Rocketship, a non-profit network of charter based schools in California, begun its operations in 2006. The founders, John Danner and Preston Smith, aimed at eliminating the achievement gap in public education by availing quality education to students from low-income neighbourhood through a scalable and sustainable learning model. Its unique blended learning approach and personalized teaching approach garnered it national publicity and as a result, the D.C. Public Charter School Board granted it permission to set up eight schools in the district. Currently the foundation runs 13 schools where they impact the lives of the students and inspire communities.
The three pillars of Rocketship
Rocketship transformative learning is based on three pillars namely:
Excellent teachers and leaders
Rocketship has a team of outstanding teachers who play a pivotal role in the student’s academic success by effecting meaningful change. The management board is actively engaged in the teacher’s professional development through mentorship, provision of leadership programs and personalized trainings that equip teachers with the skills that elevate them for career success. They also endeavour to create a fulfilling workplace where teachers are valued and commissioned to grow exponentially.
Personalized learning for Rocketeer students
Rocketship believes in unleashing the full potential of each Rocketeer and as such has incorporated a unique learning approach that focuses on personalized instruction. Each student has a tailor-made learning plan that is congruent to their needs and this enables students to learn at their own pace. Rocketship believes that through this individualized instruction, children achieve accelerated growth that enables them to perform above grade level. Teachers combine excellent traditional instruction, innovative technology and targeted tutoring for all Rocketeers. Student’s learning also integrates Rocketship’s four values namely: respect, responsibility, persistence and empathy.
Rocketship managing board have inculcated a culture of active parental participation which is the bedrock of this charter school foundation. Parents play a vital and active role in selecting who gets to teach their children. They do an intensive scrutiny on a prospective candidate before they recommend him/her for the teaching position. This process allows for parents to build a rapport with the teacher prior to the commencement of the school year as well as play a powerful advocacy role in the lives of their children.
Rocketeer parents are encouraged to be positive role models at home so that their children can develop and harness their leadership abilities.
Rocketship’s innovative educational approach is fulfilling its mission of eliminating the achievement gap through its continued expansion of the program in deserving communities. Students who have been through the program continue to enjoy success in school and beyond because of the intensive academic instruction and training on high-order thinking skills they received.