Rocketship Education: Lessons Learned From The First Ten Years

Rocketship Education was founded in 2006. It is a non-profit network of K-12 charter schools whose mission is to close the achievement gap in underserved communities. The Rocketship instructor model combines the contributions of teachers, parents, community organizations, and other charter schools in new and innovative ways. The first ten years have provided a number of lessons that the organization will continue to build on.

Personalized learning is the governing concept in the Rocketship program. The organization remains committed to the integration of technology in ways that actually help students learn.

A deep understanding of the unique needs of every student and family is no less important. Rocketship’s annual home visits help its teachers build strong and lasting relationships with parents and other family members. This kind of interaction helps teachers and parents work together more effectively to help students learn.

Another lesson learned over the past ten years is that high quality schools cannot be created and sustained without empowering parents. Providing a ranges of tools by which parents could build a civic movement designed to put pressure on elected officials to pay more attention to schools and dedicate more resources to their improvement was one of the Rocketship’s main goals. Ten years later, it has produced tangible results. In San Jose, for example, one Rocketship parent has helped to open a number of high quality middle and high schools.

The Rocketship Education program has also demonstrated that children do not and should not have to leave their neighborhoods and communities to get a good education. Moreover, recent research has shown that teacher diversity is important to the success of children of color succeed. Rocketship Education welcomes kids of all races, ethnicities, classes, and creeds. However, it has also recognized the need to establish a faculty that is as diverse as the student body it teaches.

Finally, Rocketship Education has come to understand the value of organizational learning. Continuous learning, weekly goal-setting, and feedback are crucial to student agency and have proved vital to the success of the program.