By Dr. Marciene Mattleman
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Thomas Toch in the Atlantic Monthly cites the Rocketship charter schools in San Jose, with challenging kids from tough communities as outperforming nearly all of their “impoverished California peers” and some more privileged kids as well on standardized tests.
The network’s schools use “blended learning,” a combination of traditional teaching with computer-based instruction. However, after a visit to Rocketship’s 640 student Discovery Prep Elementary School, he believes that its strength is personal connections between adults and students.
Meetings on curriculum, instructional strategies and student behavior are organized to enlist parents as partners, who are asked to spend 30 hours annually, creating a sense for the kids that there are always adults who care about them and are ready to help.
Toch believes that the program promotes stronger rather than weaker ties, in that computers supplement rather than supplant traditional teaching and the schools pour instructional funds saved into higher salaries, classroom coaching and other, what he calls teacher-centric improvements.
A good model!