Rocketship Education is a non-profit charter school network that began in San Jose, California its purpose is to close the achievement gap. The school serves immigrant children of low social economic backgrounds. The elementary school have grades Kindergarten to fifth grade. The Rocketship Education model was successful in helping student reach academic success that it opened up five more schools in San Jose and in other states like Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Nashville, Tennessee, and in Washington D.C. Despite its success, in a recent blog The National Public Radio (NPR) criticized the school in different areas.
The school was critiqued for classroom management, particularly that Rocketship Education follows a strict regime in keeping students focused at all times and that includes harsh rules on bathroom breaks. Preston Smith CEO responded, “Rocketship does not have network policies on bathroom breaks”. Students are allowed to use the restroom when they need it.
The school was questioned about the students sitting in front of computer using the same program for 80 minutes. Smith defended the computer time by saying that the students have different programs to choose from like Lexia, myOn, ST Math and Dreambox. He mentioned that some students are place in small group instruction to enhance their learning while some use the computer. He stated that use of computers gives teacher feedback on students’ progress.
NPR also found an issue with hiring qualified staff, mainly the person in charge of the computer lab where the ratio is one non certified adult to 80 students. The number of students is always higher than the number of teachers. Tutoring programs across the country hire non certified teachers. Smith also mentioned that Rocketships school are excellent schools and that is why his two kids attend Rocketship Fuerza Community Prep. He said to not be discouraged by the blogs negative comments on charter schools.