PA Leadership Charter School

  www.palcs.org
  www.palcs.org

PA Leadership Charter School Reviews

Updated September 18, 2014
Updated September 18, 2014
21 Reviews
2.6
21 Reviews
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Jim Hanak
14 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1. 1 person found this helpful  

    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)

    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 ManagementAdvice

    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.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  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

    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 ManagementAdvice

    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.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3.  

    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

    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 ManagementAdvice

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

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5. 2 people found this helpful  

    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)

    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 ManagementAdvice

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

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

    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)

    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 ManagementAdvice

    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.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7.  

    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.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8. 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
  9. 2 people found this helpful  

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

    • 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

    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 ManagementAdvice

    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.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
  10. 6 people found this helpful  

    Not all it is Cracked up to be

    • 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 people (teachers, staff, etc.) care about the students and are professionals.
    The work environment is clean and well taken care of.
    We have the ability to work from home, though it is very limited.

    Cons

    Lack of respect for teachers as professionals.
    Lack of high expectations for students. Students can slide by and stay "in school" for months if not years without doing much if any work.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Respect the teachers. They are professionals and know what they are doing. If there is a problem deal with the individual(s) and don't make blanket rules that effect everyone. This is just poor management style. Let the teachers teach their classes. Stop micromanaging and overriding the teachers decisions. If a teacher gives a student an F because they didn't do the work, let the F stand, don't make the teacher make special accommodations if the student doesn't do the work they are suppose to be doing.

    When a teacher speaks up with a concern listen to them. They are not the enemy, they see something and are trying to help. They are trying to give insight that maybe their boss doesn't have. Many of the bosses have less experience than the teachers they are in charge of. Listen to the teachers and welcome their concerns.

    When people voice concern don't allow the management to retaliate against the person who has the concern. Listen and act. If nothing every happens to fix the concerns then management isn't doing their job. So far things haven't been getting fixed over many years.

    Be fair with the employees. Some can do anything they want, while others are scrutinized excessively. It depends upon who you are buddies with. I guess that is true anywhere, but I wish Palcs had higher standards in how employees are treated.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
  11. 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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