Mastery Charter School

  www.masterycharter.org
  www.masterycharter.org

Mastery Charter School Reviews

Updated September 16, 2014
Updated September 16, 2014
13 Reviews
2.8
13 Reviews
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Approve of CEO
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Scott Gordon
8 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    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 an year)

    Pros

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

    Cons

    I have none at the moment

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2.  

    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 an 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
  3.  

    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
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  5. 1 person found this helpful  

    School run like a Major Company, Be Ready to "Fit In" Quickly

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

    I worked at Mastery Charter School full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    -Pay
    -Co-workers are awesome and dedicated
    -Certain Campuses are much better than others (Thomas, Lenfest are strongest two)
    -Resources in terms of money per student, clean buildings, etc. Mastery wants for very little in terms of providing for teachers things like Elmo's, etc.
    -If you can play "their game" you can do very well and gain large pay increases in a short period of time
    -Many of the students are awesome, as you'd expect and hope as a teacher
    -Organization is continuously trying to get better (this also could be filed under the Cons section at times though due to never being able to re-use ANY materials from year to year)

    Cons

    -Organization is run like a major company. Everything is measured in metrics on spreadsheets. You will be micromanaged to an extent not found in any other school. You can and will be addressed for the smallest of details and those will be used against you in end of year conversations and will effect your pay.
    -Metrics will impact your raise. If you're students do not preform well on their Benchmarks and you're formal observation schools and MVAS (Mastery Value Added System used to projected student growth) you can expect little raise and to be eventually shown the door.
    -Work life balance is bad, bordering on horrible. I am not talking just about working late and on the weekends but being stressed about work the next day. Most teachers in my campus last about 2 years overall if I had to guess.
    -Be prepared to "buy in" quickly or be forced out. Your leadership team will quickly identify whether or not you are bought in and willing to comply with their values and wishes. They have no problem brining up the smallest things in order to show you are not "on board" including not coming to after school events, being seconds late to meetings and generally saying they think you are not willing to be a part of their mission.
    - Let's be honest, working in a city charter school isn't easy. You're day to day instructing classes will be very difficult and having the added stress of your leadership breathing down your neck about everything from your posters in your room to your agenda board to your hands, lines in the halls and everything in-between. You will deal with situations that will cause you immense frustration and drive you to the brink of quitting (trust me, I've been there five years and seen dozens and dozens come and go and experienced these things myself). Coming back day after day is only easy for the most dedicated, driven and mission aligned folks (I'd say 5-10% of the staff in the building).
    -Buildings have many "moles" or "rats" who will overhear negative conversations and report them to your Principal or APs. After that, you'll wind up in a meeting about your values. Watch who you talk to.
    -Zero job security. I've seen teachers let go for various reasons including simply not being "on board" to being forced out because they clearly make too much money and can be replaced by someone (usually TFA folks) who make 20 grand less than they do. You will sign a contract that can be terminated at any time, for any reason, so don't expect to have a feeling of perfect job security (Unless you are in that 10% of teachers who really, really shine and are the sheep of the leadership team).
    -Cycle of Teachers and Unwillingness to keep folks long term is most scary to me. Here are the phases of how Mastery wants to cycle their teachers in and out of their buildings.

    1. You come in, you are observed, you will be told you are awful at teaching and giving a Developing or Unsatisfactory on your formal. You then feel like you really are a bad teacher, or never were good in the first place.
    2. You ask them, "How do I get better?"
    3. They tell you, they coach you with instruction over the years, you do improve and you will get a raise or two (maybe a big one if you are really well liked and really "on board" with their values, kissing up is huge)
    4. You will eventually plateau after your raises and be told you need to continue to improve...which becomes very hard to do after you've been named an Advanced or Master Teacher (order goes Associate, Sr. Associate, Advanced and Master Teacher in order of rating and pay)
    5. You start to get a ton of flack for your results and eventually are basically told you make too much money and can be replaced by someone much cheaper (This has been said to folks I know over the years). Leadership team nitpicks on everything you do and basically forces your hand to go elsewhere if you want to be happy. After a few years, the salary you make will stay the same basically for the duration of your time there.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Be more human, stop asking teachers to be robots and treat staff as professionals and not children. Also, the pace at which Mastery is growing will eventually cause the organization to lack quickly teachers and staff and cause them to essentially become the school district. Simply growing too fast with not enough good/driven dedicated teachers in the area.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6.  

    5 years employed once promoted

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

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

    Pros

    Flexibility, lots of professional development, chances to grow, advancement opportunities (i got promoted in less than 2 years) , kids are amazing and the relationships you forge with both students and parents are priceless

    Cons

    Work life balance is almost non existent, long hours are needed to complete most tasks and there are management spreadsheets to measure EVERYTHING

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Lead by example when it comes to valuing life outside of Mastery

    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great intentions, but poor delivery.

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

    I worked at Mastery Charter School full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Competitive pay and ample resources.

    Cons

    It is a political game to advance.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Treat people like human beings and not computers that should read from scripts.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  8. 1 person found this helpful  

    It's a great job if you're passionate about it and willing to sacrifice yourself

    • 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

    -tons and tons of teacher support, training, and development
    -very dedicated staff at all levels
    -i can tell the CEO really believes in what we're doing and is not in it for the money or glory
    -clean schools, access to supplies, etc
    -tight discipline
    -raises and promotions tied to performance
    -being involved with something that is truly making a difference

    i really love working here...this is my 3rd year at mastery and my 5th year teaching, and i hope to be here until i retire.

    Cons

    -the main problem is, like others have said, there is NO room for work-life balance. the expectations on us are pretty much unreasonable, and we are very closely monitored for compliance. if you work here, don't expect to have much of a life of your own or downtime, at least if you want to get ahead
    -we have a large central office staff who get paid WAY more than the teachers do, and that makes me mad sometimes bc we work much harder
    -that's really all i can think of right now!

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    i really respect my CEO and his entourage, as well as my P and my APs. my dean (discipline support for the grade) is fantastic. i would add to what the others said-stop trying to GROW and instead focus on making what we do have better. mastery 3.0 is a good start, but we really need to have more freedom to do creative and inquiry based teaching. the mastery model is really great and necessary in some cases, but not always. there have been a lot of cool things i've wanted to do with the kids that i think would be "sticky"-er learning than just DI but i am too afraid to do them for fear someone will walk in and disapprove. i try really hard to do everything exactly perfectly.

    oh, and you're never going to get cross-campus collaboration amongst subject/grade areas if you keep publicly comparing their benchmark scores!

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9.  

    Worst job ever

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

    Pros

    salary, most teachers are well-intentioned

    Cons

    worthless administration, treats adults like kids and treat kids like they are prisoners, required to be constantly silent

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Make drastic changes.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10.  

    It's all good in the beginning...

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Mastery Charter School

    Pros

    Benefits if you get them

    community outreach

    Cons

    Inexperienced teachers in some subject areas where experience should be an Absolute

    Too many managers on the chain

    Beware of the CULTure!

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Diversity on all Levels of Management

  11. 1 person found this helpful  

    They adequately address the problems in urban education but they do not fully value their employees.

    • 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 an year)

    Pros

    If you are passionate about urban education, then you will find that Mastery does about the best job possible addressing the achievement gap. They are truly concerned with closing the gap and moving students in the direction of college. They practice what they preach in that regard.

    Cons

    The amount of work that they expect is unreasonable. Certainly, campuses vary, but teachers are micromanaged in a severe way. Grades in gradebooks as well as parent phone calls are counted. I understand the idea of accountability but if you hire professionals, why not set an expectation for the amount of grades in a report period and check at the end. If you have a family it will be difficult to balance the work load. They want people that are completely "bought in" and by that they mean someone who is willing to stay as long as possible and do everything to please the administration. If you struggle at all then you will be weeded out. The idea of a work life balance is a joke.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Learn to value your employees. There has to be a middle ground between closing the achievement gap and addressing teacher turn over. It appears that turn over is of no concern to you.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

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