Rocketship Education Opens a New Branch in Southern Washington

Rocketship Education is a non-profit network of charter schools that aims to provide quality education to low-income communities. The organization was co-founded by John Danner and Preston Smith in 2006. With its headquarters in Redwood City, California, the first branch of the school was opened in San Jose, California in 2007.

Its learning approach involves a blend of traditional, online and computer-assisted instruction. The performance at its flagship school gained national attention resulting to the expansion of the school. Rocketship currently runs 13 schools in various regions, including Wisconsin, Tennessee, and Nashville with more erupting across the region.

At Rocketship Education, parents are involved in the selection of teachers before classes resume. Parents at a new branch located in Southern Washington participated in job interviews for the new teachers. Even though construction is still underway, several parents are anticipating enrolling their children in the school when it opens.

Small and Christopher Smith are among the parents who are planning to send their children to Rocketship Education. The two have taken frequent tours around the school as well as interviewed several potential teachers. According to Preston Smith, the organization’s CEO, the involvement of parents in such processes have become Rocketship’s culture. As part of the process, a certain number of parents undergo training prior to the interview. Alternatively, the school holds community meetings allowing parents to meet job finalists. The entire process helps engage parents in building the academic foundation of the school.

According to the school’s principal, Josh Pacos, the parent’s feedback has impacted greatly on the selection process. According to one of the parents, the process allows them to know the personality of the person who will be with their kids. The Washington school is also planning to set up a room with computers and internet access. This way parents can continue with their work as they wait to attend to meetings or pick their children.

Rocketship’s regional director, Jacque Patterson, explained that the school will operate like a neighborhood school. Even though it will accept applications from any child from D.C, the charter will prioritize students from the Ward 8 neighborhood. It will run through fourth grade with 350 students in kindergarten and a preschool run by the Appletree Institute.