Aspire Public Schools Reviews | Glassdoor

Aspire Public Schools Reviews

Updated April 18, 2017
83 reviews

Filter

Filter

Full-time Part-time

3.8
Star Star Star Star Star
Rating Trends Rating Trends
Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
(no image)
Carolyn Hack
6 Ratings

83 Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date

Pros
Cons
  • Work life balance needs more attention (in 6 reviews)

  • There are the standard long hours associated with all teaching jobs (in 8 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (3)

    "No Work-Life Balance"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Teacher in Los Angeles, CA
    Former Employee - Teacher in Los Angeles, CA
    Doesn't Recommend

    Pros

    -Helpful and collaborative co-coworkers.
    -Informative professional development (sometimes too much)
    -Opportunity to improve student academic performance

    Cons

    -Long hours (12 hours + per day)
    -100% teach to the test
    -Time after school and weekends mostly devoted to lesson planning
    -Create all curriculum from scratch (good at times, but unnecessary)
    -Low pay

    Advice to Management

    Less hours for teachers.
    Trust teachers more.
    Increase pay.
    Allow for more flexibility in teaching style and student assessment.


  2. "Absolutely no work-personal life balance!"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Elementary Teacher in Los Angeles, CA
    Current Employee - Elementary Teacher in Los Angeles, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    I have been working at Aspire Public Schools full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    They care about helping kids achieve and get to college. They have professional development (although way too much) to help teachers get better.

    Cons

    There is no balance between work and personal life. My nights and weekends are spent lesson planning. Everything (and I mean everything) must be made from scratch. There are no textbooks or resources to use to create lessons, worksheets, or workstations. There is constant testing (a different test every week) that feels like it never ends. The school I am at has lacked an effective principal and school-wide behavioral system, and as a result kids are extremely disrespectful and defiant toward many of the teachers. Aspire offers a "teacher resource portal" online to "help" with lesson plan ideas, however there is almost nothing in it and I don't know any teachers who use it. Low salary.

    Advice to Management

    Give your teachers more practical resources to help planning, stop having so many PDs during the week, and pay teachers what they're worth (70+ hr workweeks)!


  3. Helpful (4)

    "Charter charter schools have lost their original intent!"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Spanish Teacher in Oakland, CA
    Former Employee - Spanish Teacher in Oakland, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Aspire Public Schools full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    The Mission statement is amazing! Great culture, lots of staff development. The teachers are committed to their task of educating children!

    Cons

    The more things change, the more they stay the same. Charter schools were started in order to give local students, parents ,teachers, and administrators freedom to implement programs that work. Aspire is run like a corporation at centralized offices. The local freedom is gone. New ideas are welcome as long as the are consistent with Aspire philosophy. APS serves mostly students of color yet it has no English Development program and no language maintenance program like Spanish for Spanish speakers. Does this make sense in a school that has over 60% Latinos and 24% English learners? Language minority students unique academic needs are not met, fluent Spanish speakers are routinely placed in monolingual Spanish classes where they are bored and learn nothing. The education at APS is subtractive: It does nothing to use the resources that Latino students and their parents bring to school, it does not validate their language, history of culture! In the school I worked at we could not get 5 kids in order to field a boys basketball team! It is hard to field any team at some of the schools due to massive failure!
    Aspire Pubic Schools began with some change, but quickly turned into its own brand of district/corporation which abandoned the principles of local control and independence for students, parents, teachers and administrators- to say nothing about the 60-70 hours teachers at APS are required to put in every week.

    Advice to Management

    Pay teachers more and you will retain more of them. Upgrade facilities. Hire teachers and administers who look like the kids. The entire administration needs to learn cultural proficiency, implement English Learner's Programs and Spanish for Native Speakers programs.You need to buy enough materials. You need to offer culturally relevant courses like history, English and music programs which will validate the history, language and culture of your stakeholders. Contact me if you want real change, innovation and cultural relevance!


  4. Is this helpful? The community relies on everyone sharing – Add Anonymous Review


  5. Helpful (1)

    "Not So Good"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Aspire Public Schools full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    You can teach kids Thats cool

    Cons

    No union. Lousy Pay. More interested in ed reform than protecting teachers.

    Advice to Management

    Get a life.


  6. Helpful (6)

    "Over worked, under supported and sad"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - SPED in Oakland, CA
    Current Employee - SPED in Oakland, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Aspire Public Schools full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Aspire's mission" college for certain" does a better job and Oakland Unified. Their mission should be "college for certain or we won't give you a diploma."

    Cons

    Despite all of the PD you must attend there is little to no professional growth. Managers are often unable to provide supervision or guidance. The special education department pushes for full inclusion in general education classrooms but really underserves students with special needs. Aspire refuses to look at alternative more restrictive settings for students even if the parent/student ask for it. The organization talks about solutions but when it comes to an action plan they are unable to organize helpful systems. There is not enough behavioral support for students that need it. As a result the students that try to learn are constantly disrupted and unable to learn effectively. Students are taught to take tests not grow into productive members of society.

    Advice to Management

    STOP TALKING ABOUT CHANGE AND DO SOMETHING!


  7. Helpful (6)

    "Unrealistic Hours and Unnecessary Politics"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Los Angeles, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Los Angeles, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Aspire Public Schools full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    The teachers seem to really enjoy bonding over their love of their students, their craft and their suffering. Parents who have children that have been suspended or kicked out of LAUSD have a place to go here at this Charter.

    Because turn over is really high, if you stick around long enough you will get promoted... even possibly as an administrator... because it is a charter it does not always require the proper credentials or years of experience in that position.

    Cons

    The hours are insane for teachers and the office staff. It is completely due to inadequate and incomplete training for all employees. There is also the matter of incompetent or inexperienced staff being hired intentionally by administrators to save on salary costs and also to assert control over these employees. I don't know if this is still something kept under wraps by the administrators, but I hope not. The reason you get super young and right out of college teachers at this charter is because it is easy to "chew them up and spit them out" as one administrator admitted. That actually was, and maybe still is, the hiring philosophy. A seasoned teacher would not put up with the excessive hours and micro managing and those that have come through those doors do not stay there long for those reasons and take their talents else where. As someone else mentioned, if you are in good with your principal, then you will do fine. If you are not favored by the principal, then you will feel like you are being picked on and you probably are. The sad part is to see these young and inexperienced teachers, after working there a year, feel defeated or worse that this is the norm for teachers.

    Principals will manipulate the parents of challenging students (aka trouble makers) to leave the school so that their suspension numbers are not high.

    Finally, HR and the hire-ups do not care about you. Trust me. You can run to them with your concerns and feel heard, but in the end they have to back the administrator/ manager. And if you think that what you are reporting will be kept confidential, you are sadly mistaken. Your concerns will be directly reported to that manager/administrator. That is how the game is played in all corporations and it is no different in Aspire.

    Advice to Management

    Hire real and experienced teachers to mentor the new teachers. Don't be afraid and stop micro managing teachers. Provide proper professional development for teachers. And most importantly, improve the lines of communication. Administrators seem to be on constant alert and putting fires out which does not give them enough time to plan properly and so this trickles down to teachers. The lack of planning on the administrator's part should not become the teachers' problems. And it is no secret that this also is due to the lack of planning and lack of organization or foresight from the very top since their motto is to build the airplane as you fly it.
    Hire experienced and competent administrative support staff. To hire parents because you think you are doing them a favor is not helping when they cannot file or use a computer or do other simple office tasks. Either have higher standards for the office staff or accept that things are not going to get done properly or on time because to demand they put in crazy hours is downright abuse of workers.


  8. Helpful (9)

    "Stay away from charter schools!"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Elementary Teacher in Los Angeles, CA
    Current Employee - Elementary Teacher in Los Angeles, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Aspire Public Schools full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    - Hardest working coworkers I'll ever have
    - My grade level team is outstanding

    Cons

    - Curriculum changes literally every year, so there's never a chance to really get good at it (as a teacher)
    - Everything is teach to the test. The entire focus of the year is getting higher SBAC scores in May.
    - Everything you do in the classroom is tied to your paycheck (student surveys, parent surveys, test scores, etc.). Research shows that merit-based pay is ineffective. So, if Aspire is so "data driven" as they claim, why do they pay us when data shows it doesn't work??
    - The rubric used to evaluate us doesn't match the way that we actually teach on a daily basis. It's all for show when we're evaluated. A formal lesson plan takes about 3 hours for teachers to create just to deliver a 20-minute lesson. Give me a break!
    - We work our butts off daily (including weekends), yet a recent email from the higher ups even admitted that we're having no effect on closing the achievement gap. So then why are we doing all this extra work?

    Advice to Management

    - If you're so data driven, then look at the data. Merit based pay doesn't work.
    - Stop evaluating teachers using a 20th century model. Students are learning in new ways and teachers are teaching in new ways. The rubric used to evaluate us is the old "stand and deliver" teaching model, which we don't do all day like we used to.
    - Quit being so cold. The overall culture from the top down is very corporate and cold.


  9. Helpful (4)

    "Misleading to parents, unrealistic expectations, sink or swim attitude, not enough support..."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Program Director in Sacramento, CA
    Former Employee - Program Director in Sacramento, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Aspire Public Schools full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Competitive pay but long hours, great mission but poorly implemented (comes off as brain washing for staff and students), many principals have little education, less than is required of teachers!

    Cons

    High work load and expectations for little pay, thrown into your job to sink or swim (if you sink, you're terminated), high turnover everywhere, especially Home Office (great leaders constantly left, very unnerving and sad), amazing teachers left all the time because the work was insane and very little support or empathy was given from principal.

    Advice to Management

    Culture needs to change starting at the top. There needs to be an understanding that your employees have lives, families and things outside of work. The work/home life balance needs to be better encouraged, supported and implemented! Employees should not be persecuted for starting or having families... We work in education. Many of us chose this field for that very reason; we love children and wanted to have families of our own in addition to making a difference in other children's lives.


  10. "past worker"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Los Angeles, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Los Angeles, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    good pay, good opportunities for growth

    Cons

    extremely challenging kids, extremely poor behavior, the administration does not discipline the students that is why they behave the way they do


  11. Helpful (3)

    "misleading"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Education Specialist in Stockton, CA
    Current Employee - Education Specialist in Stockton, CA
    Doesn't Recommend

    Pros

    They are interested in determining best practice in general education, general education very defined for those who work for Aspire, great benefits, kids are motivatied to learn, access to adequate materials, teacher training, grade level support for general education

    Cons

    You are part of a system not an individual with strengths and weaknesses to be developed, low tolerance for failure to comply to the way Aspire wants things run. Main focus is high scores on state testing above individual students needs, lack of training and understanding of students with disabilities on the part of the system, not family friendly

    Advice to Management

    consider looking at developing a balance approach to education that includes history science which will be subject areas for the students to apply and master what they have learned in reading, language arts, math. It will show they have generalized what they have learned to all areas of academia, not just a bubble on a worksheet at 80%. Consider that most of your staffs are made up of women who have many responsiblities in their lives besides work and be a team member with them so they can be successful in life. Understand that people are individuals with life experiences, gifts, and talents that when recognized and developed it is a win win for everyone.



Showing 83 of 84 reviews
Reset Filters