Recently, co-founder and CEO of Rocketship Education, Preston Smith was asked to reflect upon the first decade of Rocketship’s service to low-income families around the nation. As befits someone so committed to education, he presented ten lessons that Rocketship, and the communities they serve, have learned in the past ten years.
- 1. Learning starts at home: By seeking to understand each student’s home life and family needs, education becomes more personalized.
- 2. Create demand for change: By remaining specialized in elementary education, Rocketeer parents are becoming actively engaged in demanding change in public education outside of Rocketship.
- 3. Parents have power: Rocketship’s educational system extends naturally outside the classroom to parents, who in turn become empowered to demand change and accountability.
- 4. Teachers create culturally responsive schools: Having a culturally diverse faculty reflects the value that Rocketship places on student diversity.
- 5. Actions speak louder than words: If you want to prove you believe in something, act meaningfully on those beliefs.
- 6. Meaningful inclusion benefits everyone: Inclusion benefits all students, not just those with disabilities.
- 7. Never stop learning: Not every plan goes the way it is intended, but you can often learn more from your failures than your successes.
- 8. Hire for your mindset: Prevent teacher burn out by hiring people with tenacity and a thirst for learning
- 9. You go farther with others: Building and nurturing partnerships within the community is vital to school success.
- 10. Public and proud: Public education is paramount to a thriving democracy. Rocketship wears the “public” badge proudly.
Rocketship Public Schools (formerly Rocketship Education) believes that it is a privilege to foster every student’s dreams and unleash their potential. To this end, they have established a network of non-profit public elementary charter schools in California’s Bay Area, Nashville, Milwaukee, and Washington DC.
Coinciding with their namesake, Rocketship has their sights set an astronomical goal: the elimination of the achievement gap in education. If the past decade is an indicator of future success, they’ve set the right course.