Will Rocketship Change Its Learning Labs?

Rocketship Schools in the Bay Area have been one of the trailblazers in the ever-changing landscape of blended learning. Located in low-income neighborhoods, the schools' Learning Labs -- where students spend up to 90 minutes a day on computers working on math and literacy software -- has been one of its defining characteristics.

But this model isn't working, some Rocketship teachers say, and because it's a charter school network with evolving systems, it may soon be changing, according to this PBS Newshour story.

"There's definitely an aspect of us kind of not knowing enough about what's going on in learning lab to be able to use that in our classrooms," said teacher Judy Lavi.

"We don't yet get data that says, OK, teach this differently tomorrow because of what happened here. And that is -- that is a frustration point," said teacher Andrew Elliott-Chandler.

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Adam Nadeau, principal of Rocketship Mosaic Elementary, says he doesn't think the Learning Lab model will continue next year. And Elliott-Chandler sees a different function for the computers.

"Next year, we're thinking of bringing the computers back to the classrooms and the kids back to the classrooms," he said.

But what will that mean for the cost-savings the Learning Labs have so far brought the charter school network?

Rocketship is being closely watched by those both inside and outside education circles. The network's laser focus and success in achieving high scores by its low-income students, and its resistance to teacher unions, has caught the attention of states across the country.

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So far, New Orleans, Nashville, Indianapolis, and Memphis have all approved charters for Rocketship schools to be built and CEO John Danner hopes to open 46 schools in the next five years, and eventually having a million students.

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