Clark changes its Clark freshman recruitment during Covid-19

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Clark Magnet

Due to Covid, teachers and students try new ways to encourage next year’s students to enroll in Clark Magnet High School.

Nikki Ballesteros, Staff Writer

On Jan. 13, Clark Magnet High School debuted its new recruitment effort for incoming freshmen. Two videos were shown: a Clark alumni video and a parent presentation video to help incoming 2021-2022 freshmen become familiar with Clark and its offerings. The Clark alumni video was presented in the afternoon for the students and the parent presentation was presented later that night for the parents.

In the Clark alumni video, cinematography teacher Joshua Bishop had used Clark videos from previous years and videos this year from Clark teachers and graduates to talk about the things that inspired them to enroll in Clark. 

The parent presentation video was actually a Zoom meeting, but after the Zoom ending the meeting was saved and posted on the Clark Magnet Cinema YouTube channel. During the meeting many of the Clark staff worked on the presentation, including teachers Joshua Bishop, Sevada Isayan, Anthony Lockhart, Estine Shahverdian and Narine Tatevosian. Counselors Lucy Cerda, Anna Margaryan and Karine Turdjian joined Principal Lena Kortoshian and assistant principal Dr. Brian Landisi to answer questions about admission requirements, the course catalog and the schedule.

Along with the help of the staff, current Clark students shared information about the classes they are taking and about the Clark campus and program. Senior Sophie Peineke had presented information about the cinema program twice before, once in her freshman year and also in junior year. “I felt very honored to be chosen to present to prospective Clark parents,” Peineke said. “Since most of the teachers at the meeting were teachers I had before, it was a really supportive and encouraging meeting to be in.”

Along with Peineke, sophomore Alexandra Narinyan discussed her Art 1-2 class. “I talked about all of the interesting things that we do in class, and what resources we use. I also talked about how you didn’t need art skills to join the class,” Narinyan said. “Everyone’s skills get developed and we all become better artists. I spoke about how phenomenal the art teachers are and how the classes/art community at Clark are just incredibly amazing and super kind.” 

Because of Covid-19, there have been some challenges in the freshmen recruitment. Bishop described one challenge of not having students be able to meet in person. “The biggest challenge of working on the recruitment this year is the fact that students will be unable to tour the campus like they typically do for Clark Expo,” Bishop said. “Clark Expo is usually what helps to ‘finalize’ the decision to attend Clark, so we need to be creative since they can’t physically be on campus. We also lose that face-to-face interaction that we get when visiting the middle schools. It has been quite the adjustment, overall.” 

To help with the presentation, data and older videos from the past were collected to give information about Clark, along with old videos containing clips of how Clark has helped students find successful careers. To ensure that incoming freshmen will know about what Clark is offering along with its opportunities, during the presentation Clark administration and counselors held additional virtual Q&A sessions for parents. 

The presentation was organized with some staff talking about the topics shown, others focusing on the chat to make sure parents’ questions were seen and answered and along with students assisting with answering the questions.

If Covid-19 continues to affect next year’s freshman recruitment, Clark already has plans to encourage students to choose Clark. Dr. Landisi talked about how Clark is going to improve over time and use what helped this year’s recruitment. “We are always looking to enhance the presentation to our future students.  For the longest time, only one person used to present for recruitment, now it is a big team effort,” Dr. Landisi said. “Updating our promo videos, providing access through technology like Zoom and direct contact through email, phone calls and text messages has really helped us and I think it will be the trend for the future.”