DC Prep Employee Reviews about "professional development"

Updated Sep 19, 2019

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3.1
36%
Recommend to a Friend
79%
Approve of CEO
DC Prep Chief Executive Officer Laura Maestas (no image)
Laura Maestas
5 Ratings
Pros
  • "Professional development, at all levels of the organization (including the central Home Office), is a huge focus(in 8 reviews)

  • "Great culture with a mission-driven organization(in 3 reviews)

  • Cons
  • "No work life balance and support from parents was minimal(in 9 reviews)

  • "No work-life balance and the Friday PDs get old(in 4 reviews)

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    Reviews about "professional development"

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    1. 5.0
      Current Employee, more than 1 year

      DC Prep is the best place for kids and staff in DC!

      Apr 1, 2016 - Director in Washington, DC
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      In my many years in education, I have never worked for an organization that truly lives by their mission every single day. As cliche as it sounds, DC Prep really does put students first, and everyone who works here is aligned to that mission. The results speak for themselves -- DC Prep is doing great things for kids in the District. I love my co-workers and feel I am surrounded by the smartest people I have ever had the pleasure to work with -- I am challenged to do better each day. The management is receptive to your strengths and growth areas and really work with each staff member to create goals and plans to grow in your role and into the direction you desire. DC Prep has also taken intentional action steps to increase the diversity of staff and that is very evident. The diversity of staff in the last year has increased tremendously, and beyond just their hiring practices, we have been deep into professional development and conversations around race, equity, and cultural competency -- this has made me feel more comfortable and accepted working here.

      Cons

      This is really difficult work and there is so much to be done. You often feel like the work is never done, and that can be challenging when you are really committed to this work. DC Prep is working hard to create sustainable roles and a greater work life/balance and that is definitely appreciated.

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    2. 2.0
      Former Employee, more than 1 year

      Mixed Experience Based on Instructional Coach

      Feb 11, 2019 - Elementary Math Teacher 
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      I am a better teacher after working here. Despite the scripts, Teach Like a Champion nonsense, and the insane micromanaging, in my latest job, I have used the professional developments and experiences to benefit my current students. Also, the salary is higher than DCPS and health insurance is completely free. Lastly, the kids rock. They amaze me with their resiliency as they push through boring black and white packets, no time to socialize, and a lack of an age appropriate curriculum.

      Cons

      My first year at DC Prep was a dream. I felt fully supported from my coach and felt that I grew as an educator every single day. However, the following year I had a different coach and my entire work like changed. She insisted on completely scripted lesson plans for every single day of the week. Oh, and also the "unit plans" provided does not have real work provided so you are either spending your paycheck at teachers say teachers or making everything from scratch. This took away any chance of a work-life balance. Additionally, DC Prep's open door policy in the classroom is really a way for members of administration to CONSTANTLY come into your room. This wasn't an issue for my first year as I felt my coach was working with me to help me become a better teacher. However, in my next year, the presence was anxiety invoking. Once, she had someone step into my classroom and removed me to literally yell at me in a totally unprofessional manner because I wasn't "changing my voice volume and tone enough." When I tried to bring this matter up to the principal, it became an ambush as my principal brought my instructional coach in and belittled my experience. Nothing changed for the remainder of the year. The school insists on using Teach Like a Champion techniques as a guide while negating the actual effectiveness of this model. In PD's the principal would preach about 100% while she was not able to achieve the same standards she expected from the staff. However, student support staff and praised teachers often will yell at children, intimidate them, or will physically remove them from the classroom in ways that I'm pretty sure are against the law. The education here (and most charter schools) lead to higher inequity in their educational experience. These children sit for hours as they look at black and white packets so they can have more "at bats" for the test. As a math teacher, I tried to use manipulative in every lesson and tried to do fun and creative math lessons. However, in each meeting with my instructional coach (first and second year), I was encourage to stick to packets as they gave them the most practice for the test. At the end of the day, that is all administration cares about. They care about data and test to the extent that on the day of the NWEA end of year test, my students had to take their test despite a drive by shooting that morning. Children, staff and parents had to hide as no one knew where the shooter was, if they were in the building, or if the school was the target. Then after the test, I missed the benchmark by 3 children. I was berated in my last meeting, but as I "said the thing" by highlighting the shooting, they negated the effects of a drive by the morning before a standardized tests. The children are so stressed out by these tests that I heard several 1st and 2nd graders say they wanted to kill themselves because they were not good or smart enough to meet their goal. Children at this age are not developmentally ready for the pressure DC Prep puts on them. Lastly, the scores are fluctuated. The weeks leading up to the tests are essentially cramming sessions as children are learning age inappropriate math (I was forced to try to teach multiplication and division to 1st graders) If they could do those questions, their scores went up.

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      3 people found this review helpful
    3. 4.0
      Former Employee, less than 1 year

      Lead Teacher - PreK

      Mar 27, 2018 - Anonymous Employee 
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Excellent professional development and coaching! Community of educators who are truly dedicated to making an impact on education in Washington, DC.

      Cons

      High expectations can be really demanding on teachers. Not great life-work balance and with that there is high turnover each school year.

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    4. 1.0
      Former Employee, less than 1 year

      No People Skills

      Jun 8, 2016 -  
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Lots of embedded professional development Lots of room for growth because they're trying to create a number of new schools in DC, and the high turn-over rate of mid-level leaders means that there are tons of spots to grow into Results first They try really hard

      Cons

      Senior Leadership/Home Office Staff does not accept feedback well and do not consider alternative instructional strategies (my way or the high way) Huge turn-over because they hire young teachers, burn them out, and recruit new ones (hello, early career TFA) and the machine keeps working as long as they have replacement cogs Results first means students as humans second and you as a human last. Creating so many new schools means that leadership is of poor quality. Poor diversity, even poorer diversity of thought At some campuses, the lack of trust is palpable. Lack of trust is a direct reflection of the inauthenticity of it's leaders.

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      5 people found this review helpful
    5. 5.0
      Current Employee, more than 5 years

      A great, mission-driven team!

      Feb 29, 2016 - Director in Washington, DC
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      - Make a difference with a like-minded group of mission-driven colleagues from a vast array of professional backgrounds in one of the "proof point" cities for national education reform and public school choice - DC Prep is the #1-performing network of public charter schools in the nation's capital, with an award-winning academic model and proven track record of closing the achievement gap - Growth-oriented organization, with ample opportunity for promotion-from-within as DC Prep expands to serve thousands more students - Professional development, at all levels of the organization (including the central Home Office), is a huge focus - Innovative culture where reflection and refinement help drive continual, thoughtful analysis of what is/isn't working (for students, staff, and for the org-wide growth strategy as a whole) - Great, positive DC Prep Community - among staff, families, and students

      Cons

      - As the organization continues to expand, it is inherently more difficult to get to know all faculty/staff from a Home Office perspective, but thankfully DC Prep offers a lot of all-org events and staff happy hours to facilitate that ongoing connection

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    6. 4.0
      Former Employee, more than 3 years

      Terrific learning experience.

      Sep 9, 2014 - Pre-Kindergarten Co-Lead Teacher in Washington, DC
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Terrific professional community. Achieves excellent results for students. Exceptional professional development. Opportunities for advancement.

      Cons

      Difficult work-life balance. Long hours. Extensive paper work. Streamlining of classroom activities stifles creativity.

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    7. 4.0
      Former Employee, less than 1 year

      DC Prep-cool place to work

      Aug 15, 2010 - Teacher in Washington, DC
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      effective school culture; awesome colleagues; great principal; parents actively involved; relevant professional developments; students move into excellent high schools

      Cons

      worked 40+ hours to make students excel; PD every Friday; hire more male teachers; give students free/exercise time

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    8. 4.0
      Former Employee, less than 1 year

      Not sustainable but learned a lot

      Sep 19, 2019 - Lead Teacher 
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      great professional development great investment in teacher growth and investment structure

      Cons

      overworked and exhausted no work life balance

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