“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…Trayvon Martin. We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal… Tamir Rice. We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal…Jordan Davis. …Michael Brown. …Sandra Bland. …LaQuan McDonald…
Trayvon, Tamir, Jordan, Mike, Sandra and LaQuan were not Rocketeers – but they could have been. Each day in our schools, we engage in deep, passionate work as educators to advance the life trajectories of students of color who live in zip codes that are still not deemed “equal” in the eyes of society. We absorb heartbreaking stories of life trials that our families face each day and yet continue to strive toward greatness for our Rocketeers and their families. So, how do we do it? How do we enter schools and office buildings each day with the stain of Trayvon, Tamir, Jordan, and so many more imprinted on our hearts? We follow the legacy and leadership of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – that’s how.
“Investing in high-quality, learning-friendly elementary schools is the first step in lifting student achievement nationwide,” tennis legend Andre Agassi said on Tuesday to a crowd of Rocketeers and community members. “This new investment in Nashville will make a difference for thousands of young people, empowering them to continue on to college and realize their full potential.”
Agassi’s remarks followed eager Rocketeers joining together to share their school’s creed (loud and proud, of course) to kick off United Academy’s ribbon cutting ceremony. Continue reading
Two months ago, families from south Nashville came together for a special evening. It was cold and windy, so we gathered under a tent and dove into an important task: naming Rocketship Nashville’s newest school. After some deliberation and a family vote, our community settled on Rocketship United Academy. After much anticipation, on July 28, United Academy opened its doors for the founding families. Four hundred kindergarten through fourth grade students, clad in Rocketship purple shirts, began their journey as Rocketeers. Continue reading
School’s out, sun’s out, now it’s time for your family to get out! Take a tech break and reconnect with nature at some of our favorite outdoor spots in each of our regions. From one-of-a-kind parks to nature preserves to outdoor performances, there are countless ways for your whole family to stay active, learn something new and rekindle your love for the great outdoors.
Looking to beat the heat? Check out our favorite indoor activities that will keep kids’ brains active and engaged throughout the summer.
With so many amazing programs offered in our communities, it’s hard to keep track of them all! That’s why we did the work for you. Research shows students risk regression during summer months, and what better way to keep that brain healthy than by finding fun ways to learn in your local area? We hand-picked our three favorite activities in each of our regions to stretch your student’s thinking this summer.
These summer activities will help you beat the heat indoors, but don’t miss our recommendations to get your family outside!
As this school year comes to a close in Tennessee, Rocketship Nashville Northeast (RNNE) continues to welcome new students. Anyone who has ever worked in a similar urban environment knows that relatively high student mobility is par for the course. Even at this late stage of the school year, when students join RNNE, they are greeted immediately by Principal Christa Thomas. She is one of the first people new Rocketeers meet and, with a mixture of sincere care and stern expectations, she welcomes them into the Rocketship family. Her blend of care and high expectations comes as a direct result of her own past and recent history.
Though Christa is a sweet southern girl, hailing from Statesboro, GA, she came to Rocketship after spending several years working in south Chicago. In her brief time as leader of Rocketship’s first Nashville school, it’s clear her drive to eliminate the achievement gap is not just a matter of professional pride, it’s a part of her personal, and even spiritual, journey. I had the opportunity to sit down with Ms. Thomas to learn more about her path to Nashville and what “Rethinking elementary school from the ground up” means to her. Continue reading
It’s like a Dan Brown novel.
Here’s the plot: some elusive, nefarious villain – let’s call it the Achievement Gap League – has cleverly distributed the key to the world’s most pressing puzzle – Kids’ Success – among disparate parties, each party unaware the other is in possession of this sweet knowledge. To break the code, and stop the Achievement Gap League, all parties have to find each other, to share their nuggets of knowledge and arrange them in the right way. Here’s the catch, the Dan Brown twist: you don’t know if you’ve broken the code until years later. Continue reading
The next time you’re in Nashville, I want to take you to visit 320 Plus Park Boulevard. That’s where we recently started the full-scale renovation of a building that will house the second Rocketship elementary school in Nashville next fall. (For those keeping tally – that’s two schools opening in the past two years, set to serve nearly 1,000 Rocketeers in total). I expect that in the coming months I’ll write more about the surrounding neighborhood as our team deepens roots in the community, but as it’s only January, I wanted to write a little about what it means to be the first expanding Rocketship region outside of the Bay Area. Continue reading
“What do you think this is – break time?! We’ve got holes to dig, nails to hammer!” I gruffed at a small gentleman peering into the job site. Continue reading
I was back in my old stomping grounds: Union University. Three years after I had graduated, I returned to speak at a memorial service for the EF-4 tornado that damaged or destroyed 80% of the campus in 2008. I had been trapped under the rubble until rescuers excavated me out. As I walked into the service, my phone rang. It was my executive director back in Memphis calling me. It was a school night. Continue reading