Stray Dogs, Saints, and Saviors: Fighting for theSoul of America's Toughest High School
Buy Rights Online Buy Rights

Rights Contact Login For More Details

More About This Title Stray Dogs, Saints, and Saviors: Fighting for theSoul of America's Toughest High School


The inside story of the most-watched attempt to transform a troubled high school

Stray Dogs, Saints, and Saviors tells the real-life story of Locke High School. Locke High– originally known for its excellence–became one of the toughest, most dysfunctional schools in the nation. Then in 2007 teachers voted to bring in an upstart charter school organization called Green Dot to try and restore the Locke Saints' past glory. It was a brave and desperate move. Working in secrecy, the school principal, a small group of teachers, and Green Dot's charismatic founder, Steve Barr, convince Locke teachers to support a petition that will take the school away from the Los Angeles Unified School District. The "new" Locke opened in the fall of 2008.

Offers an in-depth look at a school "turnaround" effort that garnered a blizzard of publicityRusso's blog This Week in Education was named by The Washington Post as one of its best education blogs of 2010Tells the gritty truth about the tough work of true school reform

Locke's transformation shows that with hard work and sacrifice, broken schools can indeed be improved in meaningful ways. However, the process of school reform is one of the most vital, and least glamorous, projects that we can participate in.


Alexander Russo is an education writer whose work has appeared in Slate, Miller-McCune, Washington Monthly, Chicago Magazine, The Huffington Post, and The Washington Post. He's the author of three blogs: This Week In Education, District 299, and Hot For Education. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.



Character List.


PART ONE Desperate Measures.

1 Desperate School Reform Superstar.

2 Getting Locke.

3 Year in Limbo.

4 Unlikely Leader.

5 Scrambling for Teachers.

6 The Gate.

PART TWO "New" Locke.

7 "New" Locke.

8 Stray Dogs in the Quad.

9 In the Classroom.

10 Shocktober.

11 Mayall's Revenge.

12 Rogue Cops.

13 "May"-hem.

14 Drinks at Prom.

15 Shooting on San Pedro.

16 The New Yorker.

17 "We Did It, Y'All."

PART THREE Becoming a School.

18 The New Face of Green Dot.

19 Barr Steps Down.

20 Turnaround Fever.

21 Doing It All Over Again.

22 Becoming a School.

23 Firing Everyone.

24 Always a Saint.


Selected Sources.

About the Author.



“Alexander Russo’s new book on the remaking of Locke High in Los Angeles… is a must-read, nerve-jangling thrill ride…. I plan to read the book again…. Anyone interested in fixing bad schools anywhere in the country should do the same. We will never have a better guide to how to do this right, and wrong.”
Jay Matthews, Washington Post

Stray Dogs is definitely worth a read, especially since the book reads more like a thriller than your run-of-the-mill school turnaround story…, painting a gritty portrait that readers may find tough to believe outside of a Hollywood film. Actual suspense is built as we’re taken into secret meetings and brought through confrontations.”
Jason Tomaszewski, EducationWorld

“Here, finally, is a book that recognizes the excruciatingly incremental pace of school reform and the monumental significance of the community's willingness to stick it out. Russo delivers…in this well-balanced, complicated account of school reform.”
Laura Varlas, ASCD Express