From behind the fences of the football field, I cheered with fellow Green Dot staff, proud parents, and rambunctious teenagers as we all watched the largest class of graduates in recent memory receive diplomas at Locke High School’s main campus in Watts.
This was the first class to graduate since Green Dot Public Schools took over management of the school one year ago, and, while there’s a world of work to be done, the school has shown meaningful progress. Progress that includes a jump of 20% in the size of the graduating class and a leap in number of students going on to college this fall.
I’m not a classroom teacher. Not an assistant principal or counselor. But, through the Education Pioneers summer fellowship, I’m part of the Green Dot home office team that serves to support the schools in creating successful learning communities for students. With one year of Marshall MBA training behind me, I’ve jumped onto a project this summer in the strategic planning department to develop a management dashboard for the organization. I’m so excited to be working on this project and getting to know the people at Green Dot who have worked so hard to enable the success of high students all over Los Angeles. Additionally, it’s been great to connect with other graduate students from all over the country working in public education reform in our Education Pioneers cohort.
Finally, I have to thank the Society and Business Lab and Career Resource Center at USC Marshall for making this experience possible for me with the Non-Profit Summer Internship Subsidy Program. The leadership and support of our colleagues there – Pete Giulioni, Adlai Wertman, Abby Fifer Mandell, and Janice Nishiyama – have created a new avenue for students to apply business skills to impact our communities.
I’m looking forward to my second visit to Locke High School, even though there may be less cheering early in the morning on the first day of summer school.