There are newer employer reviews for PA Leadership Charter School

Dedicated staff, ready to help a good school get better.

  • Comp & Benefits
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Senior Management
  • Culture & Values
  • Career Opportunities
Current Employee - Teacher in West Chester, PA
Current Employee - Teacher in West Chester, PA

I have been working at PA Leadership Charter School full-time (more than 5 years)

Pros

The culture at PALCS is generally positive and very much focused on educating our students. If one focuses on providing education, their job is very satisfying. A cyber school is an exciting, innovative place to work. Much of what we do sets the trend for the education industry and causes many school districts to devise new ways to compete with us. From the industry stand-point, we are in the enviable position of leading with our innovation.

Based on state testing data and graduation rates, PA Leadership is consistently one of the best cyber charter schools in Pennsylvania. We're succeeding where many other cyber charters are failing. This is something that we're all proud of and know we can sustain if given the right tools and opportunities.

Cons

Depending on the school district, teachers and staff at PALCS earn between 10-20% less than local public school employees. The bonus structure closes some of that gap, but is not guaranteed and still leaves many employees well underpaid compared to their other public school peers. This is an industry-wide trend for charter schools, both on-site and cyber, and is not exclusive to PA Leadership.

Benefits at PA Leadership are very good, but diminishing. Last year, spouses were allowed to stay on the group health plan for a fee. This year, any working spouse is not allowed on the group health plan. Even though my individual cost is much less and I see more money in each paycheck, this new arrangement ultimately costs my family more money and exposes us to significantly more risk, as my working spouse's health plan is not as good. I consider this a loss of compensation. I also don't appreciate the school's hired benefits providers get on a political soap box while giving a benefits presentation (which has happened a few times). These are people who are hired to provide us a service, not give us political commentary.

Regarding educational decision making, I can not comment. I work in a department where academic decisions are often collaborative and made with the consultation of the staff of the entire program.

Advice to ManagementAdvice

Many staff would like to have a stronger opinion in the educational direction of the school. These are people with advanced degrees who are considered among the top in their fields. Administration does not always seem to take their opinions seriously into consideration when making academic decisions. Many staff would also like to see transparency in budgeting and financial processes. We all view ourselves as stakeholders in education and stewards of public monies. Those who perform their job efficiently and professionally deserve honest answers about the educational direction and financial health of the school and ought to be included in these conversations. Administration may be pleasantly surprised with the ideas brought up by employees who previously felt they had no voice. As conditions for charter schools in Pennsylvania improve, we expect that our situation will likewise improve. This includes committing to pay bonuses and following through with those commitments (The board committed to pay much of the previous 4 years of bonuses in Sept. 2012 but didn't specify a time frame for paying a majority of those bonuses). Many of us have signed petitions, displayed bumper magnets on our cars, solicited friends and neighbors to attend our school, and some of us have even joined administration in Harrisburg to lobby legislators for our cause. It's time we harness the tremendous advantages we have in innovation, efficiency, and dedication to education to not only improve the educational outcome for our students, but also ensure the happiness and continued dedication of the teachers and staff who enabled the school to become one of the best cyber charters in Pennsylvania.

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  1. 2 people found this helpful

    A lot of talk

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in West Chester, PA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in West Chester, PA

    I have been working at PA Leadership Charter School

    Pros

    It is a comfortable environment to work at.
    The teachers and staff are very nice and care about the students.

    Cons

    Administration does not listen to teachers or staff.
    They have not paid earned bonuses fpr 4+ years.
    No pay raises for 5 years.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Listen to the teachers and staff. Administration lives in a glass tower and it is starting to crumble. The union has started to make progress at palcs. I don't really want a union rep, but if the administration we have now doesn't listen to us and make tangible changes (maybe even change some of the admin people), then what is the alternative. I think if many of the "home grown" leaders were put back into teacher roles again, they may learn a thing about being humble and respecting those they say they lead.

    As for the bonuses and pay, you owe that to use. Stop making excuses, put it in the budget so it isn't an afterthought, or if there is money left over. There is never money left over, you have to have proper financial planning. The lack of planning should not be taken out of the pockets of the teachers. We have families we need to support. Palcs can not afford to loose the wonderful, experienced, caring teachers that we have. The wonderful teachers and staff who work at Palcs are truly what set us apart from other cyber school.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
  2. 6 people found this helpful

    Hi Turnover

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in West Chester, PA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in West Chester, PA

    I have been working at PA Leadership Charter School

    Pros

    The teachers are very nice and true professionals
    Decent work environment and flexibility with schedules
    Able to work with peers to make classes better.

    Cons

    Teachers and most staff are not treated as professionals
    No pay raises or bonuses paid in 5 years
    No real advancement unless you are in with the managers.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Palcs has a very high turn over rate, about a third of the students leave us each year. The problem is, there are a lot of students that should be withdrawn because they don't go to class, do zero work, and are not getting an education. If we are not educating a student they should go to a school that better fits their needs. Why should a school district or the state (which ultimately is our tax money) be going to pay for an education that isn't happening.

    Keeping students that are not working or learning will only come back to hurt us, as it has and is, when they don't pass the pssa tests, and we don't make ayp again.

    The other real problem is that teachers need to be treated with respect, and as professionals. Middle management micromanage the teachers. We don't have anyone with real experience and ability in these positions. Middle management also bring people into these positions that they are comfortable with (yes men) not people who have the qualifications, experience, and ability. This leads to poor management and a lack of vision for the future. There needs to be a way for for teachers to rate their bosses, and a way to remove poor managers. There needs to be true fairness in promotions and filling job opening. There are a lot of highly qualified experienced people at palcs that would do a far better job than those with the titles now.

    The raises and bonuses have been almost none existent for the past 5 years for teachers and staff. But, many in management have been given straight out raises, or have been given extra titles an money. Why not offer these new "jobs" to other people. Why are the same people always given any new jobs. Why have some of these people been given straight out raises when raises, even cost of living, hasn't been given to others.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
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