By Ana Martinez-Ortiz
Education is a wonderful thing, but sometimes the actual school day can get a bit monotonous. Lucky for the students at Rocketship Transformation Prep, they had a special guest earlier this week.
Last year in August 2018, Rocketship Transformation Prep began as a startup in the Silver Spring Neighborhood. A year later in August 2019, the school moved to a new location, 5501 N. 68th St. To celebrate its successful transition, Bango, the Milwaukee Buck’s mascot, made an appearance.
Rocketship Schools began in 1999 by Father Mateo Sheedy, according to the school’s book. Fr. Sheedy wanted to give children, specifically those in underprivileged areas, the tools they would need to receive a great education and to continue to a higher education.
Eventually, this turned into the Rocketship school system. The first school opened in D.C. Now, there are schools in California, Nashville and Milwaukee.
The two schools in Milwaukee include Southside Community Prep, 3003 W. Cleveland Ave., and the aforementioned Transformation Prep, 5501 N. 68th St. Transformation Prep was the 19th school in the Rocketship program.
According to its website, the school offers personalized learning for its students: “We don’t believe one size fits all when it comes to student learning. Our personalized learning model meets every student at their individual level to ensure all students reach their potential.”
The school purchased the former Blessed Savior Catholic Church North Campus site. While the school is operational, Rocketship plans to add a gym and cafeteria come August 2020.
During the ceremony, students performed their morning “Launch Dance” routine accompanied by Bango, cut the ribbon and recited the Rocketship Rocketeer Creed.
Tynetta Oliver is the mother of a kindergarten student at Transformation Prep. She is also an office manager at the school. Oliver explained that her mother had her at 17 years old. Oliver’s mother taught her that material goods can be taken away, but no one can take away an education.
This impactful lesson stuck with Oliver throughout her life. It was the reason she took her education so seriously. Oliver graduated from Alverno College while seven months pregnant with her daughter.
While looking for a job she stumbled across Rocketship and started researching what it was all about.
“I had never heard of Rocketship prior to this, so I did some research and, in that research, I found that the mission was amazing,” she said.
“I needed to be a part of that mission,” she added.
The school’s mission to close the achievement gap was one Oliver could relate to. It was one she wanted to help close. After six interviews, Oliver was hired.
In addition to working here, Oliver knew that Rocketship was the place for her daughter. Her daughter, who is mildly autistic, was in a public school for a month before Oliver pulled her and switched her to Rocketship.
Her daughter struggled to communicate verbally, but thanks to Rocketship, she’s now beginning to speak.
To learn more about Rocketship Schools go to www.rocketshipschools.org.