Long House Studio

Rocketship Education Reshapes The Quality of Public Education

Rocketship Education (RSED) is a system of non-profit charter schools with locations in four different states across the United States. Their mission is to “catalyze transformative change in low-income communities through a scalable and sustainable public school model that propels student achievement, develops exceptional educators, and partners with parents who enable high-quality public schools to thrive in their community.” Rocketship schools are designed to break the barrier between income and quality education, filling in a gap that many students face while attending underprivileged public schools. The school is headquartered in Redwood City, California and serves elementary school students.

RSED was founded in 2006 by Preston Smith and John Danner. The first school was opened in 2007 in San Jose, California. The quality and performance of the school was quickly realized–on the California state assessment, students at RSED scored as high as students in one of California’s leading high schools. Smith and Danner opened six more schools over the next five years. RSED opened its first school in Wisconsin in 2013. The company expanded to Tennessee in 2014 and Washington D.C. in 2016.

John Danner left the company in 2013 and Preston Smith became CEO. Since opening RSED, Smith has learned a lot of lessons that he will use to progressively improve RSED. Listening to parents is a lesson that he has learned. In listening to parents, he also learned that many parents feel that the quality of education that RSED provides to children is comparable to that of a private school. Parents view RSED like a free private school for their children. Although it is true that public education needs a little restructuring to better suit the needs of the children in their communities, Smith believes that public education is the backbone of our society. He wants parents to view RSED as a public school with high quality education, so the name of the company will be changed from Rocketship Education to Rocketship Public Schools. Changing the name will reflect this value that Smith has for public education, instilling that value in every parent and child that is a part of the RSED system.