Mission and Model
Green Dot Public Schools is committed to changing the landscape of public education in Los Angeles so that every child can go to a good school and be successful in college, leadership, and life. Green Dot is fulfilling this mission by operating high-achieving public charter schools focused on graduating all students and fully preparing them for college. In addition, Green Dot is dedicated to helping parents throughout the city organize and demand more of their neighborhood schools, the overarching goal being to encourage the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) to implement bold reform and improve the city's public schools.
Green Dot currently operates eighteen schools in the highest-need areas of the city; fourteen high schools and four middle schools. Almost half of these are Turnaround schools, including five as part of the rejuvenation of Locke High School in Watts, begun in 2008. Locke’s dramatic transformation under Green Dot after only three years, encouraged LAUSD to select Green Dot to Turnaround two more persistently low-performing district schools: Jordan High School in Watts, and Henry Clay Middle School in South Central Los Angeles. In August 2011, these schools re-opened as Green Dot charter schools. Unique in the nation for a major charter management organization, Green Dot is re-defining labor/management relations in public education by employing unionized teachers and unionized classified staff under reform contracts focused on what is good for students. Together, we are demonstrating that turning around low-performing schools is possible, and can be achieved with the same dollars that LAUSD currently spends on similar schools across the city.
Across the city, Green Dot’s high school students are closing the education gap with students in more affluent neighborhoods. They are achieving this despite entering 9th grade several grade levels behind from district middle schools. To address this handicap, Green Dot has opened four new charter middle schools to begin preparing students earlier in the rigors of a college-prep curriculum. Green Dot schools demonstrate that public schools can do a far better job of educating students if they are operated more efficiently - and if the focus is kept on students. Green Dot envisions a public school system in Los Angeles made up of small, high-performing schools that each exemplify a belief in the potential of all students, foster teacher creativity, encourage parental involvement, and ultimately prepare students for college, leadership, and life.
Public School Turnarounds
Green Dot is the leading turnaround operator in the nation, providing LAUSD and other districts nationwide with valuable understanding of what it takes to transform large, failing schools into successful schools. In the three years since Green Dot took over Locke High School in Watts, the school has dramatically improved in every measure. Locke is a safe, clean, and welcoming place. It enrolls, retains, and graduates a far higher proportion of students than ever before. Teachers now take personal responsibility for student success and note the campus’s new culture of trust, community, and student engagement. Last year, over 754 more students were enrolled in college-prep courses at Locke than when the school was under LAUSD management, and its 2011 average API score shows a three-year increase of 81 points. UCLA’s National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards and Student Testing (CRESST) is in the third year of an independent evaluation of Locke students under Green Dot compared with students at three similar local schools. Virtually every descriptive comparison favors Green Dot students. These results are even more impressive given the increased persistence rates for Green Dot students: retaining students who might have dropped out and were likely to be among the lowest performing students.
Green Dot’s Locke Family of Schools, along with our charter restarts on the campuses of Jordan High and Clay Middle, are providing LAUSD with a model that the district can use to improve more than 200 persistently low-performing schools through LAUSD’s Public School Choice initiative.
The Green Dot Public Schools Academic Model
The Green Dot academic model is constantly evolving to meet the goal of excellence across all measures of a high performing school—strong leadership, highly effective teaching in every classroom, comprehensive intervention strategies, meaningful community engagement, and safe, clean, positive environments. At Green Dot, these are not just words on a page. Experienced teams lead implementation and accountability in each of these areas in every school.
With an unwavering focus on what’s good for students, two parallel strategies inform our actions: 1) Develop a cost-efficient high-performing and replicable school model that addresses the needs of all students and prepares them for college, leadership and life and 2) spur and influence systemic change inside LAUSD, as measured by changes in policy that support innovation and the broad adoption of successful best practices.
Green Dot's approach to transforming public education is rooted in several core elements. For more information on each element, please visit the links below: