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OPINION
September 28, 2009
"Sometimes they don't see how things are." -- Handwritten student posting on a bulletin board at Locke High School, explaining why the media don't always tell the truth about inner-city schools It requires a second or even a third look at Locke High School to discern the changes this fall, one year after it was taken over by charter operator Green Dot Public Schools. The uniforms are still an ensemble of chinos and polo shirts. The teenagers still gather in the quad for lunch.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 29, 2013 | By Teresa Watanabe, This post has been corrected. See below for details.
California public schools lost ground this year in overall academic performance for the first time in a decade, but more than half met state goals for achievement on reading and math standardized tests, according to data released Thursday.   Los Angeles Unified bucked the statewide decline, recording the second highest gain in academic performance among the state's 10 largest school districts. Among them, Los Angeles, San Diego Unified and San Bernardino City improved over last year but the other seven slipped, reflecting a dip that officials have attributed to severe budget cuts and new national learning standards being phased in. L.A. Unified Supt.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 11, 2012 | By Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times
Southern California schools have been shut out of a high-profile federal grant competition, according to results announced Tuesday. The one regional finalist for the latest round of Race to the Top grants was a charter school organization, Green Dot Public Schools, that could have received $30 million. But its bid fell just short. The charter's proposal included expanding student wellness centers to provide social, physical and mental health services in support of academics; purchasing new technology, including tablet computers; and instituting a system to track and support high school graduates in college.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 30, 2013 | By Stephen Ceasar
The U.S. Department of Education on Tuesday invited districts nationwide to begin applying for the latest batch of high-profile federal school-reform grants. Individual school districts will be able to seek about $120 million in “Race to the Top” federal funds. The four-year awards will range from $4 million to $30 million, depending on the population of students served. The Department of Education is expecting to make 15 to 25 awards. “The Race to the Top-District competition is an opportunity for trailblazing districts across the country to implement models of personalized learning so that every child graduates college- and career-ready,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in a statement.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 19, 2008 | Jason Song
Professional boxer Oscar De La Hoya has agreed to donate $3.5 million to help fund a school named after him, as well as several other campuses, Green Dot Public Schools announced Wednesday. Green Dot is building the Oscar De La Hoya Animo Charter High School near downtown. It is scheduled to be completed next year. The gift is the fifth-largest that the organization has received. -- Jason Song
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 25, 2011 | By Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times
In the instant of a job change, Joshua Cook went from being one of the youngest teachers at Crenshaw High , a traditional school in Hyde Park, to nearly the oldest at Animo Justice , a charter school south of downtown Los Angeles. He was 32, with two years of teaching experience. Three years later, he had another distinction: He became one of the astonishingly large numbers of teachers who left a Los Angeles charter school. Around 50% of teachers in charter middle and high schools left their jobs each year over a six-year period studied by UC Berkeley researchers, who released their findings last week.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 5, 2013 | By Howard Blume, This post has been corrected, as noted below.
One of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's closest advisors will become the new leader of the nonprofit overseeing public schools under the mayor's control. Joan Sullivan, 39, will take the helm next month of the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools, which manages 15 campuses on behalf of Villaraigosa . Sullivan had been serving as his deputy mayor for education, and, in that role, she'd also been on the board of the organization.  Villaraigosa's impending departure had created uncertainty about the future of the Partnership effort.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 29, 2013 | By Teresa Watanabe, This post has been corrected. See below for details.
California public schools lost ground this year in overall academic performance for the first time in a decade, but more than half met state goals for achievement on reading and math standardized tests, according to data released Thursday.   Los Angeles Unified bucked the statewide decline, recording the second highest gain in academic performance among the state's 10 largest school districts. Among them, Los Angeles, San Diego Unified and San Bernardino City improved over last year but the other seven slipped, reflecting a dip that officials have attributed to severe budget cuts and new national learning standards being phased in. L.A. Unified Supt.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 16, 2004 | Joy Buchanan, Times Staff Writer
The Broad Foundation will give Green Dot Public Schools a $2.8-million grant to help build additional charter high schools in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. Green Dot is a nonprofit network of charter high schools that operates Oscar De La Hoya Animo in Boyle Heights and Animo Leadership and Animo Inglewood in Inglewood. Steve Barr, Green Dot's chief executive, said the organization plans to open two schools this fall and eight to 12 more in the next few years.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 20, 2009 | Seema Mehta
Joanne Weiss on Tuesday was named the leader of the nearly $4.4-billion "Race to the Top" fund, a federal effort to reform the nation's schools. The announcement was made by U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan in remarks delivered via videoconference at the annual NewSchools Venture Fund Summit. Weiss is a partner in and chief operating officer of the NewSchools Venture Fund, a nonprofit that invests in efforts to turn around underperforming schools. Weiss, who has a degree in biochemistry from Princeton University, is also on the board of directors of Green Dot Public Schools, which operates 10 charter schools in Southern California and this year took over Locke High, which it divided into several small schools.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 5, 2013 | By Howard Blume, This post has been corrected, as noted below.
One of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's closest advisors will become the new leader of the nonprofit overseeing public schools under the mayor's control. Joan Sullivan, 39, will take the helm next month of the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools, which manages 15 campuses on behalf of Villaraigosa . Sullivan had been serving as his deputy mayor for education, and, in that role, she'd also been on the board of the organization.  Villaraigosa's impending departure had created uncertainty about the future of the Partnership effort.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 11, 2012 | By Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times
Southern California schools have been shut out of a high-profile federal grant competition, according to results announced Tuesday. The one regional finalist for the latest round of Race to the Top grants was a charter school organization, Green Dot Public Schools, that could have received $30 million. But its bid fell just short. The charter's proposal included expanding student wellness centers to provide social, physical and mental health services in support of academics; purchasing new technology, including tablet computers; and instituting a system to track and support high school graduates in college.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 20, 2012 | By Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times
A teacher at the center of a dispute at a well-known charter school has launched a novel defense to save his job and that of a fired colleague: They're too good to be dismissed based on their students' standardized test scores. Biology teacher Mark Friedman has been suspended, and history teacher Sonia Del Pino has been dismissed from Animo Leadership Charter High School in Inglewood, which is operated by Green Dot Public Schools. Friedman was suspended because of allegations by one or two co-workers that he bullied colleagues, negligently supervised students and inappropriately involved them in personnel decisions, and created a "negative and hostile work environment," according to a letter sent to him this month.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 14, 2012 | By Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times
Students at Locke High School are faring better than their peers in nearby traditional schools, but achievement overall remains low at the charter-managed campus near Watts, according to a new study. Still, the Locke students were more likely to graduate and to have taken courses needed to apply to a four-year state college, according to the UCLA-based National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing. The ongoing research has been funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 21, 2011 | By Rick Rojas, Los Angeles Times
The two dozen or so men who gathered for breakfast at the Watts Coffee House fondly recalled their days as pioneers of a brand-new high school in a blossoming neighborhood some 40 years ago. They reminisced about their teachers and principals who were invested in building not just a school but a legacy and a point of pride in Watts in the wake of the 1965 riots. And they talked about the music and the politics that shaped them as they came of age as young black men in such a seminal time.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 25, 2011 | By Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times
In the instant of a job change, Joshua Cook went from being one of the youngest teachers at Crenshaw High , a traditional school in Hyde Park, to nearly the oldest at Animo Justice , a charter school south of downtown Los Angeles. He was 32, with two years of teaching experience. Three years later, he had another distinction: He became one of the astonishingly large numbers of teachers who left a Los Angeles charter school. Around 50% of teachers in charter middle and high schools left their jobs each year over a six-year period studied by UC Berkeley researchers, who released their findings last week.
OPINION
June 6, 2007
Re "District blunts Locke High's revolt," June 2 It is no surprise that the Los Angeles Unified School District has been trying to find ways to stifle the voices of the teachers at Locke High School. Misinformation is a staple of the LAUSD's management style. There is a simple solution to the back-and-forth claims. Hold an independently conducted election among the teachers, with all sides -- the LAUSD, Green Dot Public Schools, United Teachers Los Angeles and the California Teachers Assn.
OPINION
July 31, 2008
Re "Shaping up -- no thanks to LAUSD," column, July 23 I am pleased to see Steve Lopez recognize Green Dot Public Schools for the positive work it's doing at Locke High School. I'd hoped that in sharing my teaching experiences with Lopez, I could highlight the changes in culture and expectations already sweeping through the campus. In doing so, though, I never meant to suggest that misbehaving students were "thugs." The label shifts responsibility away from Locke's old administration.
OPINION
June 26, 2011
Three years ago, the last graduating class of the "old" Locke High School listened to a commencement speaker whose main thrust was that only a small number of students had made it to that point. Odd words at most graduation ceremonies, but appropriate at Locke. Under the management of the Los Angeles Unified School District, the number of graduates at this public school in Watts was regularly a fraction of the number of students who had started out as ninth-graders. The class of 2008 started with 1,451 freshmen, according to the state's education database . Only 595 made it to their sophomore year.
NEWS
May 12, 2011 | By Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
A hasty legal maneuver by top Los Angeles school officials will not fend off a legal challenge of their decision to turn over low-performing Clay Middle School to a charter-school organization, The Times has learned. To undermine a lawsuit filed last week, the Board of Education, at Tuesday's meeting, had voted to close Clay, which is located in South Los Angeles. The plan is to then open a new school, with the same students, on the Clay campus under the direction of Green Dot Public Schools.
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