Aspire Public Schools

www.aspirepublicschools.org
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Aspire Public Schools Reviews

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James Willcox
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8 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (1)

    Employee review pros and cons

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Educator in Stockton, CA
    Current Employee - Educator in Stockton, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Aspire Public Schools full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Good experience, ability to develope ones own lesson plans. Somewhat good health plans.

    Cons

    Very little material support, high expectations with very little compensation compared to union school districts. At will employment (yellow dog contracts), no job security. Very little support for SPED students. Pay for teachers has gone down considerably since schools first opened, along with a decrease in skilled teachers.

    Advice to Management

    Raise pay to maintain good staff, increase resources for teachers, and especially SPED students. Segregate SPED students from general pop students during normal academic class time. Require more staff to have proper credentials!


  2. Helpful (3)

    Lots of work, little pay

    Former Employee - Teacher
    Former Employee - Teacher

    I worked at Aspire Public Schools full-time

    Pros

    Aspire is doing great things for kids.

    Cons

    The pay is horrible and you are expected you to work longer hours than they will admit. Meetings are called with little notice and often run over. Excessive trainings and observations. If the pay was better this wouldn't be as much of an issue. Not a good place to work if you have a family.


  3. Helpful (2)

    More stress than an air traffic controller at 1/10 the pay.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - High School Language Arts Teacher in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - High School Language Arts Teacher in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Aspire Public Schools full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    You work with smart, young people who are committed to improving education and genuinely care about what they do.

    Cons

    Aspire exploits the hell out of this "desire to do good" and works their teachers harder than Foxconn in China. Students are generally unappreciative, verbally abusive of staff members.

    Advice to Management

    Stop talking about how sustainability and improving teacher turnover is a priority and DO something about it. At every staff meeting, sustainability was addressed as being important, although in my time as a teacher with Aspire, there wasn't a single action taken to improve the problem.


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  5. Helpful (4)

    Totally unsustainable lifestyle.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Elementary Teacher in Huntington Park, Los Angeles, CA
    Former Employee - Elementary Teacher in Huntington Park, Los Angeles, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Aspire Public Schools full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    From what I saw, the teachers and administrators at Aspire are truly dedicated to what they do. They are passionate about giving children the best, and success is celebrated across the board. The environment was pretty supportive for the most part. So, at the school level, you have passionate and talented people, young and hungry for that changing-the-world feeling. Keep doing what you do - and teachers, please fight for what you need in order to stay. Remember that you are this organization's greatest asset.

    Cons

    First problem: Curriculum and inability to use the curriculum. I was given curriculum and math books, but a few were missing. My teaching partner let me know that although I had been given this curriculum, it was not recommended that I use it very much. I found out very quickly that since the goal is of course a high score on the end-of-year exams, the status quo is that most teachers are creating their materials from scratch and tying it exactly to the test questions (my opinion on this method of teaching is irrelevant - I will do it if it is asked of me, but I wish there was a better curriculum to follow to accomplish this). Presentations, assessments, worksheets. You name it, I essentially had to create it or find it myself. The resources I could find online did not go well with the content standards. So, essentially I was teaching all day, going home and planning and creating materials, even setting an alarm sometimes for the middle of the night to get up and work. Regardless of how much I care about these students' success (and I care a lot,) do you think I can have my own kids someday and live that lifestyle? I stopped eating. I stopped sleeping enough. My hair was falling out. And worse, I had to go to therapy. I'm a hard worker and willing to put in more than 40 hours a week. But this was just insane. Second problem: Workshops. I was told by a few teachers that I could basically implement any games or activities I wanted into workshop time, which was great because I was able to borrow some games from another grade level - only to be told by my coach that I was NOT allowed to do this. There is a lot of confusion from teachers, to administrators, to coaches - it's like a game of telephone. This needs to be streamlined so that everyone is on the same page. Third problem: Student behavior. I realize I am in an urban area in Southern California, and I am going to experience some behavior issues with students. However, other schools have systems in place to create a good classroom culture from Day 1. I think that one reason Aspire has such a problem with this is the sudden high influx of new students in 4th grade - these kids have been in other problem-behavior type schools and are now coming to Aspire, and they have not been conditioned to behave the way that Aspire expects them to in order to do the types of lessons Aspire has us do. But also - the year that I started at my school was the first year ever that there had been a school-wide behavior plan. In my opinion, this is something that should have been implemented a long time before I got there. I have taught at public schools and was very able to control behavior with my other students under a variety of circumstances and with a variety of difficulties at home.

    Advice to Management

    You need to make things more manageable for teachers in order to decrease the turnover. You are only as strong as your talented teachers and hardworking administrators. You need stronger curriculum that they can use so that they aren't creating their own materials from scratch, and I would highly suggest an Aspire-wide behavior and classroom management plan to get students on the right track from Day 1 and establish an Aspire culture.


  6. Helpful (1)

    Mostly great people. Sink or swim environment.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Oakland, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Oakland, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Aspire Public Schools full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    All of the people are really nice. Lots of opportunities to volunteer at the schools and see the students, which makes it a lot easier to appreciate the work done at the Home Office.

    Cons

    Most managers are too busy to support and train their staff. No opportunities to learn or grow.

    Advice to Management

    Invest more in Home Office staff to reduce the turnover and make people happier.


  7. Helpful (3)

    disappointing

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Contractor - Education Specialist in Stockton, CA
    Former Contractor - Education Specialist in Stockton, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    I worked at Aspire Public Schools as a contractor (More than a year)

    Pros

    the educational practices in regular education the other staff members who are devoted to students and doing quality work resources available

    Cons

    teaching to the test instead by the individual's needs no loyalty to teachers corporate attitude

    Advice to Management

    It was a good experience to see good teaching practices being taught, but the respect of teachers who do know how to teach and need to tweak their procedures to comply to your verb-age was not there. If you give no loyalty, you won't receive any in return.


  8. Helpful (1)

    No Work-Life Balance

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Teacher
    Current Employee - Teacher
    Doesn't Recommend

    Pros

    Great benefits and incredible opportunities to learn. Lots of passionate educators.

    Cons

    I feel they draw on your idealism to squeeze out more work than is fair to ask of one person. I want to help underprivileged students, but not at the expense of my own family. There is so much emphasis on evaluating teachers and bombarding teachers with constant strategies to boost student achievement, that I forgot what made me love teaching in the first place. Aspire seems to be anti-textbook, which means even more work for teachers.

    Advice to Management

    Understand that teaching should be a sustainable professional for people interested in making a career out of it, not just a two year stint for young TFA-ers who burn out and go to law school.


  9. Helpful (3)

    misleading

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Education Specialist in Stockton, CA
    Current Employee - Education Specialist in Stockton, CA
    Doesn't Recommend

    Pros

    They are interested in determining best practice in general education, general education very defined for those who work for Aspire, great benefits, kids are motivatied to learn, access to adequate materials, teacher training, grade level support for general education

    Cons

    You are part of a system not an individual with strengths and weaknesses to be developed, low tolerance for failure to comply to the way Aspire wants things run. Main focus is high scores on state testing above individual students needs, lack of training and understanding of students with disabilities on the part of the system, not family friendly

    Advice to Management

    consider looking at developing a balance approach to education that includes history science which will be subject areas for the students to apply and master what they have learned in reading, language arts, math. It will show they have generalized what they have learned to all areas of academia, not just a bubble on a worksheet at 80%. Consider that most of your staffs are made up of women who have many responsiblities in their lives besides work and be a team member with them so they can be successful in life. Understand that people are individuals with life experiences, gifts, and talents that when recognized and developed it is a win win for everyone.



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