Clark Magnet Welcomes its New Math Teachers

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Raeesah Alam

Warm welcomes to Mr. Abisab teaching Integrated I and II classes!

Raeesah Alam, Staff Writer

It is safe to say that the year 2022 has brought plenty of changes to Clark Magnet High School, including to something as constant and familiar as students’ math classes. As many comfort teachers take their leave – heading on to a new path in their lives – new teachers come in to fill their places. In particular, there are a few honorary and outstanding math teachers who have stepped into our bubble, ready to embrace Clark and build new relationships with the students. 

One of the Head Department Chairs of the Math Department, Violet Mardirosian, is now in her second year of teaching at Clark. She is a National Board certified teacher, mentor, and support for new teachers. “It seems to me that I’m always teaching,” she said. “If I’m not, I’m tutoring.” Of all her 32 years of teaching, this school has especially stood out to her. Students will always find Ms. Mardirosian participating and helping out at events, including Clark’s Senior Barbeque and Homecoming. “The atmosphere at Clark is one that I’ve never seen,” she said. “It feels like an elite private school with the most amazing students and outstanding teachers and staff.” 

Ms. Mardirosian’s main goal is not only to ensure her students’ success, but also that her classroom is a safe environment for students to ask questions, receive help, and have a low affective filter where learning is fun. “Opportunities to redo mistakes and to grow are always there,” Ms. Mardirosian said. 

As Clark’s atmosphere slowly starts to shift, changes to the Math Department also become more prominent. “Now more than ever, students’ success is based on data,” Ms. Mardirosian said. “Every assessment and state exams is a reflection of the school and the students. They need to take them more seriously.” One change that she is trying to make herself is aligning our district curriculum with state exams, AP exams and SATs to bring easier transitions for students. 

This year, Clark Magnet has also welcomed two new math teachers: Bassam Abisab teaching Integrated Math I and II classes and Nushik Khachatryan teaching Integrated Math III. 

Mr. Abisab had started teaching in GUSD in 2015, but before that he was a public health officer for 25 years. When he’s not teaching, he has many other hobbies including reading, listening to music, and gardening. Mr. Abisab is also known to be an avid hiker and swimmer. Though it is too early for him to judge the environment here at Clark, Mr. Abisab did say that it feels very supportive and welcoming, with motivated students. 

“I believe in team work and group work,” Mr. Abisab said. “I believe that students supporting each other is very important to gain conceptual understanding.” According to Mr. Abisab, working together is a very crucial part of learning and the curriculum today supports that as well. “If you struggle and work together, you will be able to retain more information and learn more rather than from just listening.” He encourages students to meet and work with new people – an effective way to create new friendships and step out of one’s comfort zone. 

Similar methods in encouraging students’ wellbeing and success can be found in Ms. Khachatryan’s classroom as well. “Her classroom feels like a learning environment, we get a lot of work done but we also don’t pressure ourselves too much,” Junior Nathalie Vartan said. “If we have questions we are allowed to ask our partners, and do partner work most of the time. We also work together as a class going up to the board and trying to solve questions.” Vartan mentions that Ms. Khachatryan always encourages questions and tries to make all students feel included, bringing students up to the board themselves and pushing them to do their best. 

Despite the intimidation of student evaluation being heavily dependent on data and scores, these tactics of pushing students beyond their limits, found with both old and new teachers alike, ensure effort and success. Clark welcomes its new teachers with open and warm arms, paving the path for many new experiences to come.