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Founding families at Rocketship Transformation Prep threw a party Thursday morning to celebrate a permanent home for their school community.
With big smiles, cheers, confetti, and dancing, the students and parents of Rocketship Transformation Prep cut a bright red ribbon and crossed the threshold into the newly remodeled home of their school at 5501 N. 68th St.
“We are so proud of our new home,” said founding Principal Kourtney Vang. “Our school families and their children deserve this safe, clean, beautiful space that facilitates joyful culture and strong learning.”
About 60 community members attended the celebration, sponsored by PNC bank. Milwaukee Bucks mascot Bango was on hand, courtesy of the Bucks Community Foundation. After remarks by the school’s staff and board leadership, guests were treated to breakfast and school tours.
School mom shares her story
Tynetta Oliver’s four-year old daughter, Amari Lee, attends Rocketship Transformation Prep. Oliver, who is also the school’s office manager, shared her personal story as a part of Thursday’s event.
Oliver started working for Rocketship in 2016 when she was an expectant mother and recent graduate of Alverno College. She helped recruit some of Transformation Prep’s founding families.
“The mission was amazing, and I needed to be a part of this organization,” Oliver said. “The mission to close the achievement gap was something I needed to be a part of.”
Then came time for Oliver to choose a school for her daughter. Amari Lee has Autism Spectrum Disorder, which meant she entered school with limited communication and social skills. After trying out another school for one month, Oliver realized Rocketship Transformation Prep was what her daughter needed.
“Rocketship was the choice for my daughter. The inclusive classrooms inspired me. I felt like I needed a school for my daughter where she could be included.”
In just a few short months, Amari has made significant progress. Oliver shared a video clip of Amari reading a book, something she has learned to do since attending Rocketship.
“So this is why I chose Rocketship Transformation Prep,” she shared with the applauding audience.
School is part of a larger whole
Transformation Prep opened in August 2018 in temporary space at the Silver Spring Neighborhood Center. In August 2019, the school moved into its new home, a building that previously housed Blessed Savior Catholic School. This allowed the school to nearly double its enrollment, from 80 to 150. A second phase of renovation will turn the former church sanctuary into a gymnasium and cafeteria by August 2020. When fully enrolled, the school will have 400 students.
Rocketship came to the Silver Spring neighborhood because many school-age children had been traveling long distances outside of their community to attend a high-quality school. To address this challenge, Rocketship joined the Choice Neighborhood Initiative, a partnership between the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, the City of Milwaukee and partners including the Silver Spring Neighborhood Center and Carmen Schools of Science and Technology. Through this partnership, more than $30 million is being invested in the Silver Spring neighborhood to provide families with a comprehensive suite of educational and social services.
Rocketship Transformation Prep is a public charter elementary school, providing a free public education to children in grades K4-4th grade. The school is a part of the Rocketship Public Schools network, which also operates Rocketship South Side Community Prep, 3003 W. Cleveland Ave. In total, there are 19 Rocketship schools nationwide.
For more information, please visit www.rocketshipschools.org.