Goooooooal! Last Friday’s Special Olympics soccer tournament was a day sure to be remembered by many. Cheers erupted from all sides of the soccer fields while students raced past family, friends and teachers on the sidelines to make that coveted goal for their school team. This tournament marked Rocketship’s second partnership with the Special Olympics.
Next week, Rocketeers will be celebrating Computer Science Education Week by joining in the “Hour of Code,” an international coding educational event. With this early introduction to coding, young Rocketeers can nurture their problem-solving and logic skills and express their creativity. Our students will become the future of medicine, politics, law and education. A solid STEM foundation will help them continue on a college-bound path and open up doors to careers in the sciences.
Great schools do more than teach kids how to read and write. They teach kids to engage, think critically and lead. When I first began teaching, I realized many of boys had room to improve both their academic and leadership skills. So, in October of 2012, I partnered with two colleagues at Matthew W. Gilbert Middle School in Jacksonville, Florida to unite the male population at our school. We envisioned a program that would help build the boys in our school into young men. Modeled after a fraternity, we focused on the pillars of scholarship, brotherhood and leadership. When I began teaching at Nashville Northeast Elementary in 2015, I extended the organization and created the Beta Chapter. I’m proud to share Mu Phi Gamma has already made an impression on our campus. Currently the Beta Chapter is impacting 18 young men. The Mu Phi Gamma Rocketeers participate in community service projects, tutoring, brotherhood gatherings, awareness seminars and have even formed a step dance group.
If you asked me to name three of my favorite things, it would be challenging, maybe even impossible. However if you let me cheat a little, I would simply say books. Please just don’t make me say which three. That wouldn’t be fair to the others.
Growing up, my family had a Tuesday routine. Every week, for two hours, I felt like the luckiest girl.
Here at Rocketship, we strive to deliver personalized instruction to our Rocketeers, giving them the right level of academic support right when they need it. By strategically leveraging teacher-led instruction, in-class activities, small-group instruction and our suite of blended learning programs, we do our best to balance the modalities of learning and give every student the academic supports they need.
Zooming into our blended learning programs, you’ll find that we don’t just depend on one online program to meet all of the needs of our students. Rather, we utilize a suite of programs – our personalized learning toolbox. After putting these programs through methodical pilots, assessing their benefits based on a disciplined rubric and ensuring each fits into our suite, we’ve put together a group of programs that support our instructional model. Below, you’ll find an infographic that compares our online learning programs side-by-side and forms our comprehensive suite.
When one of my students, Sarah*, achieved the most growth in her grade, I wasn’t surprised. Her incredible drive to work hard always stood out; for a kindergartner, that level of dedication was unique for her. She came in wanting to learn and improve.
When Sarah also achieved one of the highest overall scorers on her middle and end of the school year assessments, I was in awe. Her success was a testament to how personalized learning, the right school environment and a dedicated team of educators can make an extraordinary difference in a child’s learning.
To eliminate the achievement gap in our lifetime, Rocketship continues to rethink what elementary schools could look and feel like. We continue to innovate and further personalize the learning experience for our Rocketeers, whether it’s whole-class instruction or individualized lessons using technology. Over the last eight years, our approach has evolved and this year is no different. Rocketship’s personalized learning team will pilot a number of programs to further refine our approach to meet the unique needs of each student. Our scientifically designed pilots will range from small ones testing specific areas to larger ones exploring large questions and critical ideas. Below, I describe a few of the primary pilots we’re planning. Though we’re still in the development stages, we’re excited to share our vision for what personalized learning can become at our schools.
The beginning of the school year is always full of excitement and new things: new starts, new classes, new students and new opportunities. After a restful summer break, chances are you’re jumping into the school year ready to try some new teaching strategies. Leveraging technology may be one of those strategies to push beyond differentiation and better personalize learning for your students. But before you dive deeply into the world of edtech tools and adaptive learning programs, make sure you spend enough time setting up for a culture where students are authentically invested in their learning.
We are Rocketeers because we believe in empathy and community. We have been at Rocketship Los Sueños Academy for five years and we can honestly say they have been extraordinary. Despite our different background experiences, our teachers at RLS taught us being different is not only interesting: it makes us special.