One of the rewards of being an elected school board member is to award high school diplomas to graduating seniors.
This year, I was assigned to Clark Magnet High School's graduation ceremony, and it was indeed a pleasure and honor to recognize and award Clark's graduates their diplomas (“It's a place to grow and flourish,” June 20).
In preparation for my graduation remarks, I researched certain facts about Clark, its students and staff members, and I am happy to share my findings with the community.
One of the most significant and impressive statistics that I learned from Principal Doug Dall and his staff members was Clark's high school graduation rate. Of a class of 223 seniors, Clark Magnet graduated 222.
In addressing the graduates, I stated that Clark's high school graduation rate is the highest and best in the United States.
I cited my research findings from the Manhattan Policy and Education Research and the California Department of Education statistics that gave the national high school graduation average rate at 68%, California's rate at 68.9%, San Diego's rate at 64% and Long Beach at 75%. Glendale's average is an impressive 91%.
The high school graduation rate for Clark Magnet High School is an astounding 99% plus.
Clearly, Clark's graduates are among the most successful in Glendale, California and the nation.
In digging deeper and in talking to students, parents and staff members, I learned that the high Clark graduation rate is the result of a school vision and mission and the staff members' clear focus that centers on each student and his or her academic preparation and high school success.
Clark staff members' vision is a school of high academic achievers. There is no room for student failure.
Staff members have high standards and high expectations, and the school provides state-of-the-art career and technical skills that prepare students for meaningful and real-world careers.
Each senior is required to prepare a senior project that is rich in substance and has real-life application.
My colleagues, board members Mary Boger and Joylene Wagner, spoke eloquently at a recent board meeting of the impressive Clark senior projects, which they and other members of the community judged last month.
Each senior's project must demonstrate research and understanding of future career paths as well as contribute to the community with public service projects.
Another important graduation requirement is that students must move out of their technical comfort zone in mathematics and science, and they are required to explore courses and programs in fine arts and world cultures.
Clark's graduates validate the concept that a small, focused school can provide unlimited opportunities for students' experience and success.
In my research, I found that the exceptional and impressive Clark class of 2008 had amassed an incredible array of awards and rewards that included:
?The largest number of scholarships and the largest dollars ever awarded.
?The best attendance record in the history of the school.
?They received the San Diego Robotics Championship.
?They were the silver and gold medalists in the Los Angeles County Regional Occupation Program's competitions.
?They received the Lexus Environmental Challenge award.
?They contributed to Clark's designation as a California Distinguished School, a Title I High Achieving School and a National Blue Ribbon School.
?Additionally, Clark and its students and staff members were judged one of 12 exemplary career and technical education schools in the nation.
It was indeed my honor and pleasure to award the high school diplomas to Clark's outstanding and impressive class of 2008. To the graduates, their parents, teachers and staff, my deepest congratulations and best wishes for your continued future success.
?CHUCK SAMBAR is a Glendale Unified School District trustee, president of the Los Angeles County School Trustee Assn. and a La Cañada Flintridge resident.