A Heartfelt Thank You to Rocketship Parents
By Christabel Breen, Manager of Parent Leadership & Organizing, Bay Area
Ever since I first heard about Rocketship, I felt something powerful. I have worked in the nonprofit sector, serving low-income communities that are denied access to basic human rights, ever since I entered the workforce. But when I found Rocketship, I felt like something was different. This was an organization that got it. An organization that understood that access to a high-quality education is a human right that our country isn’t providing to the majority of our population, especially families who have had to fight the hardest for a better future for their families.
Rocketship felt different because they understand that the true power to change our system is not always the most boisterous, the most visible, or the most political. Power is everywhere in our communities, everyday, if we just do the work to harness it. I mean what education organization says their mission is to close the achievement gap in our lifetimes? Seems like a very bold goal. But at Rocketship, we are not afraid to fight the tough fight. We are not afraid to set the bar high, and do everything in our power to reach it.
But we don’t go into this fight blindly or naively.
CELEBRATING PARENT POWER
Our families face enormous challenges all the time and their resilience, perseverance, and strength inspires me, and so many others, every day. But this year presented a new layer of challenges that none of us expected. At first, many of us felt paralyzed in the insecurity of each day’s unexpected challenges, but as the realization set in that this would not be over soon, our school communities came together to support each other, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the passionate leadership of our parents and families. To close out this year, we took the opportunity to celebrate the incredible strength and resilience of the Rocketship parent power that has supported our school communities during this challenging year, just as it has from the beginning.
During this pandemic, Rocketship families have had to navigate new technology, learning structures, and schedules. They’ve balanced work, in-home students and childcare, and much more, all while quarantined trying to keep their families healthy, happy, and thriving. Despite these unimaginable obstacles, Rocketship families still went above and beyond to find ways to unite their communities, support each other, and lift up our Rocketeers.
PARENTS HELP SCHOOLS CHART NEW TERRAIN
Our parent leaders on the School Site Council, English Learner Advisory Committee, and Regional Advisory Boards all took their work virtual, continuing to support our school and community leaders to ensure high quality instruction was maintained. Their input was invaluable, as school leaders navigated distance learning for the first time.
Parents maintained an active presence through participating in our virtual events like the Los Dichos reading program, Launch & landing, OLP celebrations, and cultural and holiday events. Parents took it upon themselves to run fundraisers for teacher appreciation week and graduation ceremonies by putting together Valentines grams and grad gifts in their own homes. They also coordinated drive-thru events to bring resources to families and keep our Rocketeers thriving, such as food distribution, book drives, spring seeds and treats, art materials, and car-decorating competitions for students.
We cannot thank our parents enough for their partnership, but we are truly humbled by all the ways that they found it in their hearts to be incredible parents to their Rocketship families, as well.
TAKING CIVIC ACTION IN OUR COMMUNITIES
Many parents went above and beyond, during the pandemic, to engage civically in a virtual environment so that they could advocate for the needs of families. They fought to keep their schools open, successfully renewing 4 of our CA schools and 3 in DC and fought to bring Rocketship to their communities in Texas. They also ran school board candidate forums, shared their voices with City Council Members, Governors, School Board Members, and state representatives to advocate for voting rights, increased education funding, eviction moratoriums, and public safety in their communities.
Just like we teach our Rocketeers everyday, our parents and families never gave up. They kept fighting for their school communities and standing up for families, even during a global pandemic, and that is true parent power that we can believe in, no matter how bold the mission.
Watch this year’s Virtual Parent Power Celebration to hear more about the history of parent power at Rocketship and the many incredible contributions of families across all 5 Rocketship regions this year.
Published on June 15, 2021