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Seven Burbank, Glendale, La Crescenta high schools earn Newsweek’s top STEM school rankings

Photo Gallery: Clark Magnet High School graduation 2019
Clark Magnet and Crescenta Valley high schools took the top two spots locally in Newsweek’s rankings of the top national STEM schools, coming in at the 707 and 919 spots, respectively, followed by Burbank, Burroughs, Hoover, Providence, and Glendale high schools. Clark Magnet principal Lena Kortoshian, above, credited her physics, math and science teachers for leading the effort.
(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Seven area high schools in Glendale, La Crescenta and Burbank were recognized recently in Newsweek magazine’s rankings of the top 5,000 Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, or STEM, schools in the country.

Glendale Unified’s Clark Magnet and Crescenta Valley high schools took the top two spots locally, coming in at the 707 and 919 spots, respectively, while Burbank was No. 1,890, Burroughs took No. 2,762, Hoover followed at No. 3,086, Providence placed at No. 3,440 and Glendale finished at No. 4,040.

The rankings were compiled by Newsweek and STEM.org, an educational advocacy group, and released on Friday — which was National STEM day.

Newsweek said of its ranking methodology, “We found schools in every region of the country that offer skilled teachers who keep up with developments in these fields and who create dynamic learning environments to engage their students.”

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Honors are nothing new for Clark Magnet and Crescenta Valley highs, both located in La Crescenta.

The pair was ranked in the top 3% to 4% of high schools nationally by U.S. News & World Report in April, lauded by state Supt. Tony Thurmond for exemplary programs in arts education, career-technical education or physical activity or nutrition in March and named California Distinguished Schools in February.

“This means a lot to me, and it’s a prestigious honor,” Clark Magnet principal Lena Kortoshian said. “We all know that Clark has a strong STEM program, with physics teachers preparing students for engineering courses and math and science teachers contributing.”

One of those instructors, Dominique Evans-Bye, was honored last month by Donald Trump with one of 15 national Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring.

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Crescenta Valley High also boasts several high-achieving STEM programs, such as robotics and computer science.

“My teachers are passionate, and invest so much lighting the fire of curiosity and skill in our students,” Crescenta Valley principal Linda Junge said in an email.

“From tenured faculty members like Greg Neat (computer science) to new hires like Brandon Rodriguez (physics/chemistry), this award is a testament of CV teachers’ professional commitment to students,” she added.

Burbank High School may have lost the big-game rivalry football contest to arch-rival Burroughs, but the Bulldogs topped the Indians in the STEM rankings, earning spot No. 1,890, which is significantly ahead of Burroughs’ No. 2,762 ranking.

In the Glendale crosstown rivalry, Hoover was ranked No. 3,086 and topped Glendale, which came in at No. 4,040, thus avenging its U.S. News & World positioning in April, when Glendale was ranked No. 4,130 in the country, ahead of Hoover’s 5,494th listing.

Providence has the distinction of being the only local private high school recognized, taking the 3,440th ranking.

The honor came as news to head of school Scott McLarty on Monday afternoon.

Providence offers two STEM-focused programs in medicine and technology, which McLarty said he thinks helped land the Catholic school a national ranking.

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“That’s probably what’s driving our focus on the list,” McLarty said. “Plus, we have a pretty impressive science department, particularly for being such a small school.

He added, “So, we’re very proud and happy to be on this list, and it also serves as great motivation to move up on the rankings and see what sort of innovative things we can do.”

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