Rocketship creates a data-driven, personalized education experience with a partially computer-based day for K-5 students

  • What does the model look like?

    • Students spend 75% of time in a traditional classroom and 25% in a computer based Learning Lab 
    • The lab provides online programming in reading and mathematics basic skills, adaptive to student learning gaps and needs 
  • How does it work?

    • Students access content from various online providers during Learning Lab. The Rocketship Individualized Scheduling Engine (RISE) aggregates data from each program to provide teachers and administrators with a view into individual student progress
  • How is it used?

    • Rocketship currently enrolls 3,800 K-5 students in its 7 campuses and uses technology for reading and math skills 
  • What is the background?

    • Rocketship Education is a nonprofit CMO founded in 2006 as the first elementary school blended learning model
    • Currently runs five 90% low-income elementary schools in San Jose, Calif.; plans to expand nationally in 2013


Rocketship adjusts the length and content of its daily schedule to facilitate the Learning Lab and additional student-driven interventions.

  • Scheduling
    • Students spend three class periods in traditional instruction and one in the learning lab. An extended school day allows for additional instruction and tutoring time
  • Staffing Model

    • Staff includes 75% of the number of teachers at a traditional public school, with student-to-teacher ratio of 31:1. Teachers specialize in one subject area; students meet with two different teachers daily starting in kindergarten. Individualized Learning Specialists, who supervise computer time, are not credentialed teachers, but are highly trained instructional coaches and tutors
  • Physical Space

    • Students work in the Learning Lab – a large room with desktop computers - for an hour and 40 minutes a day, but spend the rest of the day in a traditional classroom environment
  • Procurement

    • Rocketship created comprehensive rubrics for selecting web-based content vendors, which are used to vet programs before placing them in the Learning Lab



What's New


Students receive adaptive instruction in Learning Lab and teachers use data to specialize classroom instruction and assignments

  • Students receive a personalized, adaptive learning experience in Learning Lab

    • The Learning Lab takes place in a separate, centralized room where students work through an adaptive content program to complete their assignments around basic skills, remediation, independent practice, and assessment
    • Programs provide adaptive, online-learning that is differentiated for each student in real time
    • Select students work with tutors during Learning Lab for additional small group support
  • Teachers spend time focusing on advanced, critical thinking skills 

    • Teachers spend more time on full group discussions, projects, and higher level thinking skills and less time on differentiated practice, which is covered in the lab
    • Each teacher specializes in instructing in a single-subject area rather than an all-inclusive classroom 
  • Strong visibility into student progress provides data for teachers on what to cover during whole group and remedial instruction

    • RISE (Rocketship Individualized Scheduling Engine) is a  technical infrastructure that compiles and aggregates student data from the Learning Lab in singular report that teachers then use to inform their instruction
    • Administrators can access info on any student and classroom to see day-to-day progress and learning gaps


What's Working

Rocketship tailors its school day to fit each child’s specific needs, while still maintaining valuable student-teacher relationships

  • Students have increased access to various learning modalities and differentiated instruction
    • Daniela started Rocketship in 3rd grade at a 1st grade reading level. And she ended the 4th grade reading at a 5th grade reading level” –Parent
    • Seeing their scores at the end of the year, I knew I wasn’t completely responsible for all of that. The Learning Lab time, especially the reading center, really helped my kids make some big jumps really quickly” –Teacher/principal 
    • What Rocketship is pioneering is the ability to augment the classroom to provide more learning time for students through technology. And this holds tremendous potential for improving student results across the nation” – Reed Hastings, Founder and CEO Netflix
  • Teachers have more time to specialize in their content area while monitoring students’ progress on individualized, basic skills acquisition
    • Through the use of both adaptive and assignable programs, teachers can guide the content used in the lab
    • Everything about our model is meant to custom our lesson plans to our students needs” –Teacher
    • This [data] allows us to work in small groups and to really differentiate our instruction, homework, and classroom activities.” –Teacher



  • Content

    • Students use web-based programs from a range of different providers, which allows for flexibility in selecting the best content for each subject.
  • Assessment

    • Learning Lab programs provide adaptive solutions that adjust to students’ learning needs and pace.
  • Personalization

    • Data from external formative assessments and frequent online testing is aggregated on RISE student report for teachers to access and utilize
  • Development

    • Data that comes from the Learning Lab and especially the use of RISE allows teachers real-time data and learning to use that data to refine their practice
  • Delivery

    • 1:1 access to computers in Learning Lab that allows for simultaneous instruction and makes data collection possible


See It: 

The Learning Lab (2009)

The Learning Lab (2009)