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New Investment in Green Dot High Schools to Prepare More Students for College and Work


$1.8 Million Grant Supports the Doubling of Green Dot’s ’Animo’ High Schools, Which Provide Students a College Prep Education in a Small, Safe Learning Environment

September 19, 2006 - LOS ANGELES -- Green Dot Public Schools announced a $1.8 million investment from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support five new charter schools. Located in LAUSD’s Jefferson High School attendance area, these new schools double the number of Green Dot’s high schools to ten. The new investment will allow Green Dot to continue creating schools focused on increasing graduation rates and prepare more Los Angeles students for success in college and careers.

The new schools were born out of the Jefferson Transformation Plan, a Green Dot-led, community-based initiative founded upon a groundbreaking strategy to restructure low-performing high schools into small, safe schools designed to increase student achievement as well as parent, educator and community participation. These Ánimo schools stress “Spirit, Courage and Valor” -the translation of ’Animo’ in Spanish. The new Green Dot public schools are Ánimo Jefferson High School; Ánimo Jackie Robinson High School; Ánimo Pat Brown High School; Ánimo Ralph Bunche High School; and Ánimo Film and Theater Arts High School. Two of the five new schools are located on LAUSD campuses.

“Green Dot and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation share the belief that inequities in education are a detriment to our society,” said Steve Barr, CEO and founder of Green Dot Public Schools. “This grant is not only an investment in the future of young people, but also supports a proven education model that prepares them for success.”

The Green Dot model has a track record of success in improving graduation and college acceptance rates. The latest 2006 Academic Performance Index (API) test results showed that four out of the five Green Dot High Schools scored 700 or higher on their API test results while the average comparable LAUSD schools in the same communities scored an average of 140 points lower. Green Dot also graduated more than 95 percent of its 2006 senior class with close to three out of four students going straight into four-year universities.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and its partners are focused on increasing graduation rates by supporting the creation of new high-quality high schools that provide students with a new “3Rs”: rigor, relevance and relationships-a rigorous curriculum for all students, relevant classes, and meaningful relationships with adults who support all students to achieve at higher levels. To date, the foundation has invested $1 billion to improve high schools, including supporting the creation of more than 1,100 high-quality high schools in 42 states and the District of Columbia. Since 2003, the foundation has invested about $30 million in the Los Angeles region to open new high schools and strengthen existing ones.

“Green Dot Public Schools put more young people on track for success in college and work with more personalized learning environments, high expectations for student achievement, challenging coursework, inspired teaching, and parent support,” said Tom Vander Ark, executive director for the education division of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “This innovative school model has demonstrated results, providing students the promise of a better future.”

The success of Green Dot relies on The “Six Tenets of High-Performing Schools” that call for schools to: 1) be safer and no larger than 500 students each; 2) implement a college preparatory curriculum for all students; 3) empower principals, teachers, parents and students to own all key decisions related to budgets, curriculum and hiring; 4) add more dollars to classrooms and significantly increase teacher pay; 5) value and support parent participation; 6) stay open later for community use.

Green Dot Public Schools
Green Dot Public Schools is the leading organization working toward the transformation of public education in Los Angeles. It operates small, successful public high schools and seeks to help empower communities in order to improve their schools. It currently operates 10 public charter high schools in Los Angeles’ highest need communities. Each Green Dot school (branded “Animo” schools) vastly outperforms comparable traditional public high schools.

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to reduce inequities and improve lives around the world. In developing countries, it focuses on improving health, reducing extreme poverty, and increasing access to technology in public libraries. In the United States, the foundation seeks to ensure that all people have access to a great education and to technology in public libraries. In its local region, it focuses on improving the lives of low-income families. Based in Seattle, the foundation is led by CEO Patty Stonesifer and Co-chairs William H. Gates Sr., Bill Gates, and Melinda French Gates.


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