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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Telemundo Toma un Vistazo a Rocketship

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by Beyond Editorial Team
Bay Area

Nuestras puertas están siempre abiertas en Rocketship, donde damos la bienvenida a las familias, visitantes e invitados especiales durante todo el día, todos los días. El 13 de abril, le dimos la bienvenida a Telemundo para transmitir su programa de noticias en vivo  en una de nuestras escuelas. En el transcurso de la hora, Telemundo destacó tres programas que hacen Rocketship Discovery Prep una escuela de mejor desempeño para los estudiantes en el este de San José. En caso de que no lo pudo verlo e en vivo a las 6:00 am el 13 de abril, estamos compartiendo cada uno de esos segmentos aquí.

Lighting a Spark: Rocketship Inspires Innovative School Network in South Africa

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by Preston Smith & Bailey Thomson
Co-Founder & CEO, Rocketship Education
Director of School Design, SPARK Schools; Teacher and Rising Leader, Rocketship Mateo Sheedy, 2010-2012

From Preston:

I was recently invited to present at the Global Schools Forum. My first instinct was to (politely) pass up the invitation. The forum was largely focused on education in the developing world, which I know very little about. But after further conversations with the forum organizers, I learned that they knew a lot about Rocketship. What’s more, their attendees were eager to learn from our model – and to explore how to hack it to serve communities in some of the poorest places on earth. And while we are squarely focused on eliminating the achievement gap in the United States, I realized that if we can make even a small dent in the global education crisis by inspiring others to learn from and adapt our model, surely it was worth a few days of knowledge-sharing.

What we are all working toward in the United States with education reform is transformative in so many ways, and inspires others across the globe. Case in point: SPARK Schools, a network modeled on Rocketship, which is now demonstrating what is possible for kids and families in South Africa. The Economist recently profiled SPARK Schools and asserted “the most important thing that schools like SPARK can do is nurture aspiration in more South African children than (just) the offspring of the elite.”

I reconnected with SPARK at the forum and asked one of its founders, former Rocketship teacher and emerging leader  Bailey Thomson, to share her journey from San Jose to South Africa. Her story is powerful proof of the impact that all of us are making as leaders on the front lines of a global movement to create universal access to excellent education for all kids. Continue reading

Coding for the Future: Hour of Code

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by LaToya Fernandez
Teacher, Discovery Prep

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. Continue reading

Q&A with Michael Horn

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by Stephen Pham
Senior Associate, Personalized Learning

What does the future of public education look like? Few know better than Michael B. Horn. Co-founder of Clayton Christensen Institute, an innovative think-tank, and author of the award-winning book Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns and the Amazon-bestseller Blended: Using Disruptive Innovation to Improve Schools, Horn is an expert on educational innovation, blended learning, competency-based learning and how to reconstruct the education system to center around students. Read on to find out Horn’s take on the evolving role of teachers, the necessary shifts in teacher preparation programs and how blended learning will transform the future of schools. Continue reading

A Look into our Personalized Learning Toolbox

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by Stephen Pham
Senior Associate, Personalized Learning

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.

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Getting Started with Blended Learning

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by Stephen Pham
Senior Associate, Personalized Learning

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. Continue reading

Blended Learning Rocketship

The Student’s Perspective on EdTech

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by Stephen Pham
Teacher, Sí Se Puede Academy

After a long school year of planning, teaching and more, the month of June has arrived – when we not only take time away from school to rejuvenate, but we also reflect on the past year. Though I will do a lot of reflecting myself, I decided I would get some help from those with the most important opinions of all – the students. Continue reading

What is a Teacher’s Role in a Personalized Classroom?

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by Stephen Pham
Teacher, Sí Se Puede Academy

The title of teacher has never given justice to the countless roles an educator actually plays. Teachers do more than just teach. We coach. We listen. We plan. We cheer. When a student feels down or alone, we come to their side and help them overcome their struggles. When a student makes a bad choice and hurts others, we help them understand their actions and learn from their mistakes. Teachers balance many responsibilities, so it’s difficult to define the official job description. Continue reading

Rocketship Personalized Learning

How Data Drives Personalized Instruction in My Class

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by Stephen Pham
Teacher, Sí Se Puede Academy

There’s no doubt that teaching is overwhelming. Educators are responsible for the academic achievement of anywhere between 15 to 150 children, all of whom start the year at different levels and learn in very different ways. Furthermore, as many education experts are saying, the tired, old school model of pushing kids through a one-sized-fits all factory-like system, moving through grade levels as if in different stages of production, is failing to meet the individual needs of our youth. Continue reading

Blended Learning: It’s Not the Tech, It’s How the Tech is Used

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by Preston Smith
Co-Founder & CEO

Since the 1970s we’ve known of Moore’s Law, which states the processing power of computers will double every two years. Forty years later, computers are presumably a million times more powerful. The education world is finally beginning to harness this power, taking us far beyond the origins of computer labs where students clicked away at the Oregon Trail and practiced word processing. Finally, we’re starting to reach a point where adaptive online programs engage students with rigorous academic content at their exact level while providing teachers with detailed data, allowing us to better group students and meet their unique needs. Continue reading