Established in 2006, by Preston Smith and John Danner, Rocketship is a chain of free, college prep charter schools. They have now inaugurated five schools in San Jose, California. The number of students in each school averaged out to 450. They believe that the journey to college and beyond starts in kindergarten. Their belief that every child is gifted and deserves good education is the driving force behind the non-profit organization. Studies show that for the year 2016-17, 85% of the students enrolled in Rocketship charter schools were from low-income families. Out of which 90% qualify for free lunch and 75% have English as a second language.
The learning model implemented by Rocketship school is hybrid in the sense that the learning experience is not only limited to classroom teaching but also dedicated online learning platform and tutoring given to small groups of students. To eliminate any achievement gap, Rocketship focuses on enrolling students belonging from families with low income. They also have a history of working with a non-profit organization called Team America, that helps college graduates to get a job in the teaching profession.
In 2016, with the partnership of Rocketship and Techbridge, a major treat for the fifth-grade students was arranged, who were allowed to visit eBay’s Global Headquarters. In the same school year, Rocketship’s partnership with Web of Life Field (WOLF) School resulted in arranging science trips for fifth-grade students.
In June 2016, NPR covered Rocketship charter schools and the piece written by head blogger Anya Kamenetz, was debated to be unbalanced. Though the piece stated that it is one of the most nationally applauded network of charter schools with an innovative learning model, emphasis on its recurrent problems was focused too.
Rocketship implemented a hybrid and technologically advanced learning model which they had to change later after reduction in their expansion goals. This is a topic that resurfaces every now and then. Another part of the writing that sounded incorrect was the use of the word ‘company’ to define Rocketship, which is a non-profit organization. The word has been used in several instances which can be interpreted as a critical accusation of being commercial. The supporters of Rocketship tried to buzz the NPR, but the writers and editors of the writing very not made available for making any comments. People were surprised that the piece went through the editing process without any red flags.