Today, Alain Leroy Locke College Preparatory Academy, the former Locke High School and Green Dot’s first turnaround school, was named Charter School of the Year by the California Charter Schools Association at their annual conference. Locke is being recognized for helping to increase student achievement and academic performance as part of the charter public school movement in Watts.
The Charter School of the Year award is part of the annual Hart Vision Awards, established in 1995 and named after Gary K. Hart, former California state Senator and California Secretary of Education. As a Senator, Hart sponsored the legislation that established charter schools in California.
In 2008, Green Dot joined with teachers, parents and the community to transform Locke, one of the most persistently low-achieving schools in California, and turned it into a safe, personalized learning academy. Locke serves a highly impacted and transient community, many of whom are without a permanent or any residence, and 33% of whom are English Language Learners. Almost 20% are students with disabilities.
Students often arrive at Locke after being under-served by the education system for years, or after just arriving to the United States. On average, students enter Locke five to six years behind in literacy and math. Students leave Locke having significantly closed gaps on state assessments, which requires growing nearly twice as much each school year.
“We are honored to receive this award,” said Dr. Peggy Gutierrez, Locke’s Principal of ten years. “Our students and staff work so hard, and I’m thrilled that the incredible growth we’re able to achieve together at Locke is being recognized. When you join the Locke Family, you become part of a deep-seeded tradition. Like we say--once a Saint, always a Saint.”
In addition to a rigorous college-prep curriculum, Locke students have the opportunity to play on athletic teams or in their revived world-class marching band. Students also have access to innovative science and technology programming. Locke helps students cultivate skills and qualities that prepare them for success in college, leadership and life.
“Locke has truly shown us what it means to serve all children,” said Dr. Cristina de Jesus, CEO of Green Dot California. “The lessons we’ve learned from our work at Locke has truly improved the outcomes of all of our schools. We’re so proud of the work that’s happening on that campus -- this award is truly deserved.”