Connections Academy

  www.connectionsacademy.com
  www.connectionsacademy.com

Connections Academy Reviews

Updated September 30, 2014
Updated September 30, 2014
58 Reviews
3.2
58 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
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Barbara Dreyer
20 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Generous work from home privileges (may vary by department) are a nice perk (in 19 reviews)

  • Connections provides excellent work-life balance for the employee with life, health, and financial insurance (in 4 reviews)


Cons
  • Additionally, the work is cyclical and can get very busy during the summer months, when you least want to spend long hours behind the computer (in 4 reviews)

  • low pay (with no insight into pay structure) (in 4 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1. 1 person found this helpful  

    A wonderful alternative for parents that are tired of barely getting your child through school

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Learning Coach in Antioch, CA
    Current Employee - Learning Coach in Antioch, CA

    I have been working at Connections Academy part-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Dedicated, exited and passionate educational professionals are the teachers you will interact with here

    Cons

    Being a great alternative - the number of students is constantly expanding, requiring teacher rotation/turnover/additions throughout your year.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Consider an expansion plan with 2 levels to work in between - minimal growth and maximum growth. Expect to grow more than normal as the trend is - especially in California - going to continue to grow in participation.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2. 1 person found this helpful  

    A great job with some inherent flaws

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

    I worked at Connections Academy full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Plenty of support at the administrative and corporate levels, great school culture, ability to work at least part-time at home, fair salary, opportunity to advance into roles not typically available to teachers in brick and mortar schools. At first, my salary was less than what I could make in the traditional public school, but after taking on some additional responsibilities, I was making quite a bit more than I could have made elsewhere with my experience (I'm a fairly young teacher; only about 5 years of experience in the classroom total).

    Cons

    High workloads, often 200-300 students on your roster, a lot of work to attempt to engage students/families who often do not want to be engaged (i.e., students who want to drop out of school but do not want to be labeled a drop out, so they attend virtual academies to "hide out"). I would like to see more being done to re-route students for whom the virtual school model simply does not work. A lot of time is spent by teachers chasing these students down and trying many things to engage them with little results. It also results in high failure rates for teachers, even when they work very hard to individualize instruction for their 200+ students--a very difficult task.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I believe this model can only work effectively if teachers are able to develop relationships with their students--this is already difficult virtually, but when teachers have 200+ students on their rosters, it's virtually impossible (no pun intended). This is a normal caseload in the virtual environment and there aren't really any steps being taken by CA to make it more manageable. It's just accepted as something that comes with teaching at a virtual public school. I like that the virtual school model is growing and that it provides opportunities for many students for whom attending a traditional, brick and mortar school is difficult for various reasons, but some of the criticism that virtual schools face (primarily due to the high number of students that one teacher can be assigned) is warranted. It should say something that teachers are often asked not to tell students/parents how many students they have on their roster.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3. 2 people found this helpful  

    This is a call center job.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Academic Placement Advisor in Columbia, MD
    Current Employee - Academic Placement Advisor in Columbia, MD

    I have been working at Connections Academy full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    Management is very friendly. You get a relatively high salary for a very simple job. Everyone working there is young and motivated and interesting but...

    Cons

    those interesting people don't stay long because almost everyone working there is waiting to find a teaching job somewhere else and leaves as soon as they do. Also, this was supposed to be a job about academic placement, but you are on the phone non-stop (except for lunch) all day, often answering questions that have nothing to do with the placement that you were hired to do--people will call you "customer service" on the phone, even though most people in your deparement have multiple degrees in education or psychology and customer service is not your job.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Make your want adds clearer that this job involves 7 hours a day on the phone answering questions in general about the company in addition to placement work.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5. 3 people found this helpful  

    I have just been hired to work at CA.

    Former Employee - Teacher
    Former Employee - Teacher

    I worked at Connections Academy full-time

    Pros

    So far I have received support and encouragement and loads of information pertaining to what my job will entail.

    Cons

    I haven't experienced anything negative at this point.

  6. 1 person found this helpful  

    Flexible and Fun

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

    I have been working at Connections Academy full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    Flexible hours and work at home privileges (once earned) are convenient and the casual dress code means that I can be comfortable without having to invest in expensive dress clothes. The HQ office in Harbor East is convenient and offers a great location for lunchtime walks, restaurants and shopping. A full benefits package is offered and compensation that is reasonable for the area. My immediate supervisor is very pleasant to work for and seems genuinely concerned about my well being. There is an office shower so you can walk to work, run at lunch or commute by bicycle.

    Cons

    The work can be uneven and the team can be understaffed. There is an expectation of 9 hour days at a minimum, but I find myself working more than that regularly. Additionally, the work is cyclical and can get very busy during the summer months, when you least want to spend long hours behind the computer. However, Management is making an effort to relieve some of the seasonal pressure.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Talk to the people doing the work, ask them what their challenges are. What do they need to get their work done? How can it be made fore efficient? What's not working for them? Be open to ideas and innovation and new ways of doing work.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
  7. 1 person found this helpful  

    Totally Sucks

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Software Developer in Oklahoma City, OK
    Current Employee - Software Developer in Oklahoma City, OK

    I have been working at Connections Academy full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    It's great if you want to account for every working hour and work like you have a fire under you all the time. Or if you like the project manager to estimate stories and dole them out to everyone. Or if you like to be told a minimum number of hours that should be logged for the month. No fudging here! You'll also love it if you're a robot.

    Cons

    We use to be AAI and then Connections bought us. It's gone down hill from there. We don't have free parking anymore. It's only $6.25 a week from our paycheck, but c'mon... really? You can't pick up the $25 a month? There's a BIG emphasis on time tracking, specifically capitalized labor versus non-cap labor. I mean to the point where you're afraid to get it wrong! Don't forget to check in the code you wrote today so they can see what you've done. As far as the job goes, it's shifted into maintenance of old C# code. They bought us for our software. We were rewriting it, but that's been canned in favor of just fixing and duct-taping the old app. A small, laid back development shop has been destroyed by big corporate regulations.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    None. You wouldn't take it anyway.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8. 5 people found this helpful  

    Micro-Managing Makes This a Stressful MN Teaching Job

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Middle School Teacher in Saint Paul, MN
    Former Employee - Middle School Teacher in Saint Paul, MN

    I worked at Connections Academy full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    The benefits and salary schedule are good. The curriculum is decent and any gaps are reviewed by the current teachers to see what is needed to conform to the Minnesota Department of Education requirements.

    Cons

    The principal creates an unhealthy, fearful atmosphere. She communicates her distrust of a teacher's ability by focusing on possible mistakes in weekly "check-in" meetings. Low morale is the result.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stop picking on new employees and having multiple meetings each week to micro-manage them. Find ways to encourage them.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  9.  

    Good company, great office environment, but definitely a few tweaks needed for improvement

    • 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 Connections Academy full-time

    Pros

    - Impacting education quality via business values/drive is a nice field to work in
    - Young, active culture, but a place for anyone
    - Employee appreciation is shown. Free coffee!
    - Growing company, meaning your job isn't always on the line for downsizing or anything
    - Flexible hours and work at home opportunities
    - Heading in the right direction with restructuring
    - Great location in Baltimore!

    Cons

    - the cap/non-cap time management leads to time wasting and a feeling of dishonesty, as the push certainly triggers some dishonesty in order to look good and err towards cap'd time
    - A lot of the management comes from an educational background. A greater focus on business values and a professional environment could probably help, although I will point out that this is the direction the company seems to be heading in, but there's still room to improve.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    - the way the departments work together as a company is pretty unclear and leads to a good amount of confusion. I feel completely separated from other parts of the company.
    - Take some load off your plates so you can actually manage, and not just review and sign things off! It's true that a lot of you come from an educational background, but you're managers now. Most managers are so booked up that it doesn't seem like they really know what's going on with some projects.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10. 8 people found this helpful  

    Please Don't

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Enrollment Advisor I in Columbia, MD
    Former Employee - Enrollment Advisor I in Columbia, MD

    I worked at Connections Academy full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    You meet great people, free k-cup coffee, and the chance to make extra money during overtime season(the summer).

    Cons

    Where do I start? First and foremost you are getting into a call center. I worked at Connections for some time and can say that it has become progressively worst every year. The company is getting bigger and more known so one would think things would get better but it is the opposite. There are not enough people to keep up with the work load, more so for the busy season. Plenty of interviews are happening but once people hear the wage it is hard to keep them interested. The company is run by 20-30 something year olds who have no real experience in supervising, managing, or directing themselves, let alone a group of people. These are individuals who have obtained their positions by pure luck due to timing, needing a position filled asap, popularity, or brown nosing. Forget if someone has worked hard or has true experience. A day in the life of a supervisor consists of huddling at someones desk to gossip, sending long emails to point out one negative thing done but never the 100 of positive things done, and give out warning sheets about being a few minutes late . There is really no room for advancement. Once an advisor the typical next role on the short ladder is a Team Lead, that's if you're into being a parents punching bag and having 10 times more work for the $.60 pay increase. That's really it unless you are one of the lucky few who has "an in" but it wont really be for much of a pay increase.

    If you take this job you can kiss your summers goodbye or any kind of life really. You are overworked to try to meet company goals and meeting their numbers. During "busy season" it becomes all about answering the phones and nothing but the phones. So if you are a parent waiting to have an email answered you can forget about it. The department just doesn't have their priorities right just yet and lack much organization. In previous years food would be served everyday for those working the the OT hours that changed to food once a week, then to snacks, and last to hardly anything. OT hours are 6am-9pm (at least my last time there) with half hour lunches but only 10 hours of OT hours are mandatory per week. You will be come very robotic. The biggest goal during this time is to try to stay as sane as possible.

    Expect to have your calls be listened to for "quality purposes" by a different person every month on the quality team. Unless you learn to not let their scores affect you be prepared to constantly be fighting them since what they take points off for is never consistent nor make any sense.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    - Actually give it some thought to possibly having a pay increase for employees. So much money is wasted towards the hiring process and training towards new people who will just leave in a few months once they experience some of the work environment. MORE money is made every year with the amount of enrollments made but employees are receiving less and less. Those numbers are being reached because of your advisors/associates and the hours they put in, so how about you show them some kind of appreciation.
    - If you absolutely need to promote someone to a position they have no experience in at least provide them with some kind of training. Without training they are just making the same mistakes they observed from the previous non experienced supervisor and it will just continue to be a cycle of incompetency.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  11. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great Company focused on being decent and respectful of employees

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Online Teacher in Oklahoma City, OK
    Current Employee - Online Teacher in Oklahoma City, OK

    I have been working at Connections Academy full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    Connections provides excellent work-life balance for the employee with life, health, and financial insurance. Also, many employees are able to work from home allowing for the comfort of a great salary and working in one's own environment.

    Cons

    At times professional development must be found by the employee instead of the company. I have had not had any training since the on-boarding process. Re-imbursement of changes to the home for working from home was not provided.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Training opportunities can be increased. Also, I would encourage more open communication of changes that are coming.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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