Being deeply involved with the educational institution he founded for the past ten years, Preston Smith has learned innumerable lessons from his time at Rocketship Education. Less than two months ago, Mr. Smith shared ten of the most important lessons he was privy to thanks to his administration of, service towards, and participation in Rocketship Education. Here are just a few of them.
Taking advice and soliciting the opinions of people not directly involved with the formal education process at Rocketship Education is vitally important for improving each facility. This holds true because of how intertwined Rocketship Education is with school board members, parents, community members, and all others directly or indirectly – not in the slightest – involved with the leading primary charter school.
Public schools typically are outperformed by private schools. However, Smith believes that students, parents, educators, and others involved with public schools should exude pride about attending such schools. There’s far more improvement to be made at public institutions, especially in low-income areas, something that those related to public schools should shelter.
It’s important to not be afraid of holding back new plans. For example, Smith unveiled a system of learning called the “flex model,” in which three teachers and one administrator were assigned to each classroom. While over half of test locations enjoyed the flex model and experienced success, to boot, he decided to keep the plan under wraps because it wasn’t applicable to all schools. Most importantly, he wasn’t afraid of holding his plan back, despite spending hundreds of hours working on it.
Preston Smith has worked in education since he graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2001, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Latin American studies to better communicate with Spanish-speaking parents of children at low-income schools in California, particularly the San Jose area. Three years after graduating, rather than moving away from the San Jose he had grown up in and at this point taught for three years, he attended San Jose State University for a master’s degree in educational leadership and administration.
Combined with John Danner’s technological genius, the pair built a strong foundation at Rocketship Education, arguably the most popular, effective, and sought-after public charter school in America.