Unfortunately for the families and, even worse, the young, influenceable children that live in impoverished, economically challenged areas in the United States – if not across the entire globe – access to quality schooling is generally not feasible, although typically impossible. Fortunately for such largely disadvantaged children, there’s Rocketship Education, founded by John Danner and Preston Smith in 2007 in the San Francisco Bay Area. Rocketship Education is in no way short of innovation, just like the vast majority of organizations that are birthed out of the Bay Area, as it was one of the first schools to intertwine technology in classrooms – but not just computers or Smartboards – to yield personalized learning.
Rocketship Education’s students often earn ultra-high test scores, especially for being in struggling, low-income neighborhoods. RSED’s eighteen locations regularly outperform nearby private schools, thanks to its charter status, meaning it’s able to receive funding from the government and investors, without having to stick to the rules laid out by school boards, which hardly ever create rules that function in the best interest of schools with low-income families’ students. Since 2007, Preston Smith has learned several valuable lessons as a pioneer of individualized learning in the K-5 sector. Let’s look deeper into them.
Teachers need to visit students’ homes to assess how much free time they have, what distractions they deal with at home, and if they even have Internet access, something that would hinder them from completing work at home.
Rocketship Education pushes parents to demand quality public schools past fifth grade, as RSED only offer K-5 courses. While doing so isn’t always possible, Preston Smith founded two schools, one of which was Rocketship Education. As such, it’s entirely possible for parents, educators, and administrators to band together to form a school of their own.
Parents fill a number of roles at Rocketship Education. An important function of parents is interviewing potential new instructors and administrators – because parents live with the children that actually attend RSED, they’re more familiar with what they want than anybody. Parents also fill out regularly survey cards in respect to teachers, classroom environments, and administrators.