Citizen Schools

  www.citizenschools.org
  www.citizenschools.org

Citizen Schools Reviews

Updated November 11, 2014
Updated November 11, 2014
40 Reviews
2.6
40 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
(no image)
Steven Rothstein
2 Ratings

Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1.  

    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)

    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 ManagementAdvice

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

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2.  

    Too Much Stress, Not Enough Money

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

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

    Pros

    I was able to connect with my students and if you have not had prior experiences working in an urban environment, this may be an eye-opener for you depending on the school that you are assigned to. Some Teaching Fellows have violent or embarrassing interactions with students, whereas the school I worked at students had more expensive phones and shoes than I did. Do not paint all the students and schools the same!

    Cons

    You are not able to be that creative with the limited resources that you have for lesson plans day-to-day or the schedule. You also may not use many of the things you learn at National Training and apply it your campus and regional culture. Everyone is over worked and under staffed because a lot of people will quit or be fired within in the first few months after National Training. It is hard to find time to connect with other Teaching Fellows on your campus and within your region.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Provide legitimate routes to complain and discuss issues with your campus directors and do a better job of pairing 2nd year teaching fellows with first year teaching fellows and be more understanding about how long it will take for teaching fellows to adjust to the demands of Citizen Schools.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3.  

    Between a rock and a hard place

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

    I worked at Citizen Schools full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Passionate staff at all levels
    Hugely motivated volunteer base
    Strong senior management talent, adept at overall organizational management

    Cons

    Taking on more than they can chew at times
    Programs caught between providing 'real' ELT and what districts can do
    Big gap in perceptions between Teaching Fellows and full-time staff
    Weaker junior management/staff people without significant work experience - over-reliance on MBA credentials or pedigree.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Focus, focus, focus. For the duration of my tenure, there was a struggle to reconcile the program's identity and impact, which looks as if it continues. Teaching Fellows and junior managers need more transparency about organizational goals and strategies and need to buy into it from the outset in order to ensure their expectations are aligned with the requirements.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
  4. Is this helpful? The community relies on everyone sharing – Add Anonymous Review


  5.  

    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

    I have been working at Citizen Schools full-time

    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
  6.  

    TOXIC WORST JOB OF MY LIFE BEWARE!!

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

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

    Pros

    ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! It is unfortunate I have nothing positive to say about this organization. It is best to stay away for your own well being.

    Cons

    DO NOT WORK HERE IF YOU LOVE YOUR LIFE!!!! This was by far the worst job I ever had! This organization is VERY DISORGANIZED. Horrible long work hours for very little pay. When you apply to this job there is lack of clarity in the job description. Management give TFs a hard time when it comes to requesting time off at work. There have been instances when you have to use your sick days just to get away. This organization lack leadership skills and professionalism. Management provides absolutely no support and are always clueless when you ask about any logistics. Citizen Schools regional staff are quick to throw TFs under a bus just to save themselves from getting fired. The turnover rate among TFs and staff is very real. My recruiter and interviewer in my process left when I started even the CEO left!! This tells you a lot about this so called "organization".

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Treat your TFs like adults and not children and do better when it comes to hiring a decent management team. Be more transparent and actually follow your mission. DO BETTER CITIZEN SCHOOLS!

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
  7. 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

    I have been working at Citizen Schools full-time

    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
  8. 3 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

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

    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
  9. 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

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

    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
  10. 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

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

    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
  11.  

    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

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

    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

Work at Citizen Schools? Share Your Experiences

Citizen Schools

 
Click to Rate
or

Your response will be removed from the review – this cannot be undone.