Alain LeRoy Locke College Preparatory Academy is a public charter high school located in Los Angeles, California, and is part of Green Dot Public Schools. It serves students in the community of Watts. Our charter was approved by the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), and the school currently has students enrolled in grades 9 through 12.
About the Man - Alain LeRoy Locke
Alain Leroy Locke (September 13, 1885 – June 9, 1954) was an American writer, philosopher, educator, and patron of the arts. Distinguished as the first African American Rhodes Scholar in 1907, Locke was the philosophical architect —the acknowledged "Dean"— of the Harlem Renaissance. As a result, popular listings of influential African-Americans have repeatedly included him. On March 19, 1968, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. proclaimed: "We're going to let our children know that the only philosophers that lived were not Plato and Aristotle, but W. E. B. Du Bois and Alain Locke came through the universe.".
Creation and Roots of Alain Leroy Locke High School
Opening its doors in 1967, Alain LeRoy Locke High School sought to provide a safe and secure place for learning – an antidote to the conditions that led to the Watts civil unrest of 1965. The school is the first in the nation's 2nd largest school district, Los Angeles Unified School School District (LAUSD), to be named after an African-American, and the first school East of the 110 Freeway serving the Los Angeles communities of Athens, Florence-Graham, Watts, Westmont, and Willowbrook. The school quickly became an important landmark for the community and engaged its members in some of the most-promising programs in the city, including: All-City Award-Winning Marching Band (Video Clip 1) (Video Clip 2); championship-winning Athletic Programs (featuring outstanding athletes like Cynthia Cooper, Eddy Murray, and Ozzie Smith); outstanding Parent-Led Support group for supervision; and community-based instruction to raise cultural awareness. The school's success and upward climb lasted from the start of its existence until the mid 1980s, when the recession of the 1980s caused steep cuts in domestic spending . Areas like Watts in South Los Angeles were hit hard, and it created a chain of events that led to the academic downfall for the schools in the area.
Four decades later, Locke had become emblematic of systemic failure. Locke was described as a “failing school” and had a school culture characterized by violence and chaos. The campus was known for student brawls, rampant graffiti, students roaming the hallways, and a shockingly low college-ready graduation rate. Of the 1,000 freshmen who entered in 2004, _____ 250 graduated. Only about 50 of these students enrolled in college, with a much smaller number actually graduating from college. The original bright promise of Locke had been broken; the students and community of Locke High School deserved better.
In 2008, Green Dot Public Schools joined with teachers, parents and the community to transform Alain LeRoy Locke High School and split it into several small, safe, personalized learning academies. Green Dot instilled a college-going culture of safety, accountability, and personalized learning. By 2012, the first full cohort of 9th graders graduated, at rates significantly higher than at comparable schools across Los Angeles Unified School District. According to a study conducted by UCLA's National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST), students at the transformed Locke were 1.5 times more likely to graduate and 3.7 times more likely to complete coursework that prepares them for college. Despite these impressive gains, there is still room for improvement, and Green Dot has continued to invest in raising student achievement and outcomes.
Today, Alain LeRoy Locke College Preparatory Academy is divided into three academies. The 9th Grade Academy provides a focused environment for rapidly improving students' proficiency in core subject areas. Many students enter Locke far behind grade level, and the 9th Grade Academy is designed to bring them up to speed through personalized learning and targeted interventions. Students in grades 10-12 attend Academy Blue or Gold, which provide a more traditional high school grade structure while preserving the small-school feel that can be critical in creating a positive, learning-focused, college-going culture. Locke College Prep Academy also boasts the largest CIF athletics department for Green Dot Public Schools, and prides itself in having top programs in the city. Programs?
About Green Dot
Green Dot Public Schools is a non-profit organization whose mission is to help transform public education so ALL students graduate prepared for college, leadership and life.
Unique in the nation for a major non-profit charter management organization, Green Dot is proving it can achieve better student outcomes with the same student population, lower per pupil funding than the district and a unionized workforce. We are the leading charter school operator in Los Angeles and one of the top three largest in the nation.