Rising Star: Green Dot Public Schools

Steve Barr, CEO
Los Angeles, California

Green Dot Public Schools is leading the charge to transform public education in Los Angeles so that all children receive the education they need to succeed in college, leadership, and life.

Green Dot pursues this mission in three ways. First, it creates and operates high-achieving public schools that successfully graduate students and send them to four-year universities. Second, it helps parents throughout the city organize to press for better results from their neighborhood schools. Finally, it is pushing the Los Angeles Unified School District to adopt a bold reform strategy to improve L.A.’s public schools.

Green Dot has opened twelve charter high schools in the highest-need areas of the city, with plans to open eight more in fall 2008 and up to 12 more over the next three years. It is demonstrating that public schools can do a far better job of educating students if they are operated more effectively. Green Dot envisions a public school system in L.A. made up of small, excellent schools that encourage and welcome parental involvement and opinions, support teacher creativity, and educate students at their highest and best levels–no matter what their background.

So far, the strategy is bringing results. Some 80% of entering 9th-graders graduate within four years, roughly double the rate of high school students in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). Over 95% of those graduates go on to college, including over 70% to four-year universities. Green Dot schools generally rank among the top 10% among schools in the state with similar demographics. And their average Academic Performance Index is 689, over 140 points higher than the schools our students would have attended.FCS