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Rocketship Education is the leading public school system for low-income elementary students. Founded in 2006, Rocketship Education (www.rsed.org) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation whose mission is to eliminate the achievement gap by building a national school system of K-5 charter schools. Rocketship has pioneered the transformative Rocketship Model, which combines teacher development, parent empowerment and individualized learning to improve student achievement.
Rocketship is benefitting the broader public school system and building stronger communities by graduating students who are entering middle school prepared to succeed. Rocketship’s active partnership with families helps parents become fully-engaged, long-term advocates equipped to get their children to and through college.
The Rocketship School Model
Rocketship’s model, which has delivered exceptional academic results, focuses on developing outstanding educators, empowering parents and providing individualized instruction through technology and tutors to improve student achievement.
Rocketship’s goal is to transform teaching into the most desirable profession, allowing Rocketship schools to compete effectively against medicine, law and academia for top-quartile college graduates. Rocketship promotes a deep culture of teacher and leader sustainability by recruiting the nation's most promising teachers and leaders into classrooms largely driven by a close partnership with Teach For America. Teachers come to Rocketship for the innovative teaching environment offered by the organization, including higher compensation, a model that better utilizes their abilities and increased professional opportunities for professional advancement.
Rocketship fosters a deep connection between its schools and parents as it recognizes that parents are an essential element in helping Rocketeers excel. Rocketship equips families to prepare their children for the academic requirements of college and actively engages them in their children’s education at all levels, including in the classroom, in school, at home and in the community.
Rocketship’s learning approach combines traditional classroom learning with individualized instruction through its Learning Lab, in which students spend one-on-one time with computers utilizing online technology and participate in intensive tutor-led small groups to master reading and math skills. Through this approach, approximately 90 percent of Rocketship’s lowest-performing students move out of the bottom quartile within a year and the majority of Rocketeers achieve three years of academic growth for every two years in school.
Rocketship’s Learning Lab, which uses skilled support staff since students are working one-on-one with computers utilizing educational programs, saves Rocketship $500,000 per year per school. This is particularly impressive considering that California is in the bottom five percent in per-pupil funding nationwide. These cost savings allow Rocketship to reinvest in its programs and people to drive school quality while operating solely and sustainably on traditional public school funding. Philanthropic dollars are not needed to fund current schools or open new schools. Instead, fundraising is used to design new, innovative programs and to develop the infrastructure necessary to expand into new regions.
Rocketship strives to eliminate the achievement gap in our lifetime by partnering with cities, school districts and communities across the U.S. that share Rocketship’s sense of urgency. By bringing the unique Rocketship Model to thousands of low-income students and inspiring other public school systems to adopt similar practices for high-quality, scalable impact, this ambitious goal is attainable.
- Janine Chen
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