A school's student body must be comprised of 40% or more of socio-economically disadvantaged students whose level of proficiency places the school at or above the 60th percentile statewide in English-language arts and math, when compared to other schools, according to the California Department of Education.
The alternate requirement the state takes into consideration is that schools must show a student proficiency level that places it at or above the 90th percentile in English-language arts and math in the highest grade tested when compared to other schools in the state.
Clark Magnet High School is in rare company across the nation, which has met both requirements, Dall said.
"Clark is one of five high schools in the nation that scored in the top 10% with at least 42% of students that come from disadvantaged backgrounds."
The Blue Ribbon honor for high academic achievement is also significant for Clark because only 15% of the students speak English as their primary language, said Susan Newcomer, the school's library media teacher.
"It shows that a school can serve the needs of all students and achieve at a high level," Newcomer said. "It makes everybody in the staff and students feel very good of the job we are doing here."
Associated Student Body President Vahe Ambarsoomzadeh shared Newcomer's sentiment.
"I know that not a lot of schools in this country are honored," Vahe, 17, said. "I feel we have accomplished something tremendous all together."
A Blue Ribbon recognition also reflects positively on students' search for college admission, Dall said.
"The fact that we are one of the few schools to receive this honor is a great indication of how exemplary our school really is," William Pettijohn-Hernandez, 16, said. The winners of the Blue Ribbon will be honored on Nov. 9 and 10 at a ceremony in Washington, D.C.
ANI AMIRKHANIAN covers education. She may be reached at (818) 637-3230 or by e-mail at ani.amirkhanianlatimes.com.