First Day of School in Pictures for the 2016-2017 School Year

by BEYOND Editorial Team

School started for our Rocketeers in Nashville, Milwaukee, DC and the Bay Area just a few weeks ago and we got some incredible pictures from our families! Though we can’t share all of them, below is a smattering of pictures of our Rocketeers getting excited for school, walking into their classes, or enjoying Launch.

Thank you to everyone who sent in pictures on Facebook and Instagram. Please keep them coming – we want to follow your Rocketeers’ success all year round!

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An Inclusive Special Education Program = Endless Possibilities

by Ally Von Ruden
Integrated Special Education teacher, Southside Community Prep

When I tell people that I am a special education teacher, I get all sorts of questions and comments. The most common one is, “How do you do that? I give you so much credit; I could never do that. ”

The truth is: it does take patience. Every day. But  I do it because the rewards are so great. Every day. Nothing beats the feeling of your students blasting beyond their goals. When I have challenging days or find my patience wearing thin, I think of my students and their many successes. Michael, a K5 (pre-K) student often comes to mind. Continue reading

A Beautiful Partnership: Rocketship & Special Olympics

by Hannah Gray
Integrated Special Education Teacher, Mosaic Elementary

From football to table tennis, sports are unifying experiences that give students and adults alike the opportunity to practice discipline, teamwork and humility. Too often, though, students with disabilities are left out of their local community or school sports teams. With a focus on inclusion both in school and in the community for all students, Rocketship is thrilled to be the first schools in Santa Clara County to partner with the Special Olympics, a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide athletic opportunities for children and adults with disabilities.  Continue reading

An Inclusive Model for All Students | Part 3: License to Learn

by Julie Vu
Rocketship Parent

Editor’s note: In the final segment of our SIP series, we’re publishing a letter from Julie Vu, a Rocketship parent, written to Ms. Gray, the moderate-to-severe special education teacher at Mosaic Elementary. Bond is a Rocketeer in our Specialized Inclusion Program (SIP), which supports students with more severe learning disabilities. The letter has been slightly modified for clarity and length. Special thanks to Julie for allowing us to share her letter for Beyond’s readers. Continue reading

An Inclusive Model for All Students | Part 2: Bryan’s Story

by Genevieve Thomas & Caitlin Gallagher
Director of Integrated Special Education & School Psychologist

Last month, we discussed our Specialized Inclusion Program (SIP) as a piece to solving the puzzle of creating great schools for all learners. Over the last year, we have seen the supports put in place by the SIP program influence great academic and social change in students with severe learning needs.  One student we’ve both had the pleasure of getting to know through our SIP program is Bryan. Continue reading

An Inclusive Model for All Students | Part 1

by Genevieve Thomas & Caitlin Gallagher
Director of Integrated Special Education & School Psychologist

At Rocketship, we are striving to eliminate the achievement gap within our lifetime. We know, though, that the achievement gap touches many aspects of our country’s approach to education, including our interactions with and programs for students with special needs. Read more to learn how we’re rethinking our approach to serving all students through innovative new practices. Continue reading

No One Can do it Alone

by Logan Juve Janicula
Integrated Special Education Coach, Associate Editor ➟ BEYOND

I can see it now – the bold, black letters etched in stencil: Ms. Juve, A3. My first classroom door was heavy, painted a dark forest green and squeaky when opened. In those moments before I met my students on the first day of my first year of teaching, I imagined that door as a threshold over which my 15 students with mild to moderate disabilities would pass to gain access to a world of rich, rigorous, engaging academic content. It was through that door, I was convinced, that students would develop into masters of education, advocates for their learning and passionate lifelong learners. Continue reading

Rocketship Education student

Learning, Growing and Sustaining for our Rocketeers

by Preston Smith
Co-Founder & CEO

In 2007, Rocketship Education embarked on an ambitious mission: Build a public elementary school network that would scale across the country in order to eliminate the achievement gap in our lifetime. Continue reading

To our Students: the Leaders of Today & Tomorrow.


Editor’s Note: Kristina Pham, one of our talented special education teachers, started an after-school Leadership Academy this year for some of her fourth and fifth grade students at Los Sueńos. Now, she is a top ten finalist for the Symantec Innovation in Teaching Awards. We asked Kristina to share a little about why she started the Academy and — most importantly — how its impacted her students.

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When Student Abilities Outshine Disabilities

by Caitlin Adams
First Grade Teacher

As visitors enter our classroom, it’s not uncommon for them to look around and not be able to find me at first glance. It’s also not uncommon for one of my first graders to meet their confused look with a pointed finger, showing them where, among the students, I am crouching. I am not exactly sure when it was I started crouching by students’ desks, but the faded knees of my pants suggest that I have been teaching this way for a long time. It didn’t take me long to realize, in order to make academic content accessible for every student, I had to find a way to get down on their level, I had to find a way to differentiate academic content. Continue reading

Autism Awareness Month

Autism Awareness Month Resources for Educators & Parents

by Caitlin Gallagher & Genevieve Thomas
School Psychologist, Ed.S | Director of Integrated Special Education

The month of April is Autism Awareness Month, dedicated to educating the public about autism and issues within the autism community.  Currently, approximately one in 68 children is diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder*.  We educate children with ASD in every one of our Rocketship schools, and this month we are excited to share a selection of our favorite resources for teachers and families. Continue reading