Founded in 2006, a chain of charter schools called Rocketship, began providing services for students in grades Kindergarten through fifth grade. Based in San Jose, California, around 90% of the students served by Rocketship qualify for the free lunch program, and English is a second language for about 75% of the students.
However, the staff at Rocketship are not discouraged by those statistics. The belief is strong that every child has the right to quality education. Rocketship operates on the mission that every child can attend college, and the road to a college education begins in a kindergarten classroom. Rocketship is based on three beliefs. The first is that through personalized learning, every child will achieve their potential. The second is talent development is important both in the classroom and beyond. Finally, Rocketship believes in the power of parents to be champions for their child’s education, allowing their child and the school system to succeed.
Individualized learning is the key to Rocketship’s program. Students are assessed for current abilities and areas needing growth, then taken from their individual starting point. A variety of research based online programs such as Accelerated Reader, DreamBox Learning and TenMarks Math are used to facilitate learning. These programs and others are known for monitoring student learning and adapting to individual pace. For those who question a heavy reliance on technology, Rocketship points to the individual gains with the programs, which are combined with teacher support as needed.
Current Harvard research on DreamBox Learning suggests that students who used the program performed better on math tests for their grade than other students.
Of course, the use of technology based programs is fairly new to education, so long term results are difficult to analyze. However, Rocketship considers factors like student engagement and motivation to be a big part of the decision to use programs. For students to have access to sustained engagement with content which is customized totheir individual level is the goal of school systems everywhere.
The Rocketship education approach has data to back their methods as they are ranked in the top 10% of districts serving a similar student population.