What is a transformation school?
Transformation schools, sometimes referred to as turnaround schools, are public schools once operated by a school district that are now operated by public charter schools and continue to serve the attendance boundary. Given the unique challenges of “turning a school around,” Green Dot is one of the few charter operators undertaking this type of work, and was an early leader in seeking transformation opportunities. Green Dot is the only charter school operator in the country to lead the transformation of a large, 3,000+ student high school, and today, Green Dot is widely considered the most experienced school turnaround operator in the country.
Because of this, The U.S. Department of Education has featured Green Dot as a national leader in school transformations and awarded us a replication and expansion grant for this work. At its core, Green Dot believes that all students, whatever their circumstances, hold the innate potential to achieve their goals and succeed in college, leadership, and life.
After years of opening new schools one grade level at a time, it became clear that we were not reaching many students who could benefit from our model. As a result, Green Dot sought to lead a traditional school, with a student body drawn from within a specific enrollment boundary, rather than students admitted via admission lottery.
Green Dot wanted to counter the common myth that charter schools select students who are “easier to educate” and push out students who may require more assistance, leaving a student population that is more likely to succeed. The transformation school initiative is an essential part of myth-busting, proving that when given the room to innovate and reimagine school culture, charters could serve the same students and help them achieve more.
Green Dot's Transformation Schools in California
After two years of work with teachers and local leaders in LA’s historic Watts neighborhood, Green Dot now leads Alain LeRoy Locke High School, our first large-scale turnaround. Realizing we could serve even more students who need high quality public schools by serving transformation schools, we have added two more turnaround campuses in Los Angeles.
Green Dot's Transformation Schools in Tennessee
Meanwhile in Tennessee, state leaders created the Achievement School District (ASD), an ambitious project that seeks to turnaround the lowest performing 5% of schools in the state, most located in Memphis. Green Dot responded to the call and now leads two high schools and two middle schools in the city, with promising early results.