICE scores (10%), and AP courses offered (5%).[3]


History[edit]

Mr. Raider leads the football team onto the field before a game.

Construction of Walton High School began in 1973, and the school opened in 1975. Various sections of the school have been renovated, and entirely new halls have been added continuously, each time with their own distinct type of architecture and style. Throughout these many years of construction, especially in recent years, mobile classrooms, colloquially called "trailers," were added to accommodate for the classrooms rendered unavailable. A small number are still in use today, primarily for required Health classes and formerly for in-school suspension.

Walton has been a Georgia School of Excellence since the program's creation in 1984, and in the same year was recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence.[4][5] Walton became a charter school in 1998.[6] This charter, renewed in 2003 and 2008, has allowed Walton to alter and transcend certain regulations the state school board put into place, to further academic and extracurricular success.

Dumb & Dumberer[edit]

Portions of the 2003 movie Dumb & Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd were filmed in the Walton auto shop, science rooms, and cafeteria.[7] The basketball gym was painted over with the film's fictional logo, and to replace it, part of the film's budget went towards buying a new floor for the entire gym, which is still in use today.

Campus[edit]

The brick denotes the original walls of the school.
Raider Valley pictured with school and parking lots in background
Walton High School "Raider Mountain" baseball field

Walton's campus is not especially large for its number of students, and it is located amid several suburban neighborhoods. The school building today is a conglomeration of many years of separate renovations: the G Hall and renovated B Hall are each only a few years old, lying on opposite ends of the school, while the Technology Wing (T Hall) remains relatively unchanged after many years. A new rotunda entrance was added at the same time as the B Hall renovation, and the cafeteria was expanded.

The campus includes football, baseball, softball, and soccer fields, as well as tennis courts. The football and baseball fields are often referred to as Raider Valley and Raider Mountain, respectively, due to their elevation below and above the school.

Several parking lots provide spaces for teachers and limited spaces for students. Most seniors are able to receive parking spaces, while juniors must participate in a raffle to receive one. Parking is very complicated, and not well thought-out. It takes students (especially in E lot) around fifteen minutes to exit the parking lot. The lower parking lot, or E Lot, is sometimes called "Pride Field" by marching band members, due to it being the band's practice space during the fall. The lower lot was previously known as "The Cage," as it was surrounded by a chain-link fence.

In 2005, the bleachers for the football field were remodeled to be covered with metal, rather than concrete. A timing tower was erected nearby soon after for the track and field team in honor of Case McKee, a student who died while at Walton in 2004.

Almost directly across the street is Dodgen Middle School, which partially feeds into Walton (a little less than half the students are zoned to go to Pope High School).

In 2013, the Cobb County Public School System unanimously voted to replace Walton High School through a phased construction project. The layout of the current facility, coupled with the age of the original sections, was cited as not conducive to a high school. Construction began in 2015 and is expected to last through 2016. The groundbreaking ceremony for the new school building was on May 15, 2015.

Student life[edit]

Walton High School contains about 2,800 students in grades 9–12, making it the largest school in Cobb County. The class of 2012 has 680 students in its class. The class of 2006 contained 572 students, 95% of whom enrolled in a four-year college or university. The ethnic composition of the school is approximately 79% white, 15% Asian, 4% African-American, and 2% Hispanic.[8][2][9][10] These figures are at least partially due to the many families that move to the district primarily for the educational opportunity.

Most Walton students take six classes a semester, making seven periods a day, including a lunch period, usually either 3rd, 4th, or 5th. Some students opt to forgo lunch, or "audit," in place of another academic or elective class. Seniors are allowed the option of "Minimum Day" in which students may only take five classes (dropping a lunch period, as well) and leave to go to their occupation outside of school. Also, homeroom, or "advisement," is between 1st and 2nd period instead of before all classes, like in most high school schedules.

Students and parents are given access to grade, attendance, and behavior reports and updates online at the school website. This, along with the already large parent participation in school activities, organizations, and events, provides for even more parental involvement in students' education.

Dodgen and Dickerson Middle Schools are Walton's feeder schools.

Walton has received national press attention for the intensity of the student attitudes; the students often take an extra class before school ("zero period"). Every year, some take as many as seven A classess, often skipping lunch to do so. A 4.28/4 is commonly the GPA cutoff for the top 10% of the class, and a 3.9/4 for the top 25%.[citation needed]

Faculty[edit]

This classroom in the renovated B Hall is used to teach calculus.

121 full-time and 15 part-time teachers are employed at Walton, as well as seven full-time and two part-time administrators. Including other special resource teachers and support staff, Walton has 174 full-time and 21 part-time employees.[8] The student-teacher ratio is 20:1, above the state average of 14:1.[11]

Charter[edit]

Walton gained charter status in 1998, which was renewed in 2003, 2008, and 2012. Walton's administration has made several changes to the school's policy and schedule, among other areas, through this. One of the changes is the Walton Governance Council, which replaces the original local council in matters pertaining to the maintenance of the charter and its renewal every five years. This larger and more diverse council was also a change given by the charter itself to better represent its stakeholders (students, parents, teachers, administrators, and others).[8]

Possibly Walton's most noticeable change is the Walton Enrichment Block, or WEB, which shortens classes one day a week (usually Wednesday) to provide students several hours to complete missed assignments, receive individual instruction, or simply leave early. WEBs only occur on weeks without any other events such as county-mandated teacher workdays or early releases.

Walton also allows students to take additional classes before and after school. Many students today take advantage of 0 Period to take an additional course each day before the normal school day begins. 0 period is also included in the "Flex Schedule," in which students may leave after 6th period by taking a 0 period class, thus still giving six classes and a lunch period. The 8th period adopted in the 2008 charter will likely serve similar purposes as 0 period.[8]

The use of online grade, attendance, and discipline reports on the school's website is another long-standing addition. Parents are encouraged to visit the site to keep track of their student's progress and to maintain overall parental involvement in each student's education. Other changes to Walton's policy include using textbooks other than those specified by the county and having local control over funds given by the state.

One other significant change Walton makes, though not specifically regulated by the charter, is known as the incentive policy. If a student has A averages (90–100%) in any classes, he or she may exempt the final exams at the end of the semester for any two of them. The same is allowed if the student has a passing grade and two or fewer absences in that class. Tardies are also included in determining incentive, with three tardies equating to one absence. The student will also receive an additional 10% on each final taken with the attendance incentive.

The petition adopted in 2008 also proposes a new method of evaluating teachers called the "Collaborative Growth Model," a release from mandated End of Course Test days that conflict with AP exams, and recognition of Project Lead the Way courses as being worthy of half a quality point towards a grade point average.[8]

Extracurricular activities[edit]

The school offers many clubs, groups, and societies exist for a variety of interests. Walton has a Beta Club, a National Honor Society, and a Habitat for Humanity group. It also has a Politically Active Citizens, and a Future Physicians Club.[12] Aside from general interest groups, service clubs, and honor societies, students may participate in various sports, fine arts, and academic organizations.

Athletics[edit]

Walton helmet with football

Walton has won the GADA Dodge AAAAA Directors Cup four times since its creation in 1999 for having superior overall athletic performance[13] and five consecutive volleyball championships from 1999 to 2002.[14] In recent years, it has won state championships in boys' tennis, led by outgoing team captain Mitch Lyons, girls' tennis,[13][15] boys' soccer (2006, 2008, 2011),[16] and boys' baseball.[13] Also in 2011, the men's lacrosse team had an undefeated year where they won the school's first lacrosse championship, and made a promising run in the 2014 season under new Head Coach Griffin Spotz, making it to the semi-finals. In 2004, the Walton Raider football team went undefeated in their region. The Raiders beat Valdosta High School in the state quarter-finals to advance to the state semi-finals at the Georgia Dome, before falling to Parkview High School. In 2007, the Raiders were again region champions, beating the previous state champion and nationally ranked Roswell High School, and the last undefeated team Martin Luther King, Jr. High School in the state quarter-finals to advance to the state semi-finals before falling to North Gwinnett High School at the Georgia Dome.[14]

The boys' curling team, which was started in 2007, won its first state championship in 2008 after just one year of training. They went on to nationals, only to finish in last place.

The Raider rugby team, founded in 2007 by Shelby Palubiak, won its third straight state high school championship in 2010.[17] Raider Rugby is still a club team but is currently working on becoming a school-supported sport. They recently hired new head coach, Jason Payne, the USA U-20 skills coach, to help them move to higher levels of rugby.[18]

"Raider Valley", the home field of the Walton Raiders, went through some major renovations during the summer of 2010. The football team raised enough money to build a whole new stadium. The Raiders put in a new football field, along with a top-of-the-line Jumbotron score board. The renovations took place all summer; the new turf field is meant to be beneficial to all outdoor activities.[19]

Football Region 6-AAAAA 2008–2010
Subregion A Subregion B
Campbell Alpharetta
Lassiter Centennial
Pope Kell
Walton Milton
Wheeler Roswell
Football Region 5-AAAAA 2011[20]
Cherokee
Etowah
Lassiter
Marietta
Walton
Wheeler
Woodstock
Football Region Championships[21]
Year Record
1986 11–3 (Region 5-AAAA)
1999 9–2 (Region 6-AAAA)
2003 11–1 (Region 5-AAAAA)
2004 12–2 (Region 6-AAAAA)
2007 12–2 (Region 6-AAAAA)
2008 9–2 (Region 6-AAAAA)
2011 14–1 (Region 6-AAAAA)

Music[edit]

Walton's band[22] and orchestra[23] are composed of over 500 students. Both consistently receive Superior ratings at District Large Group Performance Evaluations (LGPE).

The orchestra consists of over 350 string players in seven orchestras and is directed by Dr. Perry Holbrook and Sara Grimes.

Walton's Orchestra holds the state record for most GMEA In-Service Conference performances (1983, 1989, 1995, 1999, 2003, 2006, 2009, 2012, 2016), as well as the national record for most performances at the internationally renowned Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago (2000, 2005, 2008, 2012). In 2002, the orchestra performed in New Orleans at the National School Board Association Convention.[24] The Walton Orchestras have conducted several international concert tours, including Italy in 2000, Austria in 2004, multi-country tours with concerts in Prague, Vienna, and Berlin in 2007, and 2015, as well as a Royal Caribbean Bahamas cruise in 2012. The Walton Philharmonia performed at the Midwest Clinic in 2000 and 2005, and two chamber music groups performed in 2008 as the first high school string ensembles to do so. Walton's Chamber and Philharmonia Orchestras performed in 2009 at the opening ceremonies of the American String Teachers Association's national conference. In 2012, the Walton Chamber and Philharmonia Orchestras performed at the GMEA In-Service conference again, which they followed by a Bahamas cruise with all of their orchestras. Later that same year, the Walton Symphony Orchestra performed at the Midwest Clinic in Chicago. Their 2015 European tour included performances in several of the great concert halls, including venues in Prague, Eisenstadt, and Vienna.

The orchestra continues to break tradition in ways that progressively enhance the image of a high school orchestra. New developments include the addition of electronic instruments and a program in which students are encouraged to attend concerts blending rock and orchestral music, such as a performance of The Machine with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Their covers of Kansas's "Carry on Wayward Son", Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe", and Imagine Dragons's "Radioactive" have nearly 200,000 views on YouTube. In both 2014 and 2015, the Walton Chamber Orchestra received the status of National Champions upon being one of three orchestras across the nation to receive the Mark of Excellence from the National Foundation for Music Education.

In November 2016, the orchestras will be conducting yet another international concert tour to Germany and Poland, where they will perform in the Berliner Philharmoniker's concert hall.

The band, consisting of around 285 students in four bands, is under the direction of Mike Back, an accomplished musician in Drum Corps International for the Spirit of Atlanta's drumline. Jeff Pollock is also an accomplished musician and is the former assistant band director. The band at Walton participates in marching competitions as well as the annual District LGPE. In 1998, the Walton Marching Raider Band performed in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, and also performed in the Rose Parade in 2001, 2010, and 2015.[25] The Walton Winter Guard won 1st place at Winter Guard International Championships in 2001. The Walton Indoor Percussion was created in 2008 and placed 1st at the 2008 SAPA Regional in Macon, Georgia. The Walton Winter Guard and the Walton Indoor Drumline recently combined, with their show entitled "Balance," and competed in the WGI World Championships. The marching band performed in the Tournament of Roses Parade on January 1, 2003. The band marched in the Rose Bowl again on January 1, 2010. In 2005, it performed in front of the USS Missouri in Hawaii and placed third in the Bands of America Regional Competition in Atlanta. In 2006 the band placed 21st at the Bands of America Grand Nationals Competition in Indianapolis. In 2008 and 2009, the band placed sixth in the Bands of America Super Regionals in Atlanta. As of 2010 the Walton Band has also received the Sudler Shield Award.[26] In 2011, the winter guard placed fifth at Winter Guard International championships, and the marching band placed fourth at Bands of America Super Regionals in Atlanta. In 2012, the George Walton High School Marching Band placed seventh at Bands of America Super Regionals in Atlanta, and placed 20th at the Bands of America Grand Nationals Competition in Indianapolis. In 2013, the Walton Winter Guard placed 22nd in the semi-finals at the Winter Guard International World Championships.[27] In 2015, the Marching Band participated in the Tournament of Roses Annual Rose Parade in Pasadena, California.

Walton's Chorus [28] is composed of four choirs that have performed in the cathedrals of St. Bartholomew and St. Patrick in New York City and the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France. In Spring 2002, a select choir performed in Carnegie Hall. They have been featured on a local FOX station and have performed in many events around the city. The men's ensemble performed at the Georgia music educators association meeting in 2007 and the top chorus was chosen to perform at the meeting in 2010. Walton's nationally acclaimed tour choir was slated to perform in St. Peter's Basilica in the spring of 2010.

Academic[edit]

The Walton Academic Bowl team won the GATA varsity state championship from 2004 to 2006.[citation needed] It has won numerous prestigious awards, and its members won the American Academic Challenge in 1995.[29] The team also consistently wins the annual televised High Q competition.

The Science Bowl team won the state championship in 2004, 2005, 2008, 2010, 2011, and 2012, and also placed third in the 2005 national competition.[30]

The Math Team has won the state championship nine times. The team has won numerous tournaments and awards in the past few years. Many of the members are also members of the Georgia ARML team. The Walton MathFest, a math tournament and conference for high school students, is hosted by the team in the spring.

Walton Mock Trial won their regional competition for four years consecutively, in 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010, with many individual students winning awards at both the regional competition and the state competition. The program continues to grow more competitive each year.

Other academic extracurriculars include Debate Team and the Raider Script magazine.

Notable alumni[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Governor Perdue, Superintendent Cox Announce Georgia’s Top 25. Retrieved April 5, 2007.
  2. ^ a b George Walton Comprehensive High School Charter School Renewal Petition September 2002 (Appendix A). Retrieved April 5, 2007.
  3. ^ The Complete list of the 1300 U.S. high schools 2008 – Newsweek. In 2011, Walton was ranked 67 by Newsweek based on new factors: graduation rate (25%), college matriculation rate (25%), AP tests taken per graduate (25%), average SAT/ACT scores (10%), average AP/IB/AICE scores (10%), and AP courses offered (5%).Retrieved January 10, 2009.
  4. ^ Blue Ribbon Schools from Georgia. Retrieved April 6, 2007.
  5. ^ Past Schools of Excellence. Retrieved April 6, 2007.
  6. ^ Charter School History Since 1993. Retrieved April 6, 2007.
  7. ^ Filming locations for Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd (2003). Retrieved May 6, 2007.
  8. ^ a b c d e George Walton Comprehensive High School Charter School Renewal Petition June 2007. Retrieved April 29, 2007.
  9. ^ The Avenue East Cobb Demographics. Retrieved September 13, 2008.
  10. ^ Demographics for Zip Code 30068. Retrieved July 11, 2007.
  11. ^ Nose to the grindstone. Retrieved May 6, 2007.
  12. ^ Clubs & Organizations. Retrieved April 6, 2007.
  13. ^ a b c Athletics Page. Retrieved August 31, 2007.
  14. ^ a b Outstanding Athletics. Retrieved August 31, 2007.
  15. ^ Tennis & Academics. Retrieved August 31, 2007.
  16. ^ Walton Raiders Soccer Hall of Fame. Retrieved August 31, 2007.
  17. ^ "http://www.rugbymag.com/news/high-school/boys/walton-wins-georgia-hs-championship.aspx">
  18. ^ Walton wins georgia hs championship. (2010, May 15). Retrieved from http://www.rugbymag.com/news/high-school/boys/walton-wins-georgia-hs-championship.aspx
  19. ^ http://raidersfb.net/wtcwp/2010/07/walton-scoreboard-installed/
  20. ^ "GHSA." Official Site of the Georgia High School Association. N.p., 2011. Web. August 24, 2011. <http://www.ghsa.net/2011-2012-region-alignments-baseball-basketball-cross-country-golf-softball-and-tennis>.
  21. ^ Walton Raiders Region Championships. Retrieved May 19, 2008.
  22. ^ http://www.waltonband.org/
  23. ^ http://www.waltonorchestra.org/
  24. ^ Orchestra Home Page. Retrieved April 6, 2007.
  25. ^ Our Program. Retrieved April 6, 2007.
  26. ^ Sudler Shield Award
  27. ^ Winter Guard International World Championships
  28. ^ http://www.waltonchorus.com/chorus
  29. ^ "American Academic Challenge". Qbwiki. 
  30. ^ "Page Not Found - U.S. DOE Office of Science (SC)". energy.gov. Retrieved August 30, 2015. 
  31. ^ "Members Only Notification". NUC Sports Magazine. Retrieved August 30, 2015. 

External links[edit]