PA Leadership Charter School Reviews

Updated March 31, 2015
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3.0
16 Reviews
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Jim Hanak
10 Ratings

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  1. Having a wonderful time working here.

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

    I have been working at PA Leadership Charter School full-time

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

    Pros

    Great staff. Wonderful energy. Always put the best interests of the students first. It seems a few disgruntled people are trying to soil what is an amazing organization.

    Cons

    Every organization can use some improvements and PALCS is no different. I expect changes. It seems some of the posters do not.

    Advice to Management

    Be more visible. Especially those who are not the senior leadership staff.

  2. Helpful (2)

    RUN-DO NOT- take a job there!

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

    I worked at PA Leadership Charter School full-time (More than 8 years)

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

    Pros

    I'm hard pressed to come up with Pros. It used to be a nice place-NOT anymore, that changed years ago.

    Cons

    Management is awful, incompetent and does not know what they are doing. No raises, work is piled on and they look to get rid of those that want to do a good job and then praise the bottom feeders. Employees leave in droves when they see the insanity that pervades the school, it's management and the 'rules' they go by (that change at the drop of a hat)!

    Advice to Management

    Communication, yearly raises, get rid of the dead-beats, pay attention to what REALLY goes on within the school rather than have your head so far up the political Netherlands. Doing so does NOTHING for the school and you let idiots run the place and have let so, so, many good people go and/or you got rid of them. The school is crumbling right under your feet, the decline is so rampant.

  3. Helpful (2)

    In my opinion this isn't a great school

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

    I have been working at PA Leadership Charter School

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

    Pros

    The teachers are wonderful and the staff works very hard. It is too bad that the people running the school, in my opinion, don't really know what they are doing. The morale is so low people are trying to leave the school. For two years in a row the school has had layoffs. They let go good people who have been with the school from the start. In my opinion, they let go of good teachers with a lot of experience just to be able to hire new teacher right out of school for less money. I don't think I would want my kids going to a school that cared more about money than getting the best teachers for my child.

    Cons

    The administration, in my opinion, seems to try to dismiss any bad reviews by saying it is just a few people, or disgruntled employees, or ex-employees, or people who are against cyber schools. From those I have spoken with that is not the case, we are just trying to fix the school, to make it a good place to learn and work. It is just difficult when the people with the most experience in cyber eduction are being laid off and let go. These people are the ones who were there from the beginning and who have experience, knowledge, and the desire to make cyber education better. In my opinion the school doesn't think they need them and they have filled too many positions at all levels with people who lack the experience they need to make decisions that will help the school move forward.

    Advice to Management

    Listen to your employees. Stop treating them as a disposable commodity. Stop getting ride of the teachers with experience just so you can buy Apple ipads and mac book pros. We don't need them, we need good teachers and we need good leadership. Stop the personal agendas and treat everyone as equals.

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  5. Helpful (1)

    Anonymous postings on this site about PALCS may be motivated by individuals hostile to cyber charter schools

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

    I have been working at PA Leadership Charter School full-time (More than 8 years)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    It is unfair to allow anonymous individuals to post what could be lies or untruths about our school from competitors or disgruntled former employees. My experience and the experience of everyone I am associated with has been a positive one. There are those within the public school community that oppose charter schools because charter schools are a threat to the teachers union. The teachers union in particular has launched a very negative and caustic campaign to discredit anyone aligned with the charter school community. Anonymous posts about this charter school should be judged with that in mind.

    Cons

    Please evaluate any "con" information on this site in the light of it being posted by anonymous individuals

    Advice to Management

    My advice to management is to be encouraged that you are having an impact significant enough to cause your detractors to go out of their way to try to make you look bad.

  6. Helpful (3)

    Think long and hard before you make the mistake of sending your kids or teaching here

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

    I have been working at PA Leadership 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

    Leadership is really great at thinking only about themselves and the almighty dollar! They love it when the dollar signs log into class everyday.

    Cons

    They just let 20+ teachers go - several of which were let go before the end of the school year (in May!) with complete disregard for current students and their work. What does letting 20+ teachers go mean? Well, it means that there are several core courses which are not likely to be taught. Forget the extra stuff like music and art, those are gone (or will soon be gone) hope you didn't want your child to learn a language with the guidance of a teacher. Better off investing in Rosetta stone - at least that won't disappear on your at the end of the year.

    Honestly, if you want to make sure your child has the very best education, start off by not sending them to PALCS. There so many MANY other options. And, if it seems like a solution right now, don't expect them to be around much longer. Unless you want your child to be another $ sign and not make any serious bonds with quality teachers....

    And if you are a teacher looking for a career, have an exit strategy in mind from day one. Keep that resume and those clearances up to date. Don't expect anyone to look out for you, or treat you like a human. PALCS is not and will not be unionized. You will not have a contract. You are 100% at will. You will not get a raise, but all benefits will be cut. Your spouse will not have coverage. You will not have more than 3 PTO days for the year. You will not be a valuable asset to the school (read: business)

    But here's the list of things you will have!

    - 150+ students at any time
    - An at will contract
    - 10 hours of work/day M-F and at least 10 on the weekends, if not more
    - Sub-par benefits with a completely unorganized company
    - A constant fear of losing your job
    - A sinking feeling about not being able to provide your students with a quality education

    Advice to Management

    Please reply to this post and explicitly show me where I'm wrong.

  7. Helpful (1)

    Great flexibility and homely vibe but a developing managerial organization"

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • 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 full-time (More than 3 years)

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

    Pros

    Flexibility to take on new tasks, warm and family-oriented staff, working for a good cause, some amazingly positive and talented staff members and managers.

    Cons

    Morale can be affected by inconsistent pay to various staff members; meaning, there is not a set standard of how they choose to pay people based on experience, degree, years at the company... A little more structure, which is changing could help boost morale.

    Advice to Management

    Just to be transparent about the standards set on everyone, incentives for raises or bonuses and one united organization across all departments. Everyone deserves to be valued.

  8. 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)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    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 Management

    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.

  9. Helpful (2)

    My experience at PA Leadership has been very positive and wonderful.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • 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

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Wonderful and flexible bosses. Very appreciative when I do a good job. The freedom to express myself and know that I am being heard.

    Cons

    PA Leadership is such a wonderful place to work I cannot think of any downsides. I love going to work in the morning 1

    Advice to Management

    Keep being sensitive and in communication with employees. We appreciate it. We appreciate knowing what is going on in the organization, and knowing that you are interested in what we think and what our concerns are.

  10. Helpful (3)

    In these troubled economic times, we are blessed.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • 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

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    I would like to convey my own experience at PALCS. This is very important to me because, after reading some of the reviews on this site, I feel some of the opinions are not accurate. It is unfair for any one individual to use their feelings or views to describe the working environment shared by all of us at PALCS. The negative people that have posted these things seem to have another agenda.
    As I read the frustration expressed in these comments, it is very easy for me to relate to them. I believe anyone who cares about their job will feel confusion and fear even in the best of economic times. There have been times I could have easily been labeled as disgruntled. Over time, I saw the bigger picture and to be frank, I believe that most of my frustrations were simply my own unrealistic expectations.

    What I failed to see is, this company is genuinely wanted me to succeed. It offers all it can and when it can. In these troubled economic times we are blessed with leaders that work harder and stay later than the rest of us.

    At times this company has had to fight for its very existence. Between the brick and mortar school’s undermining of us and the fact that this is still a brand new industry, keeping these doors open is a huge accomplishment. We have not only survived massive system failures (that would have shut down ANY other school) we made ourselves better and we have positioned ourselves accomplish great things. And the most important thing is we are educating more students with better results and we get better at it every day.

    Every day our country see’s more and more angry people blaming their own CEO’s for their company's demise. Obviously some of these men and women deserve the blame. But, as I look around myself I see young, happy teachers, using new technology, I simply disagree with the negative few that have posted on this site.

    Cons

    It is a young company and needs to adjust some things. If there is a "con" it is the unrealistic expectation that all people can be made happy.

  11. Helpful (10)

    The less you know, the higher you'll go!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • 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

    *Steady paycheck, for the most part
    *Comfortable facilities
    *Health insurance
    *Nice to have a job

    Cons

    *No opportunities for growth unless you're "in" with upper management
    *Favoritism is rampant.
    *Open door policy is a joke. Don't complain about anything or it WILL go on your file
    *Teachers are not respected. They are viewed with contempt by middle and upper management.
    *Bonus money goes into buying new buildings instead of being paid out, unless you're a favorite, then you do get your money

    Advice to Management

    Keep your workers happy. Breach the divide among upper management; it is evident to the rest of the staff and it weakens the entire organization. The teachers are not the enemy. Listen more. Truly listen and don't punish for honest feedback. Reward competency, passion, and good service instead of yes-men. Stop the us vs them culture that exists there. Treat your teachers with respect, and they will produce more for you...without coercion or threats. If paying out bonuses was a priority, it would have been given by now. The school has an incredible amount of potential, but there is very poor leadership at the helm of what could be a powerful enterprise.

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