Rocketship Education is a nonprofit, K-5, charter school network available to the public. Its 18 facilities are found exclusively in areas in which average household income earned is lower than other places in the cities they’re located in. Traditionally, these regions are home to poor educational experiences, as the public schools have low funding, are eligible to grab few government grants, and aren’t donated to, as their alumni generally don’t have much money to give. This cycle often leads to generational poverty, with parents passing nothing on to their children, who have nothing in the first place.
Preston Smith realized this in his three years of teaching at an elementary school in his hometown of San Jose, California, that students didn’t have much in the way of education. As such, he founded Rocketship Education. He has been the nonprofit organization’s president for some years, although he recently became CEO in 2013. Throughout his decade-plus of interaction with the school and its many students, teachers, and principals, he’s learned many valuable lessons. Let’s look further into what the most important of these lessons are, shared less than a month ago by Mr. Smith himself.
Teachers should make home visits to where students live, as Rocketship Education requires them to do once per school year. Getting to know students, siblings, parents, and guardians better not only makes adults feel better about leaving their kids at school, but – and more importantly – it allows teachers to make more accurate individualized education plans.
As Rocketship only has K-5 schools, and is not planning on expanding grades taught anytime in the foreseeable future, it’s important for parents to demand high-quality schools from other sources. As demand for great schools increases, the availability of these institutions in areas characterized by low income, poverty, and financial struggles will undoubtedly increase.
Parents are always invited to perform on panels for interviews of teachers. This makes sense because parents known tons of things about their children and how they perform as students. It also serves the dual purpose of parents being able to grill applicants more thoroughly, as only administrators have to spent time around candidates each and every day if they’re hired.