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Rocketship Encourages Creativity and Problem Solving with Hour of Code

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by LaToya Fernandez
Social Justice and Culture Teacher, Rocketship Discovery Prep

Rocketship is celebrating Computer Science Education Week (December 5-11) this month by hosting the global learning movement, Hour of Code, in our classrooms for a second year. Last year we noticed that our students went from video gamers to video game designers, and discovering algorithms was just as exciting as discovering cheat codes to defeat virtual opponents. Rocketship is continuously integrating enriching programs into our students’ learning to gain both exposure and opportunities for our communities. We are excited to host the event again this year, and want to continue to give our students the tools they need to take tech advancement to the next level and represent their communities at the forefront of the coding movement.

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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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New Study Finds Rocketship Graduates are a Year Ahead of Their Peers

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by Preston Smith
Co-Founder and CEO

When we launched Rocketship ten years ago, we decided to focus exclusively on elementary school. We believed that if we helped our Rocketeers build a solid foundation in those early years, they would thrive in middle school, high school and beyond.

But those tween years are tough. Navigating new social codes can wreak havoc on a student’s self-esteem. And learning how to manage a radical shift in academic independence takes time to develop. There’s no doubt that middle school is one of the most challenging transitions in a student’s academic journey.

So we decided it was time to examine how our Rocketeer alumni perform in middle school. We engaged SRI International, an independent nonprofit research center, to conduct a three-year study on the performance of our Rocketeers in middle school.  This study followed nearly 2,000 students in seven San Jose middle schools with high concentrations of Rocketship graduates. SRI rigorously compared academic performance, socio-emotional skills, and student confidence navigating the middle school transition between Rocketeer alumni and their peers in middle school.

The results are in. Rocketeers are a year ahead of their classmates in math and reading after the first and second years of middle school.

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Our Response to NPR “Hit Piece”

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by Preston Smith
Co-Founder & CEO, Rocketship Education

Last Friday, NPR’s Education blog published what many are calling a “hit piece” on Rocketship Education. As co-founder and CEO, I am used to anti-charter attacks like this. But my staff and parents are not. They flooded my inbox over the weekend with outrage over the voices missing from this story. As for the voices included in the story, 6 of the 9 named Rocketship sources contacted me to express their frustration over how NPR’s blogger mischaracterized their comments.

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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
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Rocketship’s 2014 – 2015 Year in Review

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by Preston Smith
Co-Founder & CEO

As I look back on the 2014-2015 school year, I am humbled by the amazing accomplishments of our teachers, leaders, parents, and Rocketeers. In San Jose, Rocketship families convened the first-ever mayoral forum organized by parents advocating for high-quality schools of choice. In Nashville, our inaugural class of Rocketeers earned the second highest growth score of all 73 elementary schools in the city. In Milwaukee, our teachers and leaders are redefining excellence in a city with robust choice but limited quality. And above all else, Rocketeers across our network averaged 1.7 years of academic growth in math and 1.5 years of academic growth in English Language Arts. This is what gap-closing student growth looks like.  And while I know we can do even better in the school year already underway, I am incredibly proud of the impact we made in the lives of nearly 6,000 Rocketeers in the 2014-2015 school year.

Take a look at our Year in Review and I think you’ll see why now more than ever, I am convinced that together, we can eliminate the achievement gap in our lifetime.

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Rocketeers Beat the Odds on California State Assessment

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by Preston Smith
Co-Founder & CEO

This month, California released results of the new Smarter Balanced Assessment System. The first year of this more rigorous assessment exposes the severity of the achievement gap in California. But it also shows that our Rocketeers continue to beat the odds with strong academic achievement. Continue reading

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Strengthening our Ward 8 Community from the Ground Up: It Starts with Education

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by Anthony Lorenzo Green
ANC Commissioner 8B04
Washington, DC

For many Ward 8 families in the District of Columbia, finding the best school for your child can be a challenging endeavor. Great schools that go above and beyond are rare in many neighborhoods east of the Anacostia River. On the whole, DC has experienced an educational renaissance with significant progress in both the traditional public and public charter school systems. Many schools are realizing groundbreaking achievements. However, we are still far from equal access to great schools across all eight wards of the District. Families should not have to decide between a failing neighborhood school and sending a child across town for a decent education. Every community deserves excellent educational opportunities in their neighborhood. Continue reading

Teacher Voice

How Teacher Voice Can Shape School Networks & Districts

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by Sheena Shirakhon
Assistant Principal, Sí Se Puede Academy

Teachers spend more than one thousand hours with their students each year. We make deliberate and conscious decisions for every lesson we teach. Everything in our classrooms – from the anchor charts and desk arrangements to lesson hooks and essay topics – are decisions we make to ensure our kids thrive and realize their incredible potential. It is key for teachers to have the autonomy to make these choices in our classrooms, but it is also imperative that we have a voice in the decision making at the school and network or district level. Continue reading

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SRI International Study Finds Rocketship Alumni Outperform their Peers

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by Preston Smith
Co-Founder & CEO

Middle School has often been described as the “Black Hole” in education. These critical years are filled with challenges ranging from the academic to the social and emotional. It is a time of great transition and often where the achievement gap between students widens. Continue reading

Daniel Lurie

Investing in Education & Breaking the Cycle of Poverty

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by Daniel Lurie
Founder & CEO, Tipping Point Community

At Tipping Point Community, we pursue one relentless goal: To fight poverty in the Bay Area. We aim to provide game-changing resources to the 1.3 million people too poor to meet their basic needs here in our community, one of the most affluent regions in the world.

We take a comprehensive approach to poverty alleviation and invest in four key areas: education, employment, housing and health. Of these, we know that providing high-quality education is one of the best ways to break the cycle of poverty for good. When an individual graduates from college, he or she doubles their lifetime earnings, and paves the way for future generations of their families to pursue the path to and through college. Continue reading