The Core Values that Guide Us

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. Created more than ten years ago by a small team of Green Dot teachers and home office employees, they were carefully crafted to ensure our organization was steered with a consistent set of tenets. Here they are, in order:

1. 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 supports to ensure college-, leadership-, and life-readiness. No excuses.

2. 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.

3. Personal responsibility

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—transforming the lowest-performing schools, for example—aren’t ones from which we shy away. It’s our job to fix things and make a difference.

4. Respect for others in the community

Our process is collaborative. This core value influences our daily actions with one another and with our partners. Our continued collaboration with our teacher’s union is a great example of the respect we have for our community of educators and all the voices the contract negotiation process requires.

5. All stakeholders are critical in the education process

Held in December, our United Parents Assembly proved beyond a doubt the good that can come from empowering parents. It was a way for them to talk publicly about the barriers to their children’s education—give voice to their concerns in a very public way. And it was a clear, powerful reminder to local politicians of what it means to involve parents, students, school staff, and community members.

A part of our common language

About three years ago, we realized our core values weren’t well-known across the organization; although Green Dot had continued to grow each year, we hadn’t been revisiting and reinforcing our values. Our education team took the opportunity to reinvigorate them, making sure they were easy to remember and permeated every school, every classroom, and every office across Green Dot.

Our core values are now tied to the way we give praise across the organization. They’re both a part of our common language and a means of informally holding one another accountable. And, two years ago, we launched our annual awards ceremony, the Golden Dot Awards—we call them “The Dotties”—to honor and reward outstanding staff members who exemplify our core values on a regular basis.

You’ll hear more about them (and about The Dotties!) in upcoming posts.


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