Rocketship Ranks in The Top 10% on California State Assessment
by Preston Smith, Co-Founder & CEO, Rocketship Public Schools
On the 2015-16 California state assessment, Rocketship’s Bay Area network of 10 schools ranked in the top 10% in both math and English Language Arts among all elementary school districts serving a similar student population across the state.
Nearly 9 of 10 Rocketeers in California were classified as “socioeconomically disadvantaged” last school year. These are the students that underperforming public schools have let fall behind for far too long. To track our progress toward eliminating the achievement gap, we pay close attention to how our disadvantaged students perform compared to similar students across the state and local districts.
In math, 49% of our disadvantaged Rocketeers met or beat the standard compared to 26% of similar students in the state and 28% in the local districts we serve. Nearly twice as many Rocketeers are on the college and career ready path. In fact, our disadvantaged Rocketeers beat the state average in math for all students by 10 points! This is powerful proof that demographics do not define student achievement.
In English Language Arts, 39% of our disadvantaged Rocketeers are on the college ready path compared to 32% of similar students in the state and 34% in local districts. Improving our Rocketeers’ language and literacy skills was a major priority across our network last year. The investments we made in our humanities content and instructional supports are paying off. Our Rocketeers improved 6 percentage points from 2015 to 2016. Our Rocketeers are now just 4 points behind the state average in ELA for all students.
Of course, we are not aiming for average. Our Rocketeers deserve an excellent school and we won’t settle for anything less. We have much more work ahead to get every single Rocketeer on a college bound path, but we are proud of the progress our teachers, parents, and students are making.
By focusing exclusively on elementary education we are giving students in disadvantaged communities a strong start to their academic journey that will carry them far in school and life. Our innovative and financially sustainable network of high-performing schools in California is helping students reach their full potential, catalyzing a parent led movement for equity in education, and transforming communities historically left behind.
This is impact we are aiming to replicate in Milwaukee, Nashville, and now, Washington DC. By building a scalable and sustainable school model that propels student achievement and engages parents to become lifelong education advocates for their kids and community, we can eliminate the achievement gap in our lifetime.
Preston co-founded Rocketship Education in San Jose 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 September 22, 2016