Right on Time – Introducing Rocketship Antioch, Nashville
by Jessica Alexander
The story of our Antioch, Tennessee school is truly one of resilience. Many Rocketship United parents reside in Antioch and drive up to 45 minutes each way to give their kids a high-quality learning experience. Knowing that they aren’t the only ones in their neighborhood who want more public education choices for their children, they engaged with Rocketship leadership to open the conversation about building a new school. Although these parents could have remained quiet and content, they instead chose to use their parent power and fight for more school choices for their community. Their demands transformed into a movement that could not easily be ignored.
Our parents harnessed their collective power to write letters to local officials. They attended community meetings. They attended Metro Nashville Public Schools board hearings and raised their voices. Even after initially being denied, our families pressed forward with their demands for a new Rocketship school. We mounted a mighty effort and eventually, we succeeded.
Still, more adversity lay ahead. In March 2020, a tornado ravaged Nashville, leaving thousands without power and many without homes including some of our students at Nashville Northeast. Then just one week later, the COVID-19 pandemic closed all schools and government buildings, launching our community and our country into unprecedented waters. It was like a one-two gut punch. Our community was battered, but not broken. Everything was put on hold, including plans to open the Antioch campus.
This campus may not have come when we wanted, but it’s right on time. Without the voices of our families, this would simply be a plot of land. Instead, 5400 Mt. View Rd. gets to become an integral piece of Antioch’s future, built on the hopes and dreams of its residents. For now, we refer to this campus as Rocketship Antioch, but our founding families will get to select the permanent name, and it will reflect the diversity and resilience of this community.
When we open our doors next August, we will welcome 420 founding Rocketeers. Every child at Rocketship Antioch will receive an education that will equip them with the skills, knowledge, and confidence to dictate their own paths in life. Antioch families will finally have access to another high-quality public school option close to home. Rocketship schools are community schools, and we are so excited for our incredible team of teachers and staff to deliver the same rigorous personalized instruction to the Antioch community as our Rocketship educators do in communities across the country.
Music will be the focus of our school as one of three enrichments offered on this campus, a nod to the rich history and tradition of music of Nashville. Music is a form of communication that brings together people from different races and cultures. Music education prepares students to think critically, take risks, and persevere through challenges; therefore, we are committed to ensuring that each Rocketeer has access to music across disciplines. We are equipping each Rocketeer with an additional language to utilize in a multicultural world. Antioch is a diverse community with families from many different cultures and many different countries, and we are committed to making this school a reflection of the community. Music will be our shared language.
We celebrate the power of our parents, the hope we have for our students, and the future of Antioch. There are good ships, and there are wood ships, the ships that sail the sea. But the best ships are Rocketships, and may they always be. Rockets up!
Published on September 16, 2021