Preston Smith and John Danner founded Rocketship Education slightly more than ten years ago. Its first academic year, starting in the Fall of 2017, took place in a church in San Jose. While Mr. Smith and his co-creation have made it a long way over the past ten years, Preston Smith has arguably learned more things than he has throughout the entirety of his career. Here are a few tidbits of these tips, things that most educators – or people, in general – could find useful, and potentially apply it to their lives.
Rocketship Education – shortened to RSED, at times – has been a staunch advocate of personalized learning, and even acted as a pioneer for the trade throughout the past decade. It’s important, as Mr. Smith found, for teachers to make visits to kids’ homes, getting to know them, their parents, family members, and living environment more intimately. Doing so boosted the effectiveness of personalized education plans.
While RSED is a great public school, not requiring any money from its constituents, and returns some of the highest test scores relative to the areas it operates in, students that graduate from fifth grade at an RSED school will find their top-tier early childhood education might go to waste if they’re not enrolled in a great school. As students have little voice in their younger years, it’s necessary for parents to create the demand for new schools that RSED graduates can enroll in beyond the fifth grade. If parents don’t drive demand, schools won’t get any better, other than by luck, or regulatory requirements.
When summer vacation rolls around, parents are urged to maintain the brains of their children. If they aren’t challenged over this time period and told learning is fun, they’re less likely to want to learn in the classroom.
In lobbying for schools, parents must take action, rather than simply threaten. Talk is cheap in all parts of the world, especially when it comes to education. If enrollment numbers at a school don’t drop, particularly not losing any students whose parents complained about the quality of education there, that doesn’t speak well for those parents. They must be proactive in driving the words they’ve once spoken – follow-through is everything in these situations.