Green Dot Public Schools is a non-profit organization whose mission is to help transform public education so ALL students graduate prepared for college, leadership and life.
Unique in the nation for a major non-profit charter management organization, Green Dot is proving it can achieve better student outcomes with the same student population, lower per pupil funding than the district and a unionized workforce. We are the leading charter school operator in Los Angeles and one of the top three largest in the nation.
The U.S. Department of Education has featured Green Dot as a national leader in school turnarounds, and we are the only charter school operator in the country to lead the turnaround of a 3,000-plus student high school.
Green Dot's History
Green Dot Public Schools was founded in 1999 in direct response to the poor state of public high schools in the Los Angeles area. Los Angeles Unified School District’s (LAUSD’s) high schools were not graduating over 50% of their students, and those that were making it through were rarely prepared for college. The vast majority of the students failing out of the system were children from low-income families. Green Dot had a vision of creating small, successful charter schools and in doing so, demonstrating to the school district and the public-at-large that there was a more effective way to provide public education to low-income, high-risk youth.
In August 2000, Green Dot opened its doors with just one 9th grade class of 140 students. Today, our organization has successfully grown to serve more than 11,000 students in communities across Los Angeles, CA, and Memphis, TN and Tacoma, WA.
The U.S. Department of Education has featured Green Dot as a national leader in school turnarounds, and we are the only charter school operator in the country to lead the turnaround of a 3,000-plus student high school. Green Dot schools have been featured in “America’s Best High Schools” by Newsweek, U.S. News and World Report, and The Daily Beast.
In June 2013, Green Dot received authorization from the Achievement School District to turn around several middle and high schools in Memphis starting August 2014, when it reopened Fairley High School. In August 2015, Green Dot reopened Wooddale Middle School as its first transformation middle school in Memphis, and Destiny Middle School in Tacoma.
Early Success with Independent Schools
- Founding Five. Between 2000 and 2005, Green Dot opened five start-up independent charter high schools in some of the toughest neighborhoods in Los Angeles. All five went on to be named in Newsweek’s annual ranking of the best high schools in the country and were medal winners in the annual U.S. News and World Report list, placing them in the top 2.5% nationally.
- Jefferson Cluster. In 2006, Green Dot opened a cluster of charter high schools to create a parent “zone of choice” around Thomas Jefferson High School, at the time, the lowest performing school in the LAUSD. Today, the API scores of Green Dot’s three schools in the attendance area are between 100 and 200 points higher than Thomas Jefferson High School’s score.
Leader in School Turnarounds
By 2007, Green Dot had built 10 public charter schools in the Los Angeles area, but we were only serving 3,000 students in a district that was responsible for 700,000. We realized that continued growth of independent charter schools at this rate was barely going to make a dent.
- Locke Transformation. In 2008, Green Dot expanded its approach to focus on turning around chronically, low-performing schools and took on the transformation of Locke High School. Locke was 15 times the size of our usual charter school launch and one of the worst high schools in California. Despite these difficulties, under Green Dot management, Locke has made great strides with a recent UCLA CRESST study demonstrating that Green Dot students attending Locke are 1.5x more likely to graduate and 3.7x more likely to graduate college-ready than students attending peer neighborhood schools.
- Clay & Jordan Transformations. In 2011, Green Dot further solidified its position as a turnaround operator with the Jordan High School (Ánimo College Preparatory Academy) and Henry Clay Middle School (Ánimo Phillis Wheatley and Ánimo Western) transformations. With Jordan and Clay, Green Dot assumed full transformations with an aggregate of more than 1,500 students in a single year. After a single year of operating under Green Dot, both schools have achieved measurable gains with the 2011-2012 API score for Ánimo College Preparatory Academy on the Jordan campus increasing 12 points and the overall API scores for Ánimo Phillis Wheatley and Ánimo Western increasing 74 points.
Who We Serve
Green Dot works with families and communities in historically underserved communities to demand better school options for their students. We strive to serve students who may fall through the cracks in the traditional school system – both in terms of academic preparation and the need for academic acceleration.
In Los Angeles, our students’ demographics mirror the traditional districts that we serve.