Rocketship Education is a network of public charter schools that was founded by John Danner and Preston Smith. Danner, a technological expert, emphasized personalized learning’s importance when it was founded in 2007. Combined with Smith’s experience in early childhood education, Rocketship Education quickly became a national leader in personalized education, made possible by customizing lessons and allowing students to work on their weaknesses outside of classroom lectures.
The California-based school network is different than most others. Its charter status allows each school to solicit investments from sources outside of nearby governments. Further, they’re also able to get grants and loans from government agencies, without having to follow the rigid rules of local governments. Most cities have directory boards of school members that outline rules for every school in large county or city limits must follow. Schools in low-income areas typically don’t meet the mold of these guidelines. As all of Rocketship Education’s 18 locations are not of economic advantage, they benefit from not sticking to arbitrary sets of rules that hold other K-5 institutions back.
RSED, short for Rocketship Education, is known for bringing high standardized test scores into the locations they inhabit. Several factors weigh into RSED’s quality instruction, which often beats out other public schools and even expensive private facilities.
Parents are included in interviews. With more than 15 years in K-5 instruction and administration, Preston Smith has recognized soliciting the help of parents as an effective way of screening out bad candidates. Parents are often more critical of who their students are around. When combined with administrators on group panels, Rocketship Education commonly weeds out teachers that can’t put in extra time to instruct students properly or aren’t wholly dedicated to student success.
The school even allows parents to meet candidates in the final round of interviews at community events, including dinners or local sports outings. In opposition to most schools hiring employees without consulting parents, entire schools of parents are asked of their opinions.
The nationwide network of elementary schools is slated to expand further in coming years, due in large part to its innovation, ranging from personalized education to parent-inclusive interviews.