Rocketship Education has “schoolteachers,” my son says

At the Rocketship Education information session yesterday, we watched a new video about Rocketship’s learning model and expansion plans. My five-year-old son is learning to read and couldn’t resist saying all the headings out loud. After we got home, had dinner, and did bath time, I asked my son what he remembered about the video; he said Rocketship has “schoolteachers.”

KIPP San Antonio graciously hosted the meeting on the ground floor of their headquarters, a two-story white stucco building just south of the KIPP Aspire Academy middle school on Fredericksburg Road. Rocketship and KIPP San Antonio are both part of the Choose to Succeed initiative.

Rocketship is based in California and, as mentioned earlier, is expanding to Milwaukee, Wisconsin (opening Fall 2014), and more cities after that. San Antonio is one of several cities (including Washington, D.C.) under consideration.

Rocketship’s existing schools in California are K-5 and serve students who are predominantly lower-income and English language learners. The school uses a blended learning model—a combination of classroom time and individualized online lessons—to help these students close the achievement gap when compared with groups of more affluent students. In San Antonio, Rocketship would be looking at sites in the urban core and the West, South, and East sides.

I always ask about special education. Yes, Rocketship will gladly serve special education students. The goal is to mainstream them in the classroom as much as possible so they can get the most academic benefit. The blended learning model seems to help children who learn differently because it offers lessons tailored to what they want to learn right now, rather than information that is too easy (boredom) or too hard (frustration).

The timeline: Rocketship is applying for a Texas charter this year. One or two campuses would open per year after that until Rocketship has a cluster of about eight schools in San Antonio. Meanwhile, they are still looking for San Antonio recruits for their leadership program.

I am excited about the potential for Rocketship to help close the achievement gap in San Antonio. And my son likes their cool new logo.

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  1. Inga, I heard Diane Ravitch speak at SXSWedu last week and she had nothing nice to say about charter schools (as expected–that’s what she does), but she had particularly harsh criticism for Rocketship. Apparently their flex model puts 3 teachers in a room with 120 students on computers. Ravitch said the computer-based lessons sometimes give students two choices to answer true/false questions. There’s a whole website against the chain; check it out.

  2. We applaud anyone dedicating herself to improving education for all kids, but reserve the right to agree to disagree with Ms. Ravitch on charters in general and Rocketship in particular. Rocketship results iterate our commitment to serving the highest-need students and communities with the highest-quality public education: in the Bay Area in California, where we serve nearly 4,000 students in grades K-5, 90% of whom are receiving free or reduced lunch and 75% of whom are English Language Learning, our schools consistently perform in the top 5% of school districts serving low income students statewide.

    We encourage parents and community members to attend our information session at 6:30pm on 3/20 at the Cortez Branch Library (2803 Hunter Blvd, San Antonio) to find out more about our innovative and highly-effective schools.

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