In response to a disparaging blog post on Rocketship Education by a National Public Radio blogger which displayed the writer’s preconceived bias against chart schools, the 13-school network’s chief executive officer, and co-founder Preston Smith put up a spirited defense of the school by highlighting its rich history of success and pioneering models. In defending the nonprofit public charter schools network against the anti-charter school model rhetoric by the blogger, the co-founder outlined the various factors and testaments to Rocketship Education’s impressive successes. The CEO went to a great length in underlying and unpinning the network of schools’ testing thesis which Anya Kamenetz, the blogger tried to unsuccessfully undermine.
Primarily operating in low-income communities, Rocketship uses a unique testing thesis aimed at challenging the status quo and eliminating education achievement gap that persists in these communities. This has seen up to 90 percent of students in the high-poverty communities serviced by Rocketship return to their schools every academic year. This has seen up to 72 percent of parents at the network of schools with operations in California, Washington, Tennessee and Wisconsin assert that they have recommended Rocketship Education to other families. Smith noted that the hundreds of parents who drive hundreds of miles to bring their children to the various campuses of the school is testament to the school’s excellent management practices and learning models and defy the overriding message in Anya Kamenetz’s post that tried to assert that most parents were unhappy with the learning and management practices at the school.
Pioneering Learning Practices
Rocketship Education’s learning model has seen it grow rapidly especially with the support of parents who have even come together to help in the opening of new campuses in various communities. Its balanced behavior management approach has it has scheduled and regulated bathroom practices which are managed at the discretion of the teachers. The school network, which serves over 7,000 students, also incorporates technology-based learning ideas such as DreamBox into the traditional learning model. The CEO asserted that Rocketship’s learning models are evidenced-based. It has “Zone Zero” and “Launch” periods to promote individualized and interactive learning, respectively. These practices have seen the network of school record low retest rates throughout its campuses.