Rocketship Schools are charter schools that are public schools which allow children of all types to attend. Rocketship Schools is a non-profit network of charter schools that primarily serve low-income from neighborhoods with limited access to good schools.
Schools that are transformative in the truest sense accomplish much more than to just provide an education. Teachers are empowered, parents have the opportunity to fully engage in the process and entire communities are inspired in the process.
Rocketship Education was founded in 2007 by Preston Smith and John Danner. The model uses a blended learning approach which uses a traditional classroom model that blends with proprietary software that aids in the learning process.
Rocketship Discovery Prep in California is one among several of the schools that Danner points to as are bridging the achievement gap which is the huge difference in performance academically between children who come from poverty neighborhoods and those children who hail from the upper-middle-class areas.
This gap in achievement has been in existence for decades in spite of heavy capital investment as well as time, energy and heartbreak entering into the picture. The pattern has been that when poorer children enroll in school they are already behind and in time they become discouraged and drop out of school.
Rocketship students, called “Rocketeers” have scored very well on an overwhelming basis on the standardized tests, and in many cases have outscored county and state averages on these tests. This is a student population of poor Latino students and students of color who have performed as well as students from the nearby community of Palo Alto where professors from Stanford send their children to school.
Danner’s goal is to extend his model into 50 cities all over the country by the year 2020 making his company the largest charter school organization in the country. The financial model of the Rocketship schools offer a much-streamlined cost picture as much of the curriculum is handled by computers and innovative software. This cuts as much as 25 percent of the labor costs as contrasted with the public school models.
Drills such as math and other rote schools are handled by the software and then teachers handle the life skills such as critical thinking and character building.