Next year Rocketship Education will launch a new public charter school in Antioch, California. This will bring the number of K through 5 schools within the Redwood City-based nonprofit network to 19. According to their website, the organization has been focused on working with low-income students in neighborhoods where access to exemplary schooling has been limited since 2007. Their trajectory can be measured best by those who benefit the most.
Not only do students learn at their own pace through instruction that is targeted and tailored to their needs and learning style, every child is taught Rocketship Education’s four core values: Respect; responsibility, empathy, and persistence. A fifth core value is added by each school to reflect its unique community character. This approach, along with working alongside local organizations and parents, helps to create an atmosphere that puts students on the path to college. Students are not the only ones being transformed by these schools.
Parent participation is part of the foundation of the chain, according to CEO and co-founder Preston Smith. Some families undergo training to do panel interviews of potential teachers, or the schools will have community meetings so parents can meet with job finalists. One of the three pillars of the organization is engaged parents. According to Rocketship Education that includes working directly with parents to become leaders at home, in the school, and in the community.
This direct approach is not limited to just the parents at these schools; the organization understands that in order for their mission to succeed, they need outstanding teachers and school leaders as well. Rocketship Education provides their teachers with dedicated coaching, professional development and leadership programs which aim to assist their educators’ growth personally and professionally. This type of support will attract and promote teachers and school leaders that excel at their jobs.
The Rocketship Education nonprofit organization seeks to re-evaluate the approach to elementary school education on the K through 5 level at each school. This approach is executed through a curriculum of the “blended learning” experience that includes whole and small group instruction, targeted intervention and enrichment.