Clark Magnet High School was one of 35 California schools nominated Tuesday for the 2012 National Blue Ribbon Schools Program, widely recognized as a gold standard in public education.
The school will have to wait until September to learn if it will receive the honor, which is contingent on hitting all of its 2012 standardized testing targets, including its scores for the overall Academic Performance Index.
Last year, Clark earned a score of 909 out of a total 1,000, making it the highest-performing high school in Glendale Unified, despite a large population of low-income students.
“We have been working on this for five years,” Principal Doug Dall said of the Blue Ribbon designation. “This is something that we aspire to do, and we think that we have earned it. We deal with a 49% poverty rate with students at our school, and to see them achieve at this level is pretty remarkable.”
Each year, the U.S. Department of Education outlines the categories for the Blue Ribbon Schools Program nomination. This year, the two categories included schools that achieve at least the 85th percentile statewide for students scoring proficient or better in English and math, and schools serving large populations of disadvantaged students that made exceptional academic gains.
Clark Magnet High School was one of nine schools in Los Angeles County to be nominated. The closest fellow nominee was Roosevelt Elementary School in Pasadena.
“These schools all share a deep commitment to the education and well-being of their students,” said Tom Torlakson, state superintendent of public instruction, in a statement. “We’ve recognized them on the state level, and now I hope their outstanding work and remarkable progress will be further spotlighted nationally.”
Opened in 1998, Clark is no stranger to awards. The math and science magnet was named a National Blue Ribbon School in 2006, and a California Distinguished School in 2005 and 2009. It also received the California Exemplary Career/Technical Education Award in 2005, among other honors during the last decade.
“They are doing real work,” Glendale Unified school board President Joylene Wagner said of the students and staff at Clark. “They are connecting in an ongoing way. Their [way of] learning and the idea of real work go hand-in-hand. We need to spread that thinking.”