Clark nominated again

Hasmik Djoulakian

(Feb. 9, 2011) — As its current six-year term draws to a close, Clark Magnet is nominated once again, among 34 other schools in the state, to be a Blue Ribbon School. Once nominated, a school must submit a lengthy proposal proving that it meets all the requirements and going into depth about each criteria. There are two types of Blue Ribbon Schools: Exemplary High-Performing Schools and Exemplary Improving Schools. The former must have 85% its student body score proficient or advanced on the mathematics and English-language arts portions of the statewide testing. The latter must have at least 40% of its students from disadvantaged backgrounds who are also in the top 10% in the state in terms of improvement in the number of students scoring either proficient or advanced on the mathematics and English-language arts portions of the statewide testing. With help from three teachers, librarian Susan Newcomer has written this term’s 16-page proposal with data from the past six years included. Math teacher Fred Blattner wrote on the math curriculum, English teacher Maral Guarino on English and language arts, and art teacher Judith Craemer on art and technology. Although the data from the recently passed years is important, Newcomer says the test scores this coming spring will play a key role in the school’s admittance. “That’s the reason that students at Clark should be very proud—you guys are the ones getting the honor,” she said. Students who attend a Blue Ribbon School have an advantage over others who do not when applying to colleges, according to Newcomer. There is a certain amount of prestige associated with a Blue Ribbon School, and Clark is one of five high schools in California to apply for one this term. “This is a tangible reward for the hard work done by the students on the STAR testing,” Newcomer said. According to Newcomer, if the U.S. Department of Education is impressed with what they are presented with, they may come to visit the school in person. That is what happened after Clark’s previous nomination in 2006. Afterwards, Principal Doug Dall, Guarino and Newcomer were invited to a conference in Washington, D.C. where they were presented with a plaque in recognition of their students’ achievements.