Achievement Prep Reviews

Updated Mar 22, 2021

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1.9
11%
Recommend to a Friend
15%
Approve of CEO
Achievement Prep Founder & Head of School Shantelle Wright (no image)
Shantelle Wright
59 Ratings
Pros
  • "Great group of students (scholars)(in 13 reviews)

  • "You will have some wonderful co-workers at Achievement Prep(in 7 reviews)

  • Cons
  • "otherwise known as the scholars who will help us reach their CGP goal l(in 16 reviews)

  • "To circumvent this issue Achievement Prep has taken it upon themselves to implement immoral, unequal educational practices in the classroom(in 15 reviews)

  • More Pros and Cons
    Pros & Cons are excerpts from user reviews. They are not authored by Glassdoor.
    1. 5.0
      Current Employee, less than 1 year

      Mission-Driven Team on an Upward Path

      Aug 24, 2019 - Assistant Principal 
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Achievement Prep has intentionally brought in a skilled, mission-aligned, and passionate team of people while downsizing to ensure scholars' needs are met. Our team is hard-working, mature, experienced, and well-positioned to lead our school through past challenges to fulfill our mission and get back to and exceed where we were when we first opened. We have examined and addressed our challenges head-on and have a plan to address each obstacle.

      Cons

      I've been a part of many organizations that work long hours, and while hours are long here, the team is positive, the goals are achievable and the work is much more energizing than draining!

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      Achievement Prep Response

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts about your time at Achievement Prep. At Achievement Prep, we value every scholar and their success equally and strive towards ensuring that they have the skills needed to succeed in the world. Additionally, we work towards creating a positive working environment for all of our teachers and administrative staff, as well as an efficient, motivated, high-performance educational experience for our scholars. Naturally, we are disappointed to hear that you had a negative experience with the management. We welcome the opportunity for feedback and invite you to reach out to us directly to discuss how we can improve the overall experience at our school. Thanks again for taking the time to leave this review and we wish you the best in your career.

    2. 1.0
      Former Employee

      Toxic Work

      Mar 22, 2021 - Dean of Teacher Effectiveness in Washington, DC
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      The idea of supporting underserved families

      Cons

      One of the worst places I've ever experienced.

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      Achievement Prep Response

      Thanks for sharing and sad to read about your experience while at Achievement Prep. We’ve been listening and taking steps to improve. In addition, we are anticipating a leadership change and are already experiencing the effects of our incoming Interim CEO. The transition will bring changes to how we look, how we feel, and what we say to our STAFF and SCHOLARS! During this transition we will continue to work on improving our communications across the organization, building trust with our team members and empowering each employee to speak honestly and lead boldly so that we can all perform at our best. We are committed to positively impacting our employees' experiences so that we are stronger as an organization. Achievement Prep People Team

    3. 3.0
      Former Employee, more than 1 year

      Best People I have worked with so far! Too much turn around inleadership!

      Jan 8, 2020 - Associate Teacher in Washington, DC
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      The people here are amazing! Peer to peer interactions are mostly positive and it’s a great place to share a laugh with your coworkers. Easy to build many meaningful personal relationships with co workers. The children are pure magic. Loved them to pieces. They will teach you more more about yourself than you can teach them. Lots of breaks during the school year. Nice facilities, inviting atmosphere.

      Cons

      Management can be unpleasant with staff potentially because they are overwhelmed with the amount of work required of them. Teachers feel smothered and “watched” by management. Overwhelming amounts of meetings and “collaborative” planning. Collaboration is often used to discuss schools data as a whole instead of for relevant planning at the grade level or with your co-teacher. Leadership turnaround is very quick instructional coaches who are assigned to you may quit mid-year, that work load is divided among the coaches that are left and they can’t manage so some teachers lack coaching for the remainder of the year. (depending on who your coach was this might be a pro).

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      1 person found this review helpful

      Achievement Prep Response

      Thank you for your review. We’re glad to hear about your pleasant experience with your coworkers, as well as the children. Naturally, we’re disappointed to hear that you had a negative experience with the management and workload at Achievement Prep. Our sincere intention is to create a positive working environment for all of our teachers and administrative staff, as well as an efficient, motivated, high-performance educational experience for our scholars. Because we understand we can only improve with candid feedback, we would value the opportunity to hear from you directly about any concerns you may have. If you’re still open to connecting, please reach out directly to Coy Nesbitt at cnesbitt@achievementprep.org.

    4. 2.0
      Former Employee

      Don't Be Fooled By the Facade

      Jul 18, 2020 - Teacher in Washington, DC
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Read each of these very carefully because for each pro listed, there is also a very big con. While Achievement Prep may look good on the outside with their promises of leading three-generational work, closing achievement gaps, and preparing students to excel as high achieving scholars and leaders in high school college and beyond, how they try to accomplish these things is actually doing a disservice to children. 1. Summer Institute: a carefully, strategically planned training program to prepare new and returning staff 2. Data-driven: guides teachers through analyzing data, leadership bases all decisions on data, uses data to try to obtain a Tier 1 status and good PMF. 3. Small Group Instruction: time to focus on certain skills that scholars need to improve. 4. Classroom management: makes sure teachers are well-versed in “Teach Like a Champion” strategies 5. Planning Time/Collaborative planning time: you are granted about 90 minutes or so of planning a day, and collaborative planning is a time for teachers to work together while planning lessons and gathering materials 6. Special Education: inclusive classroom model where scholars with IEPs are included in the general education classroom 7. Leadership Opportunities: opportunities to become grade level leads, committee chairs, and other roles as needed

      Cons

      1. Summer Institute: Back to back to back info sessions from 7:30 - 5 PM everyday with very minimal work time to actually dive into the curriculum and materials in order to be fully prepared for scholars. This time is masked “as a way to help teachers and staff become better educators” when it is really just a time for leadership to see who is on board with the Achievement Prep Way and who is not. Make sure you appear to be on board with their ways or you could quickly and easily be cut before the year has even begun. 2. Data Driven: You will constantly be reminded that every decision is grounded in the data. They teach you how to analyze data from multiple sources (exit tickets, quiz data, i-Ready, NWEA Map, PowerSchool, anecdotal data, and more), but there is never time to utilize this data to implement changes that would improve scholar understanding and growth. You will be asked how you are responding to the data (from every source) and what steps you took to improve scholar mastery, while simultaneously being told that you can not adjust your pacing from the pacing guide created by leadership or re-teach lessons if there are scholar misconceptions. You will analyze NWEA MAP data to make sure that your class/grade is hitting the targeted goals that will help the school achieve Tier 1 status, and you will only focus on skills that make your class closer to that goal. 3. Small Group Instruction: After analyzing the NWEA MAP data, you will put your class into small groups for math or literacy rotations. You are assigned 6ish cusper scholars. These cuspers are the scholars that show the most promise in helping your class reach the “magical goal” that will push the school to Tier 1. Everything that you plan and teach during small group instruction is based around these 6ish scholars. Think about that. DO you have scholars who are two or more grade levels behind? Oh well, they aren’t going to come close to that “magical goal” and help the school reach Tier 1 status, so don’t focus on them. Do you have scholars who are ahead of the curve? Again, don’t spend too much time with them, they’ll be fine with hitting their targets. The goal should be to close achievement gaps...but this only means for those scholars who will help the school reach Tier 1 status. Ultimately, the school could achieve a Tier 1 status, but you could still have a good percentage of your class that is 1 - 2 grade levels behind in reading and math. Do you want to contribute to this disservice? 4. Classroom Management: The “Teach Like a Champion” strategies that APA teaches staff to use are very helpful in the classroom, but they don’t prepare you for the egregious behaviors that occur - throwing pencils/laptops, swinging pencil sharpeners, tossing over desks, destroying classroom libraries, calling scholars and teachers obscenities, hitting other scholars and teachers, the list goes on. Also, you will be observed by a very large group of 6+ plus leaders in your classroom several times a month, and they are looking to see that you are using these TLAC strategies while also counting how many of your scholars are on task (keep in mind, most scholars are distracted by the amount of people that show up mid-lesson). How does leadership define “on task behavior?” The scholars must be sitting in “scholar position” with their hands folded on their desk and both feet on the floor. If you have scholars who are engaged, but are not sitting exactly right, they will say that you didn’t have all your scholars on task. When being observed for classroom management, they are solely focused on compliance from scholars. They are very militant in the way that they want classrooms to be managed. If things escalate and you need support from a Dean, you may not get help at all or the scholars will be removed for a few minutes and immediately returned. There is no tier system for consequences and the Deans often become more of a reward than a consequence. 5. Collaborative Planning Time: You have two planning blocks. One in the morning and one in the afternoon each day. These times can be taken up by various meetings, so you may have little to no planning time. Collaborative planning time on Wednesday’s is marketed to teachers as a way to work together with your teammates to ensure you have cohesive lessons and a common understanding of the curriculum. What this really means is that the whole staff has to sit in the same room where you are watched while you are working. You are not granted the freedom to go work with your team in your classroom where your materials are. Also, depending how scholars are performing on NWEA MAP, the school leaders may make the decision to have all teachers meet during their afternoon planning times to plan all together with their content teams and their manager. This means that you can not plan independently in your room or office space, and you must sacrifice your lunch time to solely plan for small group instruction. If you already have your small group rotations planned for the week, it doesn’t matter. You are not allowed to grade, make copies, prepare materials, internalize lessons, etc. so all of this must be done outside of school hours. 6. Special Education: During Summer Institute, there are several sessions on the importance of special education services and early intervention. However, as soon as the school year starts, it’s like special education is forgotten. The process for referring a scholar to the special education team is very lengthy. Even with data, referral forms, etc. it may take months to even get a scholar observed. Many scholars’ IEPs are not upheld with fidelity - some that require dedicated aides don’t have them or they may not receive the proper amount of push in or pull out hours. Because APA has an inclusive model you may have scholars in your room whose disabilities manifest in a way that can be traumatizing or even dangerous for the other children and adults in the room. Teachers are not trained in how to deal with these types of behaviors, and rarely get help unless they advocate relentlessly to make the classroom a safe and conducive learning environment. 7. Leadership Opportunities: Achievement Prep will entice teachers with the opportunity to step up and become a leader in the organization. This can look like becoming a grade level lead, volunteering as a committee chair, sitting on the principal's council, or taking on extra roles and responsibilities with events. Beware when taking on these “leadership” opportunities because it is just a way for the leadership team to pawn off their extra, unwanted tasks onto the teachers. While all of these roles are voluntary, some of them come with contracted stipends. This past year, all of the teachers who stepped up and took on these leadership roles with stipends were told that they would not be receiving their promised money, yet they were still performing tasks associated with the role.

      2 people found this review helpful

      Achievement Prep Response

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts about your time at Achievement Prep. We value our teachers and strive to give all of our scholars the support and resources that are essential for a high-quality educational experience. We understand the expectations and requirements of our teachers are rigorous. We are unapologetic about our mission and our commitment to ensuring we provide an excellent education for our scholars and a positive working environment for all of our teachers and staff. At Achievement Prep, we are dedicated to putting our scholars first, which is why we have various expectations and supports in place to ensure that all of our teachers are performing at our high standards so ultimately our scholars excel. We are a public school open to all children. No one scholar is given preferential treatment over another as we focus on enhancing every scholar's academic experience; part of that is by offering our scholars with special needs an equal education and we work hard to avoid suspending our scholars. At Achievement Prep, we don't give up on scholars who misbehave as we believe that with the right support and guidance, and a team that is committed to doing whatever it takes to reach them, we can help them grow and achieve excellence. Naturally, we are disappointed to hear that you had a negative experience with our school. We welcome the opportunity for feedback and invite you to reach out to us directly to discuss how we can improve the overall experience. Thanks again for taking the time to leave this review, and we wish you the best in your career.

    5. 2.0
      Current Employee

      Toxic work place

      Oct 24, 2020 - Teacher in Washington, DC
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Good pay and driven co-workers

      Cons

      Leadership has all the wrong priorities and uses oppressive tactics to micromanage teachers.

      2 people found this review helpful

      Achievement Prep Response

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts about your experience at Achievement Prep. We value our teachers and strive to give our scholars the support and resources that are essential for a high-quality education during these unprecedented times. The high expectations of our teachers are meant to be rigorous and empower teachers to effectively educate scholars. Of course, we are disappointed that your time with our school hasn't been rewarding. You are more than welcome to reach out to us directly to discuss how we can improve your experience. Thanks again for taking the time to leave this review and we hope to hear from you again.

    6. 1.0
      Former Employee

      Awful

      Jan 27, 2021 - Teacher in Washington, DC
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      None at all it’s awful

      Cons

      Literally everything and the CEO

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      Achievement Prep Response

      Thanks for sharing. We are listening. We acknowledge that we have not always focused on the people of our organization who are key to our commitment to 100% scholars. We are deeply sorry that our people - past and present - haven't always felt valued and respected. We’ve been listening and taking steps to improve the employee experience at Achievement Prep. We have a lot of hard work to do, but we will not shy away from a challenge. We are working on: Communications - We are committed to increased transparency and cascading information to all of our team members in a timely manner. Trust - We are committed to listening to the concerns of our teachers/staff and relying upon their expertise for the benefit our scholars. Empowerment – We’ve hired an awesome staff and are committed to supporting them to speak honestly and lead boldly so that we can all perform at our best. We believe that the steps we are taking will help to positively impact our employees and to make us stronger as an organization. Achievement Prep People Team

    7. 2.0
      Former Employee, more than 1 year

      Truly Sad ...

      Jun 30, 2020 - Leadership in Washington, DC
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Achievement Prep has some of the most committed folks that I've ever worked with. "Ride or die" leaders and teachers who would do almost anything to support children and each other. With about $12 million in the bank (public info), APrep clearly has the cash available to do some truly incredible things and typically didn't lack any necessary supplies or resources for staff. Interestingly enough, Achievement Prep has done an amazing job of building an incredibly strong culture amongst staff and families - too bad it's the wrong culture.

      Cons

      The culture is completely toxic at the top and it spews across every function of the organization. A culture where leaders are expected to basically burn themselves out all summer, working around the clock to internalize the "Achievement Prep Way" while hiring staff, planning for summer institute, planning for the school year, and putting on a huge smile every day to huddle up and chant about how great Achievement Prep used to be a decade ago. This is a culture where folks go into work every day 100% committed to doing a great job, but 100% unsure if that's the day that they'll get fired or if it's the day that they'll have to go fire someone else even though, as their manager, they disagree. Why would you fire someone from your team when you don't actually want to? Because no matter what your position is - Chief, Director, Principal - you never truly have a say. Whatever the CEO says, is what goes - good, bad, or otherwise. She's heard and read it all before, Shantelle is the problem. There is no question in the minds of staff, myself include, the community, parents, or even students (former and current). Again, Shantelle is the problem. The issue stemming from the infamous Founder and CEO, is that she somehow has the board in her back pocket and they refuse to step and and do what's right - remove her. This network, now single school, has gone from good to great, to bad, to down right ugly. What's truly sad is that it never had to be that way. Shantelle refuses to get out of her own way and allow the intelligent, experienced and knowledgeable people around her do their jobs and turn Achievement Prep around and it's so sad. APrep could be a pillar within the DC charter movement but Shantelle would rather let it crash and burn than relinquish any type of control and just trust her team.

      Continue reading
      1 person found this review helpful

      Achievement Prep Response

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts about your time at Achievement Prep. At Achievement Prep, we value our community and strive to give our scholars the support and resources that are essential for a high-quality educational experience. Additionally, we work towards creating a positive working environment for all of our teammates, teachers and leaders alike. Naturally, we are disappointed to hear that you had a negative experience with the leadership team. We welcome the opportunity for feedback and invite you to reach out to us directly to discuss how we can improve the overall experience at our school. Thanks again for taking the time to leave this review and we wish you the best in your career.

    8. 3.0
      Former Employee

      Run Run Run as fast as you can. Looks can surely be deceiving

      Jun 12, 2020 - Lead Teacher in Washington, DC
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Competitive salary, provided classroom resources that you wouldn’t get at most schools eg docu camera, manipulatives, dry erase boards and markers, etc, loyalty rewards program (you win money prizes and naila based on how long you remain at the organization)

      Cons

      Barely any planning, incompetence from the highest levels, coaches typically have no experience in the grade or subject they’re coaching, most teachers are highly unqualified (I mean there’s people there who don’t even have passing praxis scores and are allowed to teach a subject like math or reading when they’ve clearly demonstrated they don’t know it themselves), everyone is micro managed to the utmost extreme (I think this is because Aprep doesn’t truly have faith in the people they hire), there is usually several vancancies that go unfilled for most of the year, and when they do fill them they hire anybody. The school doesn’t seem to care about supporting every scholar, just their precious “cuspers” otherwise known as the scholars who will help us reach their CGP goal l. We’ve literally been told to only focus on “Cusper” students and to basically not try to improve everyone else because even if they achieved their personal it wouldn’t help with the school’s goal. This school literally only cares about their PMF score, and I get it that they don’t want to close, but something’s gotta give. They had everybody submit a mandatory intent to return form if we were planning to return the next year then dropped a bomb on us at the end of the year basically telling everyone that they would have to reapply for their job no matter their position, and meet all these extra requirements that they hadn’t had in place before. Lastly, don’t be fooled, when you’re given a tour of the school it looks absolutely amazing! That’s how they feel you in. They make it seem like they have this great culture in place etc etc l. Even when you start and begin summer institute, it seems so amazing and you’ll get so excited to begin the school year with such “great leadership.” By month 2 of instruction Aprep will unveil its darkness and you’ll feel a wave of unhappiness and stress. They pay well but it’s not worth it.

      Continue reading
      3 people found this review helpful

      Achievement Prep Response

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts about your time at Achievement Prep. At Achievement Prep, we value every scholar and their success equally and strive towards ensuring that they have the skills needed to succeed in the world. Additionally, we work towards creating a positive working environment for all of our teachers and administrative staff, as well as an efficient, motivated, high-performance educational experience for our scholars. Naturally, we are disappointed to hear that you had a negative experience with the management. We welcome the opportunity for feedback and invite you to reach out to us directly to discuss how we can improve the overall experience at our school. Thanks again for taking the time to leave this review and we wish you the best in your career.

    9. 1.0
      Current Employee, more than 1 year

      Toxic work environment

      Nov 9, 2020 - Teacher 
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Teachers stick together and help each other

      Cons

      Leadership does not truly care about the well- being of staff. They use toxic positivity and oppressive ideas to guilt staff into working over contract hours and taking on more than a manageable workload calling it, “things all teachers do”.

      Continue reading
      2 people found this review helpful

      Achievement Prep Response

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts about your experience at Achievement Prep. We highly value our teachers and strive to give our scholars the support and resources that are essential for a high-quality education during these unprecedented times. The high expectations of our teachers are meant to be rigorous and empower teachers to effectively educate scholars. While we are unapologetic about our mission and our commitment to ensuring we provide an excellent education for our scholars (even during virtual learning) we also care very deeply about our teachers and are taking steps to engage and listen more. This school year, using feedback from teachers, we’ve made several changes to our daily operations (for the benefit of scholars and teachers) because the retention of our scholars and teachers is very important to us. Of course, we are disappointed that your time with our school hasn't been rewarding. You are more than welcome to reach out to us directly to discuss how we can improve your experience. Thanks again for taking the time to leave this review and we hope to hear from you again.

    10. 1.0
      Former Employee, more than 3 years

      Apparently, some things never change...

      Oct 14, 2019 - Lead Teacher in Laurel, MD
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      1) THE CHILDREN!!! Seriously, they are wonderful to work with overall and I grew to love them as my own. 2) Fellow team members. Perhaps it was because we were all subject to the same toxicity, stress, inconsideration, and bouts of berating, but we really felt and functioned like a family. 3) #1 & #2 above

      Cons

      -Long hours -Pointless meetings (other than to berate staff and/or force camaraderie, e.g. DEMANDED "shout-outs" -Complete lack of empathy for staff (illness, family obligations, etc.) -Ridiculous attendance policies (and if you are absent, be prepared for a phone call urging you to come in) -"Leaders" who have zero empathy and hardened hearts I have been away from APA for a few years and I was contemplating returning with hopes that things had changed. I'm so disappointed that they haven't because I truly LOVED the children and my teammates. For anyone who thinks the negative reviews are an exaggeration, believe me, they are not. It is a very high-stress environment that I only got through with much, much prayer! And this is saddening because it really could be a great school. I'm all for order but not at the expense of not letting children be children. E.g., extremely long day with few breaks, sitting in "scholar position," teaching outdated lessons, archaic teaching norms, and I could go on. It's almost like the objective is to see just how miserable "leadership" can make things for staff and children.

      Continue reading
      2 people found this review helpful
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