One of the things that makes the Rocketship Charter School different is its willingness to involve the parents of the children in important decisions like teacher selection. For each teacher that is being considered, a group of parents are asked to interview them and give their opinions of the candidates. The parents’ opinions have been a deciding factor on which teachers were selected in many cases.
Rocketship is a California-based charter school operator. The elementary school gained national attention in 2007. It mixes traditional learning techniques with online schooling and computer-assisted teaching. Through these methods, the charter school keeps its administrative costs far lower than traditional schools.
The D.C. Public Charter School Board voted to allow Rocketship to build eight schools in their area. One of which was to be built across the street from a public housing complex, Woodland Terrace in Ward 8. Rocketship intends to recruit students from that very ward. Rocketship will teach students from kindergarten to fourth grade in one of their new schools. They expected to have 350 students in kindergarten to second grade in the first year of 2016-2017.
Rocketship Education engages parents not only by involving them in the selection of teachers, but also through home visits with the students’ families. The charter school will also stage school events that parents will be invited to attend. And, the school will host Ward 8 D.C. Council debates prior to the election of its officials so parents can get up close and personal with the elected leaders of their school systems.
The parents of potential students were encouraged to tour the building as it was being constructed, so they knew the building intimately before their children began attending classes. Many of them could easily move from the gymnasium to the computer lab to the nursing station after a few visits. By being so deeply involved in the formation of the school, parents know where their kids are and have some idea of how their being taught after meeting the teachers first hand. Rocketship Charter Schools seeks to establish an intimate relationship with students and their parents. They do this to get excellent academic results and to gain the community support needed to insure those returns.