Home | News | People | Science Chicks

Science Chicks

Font size: Decrease font Enlarge font
Rachel Malison. Photo by John Malison Rachel Malison. Photo by John Malison

of Clark Fork High School


They call it the nation’s report card, and it plays a major role in the perception that education in America, despite the investment of around half of each state’s revenues into it, is in a tailspin of failure. And nowhere is that failure seen as more important than in the National Assessment of Educational Progress’ reports on American students’ abilities in the fields of math and science. Analyzing the report card over the years, the National Center for Educational Statistics  states that, despite the concerns with American competitiveness, and the focus on improving education, there have been “few changes in levels of educational achievement across the two decades covered (by the report card).” While American students have “mastered the fundamentals” of various subjects, “few demonstrate competency with more sophisticated materials and tasks.”

With so much attention given to education and to various plans for ‘reform,’ we all understand the outlines of the basic picture. K–12 education in the U.S. lags behind many other industrial nations. The educational achievements of poor states—like Idaho—lag behind the rest of the nation. Students from rural areas do not do as well as those from more affluent neighborhoods. And when it comes to those critical areas of science and mathematics, girls simply do not do as well as boys.

And then there’s the small, rural, less-than-affluent high school out in Clark Fork, Idaho, U.S.A. which, in shades of Thomas the Tank Engine, steadily chugs away at blowing the lid off of every one of those ‘facts’ regarding education.

By almost any measure, students who attend school at Clark Fork are doing well. From test scores to graduation rates to community support, Clark Fork is flying high above its peers, and doing better every year. It has consistently been named one of the top small schools in the nation, and sends an enviable percentage of its graduates on to college.

So maybe it’s not surprising that of those students who leave its doors, there are many achieving success in science-related fields—those young professionals whom many believe are the heart of the country’s future. And of those from Clark Fork, quite a few are female.

Here, we’d like to introduce you to just a few of those remarkable women, and to the work they’re doing.

Rachel Malison, Class of 2001

Rachel Malison, class valedictorian for 2001, received a B.A. from the University of Montana in 2004, her M.S. from Idaho State University in 2008, and is looking forward to receiving her PhD in Systems Ecology from the University of Montana in the spring of 2013. Currently working on her dissertation, she lives in Bigfork, Montana.

“For my PhD I am studying the influence of beavers on juvenile salmon ecology in a large river floodplain in western Alaska,” she wrote. “A typical day in my PhD really depends on the time of year. In the winter (I’m generally) working on my computer, analyzing data and writing, identifying insect samples, or working on presentations, but occasionally we sample in the winter months as well. In the spring-fall while I was collecting data, a typical day included living in a wall tent five hours by jet boat from the nearest town in the Alaskan bush, jet boating up a remote river, sampling beaver ponds and spring brooks for juvenile salmon using minnow traps, collecting insect samples or habitat data and then returning to our camp for the evening.”

She enumerates the ways the school supported her success as, “small class sizes, personal attention, and opportunity to take 7 (or was it 8?) different science classes because our science teacher was able to offer all of these different options.” Not surprisingly, her science teacher, Richard Hanna (since retired), was one of her favorite teachers. “My interest in aquatic ecology started with Mr. Hanna’s ecology class, where we got to go out and sample local streams.” (Brian Powell, who teaches business and economics, was also a favorite.)

Rachel Malison

Rachel believes the trend is for an increased presence of women in ecology careers, pointing out that many graduate students in the field are now female, and high school plays a critical role in that. “You have to be interested in math and science early,” she explained. “If you leave high school with the interest then you are more likely to start off in college taking the necessary classes. I think engaging students in science while still in high school is important.”

This is something she credits Clark Fork with doing well. “By offering a wide array of math and science classes at Clark Fork, students will have the opportunity to find out where their interests lie. As I mentioned earlier, I took as many science and math classes as I could in high school. Many of the people I have met since did not ever have the option of taking an ecology class in high school.” She adds that “Clark Fork is unique,” pointing out that fewer students can allow for multiple classes across a given discipline, given there’s not a need for “five different sections of the same biology course. This allows multiple types of science classes to be available to students—or at least it did when I was there,” she said.

As a small school, there’s a perception in the county that Clark Fork is less capable than the much larger high school located in Sandpoint at the county seat, a perception Rachel says her own parents grappled with. “I almost went to Sandpoint High School because, for a while, my parents thought I would get a better education there. However, we decided I would attend Clark Fork (and) I am glad I did. I had so many opportunities at Clark Fork and was very well prepared to embark on my college education. Soon you can call me Dr. Malison!”

Corinne Haase, Class of 2004

Corinne Haase left Clark Fork in 2004 to attend the University of Idaho, then transferred Boise State. She student taught through U of I in 2009 and finished her secondary education degree to become a teacher of mathematics.

Then came a couple of engineering classes, and two more years at Boise State, where she received an extra two degrees, one in civil engineering and another in mathematics. “During my last year of school I had an internship at McClendon Engineering, a structural firm in Boise, and I worked there the summer after graduation. In November 2011, I moved to Minot, North Dakota and started working for Moore Engineering at their new branch office in Minot,” she said.

Corinne describes Moore Engineering as a civil engineering consulting firm, and she works for them as a project engineer. “Minot is seeing huge growth due to the oil boom in western North Dakota and our firm does a lot of development work and works for many small municipalities in North Dakota,” she said. “So far I’ve helped design sanitary sewer, water, and storm water systems and streets for new developments, as well as designing solutions to rehabilitate old and failing systems. 

“Basically, whatever you see as you’re driving around on city streets is the work of a civil engineer,” she added. “I design how water gets to and from a house, place hydrants, inlets, culverts, street signs, and sidewalk, grade curb and gutter and streets, and design retention for storm water.  I create construction plans and I’ve had the opportunity to be on a construction site watching things I’ve designed get built. It’s pretty awesome to see something that you’ve designed become such a visible part of a community. I can’t drive down a street anymore without noticing all of these design elements that I used to take for granted,” she explained.

Corinne Haase

Corinne says that coming from a small high school helped her achieve her goals. “I loved high school. And I particularly loved going to a small school. The environment was so friendly and comfortable; I never felt unsafe or judged. I felt that the education that was provided was well rounded and I honestly feel I could have taken any career path after graduating high school.” She added, “The classes I gravitated towards were the ones that weren’t traditional lecture classes, like science, math, and business.”

Like many of her peers who have entered what once were non-traditional fields for women, she notes, “Larry Smith was my favorite teacher at Clark Fork. I was the only student in Calculus my senior year. I’m sure the majority of my homework wasn’t even turned in on paper because we would work through most of the problems on the board during class. I think Mr. Smith and I viewed math very similarly—each problem was like a little puzzle and you just had to figure out the twist in order to solve it. We would listen to music and share stories and work on calculus. That class was probably the most influential factor in my decision to pursue a career in math.”

Corinne thinks the biggest obstacle for women in science and math is simply the perception that these are fields reserved for men. “I... think society is (still) trying to break out of the mentality that men are supposed to go to work and women are supposed to stay at home. But even when women do decide to pursue careers, they still lean towards ones that involve caring for people, like teaching, social work, and nursing to name a few. I really think so few females pursue science careers because they are viewed as predominantly male fields. There is an advantage that women have in that... (they) aren’t always expected to pursue careers; therefore when they decide to they typically go for a career they really know they are going to enjoy. If a female chooses a science path, they’re going to do it because they are passionate about it and they’re willing to break social norms to pursue that career. I think women are uniquely suited to succeed in science careers because of the drive and perseverance it takes to get there.”

Clark Fork, for Corinne, is uniquely suited to raising a generation of mathematicians and scientists, at least in part because “Clark Fork has such an abundance of math- and science-related resources within the community. Industries such as forestry, hydrology, water resources, environmental science, biology, geology, civil engineering, and more are all prevalent in Clark Fork.” 

Her advice for the next generation? “Get students outside, get community members involved who would be willing to share some of their experiences, tap into some of the resources outside of the school that are available. If I had the opportunity, I’d be more than happy to talk to a group of students who wanted to hear about what I do and I think there are many others out there who would do the same. I think students really respond when you can offer them more than just a lecture format class.”

The only area Corinne saw as lacking in her high school education was preparation for a career. “I didn’t even know what engineers did when I graduated high school,” she explained. “I went into education because it was the only career I could think of that used math and then continued into engineering for the same reason. Jobs don’t fit into categories like “English,” “Math,” or “Science.” Yes, I use math at my job but I also use technical writing, presentation, and oral communication skills. I really believe in professional technical courses and job shadowing opportunities that really allow a student to experience what a particular career might be like.”

Jennifer Gauthier, Class of 2005

Graduating in 2005, Jennifer Gauthier attended Lewis Clark State College and received a BS in Radiographic Science, and is working on getting a degree in Sectional Imaging/MRI as well. She currently works at Bonner General Hospital as a Computed Tomography (CT) Technologist.

“I work with physicians, other medical staff and patients to get diagnostic images using x-radiation. I operate a CT machine and computer systems that use a helical/axial beam, different algorithms, and IV contrast to acquire images of internal structures such as organs, vessels, etc. These images are used to diagnose various conditions,” she explained.

Getting to this point, she says, was supported by attending a small school, which “helped me to realize my potential.”

Showing how closely science and math are intertwined, Jenn’s favorite teacher at Clark Fork was also Larry Smith. “He always encouraged me to keep learning. He showed me that even if I didn’t get something right away it didn’t mean I was never going to get it, I just had to keep trying; that when I wasn’t solving a problem one way, to try to solve it by taking a different path.”

Jennifer Gauthier

Jenn thinks a barrier for women in pursuing these types of fields is “a lack of awareness of all the opportunities that a math/science education can lead to. I also think there is a misconception that you have to be a “genius” to pursue math or science; this is just so false,” she explained. “By bringing awareness to the fields and exposing how exciting and fun they actually are, people’s views would change.”

Jenn would like to see Clark Fork continue to grow the level of community involvement at the school, even beyond the traditional ‘booster’ types of activities. “Sports are such a success (for students) at Clark Fork because the community is so involved,” she said. “There are a lot of resources that Clark Fork is able to take advantage of.” 

For female students interested in pursuing careers in science or math, Jenn points out there are a lot of programs that cater specifically to that interest. “The one I worked with was called Expanding Your Horizons,” she said. “It was strictly focused on showing young females how many options there are in these fields, and just how interesting those options can be.”

You can learn more about this program at ExpandingYourHorizons.org.

Cassandra Hagerman, Class of 2006

A member of Clark Fork’s class of 2006, Cassie Hagerman attended the University of Idaho, receiving a Bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Resources. After her sophomore year she applied for a Student Career Experience Program with the U.S. Forest Service on the Kaibib National Forest in Arizona, where she worked as a wildlife biologist in the summers of 2008 and 2009. Upon her graduation from college, she was hired full time by the Forest Service and moved to Fredonia, Ariz., “With the Grand Canyon to the south and Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park to the north, all within a hour’s drive,” she said.

There is no such thing as a ‘typical day’ for a wildlife biologist, and Cassie explains, “I have a lot of different tasks depending on the time of year. My field season usually starts in May when I do marsh bird and Kaibab squirrel surveys. The Kaibab squirrel is a subspecies of the Abert’s squirrel and is only found on the north rim of the Grand Canyon, and has tufted ears and big white tail with a gray body,” she said. “After those surveys end in June I start goshawk prey transects, where I look and listen for 18 different prey species from 4 am to 9 pm from June through August. I have Swainson’s hawk, Peregrine falcon, northern goshawk, and on some occasions Mexican spotted owl surveys. That’s a typical summer for me.”

At the beginning of this year, she explained, “I started looking for Houserock Valley chisel-toothed kangaroo rat mounds. This animal is a sub-species of kangaroo rats only found within the Houserock Valley of Northern Arizona. I looked for mounds of sandy soil with burrow holes and kangaroo rat tracks and tail drags.”

Cassie also gets some time with animals a little more familiar to a North Idaho girl. “In March of 2011 and 2012 I helped Arizona Game and Fish with their body condition study of mule deer on their winter range on the North Kaibab Ranger District. Mule deer does were net gunned from a helicopter and then transported to “base,” where the deer were weighed, had blood drawn, had rump fat thickness measured, and were checked for diseases and mites. AZGFD also put tracking collars on the deer to track their migration over two years. The deer were then released to return to their herd.

“I have also worked with Northern Arizona University, mist netting bats over waters on the North Kaibab and tracking them to their roosts in the Grand Canyon and Kanab Creek Wilderness. We learned that female bats will travel up to 17 miles from their maternity roost sites to find water on the Kaibab!”

Cassie Hagerman

And in a sign of the diverse wildlife in what’s generally considered to be a rather arid state, she added, “I have worked with Rocky Mountain Research Station and their goshawk specialists who had been studying the northern goshawk population on the Kaibab Plateau for 20 years.

“On the subject of goshawks, a couple years ago the wildlife shop (there were four of us at the time on the North Kaibab) monitored three goshawk nests and their reaction to logging trucks passing by the nests on forest roads.” You can read the report on the study online at http://tinyurl.com/csvflxq.

“Last year we hung bat barks,” she said, “artificial structures made to resemble sloughing bark on Ponderosa pines, in areas around water sources with few old and large trees. Bats use these barks as temporary shelters when they are foraging on the forest.”

Of course, it’s not all about studying the wildlife. “In the winter months I am in the office working on National Environmental Policy Act documents for various projects on the North Kaibab. Right now I am initiating a meadow encroachment project and writing the NEPA for it. 

“Also in the winter, I enter all our data we collected from the summer into the Natural Resource Information System.”

Luckily, the paperwork doesn’t last. “Last week I got to ride horses into the wilderness and check out some dams the CCC had built on the only perennial watershed on the North Kaibab Ranger District in the 30s. A couple years ago some of those dams were reconstructed to accommodate the Apache trout in the stream.”

Her work with the Forest Service involves working with “several other land, state, and federal agencies,” like the National Park Service, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife.  “I also get the opportunity to help in the wildland fire world. I got to go to Prescott, Ariz. and attend the Arizona Wildfire Incident Management Academy this year, where I studied Basic Wildland Fire and Fire Behavior.”

Clark Fork’s small size worked to Cassie’s advantage in high school. “Since Clark Fork is such a small school I didn’t get as many opportunities to take a variety of science classes that larger schools may offer, but I did have the chance to have more one-on-one with teachers who cared about the students,” she said. “Now that I live in another small town (Fredonia is about 1,500 people), and I work with people who have kids in the school system here (and one of my good friends was an English teacher at Fredonia High School), I hear a lot about how the kids just aren’t motivated and the teachers don’t seem to care. It makes me really appreciate the community that Clark Fork really is.” 

That community extended to the staff at the school. “I can’t say that I had just one favorite teacher, because I got to know each teacher fairly well and I pretty much had the same ones throughout high school. So, I had a favorite teacher for each subject! All my teachers seemed to care about the students, too. Like I said before, I really appreciate the opportunity I had a Clark Fork with teachers who cared and being able to get to know them.”

Cassie believes her exposure to science while she was growing up led to her pursuing this field, and thinks many females overlook science and math careers simply because they don’t have that exposure. “Sometimes it’s hard for me to believe that there are people who don’t like to be outside because those are the only people I’ve really known!”

Another part of Cassie’s work lets her give back some of what was given to her by virtue of growing up in North Idaho. “On the North Kaibab we work with Fredonia schools and put on a Kids in the Woods program for them. Each program on the district puts on their own demonstration/activity for the kids over a two-day span. The kids also get to camp out with the recreation program. I think that’s great experience for the kids and introducing/reintroducing them to nature.” And that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to introducing young people to real-life science. “In 2011, I put on a four-weekend program with a grant from Cornell Lab of Ornithology that targeted kids Kindergarten through sixth grade and taught them about 16 local bird species. I think that introducing girls at a young age to all the different aspects of science is one way that we can change the number of those who pursue a science degree,” she offered. “Science fields have been dominated by males for so long, and really they still are, so to be a female in that field can sometimes be a little intimidating. I, as a woman, get approached a lot to do programs with younger children, more so than male biologists I work with. I think there is the thought that women will be more apt to work with kids.”

Cassie thinks the limits of a small-town education are being eliminated through technology. “I like the fact that Clark Fork is now offering more online college courses for students. I think that will really give kids the opportunity to take different science and math classes that might interest them. I remember biology in high school being very hands- on, too. I really enjoyed being able to see the results in my hand and that kept me interested!”

If there’s a drawback to Cassie’s work, it’s that, “As a wildlife biologist for the Forest Service I manage habitat and don’t really get the chance to get my hands on animals. I included pictures of the rare times I actually get to have animals in hand!”

Anna Wallace, Class of 2007

After her graduation in 2007, Anna went on to attend Central Washington University, graduating in 2011 with a double major in Psychology and in Primate Behavior and Ecology. “The second degree,” she explained, “is an interdisciplinary degree between biology, anthropology and psychology.” She also minored in Political Science.

Currently, Anna is working for the Fauna Foundation, located on the south shore of Montreal in Quebec, Canada. The Fauna Foundation is a chimpanzee, monkey and farm sanctuary. She says, “Most of the chimpanzees are former biomedical test subjects and a few of them are rescued from zoos in Quebec that no longer wanted them. Two of the former lab chimps that currently live at Fauna were infected with HIV during their lives in the lab.”

A typical work day for Anna involves, “cleaning enclosures, designing and preparing enrichment, administering medication (including giving an insulin injection), and preparing and serving meals. I also participate in operant conditioning training to work toward getting the chimpanzees to present parts of their body for inspection (so we can safely examine them for health problems without having to put them under anesthesia).”

Anna Wallace

There aren’t many non-human primate species found in Bonner County (okay, there aren’t any, actually), but Anna’s path to the Fauna Foundation started out in Clark Fork, where she says she was “pointed in the right direction,” by then-counselor Connie Kimble. “I can safely say I would not be here without her advising me and telling me that there were chimpanzees in a school in Ellensburg, Washington!” she laughed. 

Succeeding there, however, she credits to “a good foundation in biology and math classes,” imparted by Richard Hanna and by Larry Smith, who is currently still teaching math at the school, along with good English skills. She wrote, “These classes were very helpful because I had to later take a number of biology courses and two quarters in statistics as well. Most of all though, I had a really excellent base for writing papers thanks to Chandra Martz’s English classes. All of my college courses required some kind of writing skill and I was lucky enough to have some skills already developed from high school. To get a science degree—or really any degree—you need to be able to write!”

While these classes gave her a strong foundation to build on, Anna also has high praise for K.C. MacDonald, who currently teaches government and social studies. “(I took) his political science class in my senior year. It really challenged me to think for myself and Mr. Mac had a way of making his classes very engaging,” she explained.

Anna believes a major obstacle for women in science is that, “... a stereotype that starts early on that pegs women in one type of field and men in another. Girls are often encouraged to follow one path and boys another. Gender does not necessarily suit you for your career path; your interests and what the people around you encourage you to follow has the most effect on what you choose to do with your life.”

The way around, or through, that stereotype, she suggests, is hands-on education. “The more hands-on things you get to participate in, the better.” She hopes that if students are shown the different career options in scientific fields, and know that math and science classes “are their ticket towards them,” more people will be drawn into science as a career. Career aside, however, she thinks its important that students know, “Not every career path may seem like it needs a lot of math or science, but it might surprise you how much is really needed to even get an interview.

You can learn more about the  animals Anna works with online at FaunaFoundation.org.

Megan Hess, Class of 2008

Megan Hess, who graduated from Clark Fork in 2008, doubled majored in Marine Science and Geology at the University of Hawaii, Hilo. In 2010 she was awarded the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Hollings Scholarship, which helped pay tuition for her last two years of school, in addition to giving her a paid internship working at the Northwest Fisheries Science Center in Seattle, Wash. “This was such an amazing opportunity, where I got to get hands-on experience in the professional world.” 

In May of 2012, her BS in Marine Science and Geology (with honors) in hand, she explained, “I was lucky enough to get the first job I applied for out of school. Two weeks after my graduation I moved to Cordova, Alaska and started working as a full-time, biological lab and field technician at the Prince William Sound Science Center. This is a non-profit organization undertaking various research projects.” 

Megan described her job, and a typical day at work. “I am currently working as a lab and field tech for a Principal Investigator (PI) named Tom Kline. He is a biological oceanographer whose most recent research has focused on herring energetics and the effects of straying hatchery salmon on wild salmon. These are the two projects that I am currently assisting him with. In the herring energetics study he is looking at how much energy juvenile herring need to survive their first winter in the Prince William Sound. Within this study he is also looking at stable isotopes as a tool to determine if lower energy levels correlate with competition for food sources when food availability is low during the winter months. My part in this project is to collect, prepare, and analyze these samples. 

Megan Hess

“What I enjoy most about my job is that it is always changing and I get a good mix of being outdoors in the field and downtime in the lab. A typical day in the lab consists of me either removing scales and otoliths (earbones) from herring and weighing and drying them, or grinding and weighing out “fish dust” into tiny little capsules. This is how you prepare them for the Mass Spectrometer machine used to determine stable isotope ratios. I also work a lot on database management and random laboratory maintenance things while I am in the lab. When I am out in the field I am either helping fish for herring samples or, most recently, I was helping map salmon habitat for the upcoming salmon study we are conducting. This is definitely my favorite part of the job! Getting to go out and explore the Prince William Sound is amazing (as it’s) one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. It’s a really great time to learn about science from the various scientists aboard, along with locals ; (both groups) have so much knowledge to share about the area and history. Getting paid to be on a boat and outdoors is true happiness for me. Overall, my job fluctuates a lot and I think that is partly what drew me into science. I love the whole process it takes to conduct research and how beneficial its outcomes can be to humans and the environment.”

Coming from a small town and a small school was more than just beneficial, Megan says. “Clark Fork had everything to do with my career choice and where I am today. I can actually (take) my interest in science and the outdoors all the way back to the days of Hope Elementary when we studied the endangered Bull Trout in the sixth grade with Fish and Game. My interest remained throughout middle school and well into high school, where I had the pleasure to take Mr. Richard Hanna’s classes. The class that sticks out most to me was his Ecology class, where we spent a lot of time outdoors, conducting our own research. This was a very hands-on course that really got me excited and interested in science.”

It wasn’t just science classes that supported her goals, however; Megan says the school prepared her well for college.  “I can’t even express how much Mr. Smith’s math classes helped me in all my science classes and my career today. A Bachelor’s of Science degree is not an easy thing to get through; by taking all of Mr. Smith’s classes, it was so much easier to understand the Calculus classes I had to take, as well as physics, statistics, and geology. I really felt like I had an upper hand in knowing just the basics of mathematics, (compared to) various students at my college who really struggled to get through these classes. I owe Mr. Smith a lot.

“Not only do the science and math programs deserve credit at CFHS,” she continued, “but this is where I learned to write, research, and think critically. Chandra Martz was not only an amazing English teacher but also brought the Academic Decathlon to CFHS. As our coach she showed us how to have fun learning and, most importantly, how to study. This was a skill gained at CFHS that was essential to making it through my college career. Clark Fork gave me the well rounded education I needed to make it through two very tough and challenging degrees.”

With that much support, Megan said it would be too difficult to pick a favorite teacher, though she enjoyed both Smith’s and Hanna’s classes the most due to the way they challenged her. She added, “I enjoyed the laughter that Mr. Smith could bring while doing math and that he never let you give up on yourself. He was so good at showing different approaches to problems and you could just tell how much he cared about your understanding of the concepts he was teaching. Mr. Hanna was really good at answering all of my questions but would still make me think for myself. He took his classes out of the classroom and into the real, hands-on world of science. His classes really prepared me for college level science classes. I also think Mr. Powell deserves mentioning in that not only did he enhance my computer skills, but he really challenged his students in being creative and to think for themselves.”

Megan agrees that more females appear to be engaging in scientific fields of study, and remarks that in her own field of study, “Females are taking over! My graduating class in Marine Science was mostly female and here at the science center, the staff is dominated by women. To me, this is refreshing because women and men are equally talented and successful in science and math careers. Through my experience, I have found that women are uniquely suited for science careers in that they are very driven and very hard workers. Some of the most intelligent people I have met have been women in science, particularly my adviser in college, Dr. Tracy Wiegner, who is a Chemical Oceanographer.”

The way to keep the path toward careers in science and math open, not just to females but to all students, is to “keep kids interested in this area, and that all comes down to the teachers. (Students) need to have good teachers like I did to keep them interested and teach them the basics. Math really needs someone like Mr. Smith, who makes math fun and will help explain concepts over and over again until you get it. Science needs someone like Mr. Hanna, who will take kids out to a stream and show them hands-on research. Really, all you need are teachers who care enough about their students, and that is something Clark Fork has. The entire staff of CFHS truly cares about their students and that’s what makes it such a great learning environment.”

And what is taught is not just the nuts and bolts of education, but “how to communicate and interact with people. Growing up in a small community shows you what it means to care for each other and get along with people who are different from you. I think CFHS not only turns you into a well-rounded student, but a well-rounded person in general. You learn how to be nice and treat other people with respect, (and) that’s really what gets you through life.”

To learn more about the Prince William Sound Science Center, visit their website at www.pwssc.org/


A high school education is important given that it lays the foundation for where a young adult will leap off into the world. For a student interested in math and science, and where those disciplines might take them—maybe especially if that student is female—then conventional wisdom may be wrong about small, rural, poor high schools. Because it appears that Clark Fork, which is all those things, is also something more: it’s a great launching pad.


The Lake Pend Oreille School District offers open enrollment; students anywhere in the district may attend Clark Fork High School if they desire. If you’re interested in having your child attend Clark Fork, give them a call at 208-255-7177. Transportation is available.


Subscribe to comments feed Comments (0 posted)

total: | displaying:

Post your comment

  • Bold
  • Italic
  • Underline
  • Quote

Please enter the code you see in the image:

  • Email to a friend Email to a friend
  • Print version Print version
  • Plain text Plain text

Author info

Landon Otis

Tagged as:

Homepage, Headlines, education, Clark Fork High School, Bonner General Hospital, Chandra Martz, Megan Hess, Brian Powell, Rachel Malison, Corinne Haase, Anna Wallace, Cassandra Hagerman, Jenn Gauthier, science education, marine biology, Larry Smith, Richard Hanna, Systems Ecology, Moore Engineering, CT technology, Wildlife Resources, Kabib National Forest, goshawk, primate behavior, The Fauna Foundation, NOAA, Northwest Fisheries Science Center, Tom Kline, KC MacDonald, Prince William Sound Science Center

Rate this article