Working at Synergy Academies | Glassdoor

Synergy Academies Overview

Los Angeles, CA
51 to 200 employees
2004
School / School District
K-12 Education
$10 to $25 million (USD) per year
Synergy Academies is a non-profit organization with a Mission to create and share solutions that eliminate the achievement gap.

Synergy creates and shares solutions through the operation of urban public charter schools in South Los Angeles that implement a ... Read more

Mission: Synergy Academies is a non-profit organization with a Mission to create and share solutions that eliminate the achievement gap.

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Synergy Academies – Why Work For Us?


Synergy Academies is a non-profit charter school operator whose mission is to create and share solutions that eliminate the achievement gap.  Synergy was founded in 2004 by two former teachers, Dr. Meg Palisoc and Dr. Randy Palisoc, who started Synergy Charter Academy (Synergy’s elementary school) in the heart of South Los Angeles to prove that inner-city students could achieve academic success regardless of their backgrounds, and to share out their best practices once their students achieved academic success.  

Synergy implements instructional strategies that integrate technology and focus on developing strong literacy and math skills.  After its first year of operation, Synergy students’ standardized test scores were the highest in the community.  Within four years, Synergy Charter Academy scores were near the top 10% of the state, and the school has remained the highest-performing, fully implemented K-5 school in South Los Angeles for the past eight years.

Synergy increased its capacity to educate over 1,300 students per year in grades K-12 by partnering with Dr. Barbara Shannon to open a middle school, Synergy Kinetic Academy, in 2008, and a high school, Synergy Quantum Academy, in 2011.  

Since Synergy's middle and high schools are much larger than its elementary school, the majority of Synergy’s secondary students do not come from Synergy’s successful elementary school, but instead, they come from struggling neighborhood schools and are often performing three or more grade levels behind in reading and math when they first enroll.  By again leveraging the use of technology and focusing on strategies that develop and strengthen literacy and math skills, Synergy is bringing these students up to grade level and preparing them for high school graduation and college.

Synergy Academies was founded by two former Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) teachers in 2004.  Dr. Meg Palisoc and Dr. Randy Palisoc both worked in inner-city Los Angeles elementary schools where the majority of students were significantly below grade level.  Determined to prove that all students were capable of academic success, regardless of their background, Meg and Randy decided to open a charter school with the goal of eventually sharing out best practices with other schools.
 
Synergy Charter Academy opened with 6 founding teachers and 120 K-5th grade students in 2004.  The school was located on a church site, where every classroom had to be packed up entirely each Friday afternoon.  Despite this challenge, Synergy’s students flourished, and within four years, Synergy Charter Academy catapulted its students’ academic achievement to near the top 10% statewide.
 
In 2008, Dr. Barbara Shannon, also a former LAUSD teacher, joined the Synergy team to help start Synergy's middle school, and in 2011, Dr. Shannon co-founded Synergy's high school.  

Synergy Academies now serves over 1,300 students in grades K-12 in three schools:  Synergy Charter Academy (elementary school), Synergy Kinetic Academy (middle school), and Synergy Quantum Academy (high school).  

All Synergy schools are focused on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) and are intentionally collaborating with and co-located with traditional LAUSD schools on campuses in South Los Angeles.

   

Help students reach their potential while we help you reach yours!

Synergy is developing its schools into model STEM schools that empower students, beginning as early as kindergarten, to utilize problem-

solving skills that are not only found in studying Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, but that can also be applied across all subjects.

If you are looking for an opportunity to empower students to be the next generation of problem solvers, we have a place for you!

"I love Synergy's culture of high achievement. I value integrity and hard work because I want kids in the inner city to get a quality education."

Shelly Ramey, 8th Grade History Teacher at Synergy Kinetic Academy.

Synergy's secret is its strong school culture. Everyone (teachers, support staff, and administration) is on the same page because we all use Synergy Scholar Lessons. 


"I needed to come back and teach in my community. Synergy is a great place to work. I feel comfortable here. I have the support of my coworkers and the administration."

Brian Larin, 8th Grade Science Teacher at Synergy Kinetic Academy.

Synergy schools are teacher-powered schools. Teachers collaborate within and across grade levels and subject areas. Teachers have input into schoolwide and organizational decisions. 


"There's such a strong school culture. I feel genuinely lucky to be here. You'll get a mentor, the chance to collaborate with a partner teacher, complete curriculum for every subject, and a coaching model that really helps you become a better teacher."

Jenny Mulligan, 4th Grade Teacher at Synergy Charter Academy.

Synergy's Summer Bridge programs help students transition to middle school and high school.


"It's a healthy environment that helps kids learn. The students say that their teachers at Synergy care more. I think that's because we push them and we don't give up on them."

Alakea Woods, Chemistry Teacher at Synergy Quantum Academy. This is Alakea's second year teaching. She is a Teach for America corps member.

When Violeta Ramirez’ oldest daughter was struggling in school, one of Synergy’s founders worked with her after school to make sure she caught up to grade level. “I saw the difference between Synergy and other schools. At Synergy, it’s a culture of respect and acceptance.”

Violeta and Jose Ramirez have a child enrolled in each of Synergy’s three schools– Synergy Charter elementary, Synergy Kinetic middle, and Synergy Quantum high school.

“NO PRINCIPAL EVER TOOK THE TIME TO HELP MY DAUGHTER. BUT SYNERGY’S DID. I CARRY THAT IN MY HEART EVERY DAY, AND I WILL BE FOREVER GRATEFUL.”

*****

“IT WAS A NO-BRAINER TO ENROLL MY TWIN SONS WHEN THEY WERE READY TO START SCHOOL.”

Dana Westbrook enrolled her daughter Erianna in Synergy’s kindergarten class back in 2005. “Synergy’s staff are very caring, friendly, and respectable. They are like an extended family. I love how Synergy recognizes students for their achievements at the end of every school year. I really believe that it jump starts students’ hunger for their next accomplishment in life.”

Synergy’s founders chose the name “Synergy” with the idea that we can accomplish more together than any individual could on their own. Says Dana, “As a team, goals like going to college are possible through hard work and dedication. Synergy has been consistent in helping our children strive for the best and in helping us, as parents, assist our children to be the best they can be.”

*****

“SYNERGY HAS REALLY HELPED ROSEMARIE TO THINK CRITICALLY AND PREPARE FOR COLLEGE.”

Rosemarie Aceituno was already enrolled in another charter school in South LA, but she wanted to take more advanced classes and participate in athletics and after-school clubs. When her mom, Maria, visited Synergy Quantum, she was impressed. Rosemarie transferred in 11th grade.

Synergy’s schools are STEM-focused. At Synergy, Rosemarie got more involved in technology than she would have ever imagined. She’s now part of Synergy’s Technovation Challenge Team, where she’s creating an iPhone app to solve real-world problems.

Says Maria, “Synergy, with its parents, teachers, and staff, are like a family that helps one another. You cannot find this quality of education at any other school.”

*****

I KNEW AS SOON AS I WALKED INTO THE FIRST MEETING THAT I WAS IN THE RIGHT PLACE.”

Michael Sutton was raised by his grandmother Iona. When it came time to enroll him in elementary school, she says, “I wanted something different from the experience that the rest of my children had.” That was about the same time she received a flyer for Synergy Charter Academy in the mail. Michael has attended Synergy schools since the year the schools first opened, and he is now a senior at Synergy’s high school.

Says Iona, “Synergy involves the parents and students in every capacity. It backs you up and is there for every single child. At Synergy, your children will have a great future!”

Synergy Academies Reviews

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  • Featured Review

    "A Desired Place to Teach!"

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    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Teacher in Los Angeles, CA
    Current Employee - Teacher in Los Angeles, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at Synergy Academies full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Great camaraderie
    Cool swag
    Supportive administration
    Amazing HR Team
    Helpful Camus Assistants who help with a variety of school-related tasks
    Synergy seeks input of staff for agency-wide decisions
    Opportunity to receive additional pay for extracurricular support (tutoring, club advising, etc.)

    Cons

    I have not had any concerns while working here.

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Synergy Academies Awards & Accolades

  • National Blue Ribbon School, U.S. Department of Education, 2010
  • Bronze Award for Best High Schools, US News & World Report, 2015
  • Silver Award for Best High Schools, US News & World Report, 2016
  • Silver Award for Best High Schools, US News & World Report, 2017
  • Best Urban Elementary School in America, National Center for Urban School Transformation, 2013
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