Uncommon Schools
3.6 of 5 18 reviews
www.uncommonschools.org New York, NY 500 to 999 Employees

Uncommon Schools Reviews

Updated Apr 7, 2014
Uncommon Schools – New York – “Annual Holiday "Gingerbread School" Contest at…”

All Employees Current Employees Only

3.6 18 reviews

                             

100% Approve of the CEO

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Brett Peiser

(6 ratings)

75% of employees recommend this company to a friend
18 Employee Reviews
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Great people! Tough work...

Teacher (Current Employee)
Brooklyn, NY

I have been working at Uncommon Schools full-time for less than a year

ProsVery talented staff and leadership

ConsPoor student culture, long hours

Advice to Senior ManagementHold a tougher line with misbehaving students

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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Challenging but rewarding work

Director (Former Employee)
New York, NY

I worked at Uncommon Schools full-time for more than 3 years

ProsUncommon people are smart, dedicated, and extremely self-reflective. Uncommon is full of humble, tenacious people who work hard every single day. I was always inspired by the caliber of talent surrounding me. The use of data and the ability to give and receive feedback are prized highly.

ConsThe hours were long and maintaining a work-life balance became extremely difficult. It frequently felt like there was more to do than could possibly be done and it was all critical work.

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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Inconsistent results between schools

Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

I have been working at Uncommon Schools full-time

ProsUnlike most other schools, teachers never need to spend a dime out of pocket on anything for their classrooms. Compensation is better than local schools (although with many fewer personal/sick days). Despite still having long hours, Uncommon seems to be very aware of the concerns with work-life balance and leaders make frequent nice gestures to keep morale up - buying lunch, etc. Teachers are encouraged to collaborate and given adequate time to do so.

ConsThe network is expanding rapidly and struggling to replicate its successes at some of its newer schools. School culture and discipline are troubling at some schools. "Mission alignment" seems to be favored over expertise in hiring and promotion, resulting in a culture of inexperienced staff who won't question decisions and inexperienced leadership with a one-size-fits-all approach. Classroom turnover is concerning, with most teachers either promoted or burnt out after just a couple years. When I was hired, Uncommon was known for skilled, experienced teachers who drove student achievement through their own decisions. I am worried it is becoming more like other "corporate" charter chains.

Advice to Senior ManagementEmphasize classroom experience for all school leadership. Talk to your teachers frequently and frankly to understand their concerns and ask for their input.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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Doing great things, just wasn't the right fit.

Special Assistant to the Chief Executive Officer (Former Employee)
New York, NY

I worked at Uncommon Schools full-time for less than a year

ProsMission driven, strong leadership, solid organizational structure.

ConsCorporate(ish) environment at home office, politics and drama between personnel, martyr syndrome amongst employees

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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Unsustainable Workload

Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

I worked at Uncommon Schools full-time for less than a year

ProsIt can't be overstated how dedicated and passionate the staff was at the school I worked at. I count myself very lucky to have had the opportunity to work with and learn from such talented individuals.

ConsMy position at Uncommon was my first full-time teaching job. As a first year teacher I was asked to teach 3 separate subjects, one of which I had no training in, to the largest and arguably most difficult class in the school. I've read other reviews in which people say that despite the overwhelming amount of work they always feel supported. This is true, but in my case the amount of work was SO overwhelming and unrealistic, (I was the only staff member teaching 3 separate subjects), especially for a first year teacher with little or no experience planning a curriculum or managing a classroom, that no amount of support could make up for the level of sleep deprivation, the fact that I never spent more than an hour a day with my husband, or the fact that in the time I worked there I didn't have a single day off, including weekends. I realize that my situation was slightly unique, but I am also aware that many of my coworkers felt the same amount of overwhelm, and in some cases downright desperation.

I also found myself struggling with the disciplinary systems and the lack of free time for the students. I simply didn't think it was healthy. Children need recess, and kids who don't have the chance to run around and blow off steam become stir-crazy and make managing a classroom and building enthusiasm for subject matter exponentially harder for teachers.

Advice to Senior ManagementI know that the management works hard to provide social and academic support to its staff, but I strongly believe that the answer to the massive teacher burnout isn't more staff happy hours or notes about teaching style and classroom management. The answer is less work. Hire more teaching assistants! And give the kids recess and/or a longer lunch period. Teachers need that down-time too.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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Overall positive and an inspiring company to work for, but very strenuous and demanding

Teacher (Current Employee)
Newark, NJ

I have been working at Uncommon Schools full-time for less than a year

Pros*Young, enthusiastic staff
*Sense that you're part of a larger community contributing to a greater good and part of a winning team
*Offers a lot of PD and support for new staff members before the school year starts

Cons*Very long hours, many responsibilities for teachers that require late-night and weekend time
*Operations and procedures don't always seem the most efficient/organized, leading to potentially wasted time
*High pressure, a lot of focus on producing the best data and out-performing others

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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You won't sleep much, but you will not be alone in your efforts.

High School Teacher (Former Employee)
Brooklyn, NY

I worked at Uncommon Schools full-time for more than a year

ProsUncommon schools always tend to have incredible teams of teachers working around the clock to create the best learning environments possible for students. They have pretty well established systems of discipline and positive school culture. Kids largely want to be there. Families are supportive.

ConsYou will be micromanaged as a teacher. The "no-excuses" approach to discipline and academics can get in the way of making meaningful connections with students. You will spend an unbelievable amount of hours developing, grading, and evaluating quarterly assessments.

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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Great work environment

Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)
Boston, MA

I have been working at Uncommon Schools full-time for more than a year

ProsThe staff is young, energetic and highly motivated. Many of them are truly inspirational people to work with. The work place itself is a very positive place to be in. Staff is supportive and always makes time for a quick discussion about a student. Better school to work in than other charter school I worked at in the past. Alums often come back to visit and talk about how much they miss the school, which shows how much of an impact the school and the teachers have had on the students

ConsBecause the staff is so young, it is hard to get any real mentorship from experienced people. Also, lots of turnover each year among the staff.

Advice to Senior ManagementMore effort to bring the staff altogether through bonding and social events. Create more opportunities for mentorship

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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Great, dedicated people committed to mission. Challenging work-life balance.

Dean of Students (Former Employee)
Brooklyn, NY

I worked at Uncommon Schools full-time for more than a year

ProsThe dedication of teachers and leadership at Uncommon was amazing - I was continually impressed with everyone there, and they are getting great results with kids. Competitive salaries and benefits.

ConsThe work life balance was really challenging - long, tireless days that don't necessarily end when you go home.

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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Well run company - overworked employees

Teacher (Former Employee)
Brooklyn, NY

I worked at Uncommon Schools full-time for more than a year

ProsThe company is very well organized and run by the CEO/Founder. The executive team has very clearly thought through the CMO's growth plans and business structure. Also - the education students receive is superior, as the teacher selection process is highly refined and principals are highly qualified.

ConsTeachers and school staff can expect to work anywhere from 60 to 70 hour weeks. There are contractual hours (M-F: 7 to 5:30, S: 7 - Noon) but teachers and staff are always expected to stay beyond this time. This kind of time commitment frequently lends itself towards low staff morale and high rates of quitting. Also: teachers are frequently let go during the school year or at the end of a school year and left searching for a job unexpectedly.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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Glassdoor is your free inside look at Uncommon Schools reviews and ratings — including employee satisfaction and approval rating for Uncommon Schools CEO Brett Peiser. All 18 reviews posted anonymously by Uncommon Schools employees.