AUSL

  auslchicago.org
  auslchicago.org

AUSL Reviews

Updated October 30, 2014
Updated October 30, 2014
10 Reviews
3.4
10 Reviews
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  1.  

    Not for the weak

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Resident Teacher in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Resident Teacher in Chicago, IL

    I have been working at AUSL full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    Nurturing, caring people and great mentorship

    Cons

    Really really hard, make sure teaching is what you want to do.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
  2. 5 people found this helpful  

    Mission vs. Reality

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Resident and Teacher in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Resident and Teacher in Chicago, IL

    I worked at AUSL full-time

    Pros

    -If you are fortunate and get placed with a decent mentor and/or administration, you will learn a lot and probably love your job.
    -You get thorough training on Doug Lemov teaching techniques (popular teaching strategies in urban schools).
    -Discounted Master's degree and a decent stipend during the residency year.

    Cons

    I am someone who has worked with urban youth prior to this experience and loved it. I was quite certain that teaching was my calling. During my years with AUSL I loved my students and put in 110% in hopes that my kids would have learned and become better people in the year they have spent with me. I loved my kids and was passionate about education, but have decided to leave. Here are my reasons:

    -AUSL is growing faster than they can handle. The schools they have supposedly "turned around" with an exorbitant amount of additional funds usually revert back to pre-turnaround condition by the third year. They take effective teachers and administration from "successful" schools and have them sent to schools that have been newly added to the network. Four out of five times, this teacher/admin drain have disastrous effects on the school the following year. A school that might have been calm, in less than one year's time, can become one where fights spontaneously break out multiple times a day from 8th grade down to K.

    -If you are a critical thinker, this place is not for you. For most principals, their idea of an ideal teacher is a yes man/woman with great classroom management. They are even OK with teachers using mild corporal as long as they follow the principal in all decisions and can manage a class. My friends in the network and I have been accused of being insubordinate, "uncoachable," negative, etc, for simply voicing the "wrong" opinion. If that happens often enough, they will find a way to get rid of you regardless of your skill in teaching or dedication to the kids. In the end, the principals are in charge of the teacher reviews, and let's just say those things are pretty subjective.

    -Test scores trump all in AUSL. You will be asked to do reading passages with multiple choice questions even if over half of your kids cannot read. You will be asked to fill out an analysis sheets on your "data" of mostly random guesses. You will be asked to focus on the students in the third quartile to get the most "bang for your buck" on test score gains. You may be asked to ignore the "lowest" students because they are so far from grade level.

    -Students with special needs are not getting what they need in most AUSL schools. The paraprofessionals that have been hired with money that was specifically allotted for these students are often not in the special ed classroom or assisting students with needs. Often they are used as an extra support for behavior in the hallways, a sub, or recess and lunch staff. Basically, most AUSL schools are in gross violation of laws made to protect students with special needs.

    AUSL has its priorities in the wrong places. They care more about their image than the growth and well being of their students and staff. I used to love teaching, but I am now on a indefinite hiatus due to my traumatic experience with AUSL. I leave AUSL unsatisfied, disillusioned, and in debt. Please let this serve as a cautionary tale for passionate individuals hoping to work for AUSL. If you want to keep teaching and love what you do, stay away.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stop growing. Fix the schools you have. If you really want to know how a school is doing, do NOT have the principals choose the teachers who will speak during collegial visits. The voices of a random group of teachers will give you a more accurate picture of the state of the school. Donald Feinstein, I believe you are sincere about the kids and the mission of AUSL. I too believe in the mission of AUSL, but sadly, the reality is far from it.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
  3. 3 people found this helpful  

    Amazing Training, challenging Work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Teacher in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Teacher in Chicago, IL

    I have been working at AUSL full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    -Full year of training. You gain actual experience working in an urban classroom under the guidance of a mentor teacher. When you step into your classroom, you are ready!
    -excellent connections throughout the network. Lots of room for growth with different types of mentoring (professors, coaches, etc).
    -lots of PD opportunities
    -well-resourced company; ability to provide students with amazing enrichment opportunities
    -unique ways to grow within the company (opportunities beyond the teacher-->administrator path)

    Cons

    -Difficult work-life balance. AUSL guarantees that their schools will be successful and that can place a lot of pressure on teachers.
    -it's a difficult time in education in general (changing standards and tests) which is difficult to balance (not AUSL's fault in any way, but it does add pressure)
    -you *must* be coachable (difficult for some) and willing to grow/change

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Work toward a consistent message and curriculum across the network.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
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  5. 1 person found this helpful  

    Good Intentions, but...

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at AUSL

    Pros

    The mission is great and some of the schools are thriving.

    Cons

    If you don't work in one of the schools, there will be very little room for growth and promotion in the organization.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    You will not be able to keep talented employees without giving them a chance to learn and grow as a professional.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
  6. 3 people found this helpful  

    A great way to develop into a great teacher.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Teacher in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Teacher in Chicago, IL

    I have been working at AUSL full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    AUSL is committed to student achievement. They know that rigorous, high-quality is essential but not sufficient. They work tirelessly to create positive environments where student feel safe, take academic risks and can celebrate their successes. Personally, one of the best things about AUSL is it allows career changers, such as myself, a way to be trained for a full year with a mentor teacher, receive teaching certification, and a Masters in Teaching. I am deeply grateful that AUSL helped me accomplish all this in one calendar year and now continues to support me with a teaching coach in my first year with my own classroom. This is the good, hard work and I can say I've never been happier with a job. A final note of what impresses me about AUSL is that they are continually adapting and trying to improve everything they do. Do they have all the answers? No. They look at themselves with a critical eye and are never satisfied with "good enough." In my opinion those are exactly the sort of people you want working in school improvement.

    Cons

    The Residency year is difficult for anyone but if you are not well matched with your mentor teacher it is much more so. AUSL tries to make adjustments where possible. I was fortunate in this area and I think so much of my positive attitudes toward AUSL comes from my respect for my mentor and their powerful mentorship. Friends who were not so lucky generally had more negative things to say about the experience. I think getting the right mentor is a huge factor in Resident's completing the year and going on to teach in an AUSL school.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Continue to invest time in making good matches of mentors and residents

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  7. 1 person found this helpful  

    Maximizing my potential to positively affect students lives.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Resident Teacher in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Resident Teacher in Chicago, IL

    I have been working at AUSL full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    - placed with a successful mentor teacher that can show you how to create success in your own classroom
    - ability to analyze student data and plan small groups
    - discounted tuition for Masters Degree
    - strong group of peers to work with in your graduate cohort as well as in your school
    - excellent use of signature strategies to increase learning in the classroom
    - EXCELLENT preparation for teaching in an urban environment

    Cons

    - work life balance can be difficult for some residents
    - challenging course work and behavior management situation
    - long hours (at times)

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Focus on the big picture!

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  8.  

    Training GREAT teachers

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Teacher in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Teacher in Chicago, IL

    I have been working at AUSL full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    - Full year of residency training
    - Open to both previously certified and currently uncertified applicants
    - Working in a vibrant environment with goal driven co-workers
    - Collaborative atmosphere

    Cons

    - Takes a whole lot of time, patience, and humility. If you can work around those, you'll be alright

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Be more transparent about the idea that not all people will get placed in a job after the residency. It comes down to how hard you work and your ability to improve

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  9. 2 people found this helpful  

    Killed any desire to ever teach again

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Resident Teacher in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Resident Teacher in Chicago, IL

    I worked at AUSL full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    -discounted McMaster's degree
    -some good mentors
    -in cahoots with the mayor, so politically connected
    -professional development opportunities
    -NLU professors can't believe what they put you through in these schools and support you when you are burnt out and miserable
    -employee referral bonus (that is why your friend told you to apply-not because they really believe you should work there. chances are they have cried this week because of work)
    -the pay is ok, but you are working 14 hour days for it.

    Cons

    -hazing by some mentors
    -hostile work environment
    -unprofessional gossip and backstabbing
    -the 20k loan you take out for the masters ends up being a $300 payment for the next 25 years.
    -even though you are a masters student, you can't have actual scholarly arguments. there is one way/one right answer to everything.
    -creates a culture of competition where you have no idea who you can trust
    -forced to use a classroom management system that treats students like dogs
    -you are taught to value data over the art of teaching
    -live coaching in front of students is humiliating
    -more than half of residents don't stay past their 2nd year. in our building a bunch of former residents got let go and replaced by TFA (no job security)
    -they don't get high schools anymore so my friends who trained for h.s. had to get jobs they didnt want in middle school or SPED
    -many "expert" mentors are only 2nd and 3rd year teachers! seriously?
    -a lot of the really talented mentors won't do it anymore because they could pay the newer ones with inflated egos a lot less.
    -you have to teach for 30k while several people watch your every move while TFA gets hired in the same building for 48k and has total freedom
    -they make it sound like getting hired is a guarantee- it isnt. about half of us didnt get jobs or got let go the last couple months.
    -they move you around to other mentors once their residents mysteriously quit...
    -some residents have to teach full time once the mentor teachers quit but they do not get paid a full salary
    -many residents in therapy/on antianxiety meds just to make it through the day - so are their mentors (i was told "fake it till you make it")
    -the strongest people from each residency graduation have seemingly been pushed out each year. compliance and coachability is rewarded. not talent.
    -the turnaround model doesnt even work and the union and kids and parents will hate you for taking someone else's job.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    remember that students and teachers are people. monitor the mentors. keep TFA out of your buildings if you really believe in the residency. give residents choice over what classes they will take as part of their degree program.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
  10. 1 person found this helpful  

    Good Idea, poorly executed

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at AUSL full-time

    Pros

    They are making a difference in kids lives.

    Cons

    Micro managing EVERYTHING in my program.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Become a little less strict and realize that every situation is different.

  11. 1 person found this helpful  

    Good intentions but not good for career advancement

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Admissions Coordinator
    Current Employee - Admissions Coordinator

    I have been working at AUSL full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    You really are helping underprivileged children get a quality education.

    Cons

    There isn't much room for advancement and the salaries are the lowest in the industry. There isn't a lot of respect given to people who don't work in the schools. If you are looking for a company that you can have no input in then you might be okay with this one. Senior management has great salaries but everyone under them, not so much. When one employee asked for a raise (after more responsibilities were added to their duties) the response was: why do you need it? Its not like you have kids or own a house". This is not a company who cares about your professional development.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

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