GIS in Action at Clark Magnet High School

Charlie FItzpatrick introduces Dominique Evans-Bye, a science teacher at Clark Magnet High School in La Crescenta, California, and her student Yeprem Chavdarian, who demonstrate how students use GIS for a variety of projects ranging from marine science research to other current environmental issues.

Jul 11th, 2011

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00:01Also I want to acknowledge a really special guy in my life.

00:03His name is Charlie Fitzpatrick.

00:06He has been in charge of the K–12 program at Esri and has changed thousands and thousands of kids' lives... working with teachers to bring geoprocessing, GIS, geography into schools.

00:20So Charlie, could you come out here? Oh, you're already here.

00:23I'm here.

00:24And introduce a special teacher and a special kid this year.

00:27You bet. Thanks, Jack.

00:33Around the world, GIS is growing.

00:38There are programs building in many countries, and here in the States, there are now thousands of schools...

00:45...hundreds of clubs, dozens of districts, and even a score of states with licenses in place or pending.

00:54But there's a darker picture.

00:56With funding and support slashed, and education standards shifting...

01:04...and teachers with salaries being tied to test scores despite directives to promote critical thinking...

01:21I want you to think about an educator that has made a difference in your life.

01:27This is a person who knew about many things, and most important, he or she knew how to help you build knowledge...

01:38...and discover key lessons about the world and about yourself.

01:43This was not your easiest teacher but someone who knew how to feed your mind and spirit with knowledge...

01:51...and direction but also challenge and independence.

01:58Teachers today must do much more with much less.

02:04And from the highest office in the land on down, they're being asked to promote STEM...

02:11...which is science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

02:16There are many STEM teachers, and even STEM-focused schools, but surprisingly...

02:22...most of those have not heard of GIS nor yet learned how geographic thinking solves problems...

02:30...nor how to build mapping and analyzing data into their activities.

02:38They need a hand from someone who knows how to do it, someone in their community like you.

02:47Can you make a difference all by yourself?

02:50Absolutely. We know it because teachers have learned how to do this and they have built this into their classes.

02:58This year's highlight school did it.

03:01Clark Magnet School in the Los Angeles area serves many underprivileged kids...

03:07...but they provide a lot of opportunity to them and expect a lot of them.

03:13One teacher learned GIS several years ago and built a home for it.

03:19As you catch their story, think about where you might be able to find a STEM school or a STEM teacher... your neighborhood, in your community, and help them discover GIS.

03:35From Clark Magnet High School in La Crescenta, California, please welcome science teacher...

03:41...Dominique Evans-Bye and rising senior Yeprem Chavdarian.

03:54Thank you, Charlie.

03:55I've found that students want to make a difference.

03:58They give their best when they have the opportunity to do something positive for their community and their environment.

04:03A project has to be relevant to hold their interest; it's just common sense.

04:08There are a number of competitions out there that challenge students to apply the science...

04:12...they may not think is so relevant to original projects that do make a difference.

04:21And GIS is a perfect bridge between the scientific principles taught in core classes and relevant problems students can solve.

04:30One student created a video out of materials from the last few years...

04:34...that showcases a little about our school and how we use GIS.

04:39I did the voice-over for the video, but other than that, it's entirely student created. Enjoy.

04:46[Video playing] Clark Magnet High School is located in La Crescenta, California.

04:49Clark is a science and technology magnet within the Glendale Unified School District.

04:54These six skills are reinforced and built upon throughout the high school experience...

04:58...culminating in a senior project required for graduation.

05:01Clark has developed a robust career technical education program through a partnership...

05:06...with the Los Angeles County Regional Occupation Program.

05:10All students take ROP courses at Clark.

05:13These courses help them consider various career options and provide experience for an edge in a competitive job market.

05:20One unique program, developed by teacher Dominique Evans-Bye, synthesizes STEM education into one GIS class...

05:27...Marine Science Research.

05:29In her class, students learn the biology and ecology of the Southern California ecosystem as they learn to use ArcGIS.

05:37They learn CAD by creating models of remotely operated vehicles, or ROVs, used in marine research.

05:43They build their ROV designs using PVC pipe and bilge pump motors.

05:48Using ArcGIS, students investigate how variables, such as sea surface temperature or marine protected areas...

05:54...affect the abundance and distribution of marine life.

05:57Students examine contamination and bioaccumulation in the marine environment by collecting samples...

06:02...and performing chemical analyses.

06:05Some students take the research further and enter their projects in competitions, such as the Lexus Eco Challenge.

06:12This past year, one group of 11th/12th-grade students, who called themselves the Eco Savers...

06:17...won every category of the Lexus Eco Challenge by entering GIS projects.

06:22Students mapped the organic and inorganic contamination in California's spiny lobster.

06:27Arsenic turned out to be the biggest problem we have here, with some lobster having up to 43 parts per million in their tissues.

06:35In the Air/Climate challenge, students tied in climate change affecting the frequency and severity of storms.

06:41They used HAZUS, software from FEMA which integrates with ArcGIS... do a risk analysis of flooding in the Glendale Unified School District.

06:49They found that all the schools within a thousand feet of flood control channels were elementary and preschools.

06:56A number of children in Los Angeles have been swept away in flood control channels.

07:00The Santa Monica Seafood Company donated lobster tails from east Canada, South Africa, Nicaragua, and West Australia.

07:08The marine science students again analyzed tissue samples at IIRMES, and the Eco Savers team mapped the results.

07:15They won the grand prize in the final challenge...

07:18...and were awarded over $70,000 in student scholarships and grants to their school.

07:24State senator Carol Liu spoke at the awards assembly, presented the team with awards of recognition for their achievements.

07:32The students didn't stop there.

07:34They went on to document how contaminants travel from the land to the sea... the LA County Department of Public Works Streets to Sea Challenge.

07:42Here, the students used HAZUS to generate stream networks through the study area and illustrate the direction water flows...

07:49...the land to the storm drains and out to sea.

07:52Now students are partnering with Calflora to document invasive plants both at the Channel Islands and in our local foothills.

08:00Students have hiked trails at Catalina and Santa Cruz Islands and recorded invasive plants found there.

08:07One student used a Trimble GPS and mountain bike to map the trails in the foothills.

08:12Student hikers will retrace the plants and document local invasives to compare with those found at the islands.

08:18We used marine science to hook the students' interest in STEM-related fields and teach some GIS...

08:23...knowing those skills will translate to any college major or career. [End video]

08:29As you saw, we did several big projects through the year.

08:32The most analytical of these was our flood risk project.

08:36Yeprem Chavdarian has been in my class for two years and has been an integral part of all these projects.

08:42I'd like to have him demonstrate to you some of the work he did with HAZUS.

08:46Thank you.

08:49As a second-year GIS student, I've had the chance to use GIS to address current environmental issues... documenting and analyzing data in my mapping projects.

09:01By using FEMA's HAZUS software and ArcGIS, my team was able to identify potential safety hazards in our community.

09:11Southern California in general gets very little rainfall.

09:14When it does rain hard, our flood control channels are designed to take water quickly away.

09:24We wanted to assess the flood risk to schools in the Glendale Unified School District so used HAZUS to do a level 2 analysis.

09:35Here you can see the LA Basin as well as the Channel Islands.

09:39Our school is located in northern Los Angeles, shown by the green pin on the map.

09:46We used HAZUS to define our study area, which was our district.

09:59We also used HAZUS to generate a DEM and then developed a stream network.

10:06We chose to focus on the main channel that flows through our district.

10:17In the past, this area saw flooding until the channel was cemented in as a part of local flood control.

10:24We did a risk analysis, using HAZUS, showing the area that can pose a threat during a 500-year flood event.

10:31We adjusted the parameters to account for a cement-lined flood channel.

10:38The flood control does what it was designed to do, and analysis shows there is little damage or loss due to flooding in this area.

10:49We adjusted the parameters to account for a cement-lined flood channel.

10:54The problem was that children are often drawn to watch swift-moving water.

11:02There were not any schools that were in flood-prone areas, but a number of schools look near the flood zones... we'll do a selection by location.

11:15So here I'm going to target the schools layer.

11:26I'm going to apply a search distance of a thousand feet.

11:30Okay. So we've selected schools within a thousand feet of flood-prone areas.

11:35Hmmm, didn't work.

11:44Most of the schools found within a thousand feet are elementary or middle schools.

11:50We used this information to begin a swift water awareness campaign aimed toward children and parents.

12:01The geoprocessing took a lot of time to run, so my partners would start the analysis... would run over lunch, and the other two members in the next class would finish the analysis.

12:11The challenge was that we had to finish our project in one day...

12:14...because the school computers have a deep freeze program that erases all of our data...

12:19...when the computers are shut down at the end of the day.

12:27We ran one analysis overnight, and the CAD class the next day lost our whole project.

12:38We also used what we learned about HAZUS to inform the public safety diver community...

12:43...on how a risk analysis with HAZUS could help document the need for funding... order to properly equip and train a water rescue team to respond to flood emergencies.

12:54Next year, we want to continue working with HAZUS to do a risk analysis...

12:57...and loss estimation for earthquakes in our community.

13:03Yeprem is changing to a regional display, which joins our HAZUS analysis to the Tales of Tails project...

13:10...where students assess contamination in lobster.

13:21The streams that run through our district go down the LA River straight out to the sea...

13:25...bringing with them any contaminants that may be on land.

13:28This map shows the level of arsenic in tissues of California spiny lobster off our coast and the Channel Islands.

13:35Projects similar to the ones my students did using GIS could be done in your community.

13:41That's where you come in.

13:43You can help them learn, share your experience, mentor them.

13:47Your kids can be doing this too. Thank you.

13:56That's great. Congratulations. Great.

14:07He's ready to take your jobs.

14:10Anyway, thank you.

14:14Thank you.

14:15Thank you for doing what you're doing, and thank you for being a star.

14:19Don't you think he deserves one more round of applause?

14:22My god. Alright. Thank you.

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