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 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 eight Rocketship schools in San Jose and one in Milwaukee, and our students are closing the achievement gap. We continue to be in the top five percent of districts serving low income students.

But we’re not stopping at San Jose, or even California—parents across the country are clamoring for access to great schools. The first Rocketship School in Milwaukee opened this year, with more communities across the country joining the Rocketship family soon. 

Together, we will eliminate the achievement gap in our lifetime.






Bay Area
Washington DC**

*opening in 2014 **opening in 2015

Network Demographics

5,000 Students
Grades PreK-5
90% FRPM*
75% ELL

*free & reduced price meals

National Office

350 Twin Dolphin Dr.
Suite 109
Redwood City, CA 94065