Rocketship Education is a charter school network that is headquartered in Redwood City, California. They opened their first school in San Jose in 2007. Over the next five years thereafter, the flagship school earned a high reputation among alternative schools for low-income students when they scored as high as those attending in the Palo Alto District. Rocketship opened a school in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin area-their first school outside of the state of California-in 2013. They have since opened two other schools in two other states.
Many Rocketship parents have so highly praised the schools for being high-performing that low-income parents have fought very hard to keep sending their children to them. In May 2015, Rocketship co-founder and CEO, Preston Smith submitted an opinion article to San Jose Inside stating that their schools are working to flip the script for low-income families during the hard economic times. He has been an educator for over 15 years and has stated that he has seen many of his former first graders be the first in their families to attend traditional four-year colleges.
Stanford University CREDO (or Center for Research on Education Outcomes) also did a study which included Rocketship schools. They found that, on average, low-income and ESL (English Second Language) students were gaining over a month of additional learning levels in reading and math for every year that they attended San Jose charter schools.
Another thing that makes Rocketship schools unique is that parents get to know the teachers very well in advance and choose to hire them to teach their children. The cirriculum at Rocketship is blended and catered to the students personally with parental involvement being a core value. Parents also interview the teachers ahead of time and even receive training to do so as panelists. It works both ways because it also weeds out candidates who are not truly ready for a level like Rocketship’s.