In 2007, Silicon Valley entrepreneur, John Danner, and Preston Smith co-founded the Rocketship Education foundation. The two aimed at providing affordable quality education to students from poor localities. They also aimed at using education to solve the social issues that were rampant among the toxically stressed youths of these communities. The first elementary school was in San Jose. Today, a decade later, the foundation has created 25 schools across the nation. Here are some of the milestones the organization has attained in these years which set it apart from the other charters.
Thriving Without Private Funding
The government funds most chartered schools, but they have to supplement through private funding. However, the founders of Rocketship schools have remained true to their plan of making quality education affordable. They have designed a financial plan that ensures that after settling the start-up costs, the schools can sufficiently operate on government funding alone.
Overcoming Negative Publicity
Chartered public schools have been targets of critics since the first school opened. However, Rocketship Education’s schools have waged through the wave of negative publicity to win the support of key stakeholders in the community. Hastings Fund is one of the key stakeholders who have vowed to support the programs of Rocketship schools. The fund, owned solely by Netflix’s CEO, Reed Hastings, has promised to contribute towards the development of better classroom.
Parents are another class of stakeholders who have stood by the schools for many years. They trust the schools because they are actively involved in the institution’s activities. Rocketship schools are one of the rare schools where parents interview candidates for the teaching post. Consequently, the performance level in these schools is higher than zoned public schools.
High Teacher Retention Rate
Teaching in high poverty areas is not for those with a faint heart. Retaining them even for a single year is consequently not easy. However, Rocketship school’s attrition rate has remained within the accepted national standards. To prepare its teachers, the foundation spends a month before reopening of schools on professional training and development of its teachers. Since the foundation is continuously expanding, it quickly promotes its teachers.