Leading a Movement: Parents Honored at the First Annual Bay Area Parent Leadership Awards Ceremony

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by BEYOND Editorial Team

Parents are the first teachers of their children. They are our Rocketeers’ strongest advocates, and the leaders in our collective movement for change. They are closing the achievement gap and bringing educational equity to communities where there are few to no options for an excellent, free, public education. 

Rocketship had the honor of celebrating these courageous and powerful parent leaders at our First Annual Bay Area Parent Leadership Awards Ceremony in early May. Over 20 awards were presented, and school leaders and parents from our 12 Bay Area schools gathered together to celebrate. Here are some highlights from the award winners:

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They Can Take Away Our Garden But They Can’t Take Away Our Unity

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by Marie Issa Gil
Bay Area Regional Director
“Our children feel like second class citizens.” This feeling comes from Rocketship Futuro Academy parent Sasha Hickman, Principal Jason Colon, and a host of other Futuro community members. Why? Because the local school district has routinely targeted the school, students, and families with discriminatory language and action.

The first Rocketship school in the East Bay, Rocketship Futuro Academy has only been open a few months and already our parents have created a community of pride around their school. Rocketship Futuro Academy is co-located on the Ayers Elementary campus in Concord. Made up of six portables, the Futuro campus houses Rocketeers from kindergarten to second grade. ‘Purpose’ is the school’s fifth core value, as chosen by the Futuro parents and community supporters.

Padres involucrados organizan en 2016 Foro de Candidatos para eliminar la brecha académica en San Jose

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by Alexandra Martinez

Me llamo Alexandra Martinez y soy un padre líder de Rocketship Fuerza Community Prep. El jueves, 27 de Octubre, padres de Rocketship Education, Voices College Bound Language Academies, Alpha Public Schools y otras escuelas chárter se unieron para acoger a los candidatos de la Oficina de Educación del Condado de Santa Clara y también de la Asamblea del Distrito 27 de California en el 2016 Foro de Candidatos. Mas de 1.300 miembros de la comunidad asistieron para abogar para la educación y para escuchar los puntos de vista de los candidatos sobre problemas que afectan nuestras comunidades como recursos para inmigrantes, libre elección de escuelas y vivienda.

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Padres líderes invitan a la comunidad al 2016 Foro de Candidatos

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by Eva Heredia and the
BEYOND Editorial Team

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El Jueves 27 de Octubre será un día especial para muchos de nuestros padres en la comunidad de San José. Esta fecha marca el 2016 Foro de Candidatos, un evento organizado enteramente por padres líderes.  Este dedicado grupo de padres de Rocketship, KIIP, Alpha y Voices llevan seis meses planeando y promocionando este foro para crear un espacio donde la comunidad pueda escuchar las plataformas de los candidatos locales. Han retransmitido por la radio, distribuido folletos y llamado a cientos de familias, todo para garantizar que la voz de su comunidad sea presente e escuchada.  

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First Day of School in Pictures for the 2016-2017 School Year

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by BEYOND Editorial Team

School started for our Rocketeers in Nashville, Milwaukee, DC and the Bay Area just a few weeks ago and we got some incredible pictures from our families! Though we can’t share all of them, below is a smattering of pictures of our Rocketeers getting excited for school, walking into their classes, or enjoying Launch.

Thank you to everyone who sent in pictures on Facebook and Instagram. Please keep them coming – we want to follow your Rocketeers’ success all year round!

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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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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

Padres en Concord Reciben Nueva Opción de Escuela Pública

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by Cristina Gutierrez
Parent, Concord 

La mayoría de los padres no piensan en escoger a qué escuela pública pueden enviar a sus hijos. Simplemente, los niños van a la escuela que el distrito les ha asignado. Eso fue lo que hicieron mis padres. Pero cuando yo estaba creciendo en Concord, mis padres no tenÍan otra opción. Me hubiera gustado que si la tuvieran. Mientras estuve en la escuela nunca recibí la ayuda que yo necesitaba. Batallé  durante la High School, y me gradué. Pero me pregunto que hubiera sido de mi vida si mis padres hubiesen tenido otra opción escolar pública para mi.

Ahora, los padres de Concord podemos escoger cual escuela pública es la apropiada para nuestros hijos. El mes pasado, la Mesa Directiva de Educación del Estado de California votó para aprobar la apertura de la escuela charter Rocketship. Esta escuela pública abrirá sus puertas este Agosto en Concord!

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Hot Days, Healthy Brains: Summer Activities That Keep Kids Learning

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by Logan Juve Janicula
Integrated Special Education Program Specialist
With spring break just ending, summer is just a few short months away. It’s never too early to start planning your summer activities! With so many amazing programs offered in our communities, it’s hard to keep track of them all – that’s why we did the work for you. Research shows students risk regression during summer months, so what better way to keep that brain healthy than by finding fun ways to keep learning? We hand-picked some great activities in each of our regions that will stretch your student’s thinking this summer.

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7 Spring Break Strategies for Growing Brains

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by Logan Juve Janicula
Integrated Special Education Program Specialist

Over the next few weeks, students across the country will abandon their desks and leave their pencils and papers behind. Classrooms will transform into ghost towns, and playgrounds will be empty. Why? It’s spring break! While our students may be opting to sleep in and play outside in the sunshine instead of dissecting paragraphs and working through math lessons, it doesn’t mean they can’t continue to grow their brains this week! Here are seven strategies that students and their caregivers can engage in to keep their brains active during this spring break.
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How to Prepare for the Middle School Transition

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by Logan Juve Janicula
Integrated Special Education Coach
Associate Editor ➟ BEYOND

Editor’s Note: We know that success in middle school is built upon a strong foundation of academics, character, creativity and social-emotional intelligence. We are proud that an independent study by SRI International found that our Rocketeers are thriving in middle school. As families at Rocketship and beyond prepare to transition to middle school we’re publishing this post again to help guide your way.

As temperatures rise and spring birds make their way back to our windowsill, many families will begin to think about the next step in their student’s educational trajectory: middle school. While we know this change can bring with it anxiety, it’s also an exciting time to exercise the power of school choice in ensuring all Rocketeers continue to thrive. We connected with Manny Barrera, Director of Academics at Alpha Public Schools, to answer some of your questions about the next step.

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Celebration and Appreciation: How Cultural Engagement Enriches Our School and Our Scholars

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by Rocketship Mosaic Vietnamese Parent Association
Rocketship Mosaic Elementary

Last week, members of the Rocketship Mosaic Vietnamese Parent Association (RMVPA) beamed with pride as 35 Rocketeers took the stage for Rocketship Mosaic’s (RoMo’s) 2nd annual Tet Festival. Three months of practice and preparation led up to a fantastic nine-act display of Vietnamese culture, complete with traditional music, dance, and costumes, and a surprise meet-and-greet with the Monkey King to ring in the Year of the Monkey! It was a packed house with an audience of over 200, including San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, State Assembly candidate and former Vice Mayor and City Council member Madison Nguyen, and State Assembly candidate Cong Do.  Continue reading