In 2007, somewhere in Redwood City, California, John Danner and Preston Smith joined forces to create what’s now known as one of the pioneers of forging personalized lessons from customized educational software, standard technological devices, and top-notch educators that are skilled in crafting these lessons around students at an individual level. This system of public charter schools is better known as Rocketship Education, the system that has 18 locations around the United States, after its first year spent in a church in San Jose.
As Preston Smith has extensive experience in teaching kids from low-income areas, whose families have little disposable income to fork over to private schools that provide top-tier educations, he’s given back to these low-income, in-need communities by placing Rocketship Education facilities in such areas. The catch? Families that are poverty stricken don’t have to pay a single cent to enroll their children in any of Rocketship Education’s 18 locations. After its first ten years of operation, modern-day CEO Preston Smith was privy to tons of knowledge he otherwise would have never learned about. In May, earlier this year, he wrote an article that detailed several of these tidbits. Here are some of the most important.
Some babies are born with developmental disabilities. Some are visible from the moment they’re born, although may of them aren’t recognizable until they attend school, getting in trouble for bad behavior, not learning as easily as most other students, and a variety of other manifestations. Rocketship Education places students with special needs in general classrooms for a goal of 80% of their hours spent at each school day. This goal is referred to as the meaningful inclusion model of education.
Parents are encouraged to found educational institutions of their own. Preston Smith did exactly this after three years’ time as an educator in San Jose. Banding together a group of parents, school administrators, and fellow educators, he was able to found an independent public school in eight months. It’s possible for other parents, too.
Teachers are asked to visit parents’ homes once a year, creating better personalized learning plans.