NASHVILLE, Tenn., Oct. 13, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Andre Agassi, Bobby Turner and other leaders of the Turner-Agassi Charter School Facilities Fund joined today with representatives from Rocketship Education to celebrate the opening of its second charter school in Nashville, Rocketship United Academy.
Rocketship United Academy serves 375 students in kindergarten through fourth grade in a former office building at 320 Plus Park Blvd. that has been transformed into a beautiful new center for learning. Opened in July, the school serves a rich diversity of students whose families hail from Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and elsewhere, with an enrollment expected to grow to 550. Students, parents and community members were on hand today to participate in the ribbon-cutting celebration.
Rocketship Education is a growing non-profit network of public charter schools serving primarily low-income students in neighborhoods where access to excellent schools is limited. The Rocketship model combines personalized learning, excellent teachers, and engaged parents to transform education and inspire communities. The school's 37,000-square-foot facility was developed by Turner-Agassi, a mission-driven investment fund designed to accelerate the growth of high-performing charter schools throughout the United States.
"Rocketship Education continues to develop innovative and effective charter schools that are closing the achievement gap for thousands of young people in communities with great need," said Bobby Turner, the fund's Co-Managing Partner and CEO of Turner Impact Capital. "We are thrilled that Turner-Agassi is enabling first-rate charter operators like Rocketship to have the facilities they need to continue their transformative work of serving students, families and communities."
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, the fund has developed 50 schools since 2011, currently serving approximately 22,800 students in disadvantaged communities such as North Philadelphia, Newark, the Bronx, Southwest Detroit, South Dallas, and North Las Vegas. Fifteen additional schools will open in the 2016-2017 academic year, bringing the total number of schools delivered to 65 serving nearly 34,000 students.
This summer, Turner-Agassi launched its second fund, with plans to invest up to $1 billion in additional funding to build another 130 schools nationwide by 2020. Investors in the successor fund, known as Turner-Agassi II, include the University of Michigan, the Texas General Land Office, Citi Community Capital, and a diverse group institutional investors and family foundations.
"Investing in high-quality, learning-friendly elementary schools is the first step in lifting student achievement nationwide," said Andre Agassi, the fund's co-managing partner and CEO of Agassi Ventures. "This new investment in Nashville will make a difference for thousands of young people, empowering them to continue on to college and realize their full potential."
Rocketship United Academy includes a gymnasium, learning lab and 19 learning-friendly classrooms. The school's 2.3-acre site was originally developed by a local tractor supply business.
Nashville is the third region in the Rocketship network, which also operates 10 schools in San Jose, where it has become one of California's highest-performing low-income school systems, and one school in Milwaukee. Rocketship will soon expand to Washington, D.C., and plans to serve 15,000 students by 2018.
"At Rocketship, we passionately believe that all children deserve a high-quality education regardless of where they live or their family income," said Preston Smith, CEO and co-founder of Rocketship Education. "We are proud to partner with the Turner-Agassi Charter School Facilities Fund in growing our Rocketeer community. Together, we are putting more of Nashville's kids on the path to college."
"We are tenacious in our mission to eliminate the achievement gap in Nashville," said Shaka Mitchell, Rocketship's Regional Director of Tennessee. "Many families in Southeast Nashville lack high quality elementary school options. Additionally, many schools in this part of town are overcrowded. The opening of Rocketship United Academy means more families have the chance to send their children to a high quality elementary school in a beautiful facility."
Turner-Agassi serves school operators by taking the lead on site selection, acquisition, design and construction. School facilities are then leased at affordable rates to school operators, who can then purchase the sites once they reach full occupancy. The fund will 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 and market-driven investment fund, Turner-Agassi is uniquely capable to provide charter school operators with the long-term facilities they need to serve students on a national scale," said Glenn Pierce, President of Education Initiatives at Turner Impact Capital. "We are delighted to work with Rocketship and other high-achieving charter school operators as they change the trajectories of the lives of the ever-growing number of students in their care."
About the Turner-Agassi Charter School Facilities Fund
The Turner-Agassi Charter School Facilities Fund is a market-driven real estate investment fund designed to accelerate the growth of high-performing charter schools. The original fund and its successor will develop close to 200 schools by 2020 in high-need areas throughout the United States. Turner-Agassi is a partnership between Turner Impact Capital, LLC and Agassi Ventures, LLC. For more information, please visit www.turneragassi.com.
About Rocketship Education
Rocketship Education is a nonprofit national network of elementary schools working to eliminate the achievement gap in our lifetime. Rocketship opened its first Nashville school in 2014, and its second school – Rocketship United Academy – opened this fall. Rocketship also operates ten high performing charter schools in California and one in Wisconsin. The national network serves over 7,000 low-income students in neighborhoods where access to excellent schools is limited. Rocketship's model combines personalized learning, excellent teachers, and engaged parents to significantly improve student achievement. For more information, please visit www.rsed.org.
SOURCE Turner-Agassi Charter School Facilities Fund