Rocketship’s Tenth Anniversary
Former public school principal Preston Smith founded Rocketship Education ten years ago. Rocketship Education is a chain of charter schools. Recently, Preston shared what the Rocketship program has learned over the last decade.
Would I send my children there?
That was the question Preston Smith asked himself while developing Rocketship Education. If their school didn’t provide his children a quality education than it wasn’t providing one for other children. Preston’s two children attend Rocketship Fuerza Community Prep.
Education is a familial endeavor.
At the beginning of the school year Rocketship’s teachers visit each Rocketeer’s (students and parents) home. This is so each Rocketeers education can be tailored to their individual needs.
Rocketship Education only covers grades K-5. If parents want their Rocketeers to continue to receive a quality education after that they have to advocate for their children. Rocketship fosters parental involvement so parents can learn to be educational advocates.
Teachers are the key to diversity
Opponents argue that charter schools are segregated. Preston Smith pointed out that parents freely deciding to send their offspring to a charter school is not the same as schools being segregated by law. He referenced studies that show in promoting classroom diversity a diverse faculty is more important than a diverse student body.
The importance of classroom inclusion
Rocketship Education uses a “Meaningful-Inclusion Model”. For over three-quarters of the day Rocketeers with disabilities are in the same classes as non-special needs Rocketeers. This benefits the former while teaching the latter compassion and tolerance.
There are 13,000 underperforming schools in the US. If 100 of these schools a year are turned around it will take 130 years to achieve educational equality between poor and affluent school districts. Rocketship Education was established to serve students in less affluent districts to narrow the education gap sooner.
Founded in San Jose California Rocketship Education now has schools in Washington, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. Rocketship parents take an active part in hiring teachers. This approach makes parents and teachers partners in the educational process.