Achievement First Reviews

Updated May 17, 2020

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3.7
78%
Recommend to a Friend
84%
Approve of CEO
Achievement First Co-CEO and President and Co-CEO and Superintendent Dacia Toll and Doug McCurry
Dacia Toll and Doug McCurry
186 Ratings
Pros
Cons
More Pros and Cons
  1. Featured Review

    "Challenging and Fulfilling Work Environment"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Lead Teacher in Cranston, RI
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Achievement First full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    - Collective effort in all we do- we have values and a mission statement as an organization that very much drives our work. It helps keep everyone aligned and focused on what is most important and allows teachers to really feel like they are working together instead of feeling isolated. - As compared to other schools/networks- we truly are given the tools we need to support our students- it's so helpful to not have to worry about the little things (supplies, technology, etc.) - AF has really shifted towards focusing on sustainability within the organization- they are making serious changes to support teachers who want to work here for an extended period of time and I feel that the leadership is truly listening!

    Cons

    - Regardless of your experience there is a steep learning curve getting accustomed to all of our systems and processes and for some teachers stepping in this can feel really overwhelming at first. - As an experienced teacher there are moments where I wish I had more control of content/structure of the day etc.- I think this is one of the tradeoffs we make for having so much curriculum be provided etc. - but it is important to note!

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    Achievement First2020-04-06
  2. "Multiple opportunities for growth and a supportive team behind you at all times"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Lead Teacher in Brooklyn, NY
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Achievement First full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    As a lead teacher who started as a teacher-in-residence, I had multiple coaches who coached me on how to become a better instructor, make my curriculum more rigorous, implement structures and routines for students in order to set culture in the classroom, and how to manage my time to be the most effective. As a teacher coming into this network as a "student", I felt welcomed, appreciated, and a part of a team. I truly do love my job, and care for my students even more.

    Cons

    Achievement First is still a growing network, and with growth comes some growing pains. Communication from top (management) down (teachers and non-instructional staff) can sometimes get muddled, and while feedback is always well intentioned, it doesn't always appear that way. This is both between teacher-to-teacher and management-to-teacher. As a network, we are slowly getting better.

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    Achievement First2020-05-14
  3. "N/A"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Behavior Specialist in Brooklyn, NY
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Achievement First full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    rigorous curriculum which facilitates healthy challenge for kids, team and family mindset, genuine relationships amongst staff members, leadership encourages staff input, lead with a 'kids first' mentality.

    Cons

    long hours, differing opinions with decision making which might lag rowing together as a team.

    Achievement First2020-05-17
  4. "Rigorous and rewarding work environment"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - High School English Teacher and Literature Department Chair in Brooklyn, NY
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Achievement First full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Professional development and vast growth opportunties I am excited to wake up every morning and go to work to see our kiddos My team at East Brooklyn High is a family dedicated to doing what it right by kids Our Principal Martin Palamore is a TOP educator and leader

    Cons

    If you are not a self-starter and dedicated to doing whatever it takes, this can be a difficult place to work Work-life balance is highly challenging, LONG hours

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    Achievement First2020-05-14
  5. "Great company and staff working towards the same purpose"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    Current Employee - Resident Teacher in Brooklyn, NY
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at Achievement First full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Great company to work for to get experience in teaching. School is focused on social emotional learning. Supportive staff and administration. Room for growth and promotion.

    Cons

    Work/life balance. Long school hours.

    Achievement First2020-05-13
  6. "Positive Staff and Children Morale, Teacher Growth is Exceptional"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Second Grade Math Lead Teacher in Brooklyn, NY
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Achievement First full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Achievement First really embodies caring for the whole person to make sure children and adult alike are heard and valued inside and outside of the schools grounds. Teachers have strong opportunities of growth professionally that will help change the student body experience throughout the school building.

    Cons

    Long hours-school hours! 7:30- 3:45 is a long day for students and teachers, however AF network has taken our feedback and will shorten the school hours for next year!

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    Achievement First2020-05-12
  7. "Best combo of effective and flexible"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Teacher in Brooklyn, NY
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at Achievement First full-time for more than 8 years

    Pros

    Teaching at AF, I am very confident every day that I am helping kids get an excellent education. Virtually all the staff are really motivated and hold themselves to high standards, so I can trust the other staff to do their jobs well too (which matters a lot to me as a teacher---I don't want to be an island of good in a sea of mediocrity.).I've been impressed with how flexible AF is as an organization. Over the course of my eight years here, it has already become a better place to work. When something works, we keep it. When it doesn't, we change it. My first few years I worked insane hours, but now it's very reasonable. The network is no longer just running by grinding through 23 year-olds. The staff is aging, more people have families, or people are more experienced. I feel very respected at work. I think AF successfully avoids a lot of the pitfalls of this kind of charter network.

    Cons

    There's a real bloated level of middle management, "network" people who are supposed to oversee initiatives across lots of schools but are not actually helpful because they don't work in schools. You'll hear a lot of folks complain at work about, "well network is making me do..." It has definitely declined, but the school still asks you to do a lot of little things outside of the teaching role. It can be a lot. I don't know what it's like to be a person of color at AF. Pretty lousy benefits.

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    Achievement First2020-05-06
  8. "Mistreatment of teachers & no support for students with special needs"

    2.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Teacher in Brooklyn, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Achievement First full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    - Salary is competitive - Work-life balance is not bad compared to other charter networks - Fellow staff members truly care about the work they do and want to be the best at what they do - The school promotes socioemotional learning, not only academic

    Cons

    Staff culture is toxic. Feedback is unprofessional, abrasive, and does not contribute to development as a teacher or as a professional. Teachers are disrespected and leadership will, at times, tell you to your face that you clearly don't care about the students or the mission. You will be constantly told that you should provide feedback but when you do, you are told, once again, that you are not aligned with the mission and don't care about the students. Many of the members of leadership have little teaching experience. There is a principal in the network who only taught in a classroom setting for one year and several deans who only have 2 or 3 years of teaching experience. It also doesn't matter if you are a content expert in a specific course. If you are a physics teacher but they need someone to teach math, they will make you teach math. If you are an English teacher and they need someone to teach Spanish and you just so happen to know how to speak Spanish, they will make you speak Spanish. They will move you around how they see fit. Students with IEPs are not supported, even though AF will claim that they do support these kids. They will force students to take AP classes even if they are not ready. Students with special needs often feel insecure and unaccomplished as a result, even with teacher support. If a teacher brings up concerns like this to leadership, leadership will say that the full responsibility is on the teacher and that the student's IEP does not matter and should not impact this student's learning, which is an awful statement. What is even more disappointing is that teachers they claim to be less effective are removed from being lead teachers and are shoehorned into becoming learning specialists, which are co-teachers who work primarily with students with IEPs. As a result of this, students with IEPs do not get the support they need and are taught by teachers who are not trained in special education. I would not recommend teaching here, especially if you care about special education.

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    Achievement First2020-05-13
  9. "Amazing kids and very dedicated teachers"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Academic Dean in Providence, RI
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Achievement First full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Innovative work, important mission, very committed staff, Lots of support and room for growth, really amazing kids (the best part)

    Cons

    Long hours/ Work life balance

    Achievement First2020-04-09
  10. "School social worker"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - School Social Worker in Brooklyn, NY
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Achievement First full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    School is focused on social and emotional learning, supportive and engaging staff. Hours are good for charter school 7:10-3:30pm. Pay is very good compared to other charter look. Company looked at my salary and compensated me accordingly.

    Cons

    I don’t have any cons.

    Achievement First2020-04-08
Found 432 reviews