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

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.

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A Job Interview With Parents Transformed My Career

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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.

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A Dream Realized: From Undocumented to Graduate to Teacher, What I Learned at Rocketship Discovery Prep

by Angelica Del Rio
First Grade Literacy Teacher, Rocketship Discovery Prep

I never thought I’d get here. I never thought I’d be legally allowed to stay in this country, be a college graduate, or be a teacher. Coming originally from Tijuana, Mexico, when I was one year old, my family immigrated to San Jose.  We scraped by those first few years. We crammed eight people into a two bedroom apartment. My father was always working, trying to keep food on the table and saving up so we could move into our own home. When I turned five, my dad bought our first house.

I started school that same year. I went to a nearby school in the neighborhood. It was great and I got good grades. But everything changed when I got to middle school. My parents were no longer able to help me with my homework but they still expected me to earn straight A’s. My dad would tell me “You only have one job. Your job is to go to school and get good grades. My job is to work to give you food and shelter so you can bring those excellent grades home.” I was so scared to disappoint my family. I did not know how to study, so I memorized everything by writing it down on a paper. I would read what I wrote to myself and I would go to sleep repeating what I had written from my books. My grades improved but I’m not sure I really learned much in middle school. In high school, things got a little better. I did well in math and science, but I hated English. I understand the pain that many of my students have when they are not able to write or say something grammatically correct in English.

Sparking Creative Classroom Solutions Through Teacher Innovation



by Beyond Editorial Staff

Helping fourth graders access and understand the news. Increasing personalization in kinder STEM classes. These are just some examples of how our creative Rocketship teachers used funds they won in our first ever round of ‘Innovation Grants.’ This grant, sponsored by the Achievement and Operations Teams, awarded 5 different grants to help Rocketship staff innovate and solve important challenges that impact our Rocketeers. The grants were aimed at projects that identify specific, “bite-size” issues and include innovative and scalable solutions to solving the issues. 12 staff members, from teachers to enrichment coordinators to office managers, applied for this inaugural round of funding.  Here are some examples of the winners…

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‘We’re With You’: Fourth Graders Learn Empathy Through Art


by Briana Burtsell, Rocketship United Academy Art Enrichment Coordinator and Visual Art Instructor

Walking into the lobby of the Nashville Ronald McDonald House you know immediately that this is a welcoming place for kids. Brightly colored walls, comfortable seating, beautiful art, and a big kids play area fill the space. The problem is that families staying at the Ronald McDonald House spend most of their days in the hospital with their child and their nights in the individual family rooms, not in the lobby. The family rooms have not been brightened and decorated like the rest of the house, but instead remain grey and bare. Continue reading

5 Ways to Celebrate Earth Week in the Classroom

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

Personalized Learning in the Classroom Comes in Many Forms

by Keya Lamba
Senior Associate, Personalized Learning

At Rocketship, we have always valued personalized learning as a core part of our instruction, integrating blended learning programs into our instructional model to meet the needs of each and every Rocketeer.

In a typical classroom, you will see one teacher teaching the same content to 25-30 students. In this whole group structure, it is near impossible to tell what content every student is comprehending and what gaps in understanding specific students may have. At Rocketship, we define personalized learning as an instructional approach where whole group instruction is more purposefully utilized (i.e. social-emotional lessons that are developmentally appropriate and require a large group or team), and Rocketeers engage in learning that is targeted to their individual academic and personal needs. While technology allows us to efficiently assign aligned conteIMG_5878nt and track growth, online tools do not solely define our personalized learning model. Rather, the authentic partnership of teacher insights, student agency, online tools, and data systems allow us to really give each learner what they need to succeed. Thus, personalized learning lives in all parts of the day, including, but not limited to: small group instruction, peer group projects, pull out groups with ISE (Integrated Special Education) specialist, leveled homework, Tier II interventions in the Learning Lab, and online learning programs (OLPs).
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March Math Madness

by Heidy Shinn

Prinipal, Rocketship Sí Se Puede Academy

 “Go down deep enough into anything and you will find mathematics.” – Dean Schlicter

When it comes to STEM education, the case for curiosity and exploration often gets lost in the traditional classroom. At Rocketship we believe in encouraging our student’s appetite for learning by igniting their curiosity and allowing them to experience learning. Last month for example, Rocketeers at Si Se Puede Academy found the connection between math and basketball during the NCAA March Madness tournament as they were transformed into court-side statisticians at the SAP Center in San Jose.

We caught up with Si Se Puede Principal Heidy Shin to find out more about this March Math Madness. Check out her story below. 

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