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Democracy Prep Public Schools Reviews

Updated February 19, 2018
113 reviews

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3.3
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Katie Duffy
44 Ratings

113 Employee Reviews

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Pros
Cons
  • The only red flag is work life balance (in 20 reviews)

  • Long hours, micromanagement culture (in 23 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Teacher"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Teacher in Las Vegas, NV
    Current Employee - Teacher in Las Vegas, NV
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Close knit team , supportive principal, best kids ever!!

    Cons

    The work days are very long.

    Advice to Management

    Push through DPAC, push through and keep up the good work!


  2. "Democracy Prep"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Teacher in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Teacher in New York, NY

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

    Pros

    Company is always trying to make sure that the staff is getting better at their particular craft. Administration fully supports staff. Working with the students. All hands on deck approach.

    Cons

    Long hours.
    Somet PD'S are useless.
    Staff turnover. Makes it challenging to maintain consistency.
    Incompetent staff members are rarely fired

    Advice to Management

    Retention rate needs to improve.
    Create an incentive system for returning staff members
    Reduce employee burnout

  3. Helpful (1)

    "This School Will Suck You Dry"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Teacher in Las Vegas, NV
    Former Employee - Teacher in Las Vegas, NV
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Democracy Prep Public Schools full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Kids are awesome
    Most of the parents are great, hardworking and involved
    Pay is competitive
    Some ability for upward movement if you are the boss’ favorite

    Cons

    The administration plays mind games and is cliquey. If you don’t suck up to them, they will run you out even if your scores are good. Work hours are ridiculous.

    Advice to Management

    Look in to what is really going on in your schools. When you come to see the school, talk to the people on the floor, not just the administration.


  4. "A Hot Mess"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Teacher in Las Vegas, NV
    Current Employee - Teacher in Las Vegas, NV
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    - The students
    - Beautiful campus
    - Many energetic, passionate, and experienced teachers to work with

    Cons

    DAY-TO-DAY
    - Most teachers, students, and administrators are overworked and unhappy; students can be overheard in the hallways saying things like, "Why is everyone unhappy coming to this school?" The Democracy Prep takeover has been a total failure.
    - Teachers can expect to have zero control over their curriculum. Teachers are required to use lesson plan materials from New York that don't align with the Nevada Academic Content Standards.
    - Teachers can expect to be given conflicting directions about modifying the lesson plan materials provided from New York. Don't come here expecting to be able to modify or create curriculum based on content standards and students' academic needs.
    - Hours are 7 a.m. - 4:15 p.m. with mandatory "40 volunteer hours" to be fulfilled during the year, with the expectation that you will live and breathe the entire day, night, and weekend for school-related events, tutoring, and Saturday school (and also be in flawless shape every minute in the classroom, following the required flow of the classroom content using the gradual release model).
    - Be prepared to be guilted out of any waking moment you'd like to spend outside of school not working because it will impact you in your teacher evaluation, which will be based on the administration's opinion of you and not based on evidence or your true teaching abilities.
    - You can expect to have your prep periods constantly taken away from you to cover other teachers' classes because the school won't invest in a sub service.
    - The required lesson plan materials from New York are not good for supporting multiple modalities because they're just a bunch of black and white worksheets. Teaching using these materials will offend teachers with any teaching background at all, yet depending on the administrator you talk to about it, they will either be too inexperienced, too overwhelmed, or too scared to do anything about it.
    - Most of the students remaining at the school are behind grade level and failing, yet teachers are not provided with the adequate administrative support, curriculum materials, or technological resources to help students better succeed.
    - Don't expect to get PERS retirement, as the school is doing everything they can to avoid providing it to teachers.

    ADMINISTRATION
    - Not one thing is done or implemented in an organized fashion at the school. It is unclear if these failures are due to a lack of organization with Democracy Prep as a whole network or are specifically due to lack of experience that the head administrator of the Las Vegas campus has.
    - Teachers are required to be prepared for anything, but the administration and leadership are allowed to fly by the seat of their pants and are completely unapologetic about it.
    - The Las Vegas campus is new and the head of the school is inexperienced, yet the campus routinely tries to do things a little bit different than the more established campuses in the Democracy Prep network, and with poor results.
    - Although the special education staff is skilled, the administration has no idea how to ensure the legality of its systems and routinely makes decisions that undercuts the special education staff's expertise and ability to meet requirements.
    - There is zero support for English language learners, it's "sink or swim."
    - If you have any issues with the administration, the way the school is being run, or questionable interactions with colleagues, you can expect to be retaliated against through the creation of a hostile work environment and meetings where the ingratiating administration will undermine your intelligence and professionalism and summarily ignore anything you say. If this doesn't happen, it's likely that you will be indirectly retaliated against by being completely ignored from the get-go if you point out anything that is flawed.

    PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
    - The professional development opportunities pander to inexperienced and not-yet-credentialed teachers.
    - There are almost no opportunities for true professional development and coaching unless you work specifically with our overworked teaching coach or collaboratively with a colleague.
    - Outside of the actual teaching coach, the administrative "teaching coaches" are either completely disengaged from the teaching staff, have zero classroom experience, or have a "gotcha" attitude to coaching.

    Advice to Management

    You're failing the students. Get it together. Stop pretending to listen to your staff and then for months on end ignore them, showing that you don't care about them or the students. Hire an experienced head administrator at the campus. Make clear and efficient systems that are consistent across the network. Promote a positive and professional atmosphere. Stop providing contradictory directions to teachers.


  5. "Career Suicide for Non-Instruction Team"

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

    I worked at Democracy Prep Public Schools full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Freebies
    Trips for kids
    PDs for Teachers
    Digital Systems
    Central Office seems organized and sets up good foundations for school teams to follow
    New superintendent (WOC)
    CEO is a great lady
    If things change (or not), you can possibly have a good experience

    Cons

    * Bullying
    * Favorites among team
    *Uneven work delegation
    *Unclear job descriptions w/o consistent or a basic guidelines
    *Some role requirements are broken per school admin, but you are evaluated on them by a rubric created by the central office—meaning your job description says to do some thing, your principal says thats not important, dont worry about it, then evaluates you on rubric with comments that you did not address said task, and urgently -wih you not knowing there was a deadline
    *Dishonest screening during interviews at school site, not with recruitment (they are solid)
    *Job roles and descriptions created at central office but not in sync with school needs
    *Be prepared to teach and be in a class with kids, often. They dont say this during your interview
    *Exit interviews are given to ask for feedback that they will not implement.
    *HR does not step in when school leaders abuse power. Expect to not have your contract renewed if your leader is biased to you
    *No career growth/opportunities
    *All school operations staff want to be at the central office, for growth
    *Too often are the terms "thrown into the fire" and "i do not know and may not be able to help you" shared among the team and from supervisors
    * Non instructional staff are treated like 2-class citizens, not compensated for additional work: being in the class with kids frequently. You can have a master's degree which some teachers do not have, but be paid less than them.
    * Not as diverse as kids and families talk about. All the diversity is at the central office, not at all schools
    * Clique-centric environment
    * Some leadership pin point who they choose to invest in and support per favoritism, and not know all the support areas that all of their staff need
    * Managers get defensive when asked about things they do not know about. They do not support in finding a solution either
    * The revolving door for school-based operations team spins the fastest
    * Because of turn over and constant changes, school population drops
    * It seems like teachers have more opportunity for growth, than operation members
     * Not enough PD seesions and suport for operations.
    * Parents are so used to seeing new faces to the point that seeing a familiar one, is a surprise. They greet returners with "they didnt get rid of you yet?! Its nice to see you!"

    Advice to Management

    None. Even if HR/ central office applys it, school admin and principals can pick and choose what they want to do at their benefit.


  6. "Professional Work Atmosphere"

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

    I have been working at Democracy Prep Public Schools (More than a year)

    Pros

    Lots of Professional Development
    Opportunities for growth/leadership within organization

    Cons

    50+hours per week, with an additional 40 hours required per year


  7. "Good potential"

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

    I have been working at Democracy Prep Public Schools full-time

    Pros

    Great mission, dedicated staff, lots of potential

    Cons

    Upper management seems detached and at times self-interested

    Advice to Management

    Less favoritism/give employees more autonomy

  8. Helpful (1)

    "Great place if you want to grow, teach, build and live in NYC."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Teacher in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Teacher in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Democracy Prep Public Schools full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    People: The ability to work with a team that is mission-aligned, fast-paced, scrappy, serious about teaching and fun. My time was Democracy Prep was amazing and I would do it again if I were to ever return to the classroom.

    Growth: You will learn how to use data analytics and edtech to better understand student performance and how you can regear your lessons to help the students reach their individual targets (both as people and learners). I think of DPPS like a startup; things move fast and if you are able to remain poised through the speed you'll have an amazing time.

    Families: It's all about open communication, transparency and being sincere in how you talk to families about their children and how we can all work together to help their child succeed. My take on the families is that it is what you make it and I had a blast working with the families at DPPS.

    Cons

    1. Morale (wavers by school/leader): Not many cons, and I think it is all about how you see things. Much of my "cons" would apply to any workplace: how are concerns messaged, how do people talk to each other, how do they look at each other, how do they great each other during "state exam season", are people always stressed, etc. Morale is huge in any workplace.

    The morale was a 3/5. I felt a lot of things were approached in a what is best for the student's ability to understand/meet learning goals and anything that fell outside of that was a concern data point for leadership. I want kids to win and I do not have strong opinions about testing. So, not that testing was the only thing they cared about, but it was a high priority (and I get it). I would say that sometimes, performance on scores outweighed morale, and if you have people that can lift students to do well on tests, but people aren't happy you will have high turnover. Now I was there for 4 years so it did not impact me. But again, that is a matter of how you manage your workload, flow, and emotions.

    2. Pay: Could be better. For context, we would start at 7 am and leave around 6pm or so. Not that I was expecting Management Consulting compensation; but I suppose that is less of a DPPS thing or more of an education sector on net thing.

    Overall, I would highly recommend DPPS!

    Advice to Management

    Teach project management to teachers
    Teach data analytics
    Equip them with better strategies to communicate laterally
    Build better morale
    Find a way to solve the retention thing
    Do something about the hours
    Keep doing LeaderU + talent development programming
    Keep doing community stuff
    Keep smiling and getting your people excited about working at DPPS


  9. "Challenge, yet rewarding"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Behavior Support Specialist in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Behavior Support Specialist in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    - The school leadership and genuine desire to work with kids to help them be better individual.
    - the bond you great with kids
    - The professional growth
    - Seeing the true impact you make in the lives of kids and how you might be the most positive person in their life.

    Cons

    -Work-life balance and te ability to just be human sometimes. Working at a school means ALWAYS having to be on bf present and sometimes it's difficult to just be human and have challenging days bf be able to just have a down time.
    - having to do 40 unpaid hours for the year outside of 50+ weekly hours.

    Advice to Management

    Provide us with some days to come in later or leave earlier on a more consistent basis. We do so much for DP and the love, commitment and passion is there. So as a result that recognition of that is important. Additionally, requiring that people commit to an even extra amount of hours in a forceful way seems silly, I feel that should be incentivized. Have a sort of benefit for those that complete a certain amount of hours, not a penalty. Same goes for attendingDPYou, incentivize and celebrate the hard work, not penalize.


  10. Helpful (2)

    "Promising But Needs A Lot of Work"

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

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

    Pros

    The sell a great mission of what they want to build up to to support kids get to the college of their choice.

    Trips for kids

    Freebies

    Great potential but leadership needs a full training on how to build and cultivate strong employee culture in and out of the classroom and on business ethics and moral business culture.

    Cons

    They sell a mission that is hard for themselves to achieve. Leadership isnt able to fully support their staff and faculty. Some of them are not fully qualified educators per state standards.

    Supremly high turnover due to when employees see whats under the sheet.

    Operational staff isnt fully supported or aware of their roles and how it is tailored to which school they're working at. Many have said that they do not know what their jobs are and managers have admitted that they do not know the roles or needs of the staff that they are presented to support. This builds resentment from being thrown into the fire and false sense of job security. When you see something dont say anything or you will be plotted to get fired.

    They expect accountability from students and staff but leadership and the network are not accountable for misguiding policies and unclear goals and deadlines. Leadership derails guidelines from the network that sinks network goals of improvement.

    Administration has many issues in following guidelines for the safety of students and staff welfare that are mandated by the state and the department of education.

    A lot of red tape around mostly everything.

    Staff culture is very cliquey and leadership shows favorites that they choose to promote and give opportunites for extra pay. Many are focused on the element of power rather that suporting their entire staff. PD sessions talk about the havoc that disgruntled employes have but it is an atmosphere that the leadership team creates by deliberately throwing some staff and faulty under the bus by not supporting them.

    Reporting to HR is not helpful as it will just get turned on to you being a problem, in identifying the vulnerabilites of the school leadership.

    You can do a good job, if your stoic and diligent, but your career will not advance if leadership does not favor you.

    No lunch break and long hours.

    Poor emoloyee retention and student enrollment drops before midyear.

    The kids suffer from the trickle down of leadership's poor skills.

    Team members quit at the drop of a hat.

    Advice to Management

    See above. Clean house of whacky leadership and you will see better results with your staff, students and faculty. Most school leadership seem solid, but other school leadership team fake a good sell on their competence and ability to do their jobs unbiasedly.

    Identify the weaker players and give them the support they need.


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