The Rocketship Story
In 1999, Father Mateo Sheedy, Pastor of Sacred Heart Parish, created the Juan Diego Scholarship to Santa Clara University. He was surprised to discover that, of the hundreds of children in his parish, none of them met the basic academic requirements that would qualify them to attend their hometown college, or any other top-tier university.
So Father Mateo Sheedy reached out to his community and started creating a plan to improve high-quality educational options in Washington Guadalupe.
Unfortunately, Father Mateo Sheedy passed away too soon, but his movement lived on. In 2006, his parishioners approached John Danner and Preston Smith—two educational entrepreneurs who were developing a new model for schools in low-income neighborhoods. John Danner, a former software engineer, was interested in the ways technology could help personalize education. Preston Smith was a young principal at a promising elementary school in San Jose who recognized the impact that empowered teachers and engaged parents can have on student success.
Rocketship Mateo Sheedy Elementary opened soon after and our students quickly showed strong results in academic achievement. As more families joined the waiting list, we realized the need for even more high quality schools in the San Jose community.
Today, there are nine Rocketship schools in San Jose, CA, one in Milwaukee, WI and one in Nashville, TN. Our students throughout the country are closing the achievement gap. For the third year in a row, we are in the top five percent of districts serving low income students in California.
But we’re not stopping with eleven schools—parents across the country are clamoring for access to great schools. We will continue to grow deep in our three current regions and will open our first school in Washington, DC in the fall of 2016.
Together, we will eliminate the achievement gap in our lifetime.
*free & reduced price meals