Rocketship Education is a network of 16 public charter schools spread across Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Bay Area, California, and Nashville, Tennessee. The schools target children from low-income families to see to it that they get a good education and get a chance to compete on the same level with privileged children. This boosts their confidence and helps them see that they are no different from the other children and can still excel in life.
Rocketship schools provide their students, known as Rocketeers, with free education from kindergarten all the way to the fourth grade. Preston Smith and John Danner started Rocketship in 2007 with the goal of improving public education and closing the achievement gap between children from low-income families and the more privileged ones. Rocketship Education has been very successful so far. All the schools strive to teach their students the values of persistence, respect, empathy and responsibility. Each school has one more value, which is chosen by the teachers and parents. This shows that their focus is not just on academic performance.
Parents are very involved in the schools’ activities, right from the interviewing of teachers before they are allowed to teach at the schools. This helps them get to know the people who will be teaching their children. School officials visit each student’s home at least once a year. They understand that certain aspects of a child’s life cannot be separated as what goes on at home ultimately affects a child’s performance in school. The home visits enable them to tailor their approach to meet each student’s unique needs depending on their background and special circumstances. Rocketship Education’s contribution to the improvement of public education has not gone unnoticed. It won the McNulty Prize in 2010 for the schools’ excellent work in improving public education in the US.
Rocketship Education currently has more than 6000 students in its schools and the number keeps growing as more Rocketship schools are opened. The schools perform exceptionally well in state exams, and this is because of their different approach to education. To top it all off, Rocketeers leave the schools well equipped for the life ahead of them. Rocketship schools have set the bar high for other charter schools and public schools in the US.