Monday, July 11, 2011

Locke High School graduation: A Locke High milestone

A wonderful story about the graduation ceremony at Locke HS in LA, about which I've written a great deal (  It used to be one of the most notorious high schools in America, but thanks to the extraordinary efforts of Green Dot, has made enormous strides.  Now, Green Dot is taking over Jordan HS in LA, which is as bad as Locke was – you could call them gluttons for punishment, but I think they're heroes!


The day before graduation, Principal Veronica Coleman called a final staff meeting.

She went through slides noting the progress the academy had made. Attendance had improved, and so had the graduation rate. The senior class had 379 students; 256 would earn a diploma, and 214 of them were headed to college. An additional 72 were allowed to cross the stage but did not receive a diploma; they still had credits to make up or were waiting for state exam scores.

Locke was conceived as an olive branch to Watts after the riots of 1965. But the campus has had a checkered past — high dropout rates and high turnover of teachers and administrators. The campus reflected its bad times, its walls covered in graffiti, bathrooms controlled by gang members. Fights were common, and students said it was a struggle to get the classes they needed to apply to college.

The school was the first that the
Los Angeles Unified School District handed to a charter operator. By many accounts, it is safer, cleaner and more orderly than before.


Locke High School graduation: A Locke High milestone

It's an emotional time for the last of the 'original' pre-charter students and a graduation of sorts for their two guidance counselors as well.,0,6212207,full.story

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