Uncommon Schools

  www.uncommonschools.org
  www.uncommonschools.org

Uncommon Schools Reviews

Updated December 16, 2014
Updated December 16, 2014
25 Reviews
3.2
25 Reviews
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Brett Peiser
7 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    Great place to work

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Uncommon Schools

    Pros

    Making an educational impact in NYC.

    Cons

    There is a tricky work/life balance.

  2.  

    It has been great working for Uncommon, I've learned a lot, but to advance I need to move on.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Middle School Teacher in Brooklyn, NY
    Current Employee - Middle School Teacher in Brooklyn, NY

    I have been working at Uncommon Schools full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Great support and feedback, hours are manageable if you are arganized

    Cons

    lack of diversity, systems are a bit intense, hard to move up

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    More diversity training that is required.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
  3.  

    Great organization serving urban communties but please beware !!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Office Manager
    Former Employee - Office Manager

    I worked at Uncommon Schools full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    • Great mission and purpose

    •Providing urban children with charter/private school level of education

    Cons

    •Long hours

    •Lack of balance between personal and work life

    •Military like structure i.e walking on color code lines in hallways and classrooms, no talking during lunch, sitting with hands in star position at all times, and extreme techniques when a child is reprimanded.

    •Lack of communication and respect between admin staff

    •Overworking teachers

    •Not enough training

    •Forcing office staff to be more stern and demanding when interacting with parents and students

    • more concerned with raising and keeping attendance numbers for funding

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5.  

    Amazing team

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Special Ed Coordinator in Brooklyn, NY
    Former Employee - Special Ed Coordinator in Brooklyn, NY

    I worked at Uncommon Schools full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    I loved everyone I worked with. Everyone is positive and supportive.

    Cons

    Many duties during breakfast, transition periods and afterschool that extend the work day.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Give students more independence and don't micromanage teachers.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6. 5 people found this helpful  

    Doing good for the community, but beware

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

    I have been working at Uncommon Schools full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    -Doing great work in the community they serve - helping to close the achievement gap
    -Benefits & pay are comparable to local district schools
    -supportive, tight-nit coworkers - Family comes to mind
    -supportive admin, willing to help - not "US VS THEM" like many schools
    -Great professional development
    -You will never need anything (supplies, books etc) - the school will provide anything and everything you'd like

    Cons

    Before I begin, these were CONS to me; they may make sense to you. All these together are why I left. I have nothing but god things to say about the staff and leadership. I didn't know some these things before I accepted the job, and they didn't tell me, so I want to be very, very clear if you are considering a position.

    -Long hours (715am-515pm, with students from 725-420). That is the time you need to be there, not including the work you take home (which is about 1-2 hrs a night)
    -You are a lunch monitor, teacher, whatever they need you to be
    -there are no substitutes, so you cover each other's classes. There were days where I taught from 725-300 without a break; and it is expected
    -the kids take full (3-day) NYS Math and ELA mock assessments 4-5 times a year!
    -every class period, minus gym/art are glorified test prep sessions from sept-may
    -You will get paid slightly above the public schools in your area but remember, you are working longer hours, and Professional development starts the first week in AUGUST!
    -The student culture is very militaristic, lines, standing straight, not talking, walking from class to class
    -Everything is done through packets - use of technology is not encouraged
    -Children are made to pay attention and focus in desks, sitting straight up, on silent for almost the entire day, often times lunch is silent.
    -you are not part of the NYS retirement system
    -you are not part of a union
    -

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  7. 2 people found this helpful  

    Be prepared to work very hard

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

    I worked at Uncommon Schools (less than an year)

    Pros

    You will work hard but you will learn a lot and be surrounded by people who really care about what they do. You will have the opportunity to have a positive impact on students and receive needed supplies and resource. They pay more then the public schools, but you will work significantly more hours.

    Cons

    The hours are challenging and provide little in terms of work life balance, resulting in frequent burnout. Your work will be carefully scrutinized and you wont have a lot of freedom to create your own learning environment. Lessons are frequently video-taped and then viewed and critiqued by supervisors and peers. There is very limited cooperation with nearby public schools and the surrounding communities.

  8. 3 people found this helpful  

    Going through the ringer to learn a lot.

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

    I worked at Uncommon Schools full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Strong professional development opportunities and great coaching

    Cons

    Insanely long hours, poor work/life balance, feeling as though upper management could care less if you are there or not (you are replaceable).

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Happy employees are returning employees.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9. 5 people found this helpful  

    Challenging but rewarding work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Director in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Director in New York, NY

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

    Pros

    Uncommon 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.

    Cons

    The 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.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great people! Tough work...

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

    I have been working at Uncommon Schools full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    Very talented staff and leadership

    Cons

    Poor student culture, long hours

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Hold a tougher line with misbehaving students

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  11. 11 people found this helpful  

    Inconsistent results between 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 Uncommon Schools full-time

    Pros

    Unlike 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.

    Cons

    The 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 ManagementAdvice

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

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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