Carpe Diem and Rocketship Expanding

In the world of blended learning, few schools or management organizations have received more attention than Rocketship Education and Carpe Diem, both of which have been approved to open new schools in the Midwest. Both Rocketship and Carpe Diem rely on a mix of highly qualified teachers and technology-driven instruction to individualize the student learning experience. Currently Rocketship manages five K-5 charter schools in the San Jose area. California uses the Academic Performance Index (API) to measure academic performance and growth of schools. API is a numeric index (or scale) that ranges from a low of 200 to a high of 1,000; a school’s score or placement on the API is an indicator of the school’s performance level. The statewide API performance target for all schools is 800; Rocketship achieved an overall score of 868 on the 2011 API.

Rocketship has received approval to phase in 20 more schools in Santa Clara County (CA) from 2013-16, and to open eight schools in Milwaukee beginning in fall 2013. The Milwaukee schools will be the first campuses it will run outside of California.

Carpe Diem manages one high school in Yuma, Arizona, and has been approved by the Indiana Charter Schools Board to open six schools. The first two campuses will open in 2012-13; the Carpe Diem Meridian Campus in Indianapolis will serve grades 6-12 with on-site teacher-facilitators and a web-based learning and management system. Carpe Diem Online will be a fully online school serving grades 6-12. The Carpe Diem campus in Yuma had 94% proficiency on state math and reading tests, and has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report and Business Week as one of America’s Top High Schools.

In Keeping Pace 2011, we addressed quality and accountability and online and blended learning. In the section that begins on page 40 we discussed the fact that online and blended learning can work; we are pleased to see two effective models expanding not just in their home states, but in new regions of the country.