From the first stages of planning Clark Magnet High School, the Magnet School Planning Taskforce, including 80 volunteers from the district, community, businesses and institutions of higher education, envisioned a school where the emphasis would be on two instructional themes: science and advanced technology. The vision for the new school was based on the State of California’s plan for secondary schools, Second to None, as well as the SCANS Report, Aiming High, Breaking Ranks: Changing an American Institution, and the governor’s School-to-Career Task Force. Following a $15 million renovation project, the Anderson W. Clark Magnet High School with Emphasis on Science and Technology opened in September 1998. Clark admits ninth grade students from the Glendale Unified School District’s four middle schools as well as students from private schools in the area. Entering ninth graders are introduced to Clark’s unique curriculum through three foundation courses. The college and career prep course allows students to start planning their high school, higher education and future career paths. The technology literacy course provides Clark’s students with introductory skills that prepare them to undertake more advanced courses in their chosen curricular strand. Based on school reform research, most ninth grade students also take a conceptual physics course that prepares them for future science classes. Clark’s students are guided in their choice of high school courses by following one of four curricular strands: science/engineering, technology applications (including business applications and computer programming), digital arts, and technology systems (computer repair and networking). The mandatory senior project encourages Clark’s students to explore potential careers, to engage in service learning opportunities, and to form beneficial working relationships with mentors in their chosen fields of interest.
Clark, with its unique curriculum and safe, clean environment, attracts students with a wide range of abilities from all backgrounds. It is not an “elitist” or “gifted” magnet school in admission requirements. It offers the advantages of a small, specialized learning environment supported by the business, educational and technical resources of a sizable suburban community. Students who graduate from Clark possess the knowledge and skills necessary to pursue their academic and career goals, compete successfully in the world market, and to be creative, critical and analytical lifelong learner, as stated in school’s mission statement.
In 2004, Clark was chosen, by the International Center for Leadership in Education, the Council of State Chief School Officers, and the California Department of Education, as one of America’s 30 most successful high schools. Clark has subsequently received the California Distinguished School Award and Exemplary Career/Technical Education Award in 2005 and was named a National Blue Ribbon School in 2006. In 2007-’08 and 2008-’09, Clark was named a Title I High Achieving School.