Rocketship Education was founded in 2006 as a national network to eliminate the elementary-age achievement gap in high poverty neighborhoods. Initially focusing on San Jose, California, Rocketship chose its first neighborhood, Washington Guadalupe, based on relationships that John Danner, Co-Founder and CEO, had with Sacred Heart Parish.
In 1999, Father Mateo Sheedy, Pastor of Sacred Heart Parish, was asked to recommend children from his parish for the Juan Diego Scholarship program at Santa Clara University. Father Mateo was appalled that, of the hundreds of children in his parish, none had received the education necessary to attend Santa Clara. As a result, three schools were formed serving this neighborhood – Downtown College Prep, Sacred Heart Nativity School, and Rocketship Mateo Sheedy Elementary school.
Rocketship Mateo Sheedy, established 2007, demonstrated strong results in student academic achievement and their ranks of children waiting to attend swelled. Thus Rocketship Education saw the need to continue to open more schools to fulfill their mission to eliminate the achievement gap.
In October 2009, Rocketship Education joined the SJ2020 initiative to eliminate the achievement gap in San José schools. The initiative is based off the urgency to serve 40,000 students performing below grade level by 2020. To fulfill their commitment, Rocketship continues to establish new schools in Santa Clara County. Rocketship’s growth in the Santa Clara County and nationwide will be dependent on high performance and success – a first for the charter sector.