SchoolPower Endowment funded $50,000 towards LBUSD’s game-changing “Rocket Ready” program, which focuses on project-based learning and teacher development. The gift will fund the classroom projects portion of the pilot program. Chris Clark, Endowment’s president, says, “SchoolPower Endowment is excited to fund $50,000 for the Rocket Ready classroom projects. We want to congratulate Mike Morrison (LBUSD’s Chief Technology Officer) and the terrific team at LBUSD for making Rocket Ready a reality! We are all very proud to be a part of this ground-breaking effort.”

The innovative program could have nationwide impact as other districts adopt LBUSD’s Rocket Ready model. “The work that Laguna Beach is doing with Rocket Ready is literally reimagining the role of professional development in education,” explains Jon Corippo, Director of Academic Innovation at Cue, a non-profit educational corporation.

Launched in September 2016 with 40 pilot teachers, the professional development program is based around a simple but revolutionary idea: LBUSD teachers solve real world problems with their students. At El Morro Elementary, for example, fourth graders connected with a school in Ghana. This outreach was part of a lesson on gratitude and also helped both schools see the world a little more intimately. The Rocket Ready program enables students and teachers to launch their ideas and engage in the messy, exhilarating and memorable work of changing the world.

Patti Rabun, a teacher at Top of the World Elementary and a participant in the program says, “My third graders are benefitting from several aspects of Rocket Ready. They are becoming savvy with more advanced computer skills; they are communicating with each other and others in the world effectively; and since our theme is ‘Growing with the Power of Positivity,’ the students are thinking outside the box to be more caring, more actively involved in spreading positivity through kind acts and deeds. On the other hand, I am growing in my role as an educator and a leader through a more extensive knowledge of technology and a profound awareness of interaction with the world that Rocket Ready’s experiences have opened for me.”