Unidos en la diversidad: Hispanic Heritage Month 2017

Standard
by Beyond Editorial Team

This Hispanic Heritage Month, we’d like to honor the diversity we find at all our Rocketship schools, and pay tribute to the rich and varied latinx culture that contributes to our greater community all year long. Check out the below photos for a look into how our schools have been celebrating!

Este Mes de la Herencia Hispana, rendimos homenaje a la gran diversidad que se encuentra en todas las escuelas de Rocketship, y a la diversa cultura latinx que nos enriquese tanto. Le invitamos a echar un vistazo abajo a algunas de las fotos que vienen directas de las celebraciones que tuvieron nuestras escuelas este mes. Continue reading

Rocketship Ranks in the Top 10%, Again

Standard
by Preston Smith
Co-Founder and CEO, Rocketship Public Schools

I am proud to report that our Rocketeers in the Bay Area outpaced students in every community we serve and across the state on the 2016-17 California state assessment! 

In math, 54% of our Rocketeers met or exceeded state standards compared to just 40% across the state and 38% across the districts we serve. The state average improved just one percentage point while Rocketship moved up three points. In ELA, 44% of our Rocketeers met or exceeded state standards – which puts our network on par with the state average. The state did not improve upon last year’s average in ELA while Rocketship moved up three points.

Nearly 9 out of 10 Rocketeers in the Bay Area are classified as low-income. These are the students that underperforming public schools have let fall behind for far too long. To track our progress toward eliminating the achievement gap, we pay close attention to how our low-income students perform compared to similar students across the state and local districts.

Rocketship is once again in the top 10% of all California elementary school districts and charter schools in both math and English Language Arts (ELA) performance among low-income students.

CA_16-17_Top_10%_v04.0

In ELA, 42% of Rocketeers classified as low-income met or exceeded state standards – ten points ahead of the state average of 32%. 

In math, 52% of Rocketeers classified as low-income met or exceeded California state standards – nearly double the state average of 27%. Notably, our low-income Rocketeers beat the California state average for all students by 12 points!  This is what it looks like to eliminate the achievement gap! 

Standardized test results are just one measure of achievement and can’t fully capture all the components of academic success. Yet state tests provide an objective and comparative view of the quality of our schools. They shine a light on the persistent achievement gap in our communities and help us hold schools accountable to serving all students with the excellence that every student deserves.

We have more work ahead to get every single Rocketeer on a college bound path, but we are proud of the progress our Rocketeers are making. Year-after-year, our low-income Rocketeers outperform the state average for all students in math. In ELA, our low-income Rocketeers are now just 3 points behind the state average for all students – cutting that gap in half.

Of course, we’re not aiming for average. Our Rocketeers deserve an excellent education and we won’t settle for anything less. 


Preston co-founded Rocketship Public Schools in San Jose in 2006. Prior to founding Rocketship, Preston was founder and Principal of LUCHA Elementary School, part of the Alum Rock Unified School District in San Jose, CA. After its first three years of operation, LUCHA was the fourth highest performing low-income elementary school in California. Preston began his career in education as a Teaching for America (TFA) Corps member at Clyde Arbuckle Elementary School (CA). In 2003, Preston was named “Teacher of the Year” at Arbuckle and was nominated as one of six finalists for TFA’s Sue Lehmann award, given to TFA corps members with the highest academic classroom gains in the nation. Preston is also an Aspen New Schools Fellow. He lives in San Jose with his wife and two children who attend Rocketship Fuerza Community Prep.

 

 

Parents Must Understand Growth Scores to Make Sense of Student Progress

Standard
by James Robinson
Principal, Rocketship United Academy

This op-ed originally appeared in The Tennessean on September 26, 2017.

Most schools across Tennessee recently learned how much academic progress their students made last year. But elementary schools in Davidson County will have to wait another year to see how much growth their students achieve in a school year.

This means when the rest of the TNReady results are finally released this fall, the focus on our elementary schools will be solely on student proficiency.

But there is another assessment that most Nashville public schools are now using to track student progress – the NWEA Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) – which can tell us how much individual student growth has occurred during the school year. Continue reading

The First Day of School in Photos/ El Primer Día de Clases en Fotos: 2017/18

Standard
by Beyond Editorial Team

Nervous smiles and butterflies. Brand new backpacks and future friendships. The first day of school is filled with emotions for students, teachers and families alike. Above all it is filled with hope. Hope for a new year of growth, change, and learning. From the first day of school to the last, each and every Rocketeer walks into our classrooms with the potential for greatness. And it is our responsibility as teachers, parents, and school leaders to unleash that potential.

This year is full of new beginnings. We opened Rocketship Partners Community Prep in Nashville, and Rocketship Legacy Prep in Washington, DC. Rocketship Futuro Academy in Concord got new space, and we celebrated our first 10 years. What did the first day of school look like across our 18 schools? Our families across the country sent us their photos, and while we can’t share them all, here is a taste of what a Rocketship first day of school looks like:

Sonrisas nerviosas y mariposas. Nuevas mochilas y amistades. El primer día de clases siempre está lleno de emoción, tanto para los estudiantes como para sus familias y maestros. Es un día lleno de esperanza. Esperanza para un año nuevo de crecimiento, transformación y aprendizaje. Desde el primer día hasta el último, cada Rocketeer que entra en nuestras puertas tiene el potencial para ser extraordinario. Y es nuestra responsabilidad como maestros, padres y líderes escolares liberar ese potencial. 

Para nosotros en Rocketship, ha sido un año de nuevos comienzos. Hemos abierto Rocketship Partners Community Prep en Nashville y Rocketship Legacy Prep en Washington, DC. Rocketship Futuro Academy en Concord consiguió un nuevo espacio, y hemos celebrado nuestros primeros 10 años. ¿Cómo fue el primer día del año escolar en nuestras 18 escuelas? Nuestras familias nos mandaron sus fotos, y aunque no podemos compartirlas todas, aquí está una muestra de como es un primer día de clases en Rocketship:

Continue reading

10 Lessons From Rocketship’s First 10 Years

Standard
by Preston Smith
Co-Founder and CEO, Rocketship Public Schools

*This post originally appeared on The 74 Million

Ten years ago, we opened the first Rocketship school in a church in San Jose, California. Although we’ve made remarkable impact in the communities we serve, Rocketship Education is still a work in progress — we’re always learning how to better serve our students and communities. And we’ve definitely learned a few things during our first decade. Here are 10 lessons from our first 10 years: Continue reading

10 consejos para padres: mejorar el tiempo de pantalla

Standard
by the Beyond Editorial Team

En Rocketship sabemos que la tecnología puede ser una herramienta educativa poderosa cuando se usa de forma correcta. La tecnología no debe ser un sustituto de maestros, sino que debe complementar el aprendizaje ayudando a los estudiantes a aprender a su propio ritmo y fomentar su afición por el aprendizaje. Somos muy intencionales con el contenido digital que ponemos delante de nuestros estudiantes. Desarrollamos e investigamos rigurosamente los programas de aprendizaje en línea que usan nuestros Rocketeers.  Pero ¿en sus hogares?

Continue reading

10 Smart Tips for Parents: Turn Screen Time into Learning Time

Standard
by the Beyond Editorial Team

At Rocketship we know that when used in the right way, technology can be a powerful educational tool. Online tools should not replace any time with a teacher, rather they should complement classroom learning by helping students learn at their own pace and develop ownership over their learning. We are very purposeful about the digital content we put in front of our students, and rigorously develop and research the adaptive online learning programs our Rocketeers use. But what about at home?

In this new digital age, many parents feel overwhelmed when it comes to navigating devices, screen-time, and technology with their kids at home. With so much out there, parents often ask us for advice on how to ensure their students are using media and technology in a safe and meaningful way.  That is why we created this infographic for parents with 10 easy tips about managing screen time at home. We also vetted some of the best educational apps and websites out there, so that parents can turn screen time into learning time!

Check out the resources below, and feel free to download, print, and share with other families who want to make the most out of screen time at home.

Continue reading

A Job Interview With Parents Transformed My Career

Standard
by Joshua Pacos
Founding Principal, Rocketship DC

After spending the better part of the past decade teaching and working in charter schools in Washington D.C. and California, I thought I had it pretty well figured out. Then, while I was searching for a new public school leadership opportunity in 2014, I met four parents who – quite frankly – changed the course of my life and what I thought was possible in education. Continue reading

Last Day of School in Photos: Ending 2016/17 Strong

Standard
by Beyond Editorial Team
Just a few, short weeks ago, we finished the 2016/17 school year strong. Nearly 1,700 Rocketeers started this year behind and ended the year performing at or above grade level. The grit, persistence, and ganas of our students, teachers, and families is putting our Rocketeers on the path to college and beyond, and that is something to celebrate. And celebrate we did! Below are some incredible photos taken by our families from the last days of the school year, as their Rocketeers graduated from one grade level and move on to the next. Though we can’t share all of them, enjoy some Rocketeer cheer, and get ready for 2017/18! Congratulations Rocketeers, you earned it.

Continue reading

Beyond a Buzzword: How This Co-Teaching Model is Driving Meaningful Inclusion

Standard
by Genevieve Thomas
Vice President, Integrated Special Education

“Rocketship serves all students.” It’s a fundamental principle that drives Rocketship’s approach to meaningful inclusion of students with diverse learning needs in our schools. Ask any visitor to a Rocketship classroom and they will tell you that they see this philosophy play out in the diversity of learners in each and every school. It means that every cohort of Rocketeers consists of students of all abilities and disabilities, learning alongside each other in the general education setting supported by a team of Rocketship educators. Continue reading

From Expectation to Acceptance, My Journey To College Started At Rocketship Mateo Sheedy

Standard
by Maya Diaz
2007-2010 Rocketship Mateo Sheedy Elementary

Ten years ago, I was in third grade. I started at a new school that year that I really liked. I had great teachers and we started every day singing and dancing together. It was a good year, but I had no idea that it would make such an incredible impact on my future. But looking back now, that is when it all started. That is when I started thinking about college, dreaming about my future, and dedicating myself to reach my goals.

Ten years later, I was accepted to the best public university in the nation: The University of California – Berkeley. My path to college wasn’t easy. Only one person in my family graduated high school. Nobody in my family even applied to college or knew what it would take to get accepted. But way back when I was just nine years old, my family put me on the path to college when they enrolled me in Rocketship Mateo Sheedy Elementary.

This was the very first year of the very first Rocketship school. Our school was in a church in downtown San Jose. But what I remember most about my time at Rocketship is my teachers and what they taught me. I loved all my teachers at Rocketship, however, my favorites were Ms. Guerrero and Mr. Nadeau. These two teachers made an incredible impact on my education and my life.

Continue reading

5 Ways to Celebrate Earth Week in the Classroom

Standard
by Beyond Editorial Staff

Earth Week is an opportunity to educate our youngest citizens around environmental awareness. At Rocketship, we prepare our students to be successful, empathetic, and persistent change makers both inside and outside of the classroom. Check out these five ways our Rocketeers celebrated Earth Week this year, and get some ideas for how you can implement environmental awareness in your classroom. Continue reading