Here’s What Rocketship Education CEO Preston Smith Learned from the First Decade of Operation

Successful schools, just like the students they teach, learn from their experiences and mold their behavior accordingly. Rocketship Education’s chief executive officer and founder Preston Smith picked up on several morals of the proverbial stories told during the 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization‘s first decade of operations. Here they are.

Every child with special needs should spend a large portion of their hours spent at school in “regular” classrooms alongside non-special needs students. These children range in developmental, social, and educational disabilities and hindrances, sometimes causing behavioral problems in classrooms. While a simple fix is to stow students lagging behind or with social issues in special education environments, congealing them with the remainder of classmates is an important tool for building confidence and helping all children learn at roughly the same pace.

It’s important for schools, just like Rocketship Education, to be mindful of new policies implemented and existing ones recently repealed. Sometimes schools don’t perform better with new approaches, meaning educational facilities shouldn’t extensively experiment with them. RSED tested a pilot program called the flex model, in which several teachers and one administrator worked together in teaching groups of students. However, it didn’t work in most schools tested, leading the public charter school network to abstain from launching it throughout its network.

Teachers need to be receptive to criticism, feedback, and recommendations. Most importantly, they must change their pedagogical methods to meet the particular needs of collective classrooms and individual students alike, rather than maintaining what’s easier for instructors. Also, annual visits to children’s homes by teachers is important in making learning plans personalized, as doing so facilitates further improvement than not observing and understanding what each child’s living space and family is like.

Often shortened to the acronym RSED, Rocketship Education was founded in the Bay Area in 2007 alongside former business partner John Danner. The public charter school network was one of the first pioneers in integrating technological devices other than computers and calculators in the classroom, which still utilizes them today. As of the 2017 academic year’s start, there were 18 schools spread throughout the United States: 12 throughout birth state California, three in Nashville, two in America’s capital, and one in Milwaukee.