Citizen Schools Reviews

Updated March 30, 2015
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2.6
50 Reviews
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Steven Rothstein
3 Ratings

Pros
  • The people, the professional development, the commitment to the mission (in 4 reviews)

  • Great experience overall, great place to work right out of college if you're thinking about teaching or working with kids in general (in 2 reviews)

Cons
  • It is hard to find time to connect with other Teaching Fellows on your campus and within your region (in 8 reviews)

  • Slow-moving at times, but then again, it is a non-profit company (in 3 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

Employee Reviews

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  1. Great Place, needs more guidance

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

    I worked at Citizen Schools

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    The people I worked with were wonderful
    Loved the students
    The school staff was mostly helpful
    My coworkers were awesome

    Cons

    Need a little more guidance and structure within the organization
    People who are hired for leadership positions need more training especially for management and also need to gain a better understanding of the overall program

  2. Good transitional position when you are out of college and just don't know what you want to do.

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Citizen Schools

    Pros

    Kids are great for the most part and so are my co-workers. I do not like the way the school I am at operates, but on the other hand, it helps me see what I think would be better.

    Cons

    Training could be better, lots of people leave during the year because they are not happy.

    Advice to Management

    Better training and support would be great and might make people stay in the program longer.

  3. Helpful (2)

    Uncomfortable Work Environment Leads To High Turnover

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

    I worked at Citizen Schools

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Citizen Schools' mission is to connect students to their dreams, something that easily rallies a crowd. You have the opportunity to work with a wide range of people-- career teachers, low income students, AmeriCorps members, volunteers of all types, etc.

    Cons

    Citizen Schools is currently an unprofessional environment. I think this leads to the high rate of turn over among both AmeriCorps members and office staff. High management gossips about both prior and current staff, leading you to wonder what they were saying behind your back.

    Advice to Management

    Hire senior management focused on benefiting students. The current focus seems to be on hiring other BROAD alumni and building their own network/net-worth.

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  5. I only have great things to say. This is a wonderful volunteer program, I highly recommend it.

    • Culture & Values
    Former Employee - Citizen Teacher in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Citizen Teacher in New York, NY

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

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Wonderful experience, great for anyone looking into teaching, or just something rewarding to do

    Cons

    The commute, for me, was a little difficult since I was coming from Long Island

    Advice to Management

    Keep on doing what you're doing!

  6. Teaching Fellow

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

    I worked at Citizen Schools

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    Great entry level job, good organization structure, great opportunities to develop leadership abilities

    Cons

    Lack of support for some classroom behavior issues

  7. Helpful (3)

    Teaching is a very difficult profession to begin with, and CS made it even more difficult.

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

    I worked at Citizen Schools full-time (more than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    I got to meet some great volunteers during apprenticeships. I made some great connections with them.

    Cons

    I worked as a Teaching Associate and then as a Teaching Fellow. The organization did not train us well and was out of touch with the community we served. Relations were constantly strained between the school staff and CS. We did not have adequate CS leadership and support. We were micromanaged and held to very high standards without the tools to achieve them. I was a glorified babysitter.

  8. Helpful (4)

    Frustrating work experience with incompetent and out-of-touch managers and leadership

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

    I worked at Citizen Schools full-time (more than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    I was motivated by the mission that Citizen Schools claims to pursue, but as an employee for a number of years, I realized this was just lip-service and this program is actually doing more harm than good in underserved schools.

    Cons

    - A terrible place to work if you are a person of color or come from a low-income background, be prepared to have to deal with many ignorant comments from supervisors and senior leaders, or be pushed out of organization for speaking out
    - High rate of turnover because of leadership makes no attempt to understand fellows or students
    - Incredible pay disparity between senior managers/leadership and teaching fellows - who do most of the work with students. Fellows qualify for food stamps while some senior managers get low six-figures for less-than full-time work because of their connection/pedigree

    Advice to Management

    - Pay more attention to what happens at the regional and programmatic level.

  9. Helpful (4)

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

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

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

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    Pros

    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.

    Cons

    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 Management

    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.

  10. Helpful (2)

    Great Volunteer Experience, Underpaid & Undervalued

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Citizen Schools Teacher in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Citizen Schools Teacher in New York, NY

    I worked at Citizen Schools

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    Pros

    Hands Own with students & the ability to create one on one relationships

    Cons

    The New York Headquarters is not transparent nor do they have a successful model to emulate across all schools in their network. This creates a challenge for the campus directors in managing their Americorp participants.

  11. Gain Leadership Experience

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

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

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Leading with Citizen Schools gives you great opportunities to develop a wide range of leadership skills. You gain experience in management and coaching, presentations and leading professional development, and you have opportunities to meet with high level school and district officials.

    Cons

    In Boston, Citizen Schools is a household name and carries a lot of weight in the world of education, non profit, and policy. It is not the same if you work outside of Boston. Because of this its hard to use your work at CS as a springboard to career growth unless you focus specifically on networking and marketing yourself as you work. It is also a lean organization, so there are not many opportunities to grow within the organization.

    Advice to Management

    Consider ways to grow beyond the current model to impact more communities and open up new positions to promote growth from within.

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