Working at Five Keys Schools and Programs | Glassdoor

Five Keys Schools and Programs Overview

San Francisco, CA
201 to 500 employees
School / School District
K-12 Education
Unknown / Non-Applicable
Originally established by the SF Sheriff’s Department (2003) as the first charter school in the nation to operate inside of a county jail, today Five Keys is a nationally recognized education management (non-profit) corporation that operates accredited charter schools ... Read more

Mission: Through the use of Social and Restorative Justice Principles, Five Keys provides traditionally under-served communities the opportunity to restart their education with a focus on the Five Keys: EDUCATION, EMPLOYMENT, RECOVERY, FAMILY, AND COMMUNITY.

Five Keys Schools and Programs – Why Work For Us?

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Five Keys works to restore communities through education and programs that respond to student and community needs. This, in turn, creates safer communities. Five Keys provides a range of educational programs and services including high school diploma, jail-based job centers, career and technical education, digital literacy, ESL, cognitive behavioral therapy, recovery programs, violence prevention, case management, correctional education consulting and college and career counseling in six California counties.  

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Five Keys Schools and Programs takes its name from our founder’s goal of giving students the tools, or “keys,” to healthy, productive and fulfilling lives. Five Keys knows that education is a critical tool in allowing people to make positive contributions to their families and communities, and to reach their full potential. Yet we recognize that many of the students we serve did not have a true opportunity to benefit from a high-quality education. Race and income should not impact the quality of a person’s education, yet six decades after the US Supreme Court ruled in Brown vs. the Board of Education against racially segregated education, people of color and low-incomes still receive unequal educations, with devastating results. The Stanford Center for Education Policy Analysis documents large achievement gaps for low-income, Latino and black students compared with white and higher-income students [1]. Over 80 percent of the incarcerated population are high school dropouts, according to a Northeastern University study [2]. The same study found that high school dropouts cost taxpayers $292,000 over the course of their lives. This evidence supports our belief that providing a second chance at an education is a cost-efficient way to restore struggling communities.  A research review by the Rand Corporation [3] found that those who receive a quality education or vocational training are significantly more likely to gain meaningful employment, and less likely to become incarcerated. Inmates who participate in correctional education programs have 43 percent lower odds of returning to prison, where annual incarceration rates often exceed $65,000. And for every $1 invested in correctional education we can save the country $4 to $5 dollars in future incarceration costs. An education may be the single most important determinant of a person's future. With this knowledge, Five Keys is redefining the role of education in restoring communities through academic, vocational and counseling programs. Five Keys provides students with an opportunity to earn a high school diploma, GED or obtain workforce training, while providing necessary supports to help them achieve their goals. We’ve had more than 2,100 graduates to date.


Five Keys partners with the workforce development community to help prepare our students for life beyond school or incarceration.  Our curriculum includes Career Skills and Life Skills and additional courses related to careers in construction, welding, hospitality, sewing, dog grooming and other areas. Our partnerships throughout Northern and Southern California bring actual job opportunities, housing, and other necessary services that enable students to move promptly in the right direction, upon their release. 


Many of our students have suffered trauma, violence or other life events that hinder their ability to participate meaningfully in education and workforce training programs. Our curriculum, programs and partnerships support wellness and recovery from trauma or substance abuse.  We recognize that crime hurts everyone − victim, offender, and community − and creates an obligation to make things right.


We recognize that healthy family relationships enable greater success in all aspects of one’s life, including the ability to learn. Five Keys offers a robust parenting program that addresses our students’ roles in their families, whether they are parent, child or spouse. Family is also a common theme in many academic classes. The artwork and creative writing samples found in the “Student Work” section of our website beautifully display our students’ love of family and desire to build healthier family relationships.


Five Keys seeks to build safe, healthy communities and is fortunate to have a deep bench of community partners to support our students in their pursuit of the “Five Keys.” We have dozens of partnerships throughout the greater San Francisco and Los Angeles areas who support our students in removing barriers to their education and finding opportunities for success. We are always open to new partnerships that increase academic and vocational opportunities for our students and ensure a safe return to their communities.

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Work with us

At Five Keys Schools and Programs, we envision a world where individuals deserve a second chance at life and a world where individuals can achieve and reach their potential!

A career with Five Keys Schools and Programs means you will truly make a difference. We’re always working to be better and to provide our students the best possible outcome. Are you looking for an exciting and challenging opportunity to become a part of a growing organization? Who doesn’t want to work at an environment where one person can make a difference? Experience firsthand the challenges and rewards that take place in this type environment and watch our students and employees succeed as a team.

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We offer a competitive benefits package. The benefits will vary depending on the position.

All Staff Benefits

• Medical with employee premium contributions

• Employer paid Dental

• Employer paid Vision

• Employer paid Life Insurance

• Employer paid AD&D, Short and Long-term Disability

• HRA Benefit

• Pre-Tax Flexible Spending Accounts

• Pre-Tax Transit and Parking Accounts

• State Teachers Retirement (STRS) with Employer Matching for eligible employees

• 403 (b) retirement plan with Employer Matching for non-STRS positions

• Free Employee Assistance Program

• Generous Paid Time Off

• Gym membership reimbursement up to $100 for employees

"I enjoy the professionalism of my colleagues; the direct one-to-one support from management and the benefits program is very employee-friendly"

— Mick Gardner, Re-entry & Programs Consultant

Five Keys Schools and Programs Reviews

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Steve Good
29 Ratings
  • Helpful (1)

    "This is the first organization Ive worked at that really lives the mission of the school"

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Five Keys Schools and Programs full-time (More than 3 years)


    Leadership team and HR are supportive, fair and live up to the mission of the school Five Keys uses Social and Restorative Justice principles to provide traditionally underserved communities the opportunity to restart their education


    The school has gotten very big so consistent communication can be a challenge

    Advice to Management

    Continue focusing on the students and on what they need. Put them first and the rest will follow. Most of the teachers really do care about the students and are working at this school because they believe in the mission of the school.

See All 44 Reviews

Five Keys Schools and Programs Photos

Five Keys Schools and Programs photo of: Staff Meeting
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Five Keys Schools and Programs Interviews



Getting an Interview

Getting an Interview




  1. Helpful (3)  

    Teacher Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Huntington Park, CA
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview


    I applied online. The process took 1+ week. I interviewed at Five Keys Schools and Programs (Huntington Park, CA).


    You will be asked to make an appointment for an interview. That day, you will notice that a lot of interviewees with back-to-back appointments. There is a 2 interview process. Interview 1: A panel of 2 administrators watching you teach a lesson to them and asking you questions. It is important to note that the lesson you choose to teach should be common core aligned, hands-on, and targeted to master a specific concept or skill. Interview 2: Meeting with the school's Supervisor and she asks questions. These questions are about you, your desire to teach as 5 Keys, and to make sure you are aware of the requirements during employment.

    Interview Questions

    • Questions pertaining to the 5 Keys Mission, adult education, working with adults, and working with diverse populations.   1 Answer
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Five Keys Schools and Programs Awards & Accolades

  • Innovations in American Government Award, Harvard University, Kennedy School of Governance, 2015
  • Smart on Crime Award, California Attorney General, 2015
  • Hart Vision Charter School of the Year, California Charter School Association, 2014
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