With keys in hand on July 1, Green Dot officially assumed full control of Alaine Leroy Locke High School in Watts, and while the transition has not been smooth as glass, on the first day of summer school administrators said that about 80 percent of the 400 students who arrived on campus came in the right uniforms with shirts tucked in.
A portend of things to come? Green Dot officials are cautious but optimistic. And now the race begins to truly transform Locke. The effort will start structurally by repainting buildings so that students will know where their individual schools within the Locke campus are located.
Locke has been dividend into seven autonomous small schools, and the largest of these is called Launch to College which will be home to the 10th, 11th and 12th graders. This unit will be broken up into two schools of 650 students each and will have one principal and several assistant principals. The emphasis here will be on making sure that students are prepared to attend the four-year university of their choice.
The other critical small school at the new Locke is the Multi-Pathway school, which will eventually consist of three different programs.
But in September when the doors open, this will be the home of the 10 and 11th graders who are severely behind and need an intensive credit recovery program.
Young people returning from juvenile camps and other justice system programs will also be directed to this school where they will obtain character development skills and be re-acclamized back into a regular school setting.
Green Dot officials expect the transition to take from six to 12 months.
The third component of the Multi-Pathway school will be added in 2009, and will focus on providing students with the A-G college prep vocational training.
The intent, said Green Dot officials is to create a program that encompasses architecture, construction and engineering.
Several other key changes will take place at Locke. Ninth graders will be segregated into separate schools, and the focus will be on getting the students ready to take on the rigorous college-prep curriculum.
“I am in awe that people who graduate with a 3.8 but are not four year college eligible,” said Rochelle Alexander, one of the ninth grade principals. “They average 220 credits and get their diploma, but 220 does not prepare you to get into college.”
At Green Dot, students are required to have 270 credits to graduate, and this insures that they have taken the A-G courses that will make them eligible to apply to a University of California or California State University College.
The other change involves Locke’s highly-regarded music program. Ninth graders who want join will have to do so as part of an after-school activity, while students in the other grades can take these courses and participate in the activities as part of their core curriculum.