Achievement First Reviews | Glassdoor

Achievement First Reviews

Updated October 6, 2018
312 reviews

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3.9
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Achievement First Co-CEO and President and Co-CEO and Superintendent Dacia Toll and Doug McCurry
Dacia Toll and Doug McCurry
134 Ratings

312 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • "Professional development (you grow quickly" (in 59 reviews)

  • "They continue to be my team and family" (in 8 reviews)

Cons
  • "No real cons apart from the usual work/life balance struggles of most charter schools" (in 77 reviews)

  • "Long hours, but it is worth it for the scholars" (in 48 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Featured Review

    Helpful (2)

    "Rewarding but not without Challenges"

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

    I have been working at Achievement First full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Working at Achievement First has been one of the best career choices I have made. It's important for me to be at a place where I can make an impact everyday, there are always opportunities to learn and grow and EVERYONE has a vast amount of knowledge. I am finishing up my first year as a classroom teacher and it has been amazing to see the great things my kids have learned so far. Seeing students fall in love with reading, math and writing just to name a few is such a beautiful experience. Academically AF sets the bar high to ensure instruction will challenge students and set them up for success.

    Cons

    Balance. Finding a balance between work and your personal life can be challenging. With a career as a teacher it's very easy to take your work home, and eventually it can lead to a extremely long day. That is one of my biggest challenges finding the balance in it all. Sometimes your day can be filled with meetings so your preps will be sacrificed and so forth.

    Advice to Management

    If a prep must be used please find an alternative plan so teachers can get their preps.


  2. Helpful (2)

    "Office Coordinator"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Office Coordinator
    Current Employee - Office Coordinator
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at Achievement First full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    The network is geared toward the advancement of young people of color. The people are great to work with.

    Cons

    Working in education is really hard.

  3. "Great Professional Growth"

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

    I have been working at Achievement First full-time

    Pros

    Lots of opportunity to learn in the moment.

    Cons

    Long hours makes it easy for burn out.


  4. "Great network for teacher development"

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

    I have been working at Achievement First full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Knowledgeable coaches that are consistently giving effective and actionable feedback.
    Leaders validate the staffs feedback/thoughts and addresses them quickly.
    Teacher goals have a timely deadline and are clear to follow.

    Cons

    Rooms look a bit outdated
    As far as instruction, everything needs to be followed with time stamps, which leaves little room for freedom to do celebrations or fun modeling of content.

    Advice to Management

    Continue having strong coaches that have a clear vision for what excellence is so that teachers can also meet them. One grow would be to invest some money on the aesthetics of the older building—new flooring or carpeted floor, new desks and chairs that are stable, a smartboard, etc.


  5. Helpful (9)

    "Care for Person and Performance"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Behavior Specialist in Brooklyn, NY
    Current Employee - Behavior Specialist in Brooklyn, NY
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Achievement First full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Achievement First is invested in the personal and professional growth of their scholars and employees both! As an employee, I feel emotionally safe and supported by my team. The leadership team works diligently to create growth mindset among the team. Ultimately, AF pours into their employees so in return, we can pour into our scholars.

    Cons

    No huge cons for me. In my role, I found myself not completely understanding the responsibilities of my role and how it lives at our school. This was quickly fixed when I asked for clarity.

    Advice to Management

    When hiring new staff, assure the coach and/or leadership team sit with the new hire to outline role and responsibilities, preferably before new hire training.


  6. "Feedback is central to all things"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Teacher in New Haven, CT
    Current Employee - Teacher in New Haven, CT
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Achievement First full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Peers at the school are supportive, friendly, and generally a great group of people.
    For a person like me who is hungry for knowledge and growth, there are plenty of opportunities to hear feedback about the work that I am doing and how I can improve it.
    We hold ourselves to similar standards that we use for our students with regard to hard work, growth mindset, and positive framing.
    Leadership team is large, so employees can interact with them daily and they can find the time to get to know us and our work. They systematically encourage employees to direct feedback up to make the school and community better.
    Classroom resources are good - supplies are provided, building is kept in excellent repair, and students have opportunities to rent chromebooks and calculators from the school if they cannot provide their own.
    Compensation is consistent with public schools in the area. I cannot speak to benefits.
    The professional progression for a teacher who stays with the school is data-driven and well-communicated.

    Cons

    As others have mentioned, the hours are long, but it's all in service of getting better personally and professionally for our students.
    Every staff member must uphold a significant set of rules and expectations - there is a high level of focus placed on effectively enforcing them, which doesn't always feel good if you don't agree with the rationale that they are based on.
    Staff turnover has been a factor both year-over-year and during the school year. People choose to leave for their own reasons, and the interview process is fairly honest about the nature of the job, but every time someone walks out the door, it has the potential to put additional work on the remaining team.

    Advice to Management

    Consider a monetary "commitment" bonus for teachers who stay with the team.


  7. "Interview Process"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Achievement First full-time

    Pros

    Although the process is difficult at times, it truly sets you up for what is expected of you as an employee. They give feedback back in the moment and are incredibly friendly and open to questions! It was a great experience for me and one of the reasons I feel success in my new position.

    Cons

    HR should be well versed in the expectations for certifications in all of the states and how/if reciprocity exists.

  8. "Amazing organization"

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

    I worked at Achievement First full-time

    Pros

    Truly committed, wonderful people
    High-caliber
    Incredible development

    Cons

    Lots of work--but they are up-front about that


  9. "New Teacher"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Teacher In Residence in Hartford, CT
    Current Employee - Teacher In Residence in Hartford, CT
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Achievement First full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Everyone likes to help out and make sure that everyone is striving for excellence. You WILL be pushed out of your comfort zone, so embrace it and roll with it.

    Cons

    Long hours, but it is worth it for the scholars.

    Advice to Management

    N/A


  10. "Achievement First Hartford Middle School"

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

    I have been working at Achievement First full-time

    Pros

    The kids. Working for achievement first has been truly awesome so far. Seeing the students grow has been super rewarding and really is something that keeps me going. Additionally, the culture at this school is really great. Everyone is super supportive and always ready to give you feedback and support.

    Cons

    The hours are insane even coming from another charter school network (KIPP). Be prepared to get up early, stay late and take work home with you, pretty much everyday. Additionally, although it is for development purposes, the level of feedback you receive is extremely overwhelming. Especially for new hires, expect your coach to be on you 24/7 about the minute details of everything that is going on in your classroom. Lastly, the rules and expectations are a bit much. I get that you need to have structure in order for a classroom to be effective and run efficiently, but having students constantly sitting with hands folded, expected to do exactly what I say at all times, without any hesitation, is crazy to me.

    Advice to Management

    My management time is great and super supportive, always wanting to see me grow and succeed as a teacher.


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