Rocketship Education

At a Glance

National Office: 
350 Twin Dolphin Drive Suite 109
Redwood City, CA 94065
Phone: 1-877-806-0920

Preston Smith
People Served: 
6,766
Year Founded: 
2006
Tax ID: 
20-4040597

Focus area(s):

Charter Schools
Teacher & Principal Training
Reading/Math

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Description

Rocketship Education is a non-profit network of public elementary charter schools serving primarily low-income students in neighborhoods where access to excellent schools is limited. We believe truly transformative schools do more than educate students; they empower teachers, engage parents and inspire communities.

Impact and Outcomes

With a network API of 868, Rocketship Education outperforms all multi-school districts in California serving low-income students.

Mission & Goals

Rocketship’s mission is to eliminate the achievement gap in our lifetime.
Goals:
Rocketship students will graduate from Rocketship at or above grade level.
Rocketship students will become self-motivated, competent, and lifelong learners.
Rocketship students will develop a deep love of learning.
Rocketship will provide parents of with a path for their children to take in order to have
the best chance to attend a four-year college.
Rocketship will encourage our alumni both to become leaders in their community and
help others achieve their goals.

Program

Rocketship operates under three foundational pillars of excellence, which we believe are the
key to our continued success as we work to close the achievement gap in the Bay Area and
beyond.
Teachers and Leaders: Elevating and Celebrating Instruction. Teachers and leaders are
one of the most important factors in student success. To ensure our students have access to
the best teachers and leaders, we provide dedicated coaching, professional development, and
leadership programs to help them grow professionally and personally—regardless of their
experience level. We elevate and celebrate teaching, providing exciting and rewarding careers
where educators feel empowered, appreciated, and valued. We help our teachers grow using
embedded learning opportunities, personalized coaching and customized training as part of the
regular workday. And we grow our leaders from within our schools, providing on-the-job
leadership and principal training programs with a clear path towards long-term career goals.
Rocketeer Students: Personalized Learning and Growth. We all learn in our own unique
ways. From the time we're children until long after we leave school, each person has their own
way of learning and advancing. Unfortunately, the traditional school system doesn't allow for
that. Our students get personalized instruction targeted to their needs and tailored to their
unique learning styles. Our blended learning model combines traditional instruction, technology
and tutoring, allowing every Rocketeer to learn at their own pace. And best of all, this model
works for all students in the Rocketship program, whether they are catching up or racing ahead.
Rocketeer Parents: Leaders in the Home, the School, and the Community. Engaged
parents are essential to eliminating the achievement gap. We work with our parents to help
them become powerful advocates for their children and their communities. We work directly with
parents, helping them become leaders at home, in the schools, and in the community. This
includes helping with homework, managing the household and serving as a positive role model
for their children, leading community meetings, planning school-wide events, advocating for
their children’s needs, assisting in the teacher and leader interview process, being active
members in the community, participating in advocacy groups and school boards, and standing
up for their students and their schools.
Our instructional model is based on our beliefs that learning best occurs in the following ways:
● Through a thoroughly-planned, standards-aligned academic curriculum that centers on
higher-order critical thinking and complex problem solving and that authentically
integrates a variety of content throughout the school day.
● Through instruction in critical life skills that include teaching core values, strong
behavioral skills, and habits of excellence
● Through personalized instruction that includes targeted interventions and blended
classroom-based and adaptive online learning
● Through differentiation and integrated and focused supports for special student
populations
● Through data-driven instruction, planning, and analysis.
● Through careful selection of educators, and consistent and rigorous intellectual
professional development and growth opportunities to keep teachers and staff members
invested and effective.

Impact

Closing academic gaps and setting our Rocketeers up for success in middle school, high school, college, and beyond means accelerating their learning. We strive to deliver well over one year of growth for every year a student is with us. By accelerating learning, we can first narrow -- and ultimately eliminate -- the achievement gap between our student and their more affluent peers. For Rocketship, we continue to set benchmarks of quality in our ninth year. Rocketship ranks in the 99th percentile in math and the 86th percentile in English Language Arts among California elementary districts serving low-income students. Nationally, our Rocketeers dramatically grow in math and reading each year. Our impact is profound as Rocketeers’ academic gains persist after graduation.
We are now catalyzing this success across the nation, from West Coast to East, to change students’ trajectories in the Bay Area, Milwaukee, Nashville, and DC. In Milwaukee, twice as many Rocketeers are proficient or advanced in English Language Arts as their peers at Milwaukee Public Schools. In our first year in Tennessee, Rocketship Nashville Northeast Elementary earned the second highest growth score among all 73 Nashville public elementary schools. For the 2016-2017 school year, we continue to grow across regions, opening our first schools in Washington, DC and East Bay, CA—while also opening a new school in San Jose and expanding our enrollment in Milwaukee and Nashville.

Growth Plan

Rocketship plans to fulfill its mission to eliminate the achievement gap in our lifetimes by expanding into the 50 highest-need metropolitan areas across the country by 2021.  The organization is committed to partnering with regions only when the necessary conditions to succeed in that region are established. There are four main criteria that are used to determine suitability of a region:

  • 8 School Cluster: The region must authorize upfront at least 8 schools that will open within 5 years, contingent upon outstanding academic performance of existing Rocketship schools in that region.  This 8 school cluster guarantees the financial sustainability of the region’s Regional Support Office, which will provide academic, operational, financial, and political support to each school in that region.
  • Strong School Leader: At the head of every great school is a great school leader.  Rocketship recruits and selects individuals that demonstrate a strong potential to excel at running outstanding Rocketship schools.  Individuals who are selected to found a new region must first learn and internalize the Rocketship model, and demonstrate success running Rocketship schools in San Jose.
  • Clear Plan for Facilities: Lack of access to adequate facilities is plaguing charter schools across the nation.  In order to green-light a new region, the Rocketship Board requires a viable plan for the first eight facilities, including a written agreement for the first facility in a community that matches that populations the organization aims to serve.
  • Local Financial Support: A unique factor of the Rocketship Model is that a region of 8 schools is financially sustainable running solely on public funding.  In order to grow to scale, Rocketship needs to secure a $3.5 million commitment in start-up funding from local funders beyond federal and state funding.  In addition to financial necessity, this commitment on the part of local philanthropic organizations also underscores the region’s political and community support, which are equally as important in successfully establishing Rocketship in a new region.

 

Economic Model

On the school level, all Rocketship schools are financially self-sustaining.  Rocketship substitutes tutors and technology for teachers during our two-hour Learning Lab.  Instead of certified teachers supervising Learning Lab, Rocketship employs hourly employees trained on basic skills tutoring.  All instruction during Learning Lab takes place via computers.  This substitution allows Rocketship to hire five fewer teachers for a campus with 450 students, effectively saving 25% of normal labor costs and 15 percent of overall operating costs.  At present, this savings equates to $500,000 per year per school in California.  Rocketship re-allocates these funds into additional academic enrichment programs, staff leadership development, and teacher compensation.   

Location of Sites

National Office: 
350 Twin Dolphin Drive Suite 109
Redwood City, CA 94065
Phone: 1-877-806-0920
List of locations

To make a contribution to a program site:

  1. Click on the "Make a Contribution Now" button and include the name, city and state of the program you would like to support, in the "notes" text box on the organization's donation form, if available.
  2. If a "notes" or "designation" box is not available, write the city and state on your check in the "notes" section or call the national office to designate your contribution to a local program site.

Locations in the following states:

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Financials

Most Recent Budget

Year Ended:

2017

REVENUE

Corporate Grants: 
$0
Foundation Grants: 
$10,005,765
Government Funding: 
$97,886,322
Contributions from Individuals: 
$0
Special Events: 
$0
Program Services Fees: 
$13,545,665
Membership Dues: 
$0
Other Earned Income: 
$0
Other Revenue: 
$0
Total Revenue: 
$121,437,752

EXPENSES

Salaries, Related Salaries & Professional Fees: 
$55,494,697
Occupancy: 
$15,158,859
Travel & Entertainment: 
$0
Office Supplies, Printing, Postage: 
$1,998,880
Telephone & Communications: 
$461,869
Payments to Affiliates: 
$0
Other Expenses: 
$45,375,694
Other Expenses (Description): 

Total Expenses: 
$118,489,999

NET GAIN/LOSS

Net Gain/Loss: 
$2,947,753

Prior Year Actuals

Year Ended:

2016

REVENUE

Corporate Grants: 
$0
Foundation Grants: 
$7,245,817
Government Funding: 
$79,464,254
Contributions from Individuals: 
$0
Program Services Fees: 
$10,210,676
Membership Dues: 
$0
Other Earned Income: 
$0
Other Revenue: 
$0
Special Events: 
$0
Total Revenue: 
$96,920,747

EXPENSES

Salaries, Related Salaries & Professional Fees: 
$43,884,162
Occupancy: 
$11,313,799
Travel & Entertainment: 
$0
Office Supplies, Printing, Postage: 
$2,300,371
Telephone & Communication: 
$525,750
Payments to Affiliates: 
$0
Other Expenses: 
$33,174,916
Other Expenses (Description): 

Travel, consulting, marketing, legal, administrative fees, books and supplies, software, IT, student food services, insurance, and other professional services.
Total Expenses: 
$91,198,998

NET GAIN/LOSS

Net Gain / Loss: 
$5,721,749

Major Funders

● Arthur and Toni Rembe Rock
● The Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation
● Charter School Growth Fund
CityBridge Foundation
● John and Catherine Debs
● Ludwig Family Foundation
NewSchools Venture Fund
● The Norman and Ruth Rales Foundation
● Reed Hastings & Patti Quillin
● Silicon Schools
● Stanley & Jolene Sloter Family Foundation
● Tipping Point Community
● Tommy & Julie Frist