Rocketship Education is a chain of educational institutions serving grades kindergarten through fifth spread across the United States, ranging from as far east as Washington DC to the rolling hills of California. This line of eighteen primary schools is known for integrating technology into its everyday activities, particularly in molding lesson plans around individual students. Rocketship Education’s status as an educational technology pioneer was created by meshing longtime educator Preston Smith with the technological genius in John Danner. Smith has remained with RSED, short form for Rocketship Education, since its inception in 2007.
Here are a sizable handful of things Preston Smith learned from his ten years in leading Rocketship Education to success, things that every educator should find applicable to their particular situations.
Kids with special needs, ranging from learning to physical developmental disorders and delays, typically spend most of their time at school segregated in special education classrooms, taken away from their “normal” peers. This reduces their morale, and also fails to equip them for the real world. As such, Rocketship Education mandates that students with special needs spend at least four-fifths of their time at school in general classrooms, helping teachers, fellow students, and disabled children all the same.
Preston Smith has learned that educational techniques and pedagogical models aren’t always applicable to all schools. As such, those models that don’t work across the board should be eliminated form contention. This is true for Rocketship Education’s failed “flex model,” in which three teachers and one school leader instructed large groups of kids. Although it didn’t work, Smith learned to be flexible in implementing – and taking away – new teaching methods and pedagogical ideas in practice.
Rocketship Education is located exclusively in low-income regions. Despite the fact that most low-income areas are home to failing schools that fail to offer their enrollees quality educations, Rocketship Education is helping change this unfortunate truth. Its students regularly earn higher test scores on standardized, statewide exams, even though its status as a public school, being located in the heart of poor areas, and hosting students that also come from impoverished families.