There’s no shortage of stories about the achievement gap that exists between low income students and students from more fortunate communities. Rocketship Education, however, doesn’t just talk about closing the gap; they find ways to do it. The non-profit runs public charter schools around the country to intervene in disadvantaged communities and provide innovative alternatives to traditional public schools. They do this by taking steps that bring families and schools together and help them overcome the obstacles that low income communities face.
One way that Rocketship Schools does this is by helping their students’ families get through natural disasters. In San Jose, Rocketship helped many families find housing when the Coyote Creek flooded and destroyed their homes. Rocketship-affiliated schools in Washington D.C. did the same, working to create a disaster relief fund in partnership with Catholic Charities to raise $62,000 to help families with the costs of replacing clothing and supplies or rental deposits after flooding damaged their homes.
One of Rocketship’s innovative practices is to forge close ties between their teachers and the families of their students. Teachers are required to visit students in their homes to see firsthand the history and challenges that each face in their daily life. This helps Rocketship’s teachers create personalized lesson plans that take into consideration each student’s specific needs. These and other practices combine to make Rocketship schools excel compared to public schools, with English and math scores that outperform traditional classrooms.
Rocketship Education is a non-profit organization that helps run public charter schools in the California Bay Area, Milwaukee, Nashville, and Washington, D.C. They represent a cooperative of teachers, parents, and community leaders with a mission to help low income students reach their full potentials. They list their core values to include authenticity, community, and innovation, and build their schools on the foundation of three pillars of personalized learning, talent development, and parent power.