Rocketship United Academy has undergone a recent project where students were given 7 days, a sheet of paper, and a name. Their assignment was to watch the gratitude spread. That may sound like an odd assignment that makes little sense to the outsider, but to understand the goal of this project better one must understand that positive cultures thrive within the Rocketship walls in these charter schools. They believe that this acknowledgement of positive things is a free gift that can feed our souls and when we give gratitude we are giving this gift freely and unearned.
Every single teacher and staff member at Rocketship is dedicated to sharing gratitude and portraying a positive culture within the walls of their academy. There are 5 core network values shared across all schools and those are respect, responsibility, empathy, and persistence which are quoted as part of the Rocket Creed each day. These core values help the students build a community where there is a desire to exceed expectations. The fifth core value is also chosen by each the parents and students of the school to personalize it to what is their unique vision and idea for their school and community. These traits include everything from service to bravery to curiosity. Each core value fits the mission to prepare students to thrive with critical character skills well beyond school.
This is vital as many of these students come from high-poverty areas where these critical character skills may not always be at the forefront of their upbringing. This helps bring positive reinforcement into their life and helps drown out toxic stresses that their home lives may be providing them. These social and emotional skills help provide students with the ability to succeed in the classroom and beyond. These curricula are enforced as part of children’s learning through “morning community meetings” where the curricula are clearly selected to help students learn more about their various ethics and morals.