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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Frustrated, Curious, Optimistic: How Teaching Social-Emotional Learning Benefits Students & Teachers

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by Alyssa Warren
Senior Associate, Rocketship Schools Team
Aiden and I started the year off strong. At our home visit before the school year had started, we played “Chutes and Ladders” and ate ice cream and he showed me all of his books, reading the title of every single one. He was a new first grader, excited to start at a new school with uniforms, multiple teachers, dancing, and his big brother across the hall. Aiden was a quick learner, eager to participate, and always winning new friends at recess with his bright eyes, wide smile, and silly jokes. Continue reading

Everyday Iterations

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by Stephen Pham
Manager, Personalized Learning

Throughout my time at Rocketship, I have been fortunate to both teach in our schools and work in a network support role. Now, as I coach school staff in the implementation of personalized learning, I get to thought partner with educators as they push and grow their practices just as I did in my classroom. 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

Turning Data Driven Instruction into Social Emotional Learning

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by Kate Laux
Assessment Coordinator 

As anyone who has worked with, loved, or even just watched teachers work would know, teachers work hard….really hard. They never stop, working an average of  nearly 11 hours a day according to a study by the Gates Foundation. There is always more to do for our wonderful, wacky little munchkins. Our students are a constant surprise and a never-ending joy that push us to long days and even longer weeks. Continue reading

Five Ways for School Leaders to Support Teachers

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by Adam Nadeau
Vice President, Personalized Learning and Achievement

Personalized learning and data-driven instruction have both become persistent in education dialogue, and I hear about them all the time.  At Rocketship, we deeply believe that every child’s education has to be personalized; a commitment to using data and assessments to individualize every child’s education, having the flexibility to convene groups of different sizes depending on the lesson, and a purposeful use of technology to enhance student learning and support classroom instruction is a large part of what makes our schools transformative. Continue reading

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

Student Success is a Team Effort

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by LaToya Fernandez
Teacher, Discovery Prep

Rocketship’s mission to eliminate the achievement gap lives in the hearts of our students, the tenacity of our teachers, the urgency of our school leaders and the collective sense of possibility within the entire Rocketship community. When folks inquire about Discovery Prep – is it a good school? Should I send my child here? What do you offer? – I don’t rattle off all the exceptional work students, teachers, parents and leaders do daily on our campus. Instead, I ask families to visit our classrooms, ask our students questions and see for themselves that when we talk about eliminating the achievement gap, we bring our weight to the game. Nowhere is this mission more apparent than in the story of Esmeralda Bonilla, a current fifth grade Rocketeer at Discovery Prep. Her story highlights what it takes to eliminate the achievement gap – not me, you, him, her, parent, leader or teacher, but rather, us. Together, we are eliminating the achievement gap. 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