Mastery Charter School Reviews

Updated March 2, 2015
20 reviews filtered by
  • Any Location
  • Any Job Title
2.6
20 Reviews
Rating Trends
Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
(no image)
Scott Gordon
13 Ratings

Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1. Definitely Not "One of the Best Companies to Work for in Philadelphia," despite last year's reviews.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Contractor - English Teacher, Secondary School
    Former Contractor - English Teacher, Secondary School

    I worked at Mastery Charter School as a contractor (less than a year)

    Pros

    I appreciate that they made a little more [transparent] of an effort to support their teachers in having a work-life balance. There were definitely a lot of deliverable materials, but the deadlines were never on a weekend, so that, if you planned your time well, you could have your entire weekend to yourself, instead of agonizing over school literally every single day.

    Cons

    My direct supervisor was a terrible mentor; was agreed upon by nearly every teacher I spoke with that she was a terrible mentor/teach coach/adviser, and that she was very artificial/disingenuous, as well as condescending. This workplace also made me the sickest I have ever been in my life. If you have any experience with anxiety and/or depression, I wholeheartedly advise you to STAY AWAY. In February of last year, I was so ill that I could not eat, sit up, read, or even stay awake steadily for a full week; I was out of work the whole week, but still had to compose and send assignments to school while I was ill. My anxiety and depression were so fully exacerbated that I cried every single morning for months at the thought of being in that school.
    The worst part (for me, as a social justice advocate working to bridge the achievement gap), was that the school was so strictly discipline-based to the point where students would miss an entire day of class simply for wearing a show that was not completely black (perhaps it had a white stripe). This, to me, is absurd and a waste of everyone's time. Mastery prides itself on "Excellence. No Excuses." However, I would say that there are more ways to address this problem. For example, if the parent cannot take the time to come up to the school for a pair of sneakers, keep a closet with a few pairs of shoes that can be borrowed with the collateral of the student's original shoes. This way, students can still adhere to uniform policy without missing valuable instruction time. Mastery was way too impersonal, for students and staff. Most staff members didn't actually know each other on a personal level, and most staff members didn't have the time necessary to truly understand all of their students' circumstances. I have worked in three schools, and it seems to me that Mastery was the school that had the lowest student morale of the three; students simply didn't like Mastery. All of these things (and the many more I haven't listed) become extremely exhausting (emotionally, physically, etc.) over the course of a school year, which results in the high turnover that Mastery experiences every year, and even mid-year. The job, ultimately, was not as sustainable as they might like us to believe.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Create a safe space for teachers to [anonymously] evaluate their superiors/give feedback, and for the supervisors to be transparent about what feedback they received and how they plan to address it, so that they can hold themselves accountable and teachers can feel empowered to address issues that may persist.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2. Good Benefits - Easy Burnout

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

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

    Pros

    Pay is good
    Benefits = good (good dental, medical, etc)
    PD = great
    Resources = great (esp for reading/writing/math/core teachers...social studies not so great)
    Good days off
    3.0 is a good shift
    Most teachers/employees really care about kids (too much work otherwise)

    Cons

    Very difficult to have a work life balance - especially being married or having kids - organization is more suitable for single, young teachers
    Very little diversity in management

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Seriously consider work life balance. Make teachers/leaders take time off if theyre sick. Grit only goes too far. Look at the health of your employees. Consider more "fun" days for staff, events outside of work - eg celebrations, parties, happy hours, games, etc. I've seen leaders "grow older" in the past 2 years I've been at Mastery - they're really stressed out with all of these changes and it's affecting the teachers they manage.

    Great place to work but no one can sustain this. Try giving a REALLY anonymous survey about work life balance - it won't be so pretty.

    I still give it a 4.0 because it beats SDP anyway.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3. A great place to work and grow professionally

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

    I have been working at Mastery Charter School

    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.

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


  5. stressful, rewarding, but not challenging

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

    I have been working at Mastery Charter School

    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 ManagementAdvice

    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.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6. 1 person found this helpful

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

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

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

    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 ManagementAdvice

    Scott, old boy

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

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7. 1 person found this helpful

    "World Class DUMP"

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    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)

    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 ManagementAdvice

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

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8. 1 person found this helpful

    Forget everything you think you know about Mastery Charter Schools

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    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)

    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 ManagementAdvice

    -respect your staff and students
    -provide support, rather than stifling dissent

    -stop pretending like your schools aren't falling apart

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  9. 2 people found this helpful

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

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    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)

    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 ManagementAdvice

    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.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  10. Great Place to Work

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

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

    Pros

    Great Benefits.
    Great Environment.
    Friendly Peers.
    Kids First.

    Cons

    I have none at the moment

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11. Mixed

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

    I have been working at Mastery Charter School

    Pros

    Really want to do right by students. Accomplishing great things for philadelphia schools

    Cons

    Lack of humility, leadership team is not very diverse, people can be very arrogant

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Value your people

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

Mastery Charter School Photos

Typical Mastery classroom

+ Add Photo

Work at Mastery Charter School? Share Your Experiences

Mastery Charter School

 
Click to Rate
or

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