Rocket Education is an independent charter school chain that was established in San Jose, California, in 2006. It offers free, open to the public, K-5 schools that help children prepare for college. Around 90 percent of the children at these schools qualify for free lunches and 75 percent of them are learning to speak English as a second language.
Like all public and charter schools, they strive to find a balance when it comes to how they approach things such as classroom management. The classrooms can’t be too strict as that would harm the children learning progress but teachers also can’t be too lax as chaos would erupt. It’s a fine balancing act that even some former United States Education Secretaries have said they have struggled with when they were teachers.
At Rocketship Education, they believe that if a child is going to attend college that path begins when they are in kindergarten. It is in part to this, as well as just wanting to provide the best education, that they take their role as educators very seriously. They have a program in place that is designed to help new teachers effectively control a classroom within either their first or second year. Since they teach so many children that come from families that have been marginalized Rocketship Education is especially sensitive to making sure their students are not sent subconsciously harmful messages through overly militant classroom management practices.
Another issue Rocketship Education faces, like all educational institutions, is how much technology to use in their schools on a day to day basis. Students need exposure to technology since, basically, every well-paying job uses it plus they need to be good at it to get through college. Just like classroom discipline, there is a fine balance between too much and too little.
At Rocketship Education they decided the balance is at 80 minutes a day on computers, so a bit under an hour and a half out of a six-hour daily curriculum. The students work on multiple programs during this time, at their pace, including Dreambox, Lexia, and ST Math. The students have been thriving on this balance of computer work versus teacher-led education.