Green Dot’s core values reflect the principles that direct the decisions we make. They are our pole star, our magnetic north. They’re the foundation for our culture and were carefully crafted to ensure our network was steered with a consistent set of tenets. As our work expands to serve the students at M.L. King Middle School, these are among the key reasons we were selected by the Beaumont Independent School District. For Texans first learning about us, our values are depicted by the stories we’re sharing here: every student and educator we meet in these stories plays a crucial role.
An unwavering belief in all students’ potential
This core value comes to life every day at Green Dot. Our academic model is focused on truly serving all students, and we‘ve built a robust system of academic and social-emotional interventions to set them up for success. One of the four main components of our academic model is eliminating barriers to learning: We believe it is our responsibility to provide every student the necessary support to ensure college, leadership, and life. No excuses.
When Lorenzo Mays, now a sophomore at Bluff City High School, entered the school as a freshman, his iReady testing results demonstrated second to fifth grade proficiency in multiple math subjects. In addition to the difficulties sometimes presented by attending a new school, as well as an uphill battle in gaining math skills, he faced external difficulties too in his neighborhood during his freshman year.
Despite the adversity, by the end of his freshman year, Mays had grown between three and six grade levels in all of the tested math subjects. By December of his sophomore year, he had reached grade level for almost all of them.
A passion for excellence
The ongoing question we ask ourselves is: Would we put our own children in our schools? Because if our schools aren’t good enough for our own children, they’re not good enough for anybody’s children. We’re serious about this. Holding ourselves to this standard has helped to create a cycle of continuous improvement and reflection at all levels of the organization.
At Green Dot, we're building a culture of learning, not just for our students, but for our educators and leaders too. All Green Dot Days are student-free days devoted to professional development and provided throughout the school year. Teachers gather by subject-alike groups to collaborate, learn, and plan. These days are created for teachers and are facilitated by teachers from across the organization.
Every decision we make is with our students and school communities in mind. We take personal responsibility for making a difference in the lives of our students. Again, we have a “no excuses” culture; we push ourselves towards solutions. Even the toughest challenges—equipping all students with digital devices and internet connectivity for example—aren’t ones from which we shy away. As educators, we have made a commitment to serve and make a difference in public education.
As a junior in high school, Green Dot alumnus, David Gomez, had an idea of how he and his peers could address homelessness in their community. Inspired by his teachers, Gomez founded the Feed the Need club, a group where students collaborated to give back to those in need. From its inception Gomez had a clear vision: "We want to expose students to different aspects of the community. We don’t just want to inspire people, we want them to feel the need to do something.
Respect for others in the community
Our process is collaborative. This core value influences our daily actions with one another and with our partners. Green Dot’s collaborative model with teachers and families has greatly improved retention, parent engagement, and student achievement.
“When my oldest son came to this school he was struggling academically and was very timid, but the teachers helped him grow several grade levels and boosted his self-esteem and confidence,” said Araceli Albores, an Ánimo Ellen Ochoa Charter Middle School (AEO) parent. At AEO, teachers saw her son’s potential and applied the necessary support and interventions to help him better understand the content and achieve the growth needed to get back on track.
All stakeholders are critical in the education process
We recognize that we can’t fulfill our mission in isolation. Only together can we reclaim the promise of public education. Our school leaders engage teachers in decision making and provide them with opportunities to affect change and improve their school communities. Our community engagement teams establish partnerships with local organizations to help families tap into their latent power to address the factors outside of school boundaries that pose barriers to learning and quality of life.
“For far too long having fast food restaurants on every corner has taken a toll on the health of our communities,” said Keisha Mitchell, a United Parents & Students leader. In many underserved neighborhoods, there is a higher likelihood of residents finding multiple fast food chains than wholesome grocery stores, which requires residents to venture into other neighborhoods or settle for less healthy food options. That’s why Green Dot families have worked with United Parents & Students to launch a food justice campaign.