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The Conversation on Race Our Nation Needs Happens in Classrooms Everyday

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by Preston Smith
Co-Founder & CEO, Rocketship Education

Every August, I visit all of our schools across the country to meet with our teams, listen to their vision for the year ahead, and celebrate the start of a new school year with our Rocketeers and families. My annual back-to-school road trip is one of my favorite moments of the school year. But this year, my tour took on a different tone. The tragic events this summer in Baton Rouge, Minnesota, Dallas, Orlando and Milwaukee brought a new sense of urgency to our start of school conversations.

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United We Learn

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by Jason Egly
Teacher, Rocketship United Academy

Egypt

Kenya

Somalia

Mexico

Honduras

El Salvador

Venezuela

Puerto Rico

USA

Is this about the Olympics?

No. It’s a list of the homelands proudly represented by the students in my two fourth grade Humanities classes at Rocketship United Academy (RUA) in Nashville. Continue reading

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Reconstructing Beauty: Empowering Our Girls for a Better Future

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by LaToya Fernandez
Teacher, Rocketship Discovery Prep

Growing up in Hartford, Connecticut I learned the value of education early on. My mother was a workaholic providing for a family of seven and carried herself with strength and poise. Life at home was difficult at times, so I became immersed in school and extracurricular activities. Though involved in many organizations at school, I was still harassed for being African American, athletic, religious and just for being a girl. I was constantly teased about my hair. There were times in high school where I felt insecure about my physical appearance and capabilities. This motivated me to find my inner strength. I needed to become the Queen I was encouraging my friends to be.

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Kindergartners Conquering Personalized “Quests” Learn To Love Reading

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by Lauren Berry
Kindergarten Teacher, Rocketship Redwood City Prep

Anyone who’s worked to teach kindergarteners how to read knows that it can be a slippery challenge. Their squirmy bodies are full of energy, which can make it difficult for them to sit still through reading instruction, let alone through an entire text that they’re still struggling to understand.

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This Nashville Teacher and Dad Is Living Proof of the Importance of School Choice

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by BEYOND Editorial Team, Bay Area

In May, Education Post featured the story of one of our new Rocketeers, Jason Egly. Jason has been a teacher for 6 years and starting next month will teach at Rocketship United Academy in Nashville. But Jason is not just an educator, he is a parent of three kids in public school.

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5 Books for Boosting Classroom Leadership Skills

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by Logan Juve Janicula
Integrated Special Education Program Specialist

Students aren’t the only ones who are enjoying the summer season. Teachers, too, deserve this well-earned break to visit the beach, take in a trip or binge watch their favorite series on Netflix. Some teachers, though, will find that summer is an excellent time to own their own professional development through various workshops, training or even through resources at the local library. Here are five books that we recommend to kick off teachers’ summer reading: Continue reading

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Los Dichos: Values, Partnership and Cultural Identity in the Classroom

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by Lorena Romero and Lety Gomez
Rocketship Parents, Rocketship Fuerza Community Prep

 If we want our kids to be lifelong readers, we as parents must read to them, with them and around them. Why not take this approach into the classroom? To help Rocketeers learn to love reading, many Rocketship parents, including us, participate in the Los Dichos Program through Project Cornerstone, an initiative of the YMCA of Silicon Valley. Los Dichos is a literature-based program emphasizing stories of Latino origin that not only benefits the students, but also benefits the parents.

The Los Dichos program helps parents, especially those parents who speak Spanish as their primary language, to be involved in their children’s education and instill a positive cultural identity. We begin by taking an introductory course on developmental assets by a Project Cornerstone staff. We meet monthly as a group to review and discuss lesson plans and activities before we go into the classroom.

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Our Response to NPR “Hit Piece”

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by Preston Smith
Co-Founder & CEO, Rocketship Education

Last Friday, NPR’s Education blog published what many are calling a “hit piece” on Rocketship Education. As co-founder and CEO, I am used to anti-charter attacks like this. But my staff and parents are not. They flooded my inbox over the weekend with outrage over the voices missing from this story. As for the voices included in the story, 6 of the 9 named Rocketship sources contacted me to express their frustration over how NPR’s blogger mischaracterized their comments.

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For Good Measure: The Value of Year-End Assessments

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by Preston Smith
Co-Founder & CEO, Rocketship Education

The end of the school year is a time for graduations, family celebrations, class parties, vacation planning, and state assessments. While the last of these certainly isn’t as entertaining, these tests are incredibly important measures of student learning that our schools and teachers take seriously.

I got a crash course in the importance of these objective measures at age 18, long before I ever dreamed I’d become a teacher or a principal, let alone the leader of a network of elementary schools. Growing up in a low-income community outside of San Bernardino, California, I took AP classes, served as student body president, and graduated near the top of my public high school’s senior class. I assumed I was a shoo-in for UCLA — so much so that when I received a rejection letter, I assumed it was a mistake. It wasn’t. I called the admissions office and they explained that my high school had a reputation for inflating grades. They told me, “we don’t accept scholars from your school, just athletes.”  I did manage to get into the University of North Carolina, but only because they did not know my high school’s reputation.

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11 Ways to Beat the Summer Slide

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by BEYOND Editorial Team
Bay Area
Summertime is here! The pros: fun in the sun, family time, and much-needed rest and relaxation. The cons: what educators refer to as the “summer slide” — the regression a student can experience from lost instructional time during summer break. Continue reading
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Rocketship DC Partners With “Man the Block” To Ensure Safe Passage To School

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by Jacque Patterson
Regional Director, Washington DC

All children have the right to an excellent education. They also have the right to get to and from school each day safely.

With this in mind, Rocketship DC is working closely with community organizations to ensure the safe passage to and from school for our Rocketeers. We know this will help improve educational outcomes for our children and work to help improve the quality of life in our neighborhoods and communities.