No Superman, but super fundingRocketship Education, Aspire get grants
An infusion of public and private dollars may improve the odds for families to win the charter school lotteries seen in the new film ” Waiting for Superman” – at least in California.
Grants and gifts totaling $13 million were announced this week to help two Bay Area-based charter management organizations expand the number of charter schools they operate.
Rocketship Education, based in Palo Alto, received $6 million in grants and loan guarantees from the Charter School Growth Fund to underwrite rapid growth over the next five years. Rocketship plans to go from three elementary school charters in San Jose to 30 in the Bay Area and an unnamed city, according to CEO John Danner. Rocketship locates in low-income neighborhoods and employs a hybrid model of classroom instruction and online learning. More than 80 percent of its students are English learners. The schools’ test scores – 926 API for its first school – have been impressive.
The Charter School Growth Fund made the award in announcing a fundraising campaign for $160 million to create charter schools serving 335,000 students over the next decade. It’s already halfway there, with Netflix CEO Reed Hastings one of the early contributors.
Also taking in $5.58 million in expansion money was Aspire Public Schools of Oakland. It was the only California charter management organization, out of a dozen grantees, to share $50 million from the U.S. Department of Education. This is the first time the feds have targeted high-performing charter organizations for replication. Aspire, with 30 schools serving 10,000 students in the Bay Area, Sacramento, Stockton, and Los Angeles, will add 15 schools with the money. Aspire also got a $1 million donation this month from Oprah Winfrey’s Angel Network.