It is common in most schools for parents not to know who teaches their children until the school year begins. Rocketship Education chartered schools are however very different since the parents are involved in the process of hiring the teachers from the beginning. This is a process that happens months before the classes resume. Parents are involved in the interviews of potential teachers that will teach the students the next year. It is not a new phenomenon for Rocketship, a network which has 13 schools.
The CEO of Rocketship Education comments that it is this culture of involving parents that was started in 2007 and continues to hold the schools together. Preston Smith explains that the input of the parents matters a lot to them, which is why they have a say in the interview process. In some cases, the schools organize a meeting where the parents meet the teachers who made it to the final. This collaboration between the school and parents working as a community towards one goal has been very instrumental in helping to eliminate any potential disagreements as the CEO recalls that none has ever existed.
These meetings are fruitful because some of the applicants and candidates realize that the job may not be a perfect fit for them. The parents interrogate the candidates, which is a good thing since it helps the candidates get to understand what awaits them. In fact, in one meeting, one of the candidates left after a discussion with one of the parents, and when she was asked why she left, she said that she was not willing to engage with the parents at the levels that they expected from her. This way, the schools, parents, and sometimes-even students are spared the trouble of dealing with a teacher that may end up being problematic. The parents have also expressed their satisfaction in being involved in the processes as they get to know the candidates that will be handling their children.
Rocketship Education culture should be emulated to ensure that students receive quality education and that all parties in the education system work in harmony.