A start-up ethos at Rocketship

Richard Whitmire’s On the Rocketship looks at the high-flying, fast-growing Rocketship network of charter schools. Rocketship

Rocketship is fueled by the “start-up ethos,” writes Conor Williams on TPM. The network “began as the brainchild of John Danner, a tech startup guy who cashed in his chips and became interested in the achievement gap.”  After teaching for three years and helping to start a KIPP charter school, Danner set out to provide “one million high-quality school seats…[in] 2,500 charter schools” in 30 years.

Rocketship “operates by backward mapping,” writes Whitmire. “First define your long-term goal, then decide how you will measure it, and then determine the steps that will get you there.”

Rocketship students work on computers for part of the school day, using adaptive software that lets them work at their own level and move at their own pace. Teachers target instruction to smaller groups, while aides supervise learning labs.

Rocketship’s first schools have been wildly successful in San Jose, but expanding rapidly while maintaining quality is proving to be a challenge.

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