Principal Amaris Salazar welcomed a crowd of visitors into her east Fort Worth school, but the campus is still months away from being a place of learning.
Salazar is the founding principal of the second — and, for now, last — campus for Rocketship Public Schools Texas. Salazar joined Rocketship administrators, city officials and others Feb. 8 to mark the beginning of a renovation project to transform a former office building at 820 E. Loop 820 into a $16 million school.
“Welcome to our home,” Salazar said.
The new school joins the charter’s inaugural campus, Dennis Dunkins Elementary in Stop Six.
Rocketship Eastside, the new school’s unofficial name, is expected to open in August.
Rocketship cannot expand any further beyond the pair of schools. In 2021, the State Board of Education approved Rocketship’s charter to operate in Texas. Initially, Rocketship wanted to open four campuses, but the State Board of Education negotiated with the charter to whittle its plans to two.
Rocketship can expand, but only if both of its campuses earn an A or B accountability rating from the state.
Alex Jimenez, a member of Rocketship’s board of directors, reminded the crowd gathered inside the unfinished building about the state’s expectations for the charter.
“We promised everybody that if we’re going to have two schools and we can’t get to an A or B rating, don’t give us a third — we don’t deserve it,” Jimenez said, pointing out the State Board of Education approved Rocketship’s charter in an 8-7 vote.
School is pre-K to fifth grade
Rocketship is not like other charter schools, which often replicate the entire K-12 system that traditional independent school districts offer.
Instead, Rocketship offers pre-K to fifth grade. The charter’s goal is to academically boost students who will return to their original school district and increase achievement there, too.
The new school is in an area of Fort Worth where just over one out of four students are meeting grade level on the state’s standardized test, according to the Fort Worth Education Partnership.
Salazar sees opportunity for the future students who attend her east Fort Worth charter school. She wants to teach them how to advocate for their education, in and out of the classroom.
At the same time, the principal knows what’s at stake and said parents have to play a part in helping open new opportunities for their children.
“We have a lot of accountability that is putting pressure on schools,” Salazar said. “We want parents’ feedback, and we want them to hold our feet to the fire so that we can get better every single day.”
Jacob Sanchez is an enterprise journalist for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at email@example.com or via Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.