Frequently Asked Questions from Families

Frequently Asked Questions

Enrolling at Rocketship

Can anyone attend Rocketship?

Yes, Rocketship is proud to serve all students.

Are Rocketship schools free?

Yes, Rocketship schools are tuition-free public schools.

Do students have to apply to Rocketship?

Rocketship schools are open enrollment schools, which means that we accept any and all students who wish to attend. There are no tests or assessments required to enroll in Rocketship. All families must complete a basic application, which includes student and family identification information. Filling out an application only takes a few minutes and will ensure that your child is immediately eligible to participate in our random drawing, or lottery, to enroll in the Rocketship school of your choice. Rocketship schools typically receive  more applications than there are seats available, which is why we hold a random lottery in the spring to determine enrollment.

How can I enroll my child?

Visit our enrollment page, select the region where you live, then click “apply now” to get started.

What questions are asked on the application?

Just the basic stuff: name, date of birth, grade, parent/guardian name, and contact information.

What grades does Rocketship serve?

We are exclusively focused on elementary education. Grades offered generally match what is offered by local public schools in your community — most commonly pre-kindergarten through fifth grade. But check the page of the school you are interested in attending to confirm the grades offered at that campus.

What is transitional kindergarten (TK)?

Transitional kindergarten, also referred to as TK, is a publicly funded program in California for children who turn 5 between Sept. 2 and Dec. 2. Rocketship  is proud to offer TK at twelve Bay Area schools.

 

Transitional kindergarten is designed to be a bridge between preschool and kindergarten. Children who are enrolled in transitional kindergarten can enroll in kindergarten classes the following year. Although there is no mandated curriculum, transitional kindergarten is modeled on a modified kindergarten curriculum that is age and developmentally appropriate.

About Rocketship Public Schools

What kind of school is Rocketship?

Rocketship is a public charter elementary school network. You can learn more about charter schools below.

What makes Rocketship unique?

We meet the unique needs of each child.

We don’t believe that one size fits all when it comes to student learning. Every child has unique needs, strengths and challenges. Our personalized learning model meets every child at their individual level to help them grow at a pace that makes sense for them.

We create a joyful learning environment to educate the whole child.

Happy students love learning.  That is why we pride ourselves on creating a joyful culture on our campuses. One way we do this is by starting each day with launch, an all-school assembly and dance party, to energize our students and center ourselves as a community around our core values.

Our supportive learning environment — defined by our core values of persistence, empathy, responsibility, and respect — creates a critical foundation for our Rocketeers’ success in school and beyond. In addition to excellent intrustruction in core subjects like math, reading, and science, our Rocketeers enjoy exciting enrichment programs such as art, music, dance, engineering, coding, and more.  Social-emotional learning is integrated throughout our school day using research-based curricula designed to create a safe, nurturing space for students.

We partner closely with our parents.

Across all our schools, families are deeply engaged in their student’s academic life and our school community. Every fall, our teachers and leaders visit the home of every student we serve to learn more about their family, life, and experiences outside of school. Parents are always welcome in our schools. Teachers communicate regularly with parents, and parents can expect a quick response when they reach out to teachers and school leaders with questions or concerns. It’s this powerful relationship with our families that allows us to better understand the needs of our students.

How do you know your graduates succeed past elementary school?

Our goal is to build a solid foundation for our Rocketeers so they can continue to grow when they move on to middle school. A recent three-year study by SRI Education, an independent nonprofit research center, found that alumni from Rocketship Public Schools outperformed their non-Rocketship peers in both math and reading. Rocketship alumni are ahead of their peers in both reading and math in their first and second years of middle school, being a full year ahead in math and nearly a year ahead in reading.

Are Rocketship families happy with their school?

On our recent annual parent satisfaction survey we asked, “Have you ever recommended Rocketship  to another family?” An overwhelming 89% of parents responded “yes.”‘ They did not simply say they “would recommend” Rocketship, they actually did recommend Rocketship. Of course, not every parent raves about their school every single day. But on most days, the vast majority of parents love their school so much that they tell other families to enroll.  

In addition, last year 88% of Rocketeers returned. As a school of choice, the clearest demonstration of our excellence is the number of Rocketeers who choose to come back each year. Every student we serve has a seat at their zoned district school waiting for them, but they choose to come back to Rocketship. We are humbled by this remarkable vote of confidence and work relentlessly to deliver on the promise our families see in our schools every single year.

What is Rocketship’s curriculum?

Students at Rocketship follow a robust Common Core-aligned curriculum. But unlike traditional elementary schools, our students rotate between four content blocks every day: Humanities, STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), Learning Lab and Enrichment.

 

Rocketship students also rotate within the classroom.  Our teachers lead the learning process for every student we serve in both whole-group grade-level instruction and differentiated instruction that meet students at their individual level.

Our teacher-led instruction is augmented by opportunities for students to engage in independent learning, small group tutoring, and adaptive online learning programs.

What is the daily schedule and school calendar at Rocketship?

Schedules and calendars vary slightly from school to school, but all Rocketship schools follow an extended school day (approximately 8am-4pm) and a rotational block schedule. Please check out our individual schools’ pages on this website to learn specifics about each school.

Why does Rocketship have an extended day?

Rocketship’s extended day allows us to deliver flexible, personalized instruction to meet all students’ needs.  Students spend the majority of their day with teachers building critical thinking skills. This is supplemented with small-group tutoring, adaptive online learning programs, and enrichment time (physical education, art, music).   We believe extra time time for personalized learning ensures each student’s success through elementary school and beyond.

How much recess time do Rocketship students get?

Recess differs by campus, but all schools have at least 40 minutes for recess and lunch. We also start each day with an all-school dance party we call Launch! It’s a chance for the school community to come together to get motivated for the day, and to ground themselves in their core values.

What kinds of enrichment classes are offered at Rocketship?

All Rocketship schools offer physical education and some type of art (music, painting, dance, etc.). In addition, all Rocketship schools offer enrichment programs that are chosen by and for the school community. These range from coding to gardening to drumming to Spanish language. Check with each Rocketship school to learn details about their enrichment programs.

Are Rocketship schools safe?

Yes. Student safety is our number one priority.   All visitors and volunteers are required to sign in with the front office and be escorted by a Rocketship staff member.

 

All teachers are trained on lockdown protocols and natural disaster drills, as well as certified in CPR and First Aid for medical response. In each room, there are emergency buckets with supplies to ensure that all students are safe.

Does Rocketship serve students with special needs?

Yes. We believe that all students deserve access to an excellent education. We support every student, including those with unique learning or behavioral needs, to meet or exceed our rigorous standards of academic growth. Integrated Special Education (ISE) services are a critical component in ensuring that we meet the academic, behavioral and social-emotional needs of all students so they can reach their full potential. Our ISE team serves students across all disabilities (mild, moderate, and severe) through an innovative approach to special education that integrates students with disabilities into general education classrooms for the majority of their instructional day.

How does Rocketship support positive student behavior?

Rocketship schools are supportive, not strict. We believe consistency and high expectations for all students is the foundation of building a strong college-bound culture for our Rocketeers. To that end, we create joyful learning environments where Rocketeers are challenged to realize their full potential, and develop the character skills (respect, responsibility, empathy, and persistence) they need to be successful in school and life.

We use a system of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) to promote social-emotional learning and create positive school culture.  This model prevents inappropriate behavior through teaching and reinforcing appropriate behaviors. Student interventions are based on their level of need, with a focus on keeping kids in class at all times. We are proud to have never expelled a student in our history, and our current network-wide suspension rate is 2%.

How much homework do students receive?

Rocketeers can expect to have nightly homework to reinforce skills taught in class.  Building these college-ready habits early prepares Rocketeers for success throughout their academic careers. Teachers and staff work with parents to develop techniques to support their child in completing their homework. Rocketship schools also offer after school programs which provide homework support and welcome the participation of parents.

Do Rocketeers take state tests?

Yes. Rocketeers take the same state tests that students do in district schools. Check out some highlights of our results!

How can parents get involved at Rocketship schools?

We believe that parents are the best partners in their child’s education. All Rocketeer parents sign a commitment-to-excellence pledge when they join the Rocketship community, which includes contributing 20 parent partnership hours per year. While no family is ever disciplined for not completing their commitment, we encourage and recognize families for taking an active role in our school community. Because many parents work multiple jobs and have limited free time, Rocketship schools offer a variety of opportunities for families to get involved in the evenings, on weekends, and even in their own homes. Volunteer hours also include weekend field trips, monthly evening community meetings, home visits, parent conferences, and serving on parent committees.

Is each Rocketship school the same?

No. As a national school network, Rocketship strives to ensure that the quality of education at each school meets high standards in achievement and school culture. However, each Rocketship school is located in a unique neighborhood and reflects the culture and values of that community. Founding families also name their school so that it reflects their hopes for their children. In addition, each Rocketship school is defined by  a unique core value that reflects the community it serves.

Does Rocketship require students to wear uniforms?

Yes. Uniforms support equality in our classrooms so students can focus on learning, and dressing for success is an important part of our culture. Rocketship can offer assistance to families who need help to cover the cost. Check with your Rocketship campus for specifics, as uniforms vary by school.

Does Rocketship provide lunch to students?

Yes, all students receive breakfast and lunch for free as part of the National School Lunch Program, unless they opt out and bring their own meal.

Will Rocketship ever expand into middle and high school?

When we launched Rocketship, we decided to focus exclusively on elementary school. We believe that if we help our Rocketeers build a solid foundation in those early years, they will thrive in middle school, high school, and beyond. We have no plans to expand beyond elementary school.

About Charter Schools

What is a charter school?

A charter school is an independently  run public school that is granted greater flexibility in its operations, in return for greater accountability for performance.

What is the difference between public charter schools and public district schools?

Charter schools are public schools that are independent of school districts and operate under a contract with state or local boards. As public schools, charter schools are open to all children regardless of zip code, do not require entrance exams, cannot charge tuition, and must participate in state testing and federal accountability programs. Charter schools have more flexibility in designing their own curricula in exchange for more accountability. In particular, charter schools must demonstrate superior academic achievement relative to the neighborhood district schools their students would likely otherwise attend.

Is Rocketship a private, for-profit company?

No, Rocketship Education is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that operates public elementary charter schools in neighborhoods where access to excellent schools is limited.

Who authorizes Rocketship charters?

There are a variety of entities that authorize Rocketship charters. We have been authorized by districts, counties, the state, and independent state-wide entities.

Do public charter schools take money away from school districts?

No. The government funds all public schools, whether district or charter, on a per pupil basis. That money follows the student to whichever school they attend, because the state recognizes it as the student’s money — not the district’s.

There have been disappointing charter schools in my neighborhood before, so why should I trust that Rocketship is different?

Look at our results! Not all charter schools are the same. Just like district schools, there are good schools, and schools that struggle. In the charter sector, we are proud to be among the charter networks that have repeatedly shown impressive results.