Zachary Houle

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5 Pieces of Knowledge Crucial to Education that Rocketship Education’s CEO has Learned Since 2007

Ten years ago, way back in 2007, Preston Smith desired to cease his career as a teacher and form his own educational institution. Interested in serving underprivileged kids across the country in low-income areas, the current chief executive, Smith, founded Rocketship Education. Rocketship is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit system of charter schools, accepting grants from government agencies without having to adhere to the often-detrimental rules mandated by local boards of education. Along the way, Preston Smith learned several pieces of knowledge crucial to education as the leader of Rocketship.

Smith has discovered that parents are an important piece of the pedagogical puzzle, as many schools simply ask parents to pick up their children and provide them with progress reports every six weeks or so. Every year, a few students’ guardians and parents are trained to carry out interviews for incoming educators, which they conduct alongside a ranking member of faculty. They listen to their children’s sentiments each day after school, providing them unique perspectives directly applicable in deterring who should instruct their kids.

Students with developmental disabilities are kept in regular classrooms approximately eighty percent of every school day, rather than spending half or more of their hours at school with special education teachers. Rocketship’s method of dealing with special needs students helps them feel better about themselves, performing better in class and harboring positive attitudes towards learning.

People associated with Rocketship should be more than proud of its public school status, although their educators are paid significantly more than those at most other schools. Rocketship’s extensive base of resources, secured through its charter status, help bring in quality instructors willing to adhere to the rigorous demands of students, in turn creating ultra-high test scores and unmatched learning accessible for the remainder of their lives.

Rocketship Education is a network of eighteen primary schools serving children grades kindergarten through fifth. Its students consistently earn higher test scores than most others in low-incomes areas, despite obvious disadvantages that come with living in underprivileged neighborhoods, cities, and counties. Rocketship’s students, formally known as Rocketeers, aren’t required to submit payment like families are forced to do with similarly high quality education at private schools. The school system currently features eighteen facilities across America, with twelve spread across the Golden State, three across Music City, Tennessee, two in America’s own Washington DC, and one in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.


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