By Mary O’KEEFE
Clark Magnet High School held an assembly recently that celebrated test scores, academic excellence and how great it was to be a Clark panther.
“Today is a special day for Clark,” said Principal Lena Kortoshian.
Kortoshian addressed the student body that filled the outdoor auditorium at the school. Very proud teachers, staff and Glendale Unified School District President Armina Gharpetian joined her.
“We are here to pay tribute to our students, teachers and administration,” Kortoshian added. “We are blessed to have students and staff like you. You are amazing. You are committed to academic excellence and your efforts set you apart.”
She asked the seniors if they knew exactly why the assembly had been organized. In part it was something Kortoshian wants to continue throughout the year. She said she wants to set aside time to just celebrate the students and staff, to let them know that they are cared for and are special.
She asked the seniors if they knew the significance of the balloons that decorated the stage. The balloons had the number 80 on one side and 92 on the other.
The students admitted they weren’t certain.
“Is that the number of odd and even days before graduation?” Kortoshian asked.
The students began using their math skills then quickly all replied “no.”
“These are your test scores,” she said, at which point the entire student body erupted in cheering.
The scores are from the 2015-16 California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CASSPP), also known as Smart Balanced. The computerized exams were given in subjects English and math to grades three through eight and grade 11. The purpose, according to the CAASPP website, is to find out if California kids are on track for college standards through Common Core.
Clark Magnet High School scores were impressive. Theirs were the highest in the district and in English was higher than schools in nearby districts.
“Congratulations – we are proud of you. Your teachers, your parents, your staff members and your district … we are all proud of you,” Kortoshian said.
The scores for those who met or exceeded standards for Clark were 80% in math and 92% in English.
Crescenta Valley High School scored 84% in English and 62% in math. Glendale High, 53% in English and 36% in math, Hoover High 69% in English and 41% in math and La Cañada High School was 87% in English and 82% in math.
The state as a whole, in the junior class testing, score averaged 59% in English and 45% in math.
For Clark students the challenge was accepted for this year’s testing.
The principal spoke directly to the seniors, who last year took the tests, asking them to share their secrets of their success with the juniors, and then for juniors to pass along that knowledge to lower classmen.
“Last year juniors set the bar very high,” she said. “It is your turn to carry that legacy.”
The assembly continued with ASB (Associated Student Body) singing, dancing and challenging the specific class levels to cheering contests. It was clearly a time of celebration that went beyond test scores and highlighted school spirit.
“Remember: honor your past, enlighten the present and shape the future,” Kortoshian said as the students were dismissed.