A new study shows that alumni of Rocketship Charter schools are significantly ahead of their peers in math and reading by middle school.
In reading, Rocketship alum are three quarters of a year ahead of their peers by the end of their first and second years of middle school. In math, that grows to a full year. A large majority of Rocketship alum also reported high levels of grit, motivation and self-efficacy. They also reported having long-term academic goals.
Rocketship, with locations around the country, is known for engagement with families, helping them choose the right middle school. One parent reported that Rocketship teachers “help so much with their (middle) school recommendations. They say things like ‘I like this school because of this reason, this school is better for this reason, and this one for that reason, etc.'”
“This study confirms that our incredibly dedicated teachers, deeply engaged parents and purposeful use of technology are delivering significant gains for our Rocketeers that extend into middle school,” said Preston Smith, CEO and co-founder of Rocketship Education, in a press release. “By focusing exclusively on elementary education we are giving students in disadvantaged communities a strong start to their academic journey that will carry them far in school and life. This study validates our innovative school model and the power of our parents who become lifelong education advocates for their kids and communities.”
In an interview with Watchdog, Smith said low-income communities should take notice.
“These results show that the zip codes kids are born into need not determine their academic achievement,” he said, “At Rocketship, 85 percent of our students come from low-income families, but roughly twice as many are on the college-bound path in middle school compared to their peers. This study proves the importance of giving all students of all backgrounds an excellent education that aims towards college.”