Attorney General Jerry Brown Inaugurates Namesake Green Dot Public School
Three New Green Dot Schools Are Among the First in the Country to be LEED Certified for their Environmentally Friendly Design
Green Dot Public Schools, the leading public school organization in Los Angeles, celebrates the next step of its historic Jefferson Transformation Project Wednesday with the opening of two brand new facilities in South Los Angeles. çnimo Justice and çnimo Ralph Bunche Charter High Schools share a facility at 1655 E. 27th Street, and çnimo Pat Brown Charter High School is now located at 8255 Beach Street. The three schools were opened in 2006 in an effort to transform Jefferson High School in South Los Angeles.
California Attorney General Jerry Brown participated in the school opening ceremony for çnimo Pat Brown Charter High School to commemorate the legacy that his father, Governor Pat Brown, left for public education in California, as well as to celebrate the success of these Green Dot schools.
"My father believed that education is the key to improving ourselves and the world around us," said California Attorney General Jerry Brown. "I commend çnimo Pat Brown and Green Dot Public Schools for their outstanding efforts at providing a sound education to the children they serve."
The Jefferson Transformation Project was launched by Green Dot Public Schools in 2006 to radically increase student performance at Jefferson High School, then the worst-performing high school in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). Green Dot opened five schools in the area around Jefferson High School in order to serve the students in the Jefferson High School attendance area and to prove that the same students could perform significantly better if put in a small school, college-prep environment. Within the first year of operation, the five Green Dot Jefferson schools outperformed Jefferson High School by an average of 171 points on the California Academic Performance Index (API).
The Green Dot Jefferson Schools serve approximately 95 percent Latino and 5 percent African American students, with 85 percent qualifying for free or reduced price lunch due to their families' income level. çnimo Justice serves a particularly high population of English Language Learners (ELLs), as almost 50 percent of all students at the school qualify as ELL.
"I am so proud of the success of our students," says Steve Barr, Founder and Chairman of Green Dot Public Schools. "Even in two short years, these students have challenged themselves, gone above and beyond expectations, and are breaking the legacy of failure and are preparing to go on to college. This is the vision set out by the late great Pat Brown and Green Dot is proud to honor his legacy by naming one of our schools after him."
These school opening ceremonies celebrate not only the success of the Green Dot Jefferson Schools, but also the unique environmental design of the new school facilities. Both campuses are some of the first schools in the country designed to receive Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. Innovative features include the re-use of a former garment manufacturing building, use of recycled building materials and the installation of water efficient landscaping and bathroom fixtures. Green Dot strives to set an example not only for the quality of education it is providing to the students, but also for the architecture and design of school buildings, making a statement for the importance of protecting the environment through unique design and construction.
The permanent financing of the Beach Street facility is innovative as well. ExED, a non-profit charter school organization, will provide financing in the form of a below-market-rate loan, through the sale of the New Markets Tax Credit, in partnership with US Bank and NCB Capital Impact.
Green Dot has founded a total of 18 schools across the highest-need areas of Los Angeles since 2000, now serving Lennox, Inglewood, Boyle Heights, South Los Angeles, Venice, and Watts. Green Dot Public Schools, which are built on a small schools model (not exceeding 560 students per school), as well as prioritizing autonomy and local decision making at each school site, are succeeding with high graduation and college acceptance rates.
By implementing this model, Green Dot has produced incredible results, helping students close the achievement gap, graduate from high school and attend four-year colleges. In Green Dot's history, 76 percent of its original 9th grade students have graduated from Green Dot schools, and 80 percent of graduates have been accepted to four-year universities, with the remaining 20 percent continuing on to two-year colleges.
"In my ten years of working in public education in Los Angeles, this is the most beautiful and inspiring school at which I have ever worked," said çnimo Justice Principal William Herrera. "This is the kind of place where dreams can come true."
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 twelve public charter high schools in Los Angeles' highest-need communities. Each Green Dot school (branded "çnimo" schools) vastly outperforms comparable traditional public high schools. For more information visit: www.greendot.org
Tracy Mallozzi – Green Dot Public Schools