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Clark Magnet High School - The Geology of Disasters

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Developing a new high school elective course integrating academic instruction in Geology and Meteorology with technology training using the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) disaster mitigation software, Hazus.


Poster alerting students to the new Geology of Disasters course at ClarkWith funding from UCLA’s Teacher Initiated Inquiry Project grant, a new course, The Geology of Disasters: A Hazus Training Program has been developed at Clark Magnet High School. This course fits the Career Technical Education (CTE) model by integrating academic instruction with technology training. An advanced version of this program will be created by the Geography Department at California State University, Northridge to complete a pathway to higher education and a career field. This program provides students with a highly-specialized marketable skill-set in geospatial information science (GIS) and at the same time lays the groundwork for many possible college majors as GIS can be incorporated into many fields. Through this project, the problem of practice addressed is how to develop education relevant to the long term success for students, especially for those who do not plan on going to college. Finding effective ways to develop partnerships that contribute to student success will also be investigated. Through partnership with the university, students will be able to enroll in extended learning in order to complete higher level training with disaster mitigation software. Teachers and college professors will work side-by-side with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) trainers to become proficient with the software and instructional techniques. A one-semester Geology of Disasters course will be developed and the Multi-Hazards training course (Hazus) will be adapted to fit one-semester at the high school level to create a year-long course. Students will be able to create risk assessments and hazard mitigation plans for their school and communities to ensure disaster preparation and readiness. Student work will be presented at the ESRI International User Conference in San Diego. ( Click here to view a video of "GIS in Action at Clark Magnet High School" by a Clark student speaking to over 15,000 people during the plenary session at the conference, July 2011.)

Geology of Disasters in the News - click to see how student learning with GIS and Hazus software at Clark Magnet is already impacting our school, our community and the world.


Team Information

Clark Team at ESRI conference, July 2010

Our core team members enjoy close and cohesive working relationships which include a history of special efforts to benefit students. School counselor, Karen Carlson, opens up her backyard and swimming pool so that team member Hannah Goldberg and team leader Dominique Evans-Bye can train students to operate remotely operated vehicles (ROVs). At Clark Magnet High School, Goldberg and Evans-Bye both work with ROVs  through the Introduction to Engineering and Marine Science Research classes respectively. The teachers encourage students to try both classes and Counselor Carlson tirelessly supports the educational efforts by working with teachers, students and parents to help the students stay on track and achieve success. In 2010 a Clark student received a Los Angeles County Regional Occupation Program (ROP) Gold Medal, the first ever gold medal for a Glendale Unified School District (GUSD) student, after being nominated by Evans-Bye and coached by Carlson.

GIS Students on the High SeasTeam leader, Dominique Evans-Bye will be the lead instructor for the FEMA software, Hazus, CTE focused portion of the Geology of Disasters course developed. She has been teaching science for GUSD for 15 years and has been at Clark Magnet High school for 13 of those years after teaching at Roosevelt Middle school for the first two years. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Biology with Marine Emphasis and is close to completing her Master's degree in Geographic Information Science from California State University, Northridge. She has extensive professional development experiences through programs with the Center for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence West including projects involving marine protected areas and ocean observing systems. After attending Marine Advance Technology Education summer institutes for "Designing and Building Remotely Operated Vehicles" and " Creating a GIS Field Project to Address Marine and Coastal Issue," she designed and implemented the Marine Science and Environmental GIS courses at Clark Magnet High School. For over 17 years Evans-Bye has volunteered her diving expertise to the Ventura County Sheriff's Department Search and Rescue Dive team. She is a Training Officer and Research and Development Officer of the Ventura County Sheriff's Department Search and Rescue team.

Alex at Vasquez RocksTeam member, Alex Day-Blattner, will be the primary instructor for the Geology (and Meteorology) content of the Geology of Disasters Course. She holds an MA in Chemistry from Oxford University and taught science, including Advanced level Chemistry, in high schools in England for 5 years before coming to California. In England she worked with teams of teachers on developing integrated science curricula and approaches for assessment of science process skills. Day-Blattner returned to teaching in 2008 and has completed her California teaching credential in Chemistry and Geoscience. She as been inspired by Evans-Bye's work with students at Clark and by the scope of GIS technology to develop this new exciting elective course. You can see here her collaborative work on Earth Systems Science using a problem based learning approach at the summer 2011 class for teachers at California State University, Northridge.

Team member, Hannah Goldberg, is an electrical engineer who worked on the Mars Science Laboratory at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena. She has mentored Clark's FIRST robotics team for many years and taught Introduction to Engineering and Robotics until her recent move to Seatle. We wish Hannah much success in her new venture in a start-up aerospace exploration company with former JPL colleagues.

Team member, Karen Carlson, is the head counselor at Clark Magnet High School. She brings her invaluable knowledge and experience of procedures and requirements for achieving A-G credit from the University of California, the Los Angeles County Regional Occupational Program (LACOROP) and GUSD adoption procedures for new courses. She will promote and market the course to the student body and ultimately decide which students are placed in the course.

Preparing the ROV    Team Contact Information

Dominique Evans-Bye (Team Leader)

Alex Day-Blattner

Karen Carlson



Operating the ROV



Clark Marine Science Students prepare and operate the ROV.








School Information

Clark Front EntranceClark Magnet High School is a science and technology magnet for grades 9-12 in the public school system. It is open to students in the Glendale Unified School District,(GUSD) who have a 2.0 grade point average or greater and an interest in science or technology. GUSD provides buses to ensure equal access to the campus for those who lack transportation. Clark has 90-minute block classes that meet on an odd/even day schedule and is on a traditional calendar year program. 

Clark Distinguished SchoolDemographics: Approximately 1100 students, 75% classified as white, 18% Asian, 7% Hispanic. 85% of the student body speak a language other than English at home, 13% have limited English proficiency, and 43% are classified as socioeconomically disadvantaged.

The mission of Clark is to provide ethnically diverse students the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in a highly competitive technological world. The aim is for Clark graduates to possess the knowledge and skills necessary to pursue their academic and career goals, to compete successfully in the world market, and to be creative, critical, analytical, lifelong learners.

Wildfire Urban Interface Map prepared by Clark Students in 2012In 2009 the start of the school year was delayed because the Station Fire was so close the school had to be closed. The school was closed again on the last instructional day before semester finals of the same academic year as a result of the danger posed by floods and debris flow. Clark students are in a unique position to appreciate the relevancy of this new Geology of Disasters course. Having received instruction on geographic information science our students are poised to excel in a course modeling, preparing for and mitigating risk in disaster scenarios and integrating geologic and meteorolgic academic knowledge into the process.


Clark Magnet High School's work in developing a Geology of Disasters course

Click on the following links to explore the process and some of our results as we developed the course:





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