Rocketship Education is a network of charter schools headquartered in Redwood City, California. They build deep bonds with both the students who attend their schools and their parents. This was on display early in 2007 when a creek in San Jose went over its banks, flooding many homes in the area. Some of these families had students attending Rocketship Education. When the charter school heard about what happened the quickly started raising funds for the affected family, ultimately raising more than $60,000. The families were able to use this money to pay for new rent deposits, fixing their damaged homes, and replacing some of the items they had lost.
At Rocketship Education they recognize that it’s the family of their students who are most important for their educational outcomes. They operate K-5 schools that use a hybrid approach to teaching, both conventionally with a teacher and incorporating technology in their classroom approach. They also keep parents in the loop about what is happening in their schools and students classrooms. Parents are even given the chance to interview new teachers before they are hired so that their input is taken into account.
Deeply engaged parents have students who perform very well in school. By engaging the parents in aspects of the school such as the curriculum and how they can help at home the students rapidly advance in their understanding of subjects. This is really important as after fifth grade the Rocketship Education students often start attending public school. The carryover of engaged parents in a public school setting can help that system also improve.
Rocketship Education was founded in 2006 and is run as a nonprofit. The two founders were John Danner and Preston Smith. Their leadership resulted in a organization that now has schools in several communities. Most of their students come from a disadvantaged background. This often includes both race and income levels for the families. These types of students often struggle in the public schools as schools in these types of areas typically don’t have the resources to offer a quality education.