Friday, August 14, 2009
Green Dot Charter Schools make a difference at Locke High, which was likely the worst school in LAUSD
"So many of us who had been working here for many years, without even knowing, we fell into habits. Whether it was bad habits or just kind of the habit of not caring."
Los Angeles' Most Troubled High School Undergoes Transformation
In Novel Experiment, 'Green Dot' Seeks to Breathe New Life into Students and School
By LISA LING and HERRAN BEKELE
Aug. 13, 2009
...In an attempt to redefine the Locke's leadership, Green Dot fired all the school's original teachers in 2007 and made them reapply for their jobs.
"We felt like it was a slap to our face, when someone said they could do the job that no one else was doing," said Zeus Cubias, a Locke alum, who has been a teacher in the district for the last 11 years.
"So many of us who had been working here for many years, without even knowing, we fell into habits. Whether it was bad habits or just kind of the habit of not caring," Cubias told ABC News...
It didn't help that Jimmy was frequently late for school, but he got a bit of a break because of his troubled home life. Jimmy's father, a gang member, had been in prison for most of his life; and in 2007, his mother died of lupus, leaving him and his seven brothers and sisters to move in with his retired grandmother.
"My mom was like ... like my backbone, like your spinal cord, that's what my mom was, part of my body," he said. "Sometimes I think I could just throw the towel in, like I think, I can't do it no more. It's just impossible for me to continue on with my life like this."...
But Locke can't shield its students from the violence just outside its gates. In April 2009, one of its students was shot on the edge of the campus.
"This happens. This is Watts, and there are 20 something known gang territories that intersect on this corner," Barr explains. "We pushed the gangs off of campus. But you can only push them so far."...
This year, Locke graduated the second highest number of students in its history and sent more students to four-year universities than ever before...