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Citizen Schools Reviews

41 Reviews
41 Reviews
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Steven Rothstein
2 Ratings

    Working with students is always rewarding to some degree but Citizen Schools had it wrong.

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    • Culture & Values
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    Former Employee - Teaching Associate in Boston, MA
    Former Employee - Teaching Associate in Boston, MA

    I worked at Citizen Schools part-time (less than an year)


    I don't have very many pros for CS to be honest but I will try to think of some positives I can pull out:
    -Exposure to diverse populations-- this is especially important for young professionals from very homogeneous schools and communities
    -Working with students is a rewarding experience and young professionals learn a lot about being flexible and taking charge.
    -CS employees in the schools can be exposed to and gain knowledge of community concerns and issues through interaction with their students and can help students learn to advocate.


    Pretty much everything else. Honestly working for CS was a complete disappointment coming from other nonprofit educational programs. I expected such a widely recognized and funded NATIONAL program to be effective and efficient in in developing and managing programs as well as training staff.
    This was not the case at all.
    Just a few cons:
    -HORRIBLE management at the school level.The management team had not nearly enough experience with children to run an entire program. Management was completely incompetent and had less experience working with students than most of the staff. Answering to, and being evaluated by supervisors who had no idea what they were doing was almost painful. Even worse the management was not culturally competent and did not understand the lives, challenges, and barriers that our students were facing below the surface.It was like the stereotypical middle class, white, woman running a program for inner city black kids. Management did not want staff engaging in difficult but helpful conversations with our students.
    -Poor programming. CS is funded for the most part because of the amazing experience of apprenticeships. Spoiler alert: most program time is not spent in a-ships but in academic programming. In our case it was spent in classes run by staff who were not trained teachers or particularly good at the material we were teaching. Staff were in no way qualified to be managing and teaching the classes we were given. This showed when we were continuing to change our academic programming until about April.
    -We were babysitters. Staff members were basically babysitters in the schools from 1:30-4. The program was defended because "at least these kids aren't getting out of school at 1:30". That is not justification for running an extended day program. If the program is not effective and efficient it should be reworked. We should not have been placed in classrooms at the most difficult time of the school day with completely useless programming.
    -Part time staff who were hired expecting to work 25-30 hours were given 22 hours to do the same amount of work. This was not effective amount of time and the pay rate was not good enough to support TA's who were truly dedicated to running good classes. Part-time staff became burnt out and demoralized because the work was just too much for what they were being given (even with a decent hourly rate).
    -Lack of diversity. In a school that was less than 10% white our staff was made of mostly white women. Our teaching staff consisted of only 3 men, one black man. Our only black teaching staff member was asked to leave in November creating a cultural divide between students who looked up to him and other program staff. After this we had a long revolving door of part-time staff members trying to fills this roll. CS needs to work to hire people who are representative of the communities they are serving.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Hire campus directors and deputy campus directors from OUTSIDE of the organization. Hire people who have been successful in urban education and can implement successful programming. Stop using organizational darlings to develop programming and run campuses.

    Doesn't Recommend
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