Rocketship Education established its first nonprofit charter school about a decade ago. The organization concentrated on California for several years before expanding to three other regions in distant parts of the United States. Although Rocketship exists to provide education, its leaders and staff also continue to learn. The nonprofit develops new teaching strategies and makes changes based on the results of previous endeavors. they have learned 10 particularly important facts during the last decade:
- People value the actions of an organization’s leaders more than their words. Rocketship’s CEO Preston Smith had no children when he co-founded the company. He eventually established a family with two kids. After they reached the age when they needed to enroll in an elementary school, the children began attending a Rocketship Education academy in California’s Bay Area. This shows local parents that the nonprofit’s top executive genuinely believes in the excellence of these schools.
- Families and home environments have a major impact on the success of Rocketship’s personalized learning model. A teacher travels to each RE student’s house or apartment every year. This helps the instructors build closer bonds with youngsters’ parents and grandparents. Teachers also learn about families’ specific needs. For instance, they gain a better understanding of the workspaces and equipment that local students use to complete homework.
- An organization can’t afford to stop trying new things. For instance, RE recently introduced a system known as the “flex model” in certain schools. It created less structured classrooms with multiple instructors. This strategy produced excellent results in some cities, but it was hard to ensure that all participants would benefit. Although Rocketship decided not to adopt the new model permanently, the results yielded a number of significant improvements. Its leaders learned about ways to empower students and enhance teacher feedback.
- America won’t improve its public education system until more parents call for greater equality. Some families and donors want Rocketship Education to open middle and high schools. Nevertheless, the organization has avoided doing so because RE leaders want to help enhance public education rather than replace it. Families wouldn’t have any incentive to advocate for better municipal schools if they could use RE to completely avoid them.
- It’s important to help parents influence the political system. While their kids study at Rocketship elementary schools, mothers and fathers have an opportunity to call for improvements in the standard public schools that these children will eventually attend. Rocketship provides a positive example for district administrators and showcases the potential of local students. The nonprofit has helped San Jose parents successfully demand improvements to the area’s secondary schools.
- Rocketship realized that the concept of public education holds such great importance that it should be part of the network’s name. The organization recently decided to rename itself “Rocketship Public Schools.” This rebranding effort highlights the fact that people support its academies through voluntary contributions just as they sustain public radio and television. The CEO wants to improve and promote public education instead of offering free private schools as an alternative model.
- Every student gains a better learning experience when educators thoroughly integrate children with disabilities into regular classrooms. Rocketship Education has gradually improved its approach to teaching disabled youngsters. It currently enables them to attend standard classes during four-fifths of a typical day. This prevents disabled learners from feeling excluded. It also promotes more empathetic attitudes among other children and teaches them how to behave around people with disabilities.
- Racial integration can’t truly happen unless schools hire diverse staff members. When an educational institution employs teachers of multiple ethnicities, it can respond to cultural differences with greater success. Instructors learn from each other and discover how to accommodate these variations in every classroom. Researchers have confirmed that a diverse faculty genuinely benefits students. Rocketship has sought to help more minorities become teachers for children in their communities of residence.
- The school network has recognized that it can’t always rely on its own resources to achieve every goal. Regulatory hurdles can create significant delays. Consequently, the nonprofit decided to prioritize its efforts to establish positive relationships with various government offices. They include zoning agencies, school boards and institutions that oversee bonds. Today, this organization understands the great importance of taking the time to partner with these agencies on a long-term basis.
- It’s vital to hire instructors who can embrace a school’s educational model. Rocketship regularly sends coaches to classrooms, and these professionals offer helpful feedback. Some teachers appreciate this approach while others find it stressful. The organization has addressed this problem by ensuring that it only hires instructors who exhibit a willingness to improve their skills and accept constructive criticism. This benefits schools and students by minimizing the turnover rate.
Rocketship Education was founded in 2006, and the nonprofit opened its first public charter school about one year later. The organization maintains headquarters in Redwood City, Calif. It benefits students in communities that previously lacked high-quality education. More than 6,000 youngsters attend its Bay Area academies. In 2013, it began to establish locations outside of the Golden State. Rocketship runs 18 schools in California, Tennessee, Wisconsin and Washington, D.C.
The organization strives to personalize educational material and teaching techniques for each student. Learners regularly benefit from tutoring, sophisticated computer software and after-school education. The faculty closely cooperates with parents and encourages them to become involved in the learning process. Students frequently achieve impressive class grades and test scores. Rocketship academies have ranked among the top elementary education providers in Milwaukee, Nashville and California. Nine out of 10 students continue to attend RE schools after completing each grade.