Under Green Dot’s Management the Amount of Proficient Students Nearly Doubles in English and Nearly Quadruples in Math
Los Angeles, CA — Green Dot Public Schools today shared their standardized test results for Locke High School students, which show a dramatic improvement in student performance across all subjects. Compared to test results from 2007-08, the last year Locke was under LAUSD jurisdiction, the number of proficient or advanced students increased 74% for the English CST exam and 295% for the Math CST exams. In addition, Green Dot has also released data that demonstrates a dramatic rise in student retention and rigor the past two years.
“We’re exceptionally pleased with our results,” announced CEO and President Marco Petruzzi. “Not only have our scores increased, but we have managed to retain more students and double our proficiency levels, while offering them a more challenging college prep A-G curriculum. This is the trifecta for school turn-arounds: Retention, Rigor, and Results.”
According to the CST test scores released by the California Department of Education, Green Dot posted increases in the number of students tested, the percent proficient or advanced, and the total number of students scoring proficient or advanced. The number of students tested in English (ELA) increased by over 700 students, an increase of 47% compared to 2008 levels, and the number tested in Math increased by over 700 students as well, an increase of 56%. More students taking CST tests demonstrates increased retention at the school, as well as more students taking tests that are aligned with A-G college-prep courses, reflecting the fact that Green Dot is increasing the academic rigor at Locke. Green Dot’s proficiency rates also increased in English and Math, even though the total number of students tested increased so dramatically. The result is that many more students are achieving higher learning outcomes–74% more are proficient in English and 295% are proficient in Math.
Green Dot’s CAHSEE results also show more students taking the test and more students passing. The number of 10th graders passing the English (ELA) portion of the CAHSEE went up 53% from 2008 and up 54% in Math.
In addition to a rise in test scores, Green Dot is making strides in reversing the drop-out rate at Locke High School. According to a comparative analysis, Green Dot is retaining an unprecedented 95% percent of students from the beginning through the end of the year. According to the data, that means over 800 more students were still in school at Locke High School at the end of Green Dot’s second year running the school, a 36% increase compared to previous years when Locke was under the control of LAUSD and the retention rate was in the low-80% range.
“This is an incredible proof point that is often overlooked when evaluating our success,” says CEO Marco Petruzzi. “For us, retention and a rise in enrollment are such key factors in the first few years of a turnaround. If you can’t retain and attract students, it’s impossible to educate them.”
The study also follows several freshman cohorts to see how many freshmen stay at Locke year after year. A cohort means the freshman enrolled as of an official reporting date in October. The data tracks only this set of specific freshman to see how many remain at the school year after year. The data shows an even more dramatic picture, because the effect of a lower retention rate is compounded over multiple years. Under LAUSD, only 1 in 4 freshmen were still enrolled after 4 years. Green Dot’s first freshman class has now completed two years, and the trajectory is looking much better, with 73% still enrolled. This compares to 43-44% of a cohort retained after two years under LAUSD.
Another piece of crucial data that Green Dot uses to measure a successful turnaround is Rigor. According to their analysis, over 50% more students at Locke are taking A-G classes and taking the corresponding CST exam, in contrast with the data provided by LAUSD from 2008. Under LAUSD only 1,408 students were taking college prep Math classes. In 2010, 2,193 students took college prep Math. This represents a 56% increase.
“We’re focusing on the bigger picture. For the Locke High School turnaround to be a success and have a lasting impact, we’re looking above and beyond test scores. We’re looking to increase retention and rigor simultaneously,” said Chief Academic Office Cristina de Jesus. “Even if it mitigates the rise in our proficiency rates, we want to retain more students, educate more students, and test more students in A-G subjects. We will not lower our standards or deviate from our mission which is to increase the number of students who enter and graduate Locke with an A-G degree, college-ready, in four years.”
Green Dot attributes its successful turnaround at Locke to several key factors, including breaking the school into a family of seven small schools, bringing in new teachers and principals to ensure alignment with the educational philosophy, creating a clean, inviting and safe campus, increasing interventions, and creating an integrated alternative education program. Each of the schools in the Locke cluster are autonomous, supported by Green Dot’s efficient back office, and all of the teachers are members of the Asociación de Maestros Unidos, a CTA/NEA affiliate and the exclusive collective bargaining unit of Green Dot teachers in Los Angeles.
“What Green Dot is doing at Locke will be a model for any school district looking to turn around underperforming schools. The Locke transformation will prove beyond any doubt that Green Dot’s practices and those of other successful small school operators can be replicated by school districts on a large scale,” said Ted Mitchell, President of New Schools Venture Fund and President of the California State Board of Education.
Green Dot was granted control of Locke High School in the 2008-2009 school year, when over 50% of Locke’s tenured teachers signed a petition to turn over governance of Locke High School to Green Dot Public Schools. This historic decision marked the first time that teachers, supported by an external school operator, forced the restructuring of a traditional public school.
Green Dot currently operates 18 schools in Los Angeles, CA and one in the Bronx, NY.
About Green Dot Public Schools
Green Dot Public Schools is the leading public school operator in Los Angeles and is dedicated to changing public education in Los Angeles so that all children receive the educations they need to reach their dreams. It currently operates 18 public charter high schools in Los Angeles’ highest-need communities and one in the Bronx, NY. Each Green Dot school (branded “Ánimo” schools) vastly outperforms comparable traditional public high schools. For more information visit: www.greendot.org