At the same time that Rocketship Education reflects back over its past ten years, it is looking forward to what is yet to come for its students.
Founded in 2006 by Preston Smith and John Danner to serve primarily low income students, Rocketship opened its flagship school in San Jose, California the following year. Over the next five years, the non-profit network of public charter schools launched six additional schools in the area and after that opened schools in Wisconsin, Tennessee and Washington DC.
Rocketship shared some of the lessons it gathered over its first ten years in a story at https://www.the74million.org/article/smith-10-lessons-from-rocketship-educations-first-decade-as-a-pioneer-of-k-5-personalized-learning.
The school led the way for personalized learning which remains just as important today. The approach, which includes home visits, takes in the distinct needs of each student and family along with making the most of technology to assist with each student’s education.
And while Rocketship has been urged to expand its schooling to include K-12, it remains fully centered on elementary education.
Additional lessons Rocketship conveyed take in the importance of joining together students of all races, ethnicities and classes. The school has confidence the diversity of students and teachers will establish a more rewarding student experience. Rocketship is proud of the its teachers who are well suited for its classrooms and school practices.
One program that did not work for Rocketship involved students with disabilities that focused on compliance. Over the years, the school changed to its inclusion model, where students with disabilities invest 80 percent of their day in general classrooms, and found it worked better for its students.
Rocketship also tested a flex model pilot program which took on three teachers and one school leader. While some of the schools did well following this approach, others did not and the project was cancelled.
Smith talked about how he did not have any children when he co-founded Rocketship. He went on to speak about the importance of his two children now attending the school as he wants the best for them.
Putting together partnerships that include public agencies, zoning commissions and more have also been vital to the school’s success.
As advocates for public education, Rocketship Education recently changed its name to Rocketship Public Schools.