It takes many loving adults to run a great school for our young Rocketeers. From school leadership and credentialed teachers to tutors (Individualized Learning Specialists, or ILSs), paraprofessionals, enrichment coordinators and support staff, each one of our schools has approximately 40-50 incredible adults dedicated to our Rocketeers’ success. Indeed, it takes a village.
About 60 of these professionals support Rocketeers outside of the classroom, in the learning labs, cafeterias, playgrounds and enrichment spaces. Throughout Rocketship’s history, many of these passionate educators, not surprisingly, have pursued their credentials and eventually transitioned into the classroom as Rocketship teachers. A significant majority of these teachers are still leading our Rocketeers in classrooms today.
Last year, Rocketship piloted a small program to support Rocketeers to become classroom teachers. This winter, Rocketship will launch our Rising Teacher program network wide. We are streamlining the transition into the classroom, building a clear pathway and development programming to help tutors, enrichment coordinators, para educators and support staff not only earn their credential, but also hone the necessary skills to excel as a teacher.
The Rising Teachers Program is a series of sessions, with classroom teaching and planning experience embedded throughout. In addition to the planning and classroom management training, participants receive additional support in choosing a credentialing program and managing the timelines and processes to earning their teaching credential.
To build on the external credential programs Rising Teachers are in, we have triangulated the training that teachers receive during Summer Professional Development, the skills that they already have from their current role and the skills will be developed in the first semester in their coaching relationship.
In 2014-2015 pilot program, we had six participants begin the transition into the classroom, all of whom are Rocketship teachers this fall. After collecting data around the number of individuals interested in transitioning in this upcoming year and considering possible openings, we aim to double the size of the cohort this year. Rocketeers can attend info sessions early the winter and apply to become a Rising Teacher in February.
We will continue to track the progress of our current Rising Teachers and use this data to inform and improve our program for this year’s cohort. Rocketship is committed to building out this pipeline for individuals who have already invested in the network and look forward to sharing learnings and successes along the way.
Kristen is Rocketship’s Associate Director of Talent Management. Prior to joining Rocketship’s national network support team, she taught third grade math and fifth grade humanities at multiple Rocketship campuses and then became a founding assistant principal at Alma Academy, where she led classroom teachers for three years. Kristen is a proud Tiger from the University of Missouri.