The new branch of the Rocketship charter school will include a computer lab, gymnasium and nursing station. The two-story building will be on a hilltop in Anacostia and contain 54,000 square feet. Interviews are already being conducted for perspective teachers.
The first Rocketship elementary school was opened in 2007. The school gained recognition for their blended approach to learning and strong test scores. They use an approach combining computer and online instruction and traditional teaching. This relies on technology and keeps their costs down.
In 2013, the Public Charter School Board allowed Rocketship to open a maximum of eight schools inside of the District. The first school was located in Ward 8 across from a large complex for public housing. The opponents of the school are concerned it may bring too much competition to the traditional elementary schools in the area.
The Regional director for Rocketship is Jacque Patterson who believes since the school will operate along the lines of a neighborhood school there will not be a conflict. Although any child located in D.C. can apply, the school’s focus is on the children living in Ward 8. The Rocketship school will have 350 students ranging from kindergarten to the fourth grade in the 2016 and 2017 school year. A preschool will additionally be run by the Appletree Institute. Approximately forty percent of all current applications have come from the Woodland Terrace complex.
A specialized room is being built at the new school with computers and internet access for parents. When they attend school functions or pick up their children they will have the ability to submit applications for jobs. Most of the parents have never had the opportunity to have this active of a role in their children’s education. The schools staff are planning to visit the students families at home before the school year starts in order to develop a relationship with them.
One of the construction workers is from Texas and is planning for his son to attend Rocketship. He has already been through several interviews with the teachers and believes the school’s idea of getting to know the children and their families is excellent because it help the parents as well.