Green Dot retained most of its first sophomores through the beginning of senior year: 560 of the original 617, a remarkably high number for Locke. But by the end of the year, almost 90 of those seniors disappeared, and Green Dot officials don't know why or what happened to them. Another 110 or so lacked the credits to graduate, but Green Dot says those students all have individual plans for earning the needed credits over the next year and will be back. But Green Dot has kept substantially more students in school, and it did so while raising standards and prodding far more students into a college-preparatory curriculum. Attendance was higher. Far fewer students wandered the campus or left it during class time. A program that allowed students to make up courses through self-paced computer instruction helped many of those at high risk of dropping out get the credits they needed. Passing rates on the high school exit exam rose significantly (though it's worth noting that L.A. Unified's pass rates also made impressive gains this year). Meanwhile, retention rates appear higher so far at the small Locke academies that have been growing grade by grade since fall 2008.
Green Dot did not pull off quick academic miracles, but these are all signs of long-overdue hope for students who have had too little.