Baltimore City Public School System

www.baltimorecityschools.org
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Baltimore City Public School System Reviews in Baltimore, MD

Updated February 20, 2015
Updated February 20, 2015
47 Reviews
2.7
47 Reviews
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Baltimore City Public School System CEO Tisha Edwards
Tisha Edwards
47 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Great benefits and competitive salary (in 4 reviews)

  • You get to aid some of the most needy kids you will find in such a city (in 8 reviews)


Cons
  • The work life balance is also not the best (in 3 reviews)

  • No support, hazardous working conditions, clueless administration (in 4 reviews)

More Highlights

47 Employee Reviews Back to all Reviews

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  1.  

    Working with the students is really what keeps you involved.

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

    I have been working at Baltimore City Public School System full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    The students are bright, there are lots of resources available if you go looking, and the pay is great.

    Cons

    The administration of the whole city and sometimes each school site is completely disorganized and/or incompetent.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  2.  

    Great opportunities, good pay.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Contractor - Technology Training Center in Baltimore, MD
    Former Contractor - Technology Training Center in Baltimore, MD

    I worked at Baltimore City Public School System as a contractor (more than a year)

    Pros

    It was a great place to work with because they had a good budget, and access to a mirad of technology.

    Cons

    Lots of technology, but not many were using it.
    Budget cuts, mean cutting good teachers.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Spend more time buildin up your veteran teachers, and getting them to learn the technology

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  3.  

    Paid but stressed

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Teacher, Elementary School in Baltimore, MD
    Current Employee - Teacher, Elementary School in Baltimore, MD

    I have been working at Baltimore City Public School System full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Good pay increases over a short period of time
    you can advance if you know the correct people
    Nice staff and colleagues
    benefits package is wonderful
    Resources are available however you must jump through hoops to get them
    summers, snow days and holidays off ( obviously)

    Cons

    Extremely unrealistic expectations of teachers. Work life balance is non existent and unhealthy. In order for your class to run smoothly, you must stay until 8pm at night and arrive at 6:30 in the morning and work on weekends. Either choose your biological family or your students..... pick one...
    we dont get planning periods for weeks at a time so that equates to no physical breaks from students to simply collect yourself, use the bathroom, and set up for a new lesson.

    Alot of the schools data is fudged or interpretated to look better than it truly is. Data is the buzz word and it reflects false evidence.

    The students social emotional wellbeing is brought into the school and teachers are expected to handle it all without support. Many schools have behavior issues that range from fires, guns , violence, teachers getting assulted ect that never gets reported and the students are allowed to come to school the next day.

    To sum this up, the climate and enviornment and the care for teachers is inexcusable.

    As far as evaluations , they are unfair and often we have to back date our evaluations and they are made up as we go along. So again, data thats not really data.

    It all looks great but only if you knew how much a teacher and almost any staff has to go through it may not be worth it for some. You must be mentally and emotionally strong to work in the city. Some teachers stay for the nice salary others leave and go elsewhere. If you can get out of the classroom do so !

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Please think back to when you were a teacher (if you were ever a teacher) and think about the advice and strategies for the students. Face the facts ! The real facts come walk a week in a teachers shoes. ...factual data... reliable and valid

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5.  

    Apathetic educational system incapable to developing the minds of children for 21st century success.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Teacher, Secondary School in Baltimore, MD
    Current Employee - Teacher, Secondary School in Baltimore, MD

    I have been working at Baltimore City Public School System full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    Excellent benefits package with outstanding support from the teachers union.

    Cons

    Lack of strong upper management support in theoretical education to encourage lifelong learning. Does not posses the capacity to support teachers in the classroom during times of teacher/student distress and professional learning does not cater to common classroom practices.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Consider supporting principals in transformation to enable schools with differentiated needs to meet student goals.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6.  

    One Day, History Will Judge Us

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Teacher, Secondary School in Baltimore, MD
    Former Employee - Teacher, Secondary School in Baltimore, MD

    I worked at Baltimore City Public School System full-time (less than a year)

    Pros

    Attempting to make a difference in the lives of inner-city kids and broaden their interests/experiences, as well as possibly motivating them to do something positive with their lives, is great. Starting pay was highest in the state for teachers. Very positive image is projected by the school system on their websites, etc., although this differs materially from the actual facts.

    Cons

    1. Management is ridiculously unrealistic and concerned only with saving their own jobs. Teachers are treated like cattle to be traded or surplussed as needed in order to assemble some sort of "dream team" that will raise the test scores high enough that the administrators will save themselves for another year.

    1a. Staff turnover was huge, not just because of the job, but because principals were constantly using the "surplus" option. Surplussing means that a principal can remove you from your job for (almost) any reason, usually enrollment based (city school enrollments are notoriously ephemeral, and many students have registered, but moved before the school year ever starts). Now, you have a contract, so they can't fire you -- you still get paid, but you come in every day and just go to the break room/computer lab/etc. Sometimes they call you to substitute, other times you sit at the building all day and twiddle your thumbs. Eventually, a surplus list is put out, and they compare your certification with all the schools in the district that have uncertified teachers teaching certain classes. They then attempt to match you up with a position vacancy and move you to that school. You have to interview for these positions, although if you do not succeed in finding a fit through the interview process, they will place you wherever there is an opening after a month or two.

    2. Most teachers are Teach for America recent college grads with no teaching experience. This leads to a consistently inconsistent experience for the students as well as a very unusual professional environment. I have a degree in Education and most times I was teaching the TFA kids how to do their job WHILE trying to do mine as well. They are well-intentioned but it's tough when you are the senior/most experienced member on your team by virtue of having had a student teaching experience. One or two teachers were lifers who were very helpful and had somehow found a way to make a "career" out of the constantly changing BCPSS system.

    3. School buildings are outdated and even unsafe. Water unsuitable to drink in the two buildings I taught at. Water fountains were either covered with trash bags or hastily removed from the halls leaving stubbed-out copper pipes sticking out of the walls. Heating systems frequently inoperable or damaged. Think rusty radiators hanging out of once-covered holes in the walls, as though you were in an abandoned TB ward on Ghost Hunters. One school I taught in did not have gym benches; the elementary students sat on 2x10 boards mounted on 5-gallon buckets while waiting to participate in activities. Yet, the director of IT spent over $100,000 that same year remodeling his personal office (this was documented in a Baltimore Sun article that year). Kids didn't have drinking water -- one or two water coolers were strategically placed in admin offices around the building, kids had to ask to use these and they were often empty or refused.

    4. Little or no realistic discipline. Many of the schools are for-profit charters who are only interested in cashing that per-student check paid out by North Avenue, so even major offenses will not result in expulsion. Each suspension or higher-level disciplinary action results in a black mark against the district so it's very important to keep these under wraps at the school level.

    5. Students literally cannot fail unless they don't show up. Several of us were lectured because our mid-term grades contained a number of "zeros" for students who were regularly absent and refused to complete required work even given multiple chances. We were told that the lowest grade that could be given was a 50%, and that could ONLY be given if a student NEVER showed up for class, at all. If they showed up EVEN ONCE in a marking period, they had to get a 55%. 60% was a passing grade. So, by showing up one time, you were only 5% away from a passing grade.

    6. No real plan for moving children to areas when they need more support. Students who were failed (a somewhat common occurrence despite the above mentioned criteria for a failing grade) were just rolled back into the regular program, sometimes multiple years in a row.

    7. Teacher safety unimportant -- students with mental/emotional disabilities mixed with regular students and classes. Outdated, fanciful IEP reports often made it unclear what issues the students had, so you never knew what was going to happen if you accidentally pushed someone's button.

    8. Few specials or choices available to capture student interests. No art or music classes. French was the only language offered, and only half of the year.

    9. Ridiculously overcrowded. My third period class had 29 students in it. I only had, at the beginning of the year, about 27 desks, and several were lost to attrition/damage. A couple of us befriended some of the janitors and took to swapping our broken desks out with ones from empty classrooms when administrators weren't looking.

    10. Require you to use technology they don't provide. We were all supposed to have District-issue laptops and Smart Boards/Overhead Projectors. Upon attempting to requisition these items, we were put on a waiting list that, well, never got filled. Average wait for a district laptop (required to do your job) was @ 1-2 years.

    11. All personal materials provided by YOU. My first day I came into an empty classroom -- not even a clock or flag to say the Pledge to. No pencils, pens, paper, etc. Everything was provided by me. Sometimes you could get ahold of pencils from the Title One specialist in the school but these were few and far between.

    12. Our school had "Technology" in the name -- yet none of our computer labs had enough computers in them that were functional for even half of a class to use them at any one time. There was one copy machine, frequently broken or out of toner. Copy paper was provided by us, from our own funds.

    13. Unrealistic push for EVERY kid to go to college. No talk of trades, technical school, etc., was tolerated. EVERY ONE OF THESE KIDS WILL GO TO COLLEGE. And we can't show them any other options.

    14. BCPSS had the highest or second-highest per-capita spending in the year I was there -- something like @ $13,900 per student, per year. A great college education could be had for less than that. Yet, these kids didn't even know by 7th grade where some other areas of Maryland were, or how to spell.

    As I once said to a parent of one of my students -- one day, history will judge us for the way that we treated and "educated' these kids. The same way we look back at mental institutions like Pennhurst; the same way we cringe when we think of the Japanese Internment camps during World War II -- one day, people will look back at the way BCPSS operated and failed thousands of children on a daily basis, turning a public education program into little more than a prison/daycare, and we will be judged for it.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7.  

    Dont work here.

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

    I have been working at Baltimore City Public School System

    Pros

    You can make your own schedule which is bad because if schools are closed your broke. You only work when there is school.

    Cons

    The job is a con. Who would actually pay someone 55 dollars a day to get cussed out every day by a group of disrespectful teens.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  8.  

    Nice Place If You Want to Chill

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Budget Analyst in Baltimore, MD
    Current Employee - Budget Analyst in Baltimore, MD

    I have been working at Baltimore City Public School System full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    Not too demanding. If you want a place where you can do straight 9-5 and not worry about getting fired .

    Cons

    Difficult to progress, not many opportunities for advancement - kind of a who you know type of thing.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9.  

    Great Place to Work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Baltimore, MD
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Baltimore, MD

    I have been working at Baltimore City Public School System full-time

    Pros

    There is an extremely supportive Administrative Staff here. They are all dedicated and welcome the input of the teachers and faculty members.

    Cons

    Very competitive interviews. You are interviewed by a panel of the faculty. A lot of people in front of you, but they want the best people they can find.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Better communication. However, it is because there is a lot of work each person does, so scheduling weekly meetings can be a problem because of the day to day school things that get in the way.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  10.  

    Flexible, dedicated, certified, Genreal Educator and Special Educator

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Specil Educator/IEP Chair in Baltimore, MD
    Former Employee - Specil Educator/IEP Chair in Baltimore, MD

    I worked at Baltimore City Public School System full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    One of the best reasons I have for woring In Baltimore City Public Schools, was the chance to offer my skills and knowledge to give back to the community and help others.

    Cons

    One of the cons of my position was not having enough clerical support in the cassroom.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
  11.  

    Good perks, unsupportive administrations

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Teacher, Elementary School in Baltimore, MD
    Former Employee - Teacher, Elementary School in Baltimore, MD

    I worked at Baltimore City Public School System full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    The salary is great, especially the pay scale. The benefits are fantastic. The union is pretty strong and there are many opportunities to grow as a teacher

    Cons

    The PD needs some work. VERY monotonous and not very helpful. The school environments can be really tough and often it feels like administrations are unsupportive.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Try to attract better principals. You have a great system for keeping model teachers but not for principals. A model teacher is paid more than a principal! We have some terrible principals so make some changes!

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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