Preston Smith, Rocketship Education, and Important Lessons

Founded by CEO Preston Smith, at the time having about 15 years of formal practice as an elementary school educator, Rocketship Education has grown into one of the best systems of public schools in America in its 10 years of existence. Having seen all sides of education – master’s degree in a field related to pedagogical theory; being a student in primary, secondary, postsecondary, and graduate schools; and as a long-time administrator of Rocketship Education – Preston Smith knows exactly what successful educational institutions entail. His keen sense of proper pedagogical application has only improved since being involved with Rocketship. Here’s a few things he’s picked up along the public charter school network’s 10 years of operation.

As most people can reason, parents are integral to students’ success rates. However, many administrators don’t have innovative ways of involving them in regular operations. In each and every year Rocketship Education’s eighteen locations plan on hiring new teachers or replacing existing ones, parents are deeply involved in screening candidates for hiring decisions. Several weeks before the interview process takes place, they’re trained to conduct panel-style interviews, with either three or six of them combining with an administrator to thoroughly screen applicants. Once per year, parents also host their kids’ teachers in their homes, as well. This helps teachers personalize students’ learning plans.

Rocketship also diversifies its workforce prior to doing so for its enrollment bases. It doesn’t matter how diverse its students are. Concordantly, schools should only care about if their teachers’ backgrounds match that of its students, something Rocketship Education takes very seriously.

Having two children currently enrolled in a Californian facility in Rocketship Education’s network of schools, Preston Smith actively learns about how to improve the school system. The above sentiments include just a few of the things he’s learned about in the past decade. Rocketship Education is a group of public charter schools located across the United States: 12 in the Golden State; 3 in Nashville, Tennessee; 1 in Wisconsin; and 2 in the nation’s capital, Washington DC. Rocketship was founded in Redwood City, California in 2007 alongside fellow educator John Danner. The system’s students consistently rank with some of their regions’ highest standardized test scores.

 

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