Blasting Beyond ➟ Rocketship’s Mid-Year Update
by Preston Smith, Co-Founder & CEO
At Rocketship, we’re proud to share the progress our Rocketeers have made just partway through the 2014-15 school year. From growing our impact in existing regions to building internal talent pipelines, we’re deepening our roots and strengthening our core. Here are just a few highlights.
Our Rocketeers hit the ground running in the fall, making huge gains in math and reading. Across the network, our six thousand students are on track to average 1.5 years of growth in both math and reading. This year we welcomed 1,000 new Rocketeers to our network; they are off to a great start too, on track to average an incredible 1.8 years of growth in math and 1.6 years in reading.
Rocketship’s combination of diagnostic assessment, tutoring and personalized learning gives these students the boost they need to accelerate their growth. We’ve had a strong first half of the year, outpacing last year’s growth and outperforming national norms.
*The NWEA MAP is the nationally-normed, Common Core-aligned assessment we use to track our growth within a school year and absolute performance across years. Our students take the MAP in the fall, winter and spring. This is the second year we have administered MAP Common Core. All growth projections are based on fall to winter performance.
Rocketship creates career pathways that support staff development and retention while sustaining our culture. Support and development of our staff is a priority and we’re proud to see eight of our teachers moving into leadership roles next year, six of our individualized learning specialists (also known as tutors) moving into teacher roles and three of our rockstar principals transitioning onto our network support teams. Building capacity from within not only gives our educators amazing pathways for development, but also ensures we can maintain quality as we scale.
Growing wait lists at our schools tell us families are clamoring for more great options. To fulfill that need, we’re preparing to open two new schools next year, increasing our reach by nearly one thousand Rocketeers. In the Bay Area, we are opening our first Redwood City campus to serve families who have long commuted to our San Jose schools to obtain an excellent education for their Rocketeers.
In Nashville, we recently broke ground on our second campus set to open in August 2015.
Preston co-founded Rocketship Education in San Jose with John Danner in 2006. Prior to founding Rocketship, Preston was founder and Principal of L.U.C.H.A. Elementary School, part of the Alum Rock Unified School District in San Jose, CA. After its first three years of operation, L.U.C.H.A. was the fourth highest performing low-income elementary school in California. Preston began his career in education as a Teach for America (TFA) Corps member at Clyde Arbuckle Elementary School (CA). In 2003, Preston was named “Teacher of the Year” at Arbuckle and was also nominated as one of six finalists for TFA’s Sue Lehmann award, given to TFA corps members with the highest classroom academic gains in the nation. Preston is also an Aspen New Schools Fellow.
Published on March 11, 2015