Mastery Charter School Reviews

Updated July 24, 2015
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2.7
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Scott Gordon
14 Ratings

22 Employee Reviews

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  1. Great school to work for - excellent benefits!

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Special Education Teacher, Elementary School in Philadelphia, PA
    Current Employee - Special Education Teacher, Elementary School in Philadelphia, PA

    I have been working at Mastery Charter School

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

    Pros

    Benefits are better than most, contract length is 10.5 months with 12 months pay, lots of training and professional development.

    Cons

    Very rigorous workload, lots of paperwork


  2. Associate Teacher

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

    I have been working at Mastery Charter School full-time (More than 3 years)

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

    Pros

    Pay is great if you're a new teacher with no experience. They want you to work hard, so they allow you to take on many initiatives. If you want to be track coach, football coach, this club, that club, this program, that program, they let you. The schools are safe and well maintained. Although supplies and equipment has got tighter, they used to be entirely too lenient with it so they are still in a good place.

    Cons

    Too much requirements of teachers causing them to burn out. "Place out" students who need the most support. New initiatives and strategies are put out with very limited teacher feedback and absolutely no student feedback. A lot of new teachers who don't last, so the staff is always changing. Drawn out days that could allow teachers flexibility but instead make them do busy work. Very few black teachers and admin. All deans are black, all central office is white. Very few electives for students. Students are treated lousy and as inferiors, contributing to the school to prison pipeline.


  3. Helpful (1)

    Not an inclusive work force - leaders and teachers of color beware

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

    I have been working at Mastery Charter School full-time (More than a year)

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

    Pros

    Smart staff Hard working people Vision oriented CEO Good results

    Cons

    Going too fast, lacking in diversity. 3.0 is a good initiative but it is moving too fast. Beware, this is not the best environment for teachers or leaders of color. At the top, the organization is mainly white and male. All deputy chiefs are white and male that manage schools with the exception of one white woman. The directors of curriculum are ALL white - yes, the people who shape the curriculum within Mastery are all white. There is not one Latino/a, Black, biracial leader within the curriculum department. At the top level, the CEO, CAO, Deputy Chief of Schools are also white. There are black school leaders, but for many years the school leaders were white and male. I have been a Mastery employee for several years now and while diversity in school leadership is improving, we have a long way to go. This also has implications for how teachers of colors are perceived and feel. There is improvement among leadership with cultural context trainings, but there is a long way to go within the organization. I warn new leaders all the time be careful who you say what to and when. I stay because I care about the children and the school I manage, but at worse, this place can be a toxic work environment.

    Advice to Management

    Get authentic leaders of color within the organization - there is no reason why over 15 years later, there are no directors of curriculum that are of color, and no deputy chiefs of schools that are of color (latino/a, black, anything that's not white). Think about what it means to be a leader of color and try to create an inclusive work force.


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  5. Helpful (1)

    There are good things and bad things...

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

    I have been working at Mastery Charter School full-time

    No opinion of CEO
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    I believe that virtually all employees of Mastery Charter really do have their hearts in the right place. There are a lot of good people there making a strong effort to combat educational inequality.

    Cons

    There is a high concentration of power among a very few people. Also, the people in power (administrators, curriculum directors, etc.) don't seem to be held accountable to the same degree that teachers are held accountable. Some of the school-wide and Mastery-wide initiatives that they roll out seem to be based on very little research and very little quality teacher feedback. It's frustrating to be presented with these curriculum initiatives and mindset initiatives (that I have to follow and adhere to) that just seem so amateurish.

    Advice to Management

    -When you come up with a new idea for a template for teachers to fill out or paperwork for teachers to fill out or curriculum initiative, try to find some type of research that supports its effectiveness, and be sure to present that to teachers along with the new template, paperwork, or initiative. -Hold admins and central office employees as accountable as you hold your teachers. -Solicit anonymous teacher feedback on a regular basis, and be sure that admin share the feedback results and action steps with their teachers. Remember, Mastery is an organization that is working towards equality. Try to make management structures as democratic as possible, while still holding the bar and holding teachers accountable. (Seeing such high teacher and dean turnover and such low admin/central office turnover feels undemocratic and makes it seem like there are unequal degrees of stress, workload, and accountability.)


  6. A great place to work and grow professionally

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

    I have been working at Mastery Charter School

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

    Pros

    Great training and development as a teacher and professional. The organization matches your retirement contributions dollar for dollar up to 5% of your salary.

    Cons

    Teachers have little flexibility with curriculum and schedule.


  7. stressful, rewarding, but not challenging

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

    I have been working at Mastery Charter School

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    great people, benefits, and leadership

    Cons

    things are changing every year, but the changes are not challenging intellectually, rather they are stressful because you have to rework your schedule or classroom for new initiatives.

    Advice to Management

    let teachers propose their ideas of an ideal classroom/ curriculum and why it is best for students; there is so much top-down management that makes it hard to keep up.


  8. Helpful (4)

    The worst thing to happen to the public school system in Philadelphia.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Instructor in Philadelphia, PA
    Former Employee - Instructor in Philadelphia, PA

    I worked at Mastery Charter School full-time (Less than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Teachers and staff (below HR and admin) seem to really care about kids and their futures

    Cons

    Pay is okay at first but pay raises (especially good ones) are minimal. According to senior staffers, it is not uncommon to go years without getting a raise. Personal lives are against company policy. 3.0 is the most haphazard, half-cocked implementation of new systems I have ever seen in any organization. Scott Gordon doesn't know the meaning of restorative justice. Mastery Charter was being shut out of public schools after parents rose up in opposition to corporations running our poorest schools. So, to better market the business, Scott Gordon picked a word off a list that sounded the most buzzwordy and force fed it to all his employees. Now the employees and the kids suffer.

    Advice to Management

    Scott, old boy Get out of our schools. You belong in business. Education is not a commodity to be traded for your own profit.


  9. Helpful (4)

    "World Class DUMP"

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

    I have been working at Mastery Charter School 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

    - Professional Development for teachers is pretty good. I have learned a lot about classroom management in teaching as Mastery.

    Cons

    - Administrators are clueless and have no clue on how to run a school. Most do not have sufficient experience and some are not even certified to teach or be a principal in PA. - You are micromanaged to the point of no return. They even tell you how your students should be passing papers. Hmm…. - The curriculum at Mastery is WAY above the students ability level. In most cases, students feel unaccomplished because the work is not appropriate. To make it even better, admin will continue to observe you and tell you that you are teaching the content incorrectly or that you aren't following the structures, and thus this effects your evaluation and can eventually lead to terminiation. - Admin could care less about the students, staff, or parents. Their job is to micromanage kids and adults, fabricate an orderly school where kids are learning, which ultimately leads to them getting more money for more schools, and thus screwing up the lives of more children and adults. IT IS ALL A BUSINESS! - Many of the administrators try to relate to the struggles of inner city students, but simply cannot. - Pay sucks and you are overworked all the time. You pretty much have to create your own "work-life balance" because they have no interest in creating one for you.

    Advice to Management

    I don't even know where to begin. Let's start with getting certified and more experience!


  10. Helpful (5)

    Forget everything you think you know about Mastery Charter Schools

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

    I have been working at Mastery Charter School full-time (More than 3 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    -some of the people are nice

    Cons

    -oppressive administration -out of control and unsafe schools -students are an afterthought Forget everything you thought you knew about Mastery Charter Schools. Introducing Mastery 3.0: the "new and improved" version, as of 2014. Mastery has thrown out its criticized discipline systems of the past and replaced it with naught but feel-good propaganda. Under Mastery 3.0, Mastery's classrooms are out of control (lots of screaming; very little learning), its schools are unsafe (just in one quarter, staff were punched, attacked, and hospitalized, and there was a knife fight among students), and there is minimal support for teachers. If you don't like it, don't dare let the business know; they will bully you into silence, and if that doesn't work, they will simply get rid of you.

    Advice to Management

    -respect your staff and students -provide support, rather than stifling dissent -stop pretending like your schools aren't falling apart


  11. Helpful (5)

    I have never seen so many adults yell at students in my entire life.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Associate Teacher in Phila, PA
    Former Employee - Senior Associate Teacher in Phila, PA

    I worked at Mastery Charter School full-time (More than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Pay is the only positive this Charter company has to offer. When you realize how miserable it is to work there, you will leave or try and find a new job like everyone else in the building (hence all the 1st and 2nd year teachers). Amazed at how many teachers hated their job.

    Cons

    Management is unqualified and about as knowledgeable as a 1st year education student. School is run to push kids to get positive test scores so they can obtain more schools and have more money. This is a business, not a school. They do not care about the kids, the community, or education in general. I was amazed to see how poorly these schools are run, and how many illegal acts they are doing and covering up when it comes to special education, student conduct, administrator bullying, etc... No one respects each other. All of one, and one for all should be their new motto. If being unprofessional was a standard everyone at Mastery would be great at it. If you are familiar with the term "best practice" you should forget it, because everything at Mastery is made up. Nothing comes from research or best practices, aka what all of the best learning communities are built on.

    Advice to Management

    Hire teachers who are qualified, and principals who at least have their certificate to be an administrator - how many people do? Scott Gordon the CEO started a charter because the state of PA would not let him teach in a public school. I wonder why? Because you are not qualified!!!! Try and remind the adults that you hire that they are in education, not a prison. Treat the students and teachers with respect.



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