A School That Lights Her Fire

How Rocketship Charter Schools Are Serving Their Students

By Libby Sobic

Wisconsin independent public charter schools have a lot to be proud of – they are some of the highest performing schools in the City of Milwaukee, serve over 9,000 students across the state and support some of the most vulnerable students who need and deserve access to schools that will help them succeed.

While these talking points are persuasive, they pale in comparison to hearing directly from parents about the impact these schools have had on their children’s lives. Ms. Tynetta Oliver is a parent and founding member at Rocketship Transformation Prep and her passion for the impact that Rocketship is having on her child’s life, and those of the Rocketship community, is inspiring:

Rocketship Public Schools in Milwaukee is a network of two campuses around the City of Milwaukee that are serving more than 700 K4-5th grade students. Rocketship embraces their students and families to ensure that they are supported in and beyond the classroom. For Ms. Oliver and her daughter, a six-year-old with special needs, Rocketship has been a source of support, not only for her daughter’s academic needs, but ensuring that her daughter’s social needs are met.

Independent public charter schools like Rocketship educate any child that wants to attend – regardless of their zip code, income or disability status. They are public schools so families do not pay tuition or go through an admissions process. Rocketship embraces every child that comes through their doors and works to help that child reach their full potential. Ms. Oliver’s daughter experienced this firsthand with the intentional and thoughtful support to address her academic needs by Rocketship staff.

Throughout the pandemic, Rocketship not only focused on ensuring that students were given the tools necessary to learn remotely, but the school focused on the whole family. This community-based model was put to the test – and passed with flying colors – over the past year. In addition to academic support for their students, Rocketship provided meals, internet access and emergency family relief funds to their families.

Without a doubt, communities and policymakers should do more to support schools like Rocketship because every Wisconsin student deserves access to a high-quality school that lovingly embraces their students, families, staff and community.

To achieve this, policymakers must recognize that independent public charter school students deserve to be funded at the same level as their peers. While independent charter schools receive $9,125 for educating students like Ms. Oliver’s daughter, a Milwaukee Public Schools campus receives $14,568 per student in state and local funds. Without a doubt, Ms. Oliver’s daughter’s educational value does not change because she attends Rocketship and not the local MPS school.

But don’t just take my word for it – I echo Ms. Oliver’s passionate plea that policymakers should visit public charter schools and witness the impactful work that is happening in these schools.

Sobic is the director of education policy at the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty. 


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