Green Dot Public Schools

At a Glance

National Office: 
1149 S. Hill St
Los Angeles, CA 90015
Phone: 323 565 1665

Marco Petruzzi
People Served: 
13,829
Year Founded: 
1999

Focus area(s):

Charter Schools
K-12 Reform

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Description

Green Dot Public Schools specializes in the turnaround of failing public schools in Los Angeles. Green Dot is changing the landscape of public education in LA Unified School District and beyond by running high-achieving public charter high schools and middle schools that are significantly reducing dropout rates and increasing the number of college-ready students that graduate from high school.

Impact and Outcomes

Green Dot Public Schools have consistently and dramatically outperformed district schools operating in the same neighborhoods. We operate with less dollars per student than the district and with a teachers' union that shares our belief that every child deserves an effective teacher in every class.
Green Dot's independent public charter schools operate primarily in low-income, inner-city communities, and are closing the achievement gap with public schools in affluent neighborhoods, where a high percentage of parents have college and post-graduate degrees.
There are currently 18 Green Dot Schools serving ~10,400 students. The student body represents the highest-need population in the entire LA Unified School District; 99% are minority, and over 94% qualify for free or reduced-priced lunch. English Language Learners make up a quarter of all students, and more than 10% require Special Education.
Half of all Green Dot schools are turnarounds of district schools, where Green Dot assumed operational control of persistently lowest-performing schools in LAUSD in order to serve all students within the attendance boundary. Green Dot has codified its approach into a Turnaround Guide to assist other districts and school operators undertaking the turnaround of failing schools.
Green Dot's impact has been independently evaluated by the National Center for Research, Evaluation, Standards and Student Testing (CRESST) at UCLA in a rigorous 4-year matched-pair study. Results demonstrated that Green Dot students are 50% more likely to graduate, and 269% more likely to graduate with a college-prep diploma, than students attending the study's LAUSD local control schools.
Green Dot works closely with an independent teachers' union (Asociacion de Maestros Unidos - AMU), representing our approximately 600 teachers, that shares our dedication to ensuring there is a highly effective teacher in every classroom. Green Dot and AMU have ratified a contract that endorses a 'first-of-its-kind-in-California' rigorous multiple-measure evaluation of all teachers. For 2012, we have begun piloting a performance-based compensation system.

Mission & Goals

Green Dot Public Schools is committed to changing the landscape of public education in Los Angeles and beyond so that every child can be successful in college, leadership, and life.

  • Green Dot is fulfilling this mission by running high-achieving public charter high schools and middle schools that are focused on graduating students and fully preparing them for college.
  • Moreover, Green Dot applies its effective, cost-efficient and replicable school model to turnaround persistently low-performing District schools, in order to serve all students and to demonstrate that radical change is possible in the city's most challenged schools.
  • Green Dot is dedicated to helping parents throughout the city organize and demand more of their neighborhood schools, the overarching goal being to encourage Los Angeles Unified School District to implement bold reform and improve all the city's public schools with urgency.

Green Dot currently operates eighteen successful charter high and middle schools serving 10,400 students in the highest-need areas of the city, including five as part of the rejuvenation of Locke High School in Watts, two that are part of the restart of Clay Middle School in South Central and one new charter school on the campus of Jordan High School in Watts, where Green Dot is in partnership with Mayor Villairogosa's Partnership for Los Angeles Schools (PLAS) to turnaround this struggling high school. Green Dot growth is focused in two areas: Middle schools that feed into successful high schools in order to offer students a 7-year pathway to college; and turnarounds of the lowest-performing middle and high schools in Los Angeles, and across the nation. With Green Dot's success to date, it is demonstrating 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 and throughout the United States, made up of small, high-performing schools that each encompass a belief in the potential of all students, foster teacher creativity, encourage parental involvement, and ultimately prepare students for college, leadership, and life.

Program

Green Dot Public Schools takes a holistic approach to educating each student.  While the overall goal is to graduate and prepare students for college, leadership, and life, Green Dot recognizes that every student has unique needs. Green Dot works hard to provide all students with the individualized resources that are needed for real and measurable success to occur, both in and out of the classroom. Efforts are guided by the 'Six Tenets of High-Performing Schools', a set of core principles that each Green Dot school must follow. In addition, Green Dot's Recommended Practices aim at guiding each school through best practices associated with curriculum, operations, professional development and interventions.

The Six Tenets of High-Performing Schools

  1. Small, Safe, Personalized Schools
  2. High Expectations for All Students
  3. Local Control with Extensive Professional Development and Accountability
  4. Parent Participation
  5. Maximize Funding to the Classroom
  6. Keep Schools Open Later

Recommended Practices

Recommended Practices are Green Dot sanctioned best practices for designing and implementing curriculum, carrying out operations, and investing in professional development tools. Schools receive comprehensive, year-round training in these practices. Based on Green Dot's aforementioned policy surrounding Local Control at each school site, schools are not required to follow these practices unless student performance indicates a need for intervention. Site walkthroughs, standardized tests, interim assessments and stakeholder feedback surveys are all used to detect early warning signals of struggling schools so that appropriate supports can be provided.

The Home Office provides all Green Dot schools with Recommended Practices in order to ensure a consistent level of quality. Green Dot is continually updating its Recommended Practices through innovations from within Green Dot’s own network and from best practices developed by other school operators.

Impact

Green Dot has been remarkably successful, as evidenced by: 

  • 18 high-performing charter schools, branded Ánimo (meaning 'courage' or 'purpose'). 
  • Passage of the California Parent Trigger law. 
  • The successful Turnaround of Locke High School, a dangerous and chronically low-performing district school in Watts. 
  • LAUSD’s selection of Green Dot to restart and turnaround Clay Middle School and Jordan High School.
  • A Teachers' union contract that trains and supports teachers in every discipline to high standards, requires multiple-measure evaluation of all teachers, rewards those that succeed, supports those that are struggling to improve, and removes those that do not meet the high standards our students deserve.

Green Dot's Turnaround work at Locke High School is in the 4th year of a rigorous, independent evaluation by CRESST (The National Center For Research, Evaluation, Standards and Student Testing) at UCLA. The study is paid for by The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The CRESST study used a quasi-experimental design to examine the effects of the Green Dot transformation of Locke on Green Dot Locke (GDL) students. Propensity score matching was used to create a comparison group of students to estimate how GDL students would have performed on the various outcome measures if they had not been part of the GDL transformation.  Based on eighth grade demographic and performance data, GDL students were individually matched to non-GDL students from the same neighborhoods. The matching process produced treatment (i.e., GDL students) and control (i.e., non-GDL students) groups with identical student characteristic profiles and nearly identical average 8th grade CST and attendance records. By matching students based on their 8th grade characteristics and performance, concerns could be ruled out that differences in outcomes between the matched GDL and control students were due to measured pre-existing differences between GDL and control students.  Regression analysis examined differences in performance between groups on a range of outcomes, including annual high school data on school persistence, attendance, course taking and state test results and high school exit exam results for grade 10 and beyond.

The results from matched samples of students suggest that 9th graders who entered GDL generally performed better on a range of student outcome measures than they would have if they had attended a comparable LAUSD high school. Positive GDL transformation effects were generally more prevalent for the second and third cohorts of students than for the first cohort. For example, compared to the matched non-GDL students, GDL students in Cohort 2 were significantly more likely to stay in the same school over time, take and pass various 9th and 10th grade core courses, and score higher on the CAHSEE (California High School Exit Exam). Moreover, performance on CST (CA Standards Testing) scores was promising; virtually every descriptive comparison favored GDL students. Statistically significant differences were found for the most advanced GDL Cohort 2 students in the area of mathematics. These results are even more impressive given the increased persistence rates for GDL; presumably, GDL is retaining students who might have dropped out and were likely to be among the lowest performing students. In addition, given the pattern of increasing results for each cohort, broader results may well materialize for the new cohorts and as current students’ progress through high school and on to graduation. 

Growth Plan

Green Dot has a bold vision for the future of public education, in which large, centralized and overly bureaucratic school systems that are not responsive to individuals and local community needs give way to comparatively small highly-efficient school systems that privilege high expectations for all students and teachers, proactive support, budget transparency, local control, and accountability. Green Dot plans to open 11 new schools in the next five years, half in Los Angeles and half in other major cities across the United States, doubling the number of students we serve in low-income inner city communities Three to five of these new schools will be turnarounds of failing schools, building irrefutable evidence that radical change is possible in the nation's worst education environments. Wherever possible, Green Dot is committed to working with the progressive leadership of LAUSD, helping to leverage the district's Public School Choice (PSC) initiative that puts persistently low-achieving schools into turnaround. Green Dot has codified an effective, cost-efficient and replicable Turnaround Model which is being shared with LAUSD and other districts and school operators across the nation to empower them to turn around failing schools.

The Superintendent of LAUSD has signed an LOI with Green Dot to train turnaround leaders for LAUSD schools through Green Dot's Administrator-In-Residence (AIR) intensive leadership training program. AIR trains Turnaround leaders by placing them for a year in early-stage Turnaround schools under the tutelage of experienced Green Dot Principals and Turnaround Teams. Turnaround leaders require a very specific set of skills to effect early and lasting change in schools where there has been a legacy of failure. During a year in AIR, each Resident will rotate between a number of schools, shadowing highly effective Principals and acting as an additional administrator during the crucial early stage Turnaround. Green Dot will pressure and support LAUSD to become a portfolio manager with high accountability and high support for both Charters and Non-Charters, viewing all students as their students.

By 2025, Green Dot intends that all dropout factories in Los Angeles be eliminated so that all young people in the city can go to a good school. The growth plan will cost $50MM over 5 years during which time Green Dot will open or turnaround 11 new schools, and create a practice-based 'change map' for the District and other operators.

Location of Sites

National Office: 
1149 S. Hill St
Los Angeles, CA 90015
Phone: 323 565 1665
List of locations

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Financials

Most Recent Budget

Year Ended:

2017

REVENUE

Corporate Grants: 
$0
Foundation Grants: 
$10,326,265
Government Funding: 
$164,573,088
Contributions from Individuals: 
$0
Special Events: 
$1,400,277
Program Services Fees: 
$0
Membership Dues: 
$0
Other Earned Income: 
$0
Other Revenue: 
$4,217,900
Total Revenue: 
$180,517,530

EXPENSES

Salaries, Related Salaries & Professional Fees: 
$121,864,358
Occupancy: 
$7,773,815
Travel & Entertainment: 
$2,737,303
Office Supplies, Printing, Postage: 
$6,611,473
Telephone & Communications: 
$5,314,393
Payments to Affiliates: 
$0
Other Expenses: 
$38,908,500
Total Expenses: 
$183,209,842

NET GAIN/LOSS

Net Gain/Loss: 
$-2,692,312

Prior Year Actuals

Year Ended:

2015

REVENUE

Corporate Grants: 
$0
Foundation Grants: 
$7,939,501
Government Funding: 
$117,998,185
Contributions from Individuals: 
$214,106
Program Services Fees: 
$0
Membership Dues: 
$0
Other Earned Income: 
$986,667
Other Revenue: 
$2,980,448
Special Events: 
$2,408,273
Total Revenue: 
$132,527,180

EXPENSES

Salaries, Related Salaries & Professional Fees: 
$90,504,449
Occupancy: 
$9,131,763
Travel & Entertainment: 
$755,453
Office Supplies, Printing, Postage: 
$1,335,183
Telephone & Communication: 
$4,192,025
Payments to Affiliates: 
$0
Other Expenses: 
$23,343,409
Other Expenses (Description): 

Interest, Depr. Amort

* Audit is adjusted to exclude intercompany payments that wold be eliminated in consolidation
Total Expenses: 
$129,262,282

NET GAIN/LOSS

Net Gain / Loss: 
$3,264,898

Major Funders

Major funders of Green Dot Public Schools include: 

The Broad Foundation

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

The Walton Family Foundation

The Wasserman Foundation

The Michael and Susan Dell Foundation

The Edna McConnell Clarke Foundation

Carnegie Corporation New York

The Stuart Foundation

The Weingart Foundation

The James Irvine Foundation

The W.M. Keck foundation

The John W. Carson Foundation

Tha California Wellness Foundation

The Joseph Drown Foundation

United way, Los Angeles

The Wells Fargo Foundation