WASHINGTON, Oct. 11, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Andre Agassi, Rocketship Education, the Norman and Ruth Rales Foundation and leaders from the Turner-Agassi Charter School Facilities Fund celebrated the opening of Rocketship Rise Academy, the fund's first venture in Washington, D.C. and Rocketship Education's first school on the East Coast.
Opened this past August, Rocketship Rise Academy at the Ruth Rales Campus is located in the Woodland Terrace neighborhood at 2335 Raynolds Place in Southeast D.C. The campus will serve 758 students in pre-K through 5th grade at maturity. As part of its partnership with Rocketship Education, the school's preschool instruction is provided by AppleTree Early Learning.
Rocketship Education is a growing non-profit network of high-performing public charter schools serving low-income communities with limited access to excellent schools. Founded in 2007, the core of Rocketship's instructional model is a teacher-led, technology-supported approach to personalized learning that matches each student with the right content at the right time utilizing the right method of instruction. By deeply engaging parents in their student's learning and the school community, Rocketship develops parents who become lifelong advocates for their children and their community.
The 58,598-square-foot building—built from the ground up—was developed by the Turner-Agassi Charter School Facilities Fund, an innovative, mission-driven investment fund that provides resources and real estate expertise to high-performing charter school operators across the nation, enabling them to access top-quality facilities. The state-of-the-art facility is certified LEED Platinum—the highest level of certification by the U.S. Green Building Council.
"Rocketship Education is a successful and proven charter school operator, and their network of schools is closing the achievement gap for thousands of young people in communities with great need," said Bobby Turner, the fund's Co-Managing Partner as well as Principal and Chief Executive Officer of Turner Impact Capital. "We're thrilled that our fund is enabling Rocketship to open their very first school on the East Coast, and particularly in the Woodland Terrace neighborhood, where the school is sure to make an enormously positive impact on the community."
Securing high-quality, long-term facilities is often the greatest impediment faced by charter school leaders. Turner-Agassi provides resources, development experience and a passion for educational excellence to help top school operators focus on their first priority: helping students succeed.
A joint venture of Turner Impact Capital and Agassi Ventures, Turner-Agassi is backed by a world-class group of institutional investors who share a commitment to effecting positive societal change in urban centers across the United States. To date, 69 schools have been developed across the country, serving 35,200 students in such communities as North Philadelphia, Newark, the Bronx, Southwest Detroit, South Dallas, North Las Vegas, and most recently, San Antonio. It is positioned to invest more than $500 million to develop an additional 100 schools serving another 55,000 students.
"Excellent education beginning at the elementary school level is critical to continued success in college and in life," said Andre Agassi, the fund's Co-Managing Partner and CEO of Agassi Ventures. "This state-of-the-art facility and new permanent home of Rocketship Rise Academy will make a real difference to the historically underserved young people in the Woodland Terrace community."
Rocketship Rise Academy is the fifth campus supported by Turner-Agassi. Previously, the fund worked alongside Rocketship to open schools in San Jose, Milwaukee, and Nashville.
"At Rocketship, we believe all kids deserve access to an excellent education, regardless of where they live," said Preston Smith, CEO and co-founder of Rocketship Education. "Our incredibly dedicated teachers, deeply engaged parents and purposeful use of technology are delivering gap-closing gains for students in disadvantaged communities across the country. We are excited to give parents here in Southeast D.C. the choice to send their children to a high-performing public school that personalizes the learning experience for every student we serve."
Rocketship Rise Academy includes 26 classrooms, 3 special education classrooms, 1 learning lab, 2 cafeterias, a gymnasium, nurse's suite, multi-use agora space, 2 playgrounds, and a nature trail.
"We are thrilled to partner with Turner-Agassi and the Norman and Ruth Rales Foundation to open our first school here in Ward 8," said Jacque Patterson, long-time Ward 8 resident and Regional Director of Rocketship D.C. "We look forward to continuing this powerful partnership as we grow our network of high-performing elementary schools to serve thousands of students across D.C."
The generous support of The Norman and Ruth Rales Foundation was instrumental in opening the school.
"My mother, Ruth Rales, loved children and believed deeply in the power of education even though she didn't have the opportunity to attend college herself," said Joshua Rales, President and Trustee of the Norman and Ruth Rales Foundation. "That is why she would be so proud to have her name associated with Rocketship Rise Academy. This school, and the entire Rocketship network, is committed to providing a world-class education to its students regardless of the challenging circumstances they may face."
The Turner-Agassi Charter School Facilities Fund takes the lead in site selection, acquisition, design and construction for new school facilities, which are then leased back to school operators, who can purchase their schools once they reach full occupancy. The fund intends to help operators obtain permanent financing using New Market Tax Credits, tax-exempt bond offerings or funding from the U.S. Treasury's Community Development Financial Institutions Fund.
"As a sustainable market-driven investment fund, Turner-Agassi has a unique ability to provide the best charter school operators in the nation with high-quality facilities," said Glenn Piece, President of Education Initiatives at Turner Impact Capital. "Our partnership with Rocketship Education perfectly exemplifies the great work we can accomplish and the thousands of students we can reach when we pair our resources with Rocketship's education expertise."
About the Turner-Agassi Charter School Facilities Fund
The Turner-Agassi Charter School Facilities Fund is the nation's largest fund solely designed to accelerate the growth of high-performing, urban charter schools. Since its inception in 2011, the fund has developed 69 schools serving the needs of 35,200 students throughout the United States. With dedicated funding from preeminent social impact investors, the fund expects to open an additional 100 schools serving 55,000 students by 2020. For more information, please visit www.turneragassi.com.
About Rocketship Education
Rocketship Education is a nonprofit public charter network of 16 elementary schools serving low-income communities with limited access to excellent schools. Founded in 2007 in San Jose, California, Rocketship has since expanded to Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Nashville, Tennessee; and Washington, D.C. By building a scalable and sustainable school model that propels student achievement in underserved communities, Rocketship is working to eliminate the achievement gap in our lifetime. Visit www.rsed.org to learn more.
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SOURCE Turner-Agassi Charter School Facilities Fund