Citizen Schools

  www.citizenschools.org
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Citizen Schools Reviews

Updated July 28, 2014
Updated July 28, 2014
36 Reviews

2.7
36 Reviews
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Eric Schwarz
22 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    A hard job, but often worthwhile

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Teaching Fellow  in  New York, NY
    Current Employee - Teaching Fellow in New York, NY

    Pros

    Good benefits, you get to grow as an individual and have multiple roles in the organization.

    Cons

    Challenging, compensation a low stipend, not immediately thankful work.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2. 1 person found this helpful  

    Frustrating place to work, hard to connect to impact on kids

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

    Pros

    Opportunity to build great friendships with colleagues, population served is in critical need, open to working remotely, flexibility to volunteer as part of the mission (i.e., volunteering as a Citizen Teacher is encouraged among regional and HQ office staff), good reputation means something to the outside world (esp. after employees leave)

    Cons

    Very disorganized in all departments and at all levels of the organization, seems to be a lack of belief in the mission and CS' particular solution so we're always trying new things and never sticking to any one tactic that works, not getting compelling, statistically significant results for kids, poor management across the board, promotions often happen as a result of an emergency or vacancy so the right people often aren't in the right positions, staff underappreciated, no confidentiality, overly complicated, lack of thoughtful planning (and even less thoughtful execution), very stressful, unrealistic goals set staff up for failure year after year. Overall, just a frustrating organization to work for.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Figure out who's in charge and follow someone's lead, acknowledge the shortcomings in your management and either replace poor performers or ensure they get up to speed, SIMPLIFY (the program, the results, the staff structure, EVERYTHING), pick a metric that will most represent success with students and work toward that, keep the confidence of your staff, LEAD BY EXAMPLE

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3. 1 person found this helpful  

    Good experience, albeit stressful and disorganized

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Teaching Fellow  in  Boston, MA
    Current Employee - Teaching Fellow in Boston, MA

    Pros

    It's a rewarding experience, and is worthwhile for anyone considering teaching or anyone who enjoys working with children. It's a very good eye-opener and test to see if you really want to be a teacher. There are opportunities to work in other areas besides just classroom instruction, and TFs do often get to provide their own input and opinions which are taken into account. You also get good professional feedback.

    Cons

    Things change on a whim, the challenging students can be insanely disrespectful, and there are several nights that you go home just wanting to quit or walk away. The amount of work you do (or are expected to do if you want to do your job properly and not shittily) is worth WAY WAY more than you get paid.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Find a way to pay TFs more. Most of them deserve it for the work they do. Also stop hiring people who are underqualified!

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5. 2 people found this helpful  

    Worthwhile experience but it's not for everyone

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Teaching Fellow  in  Boston, MA
    Current Employee - Teaching Fellow in Boston, MA

    Pros

    - Dedicated, passionate Teaching Fellow staff
    - Support from coworkers
    - Good experience right out of college
    - Great way to decide if teaching is right for you

    Cons

    - Unclear job expectations. When I began as a Teaching Fellow, I had no idea what the job actually entailed. I was envisioning a seamless extended day and the opportunity to build relationships one on one with students. The reality is anything but. Which leads to...

    - Not being taken seriously in schools. By anyone! Students' attendance is mandatory so they resent being forced to stay in school for 10 hours every day. They don't see it as part of their normal school day, they see it as a tedious after-school program. The teachers mostly feel the same way... The time that we offer students to complete their homework is beneficial, but the random academic lessons that we teach are difficult to relate to students' lives, and don't connect well to their normal school curriculum.

    - Extreme disconnect between Headquarters staff and schools. Often it seems that the upper management or those who work exclusively at headquarters have no idea what actually goes on in the schools. They're presented with this extremely idealized version of an extended day, and they lap it up. It's just not the reality of teaching kids who sit through school for over half of their waking hours.

    - Teaching Fellows are NOT PAID ENOUGH. I know this is Americorps, and it's about dedicating yourself to the cause, but come on...we do the most menial work and put up with some really ridiculous stuff, and are simply not adequately compensated.

    - Diversity (or lack thereof..) I understand Americorps jobs are often taken by affluent white kids who don't know what else to do when they graduate. But I think it's difficult to connect with and relate to kids whose experience you know absolutely nothing about. We don't look the same and we don't have much in common. Makes it tougher, for sure.

    - Goals. It just seems like they're so quick to expand and take on more, when the program is far from ideal. Fix what's in place first, then accept more responsibilities.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Hire some people who have REAL experience working with children in classrooms, kids of color, kids in general.
    Create realistic expectations. It's not realistic to expect an 11 year old to complete their home work in silence when they have been in school since 7am.
    Appreciate the work that Teaching Fellows do, and pay them just a little bit more.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6. 1 person found this helpful  

    Citizen Schools

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Teaching Fellow  in  Oakland, CA
    Current Employee - Teaching Fellow in Oakland, CA

    Pros

    -I received a teaching credential at no expense
    -I learned a lot about teaching and now feel prepared to enter the classroom as a full time teacher
    -I love my co-workers and the students I worked with.

    Cons

    -Really high staff turnover (at our campus of 17 people, 7 left within the space of one year)
    -Poor compensation for long hours
    -Organization has a hard time recruiting volunteers, which are the centerpiece of their mission, in communities like Oakland. This puts a lot of stress on the Teaching Fellows to lead classes, and makes the students' experience in the program less valuable.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Listen, understand, and know what people's needs are as employees of the organization. Do not sacrifice quantity over quality. Fund your campuses, staff them, and treat your employees with respect so they want to stay.

    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  7.  

    It has been a good experience and I have learned many skills in my 2 years at Citizen Schools

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - National Teaching Fellow  in  Charlotte, NC
    Current Employee - National Teaching Fellow in Charlotte, NC

    Pros

    The teamwork dynamic is extraordinary.

    Cons

    There are many tasks to do and I feel that because there are so many, they are done with half the effort. If there were less tasks then more quality work would be produced.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
  8. 1 person found this helpful  

    A great mission, not always well-executed

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Teaching Fellow  in  New York, NY
    Current Employee - Teaching Fellow in New York, NY

    Pros

    Teaching Fellows work well together, fair time off, many experiences for development and trying new things, chances to build relationships with students

    Cons

    High turn over rate, top-down hierarchy doesn't always prioritize student needs, exhausting, campuses are different enough from each other that training that takes place across multiple campuses generally isn't applicable

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The teachers and campus directors on campus know more about what will and will not work for their students than you do. Ask them and listen to them before trying to fix something.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great but extremely stressful

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Team Leader  in  Houston, TX
    Former Employee - Team Leader in Houston, TX

    Pros

    You will get a great insight on challenges face students in low-income schools. You will understand the education system in middle schools. This will allow you determine if you want to continue in the education sector or not

    Cons

    Way too stressful for the pay you receive. You can’t even afford a medical insurance of the salary you receive. They say it is a part-time position but honestly, you will have to put in way more hours.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Make your employees feel more appreciated

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  10. 1 person found this helpful  

    Terrible management

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Manager  in  Boston, MA
    Current Employee - Manager in Boston, MA

    Pros

    The cause we say we are addressing, some good people, some impact on the students being served but could be better

    Cons

    Terrible culture, you are shunned if you ask questions, no room for growth, the org has been crashing and burning for a long time, strategy setting is a sham, all the leadership team does is talk talk talk but never get anything done

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Make some big changes in your talent management and retention efforts

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  11. 1 person found this helpful  

    A Team Leader for children in an after school program

    Former Employee - Team Leader  in  Houston, TX
    Former Employee - Team Leader in Houston, TX

    Pros

    A very positive, motivating environment in which staff were always encouraged to use their creativity whilst planning the sessions for the students.

    Cons

    No real cons, just challenges to address, such as keeping on top of issues that teenagers are facing in today's world, and adjusting the curriculum delivery to keep their attention. This was a part time job, and I needed to work more hours. That was they only reason I left.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Continue to motivate and encourage staff, and consider how that this position could be reviewed, in order to change it into a full time position.

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