Democracy Prep Public Schools Reviews | Glassdoor

Democracy Prep Public Schools Reviews

Updated November 8, 2018
139 reviews

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3.3
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Katie Duffy
56 Ratings

139 Employee Reviews

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Pros
Cons
  • "Work life balance is a bit hard to achieve" (in 25 reviews)

  • "Long hours (I'm typically at work for 11" (in 29 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "It takes hard work"

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

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

    Pros

    I’ve been working at Democracy Prep for the past 6 months and I’m very happy. I’m glad to be part of an organization that truly cares about education and is impacting communities across the US. The work that we do is not an easy one, but we know it, and we’re willing to put in the hard work. In return, DP takes care of their employees by providing us with growth opportunities, a comprehensive benefits packet, competitive salaries, professional development and more. Our mission is very simple, but it’s a powerful one.

    Cons

    The only think I can think of is that this is not a 9-5 job. However, if you're looking to make a noticeable impact in education, a 9-5 job is not going to cut it.

    Democracy Prep Public Schools Response

    Oct 2, 2018 – Recruitment Outreach Associate

    Thank you for this review! We’re glad that you are happy at Democracy Prep and are so dedicated to our mission. We agree, the work is certainly not easy, but we’re changing urban education across the... More


  2. "Good intentions - so-so execution"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Bronx, NY
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Bronx, NY
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Teachers appear to really work towards closing the achievement gap.
    Pay is equal to, or better than, NYC DOE salary.

    Cons

    Over emphasis on observations without much guidance for follow-up.

    Democracy Prep Public Schools Response

    Nov 13, 2018 – Recruitment Outreach Associate

    Thank you for writing a review. We agree, our DREAM team works tirelessly to ensure that every scholar has the tools to succeed in college and beyond. We are proud of every single member of the DPPS... More

  3. "Operations"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    I've met amazing individuals who have helped me grow professionally.

    Cons

    Hours are very long so make sure to have a work life balance that caters to your health. Not enough support when needed. It will all depend on your leadership whether or not you will love going to work.

    Advice to Management

    Less Professional Developments that repeat the same thing every year and more focus on one on one development.

    Democracy Prep Public Schools Response

    Nov 13, 2018 – Recruitment Outreach Associate

    Thank you so much for leaving this review. We love talented DREAM team members and we are committed to developing our educators. You are right; DPPS’ hours are longer than the standard. We make this... More


  4. "do not recommend"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    good training and professional development

    Cons

    do not recommend. burn out is real


  5. Helpful (1)

    "You will work hard and not enjoy it"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend

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

    Pros

    - Efficient organization for the most part.
    - A lot of accountability. You can mostly count on other people to do their jobs, which is really important for getting support as a teacher.
    - I found leadership was very responsive when I came to them with ideas or problems, though that did not always mean that they were effective.
    - Getting money for supplies is never an issue. This is huge because I've been at schools with no money for any supplies.
    - A lot more free stuff than I've had at other schools (food, swag)

    Cons

    - Long, long, long hours. Don't count on having a life outside of work. There was a reason only three out of 42 staff members at my school had children. My first year, I worked about 80 hours each week. My second year was a lot better, about 65 hours per week.
    - In addition, employees are contracted to work forty hours per year outside of normal school hours, and DP is very stingy with what they will allow you to count as outside of normal school hours. For example, the three parent nights each year, when you have to stay until 8:30--those don't count.
    - Also, four weeks of preparation in August. Summer vacation for staff is only six weeks (office staff and leadership work year round).
    - Only five personal/sick days, no exceptions for anything. The school says it does not recognize religious holidays (surely just a coincidence then that school vacations occur during major Christian holidays).
    - Turnover is very high. During my first year, two staff members left during the course of the year. During my second year, five staff members left in the first half of the school year. For three years in a row, one-third of staff left after the school year. There was very little effort from leadership to retain staff, even highly skilled teachers. At a certain point, it felt like the school preferred to bring in new, inexperienced people because they could pay them less.
    - Students are very poorly socialized, though that's true at most schools. The real con here is the extremely regimented and poorly designed discipline system, which usually exacerbates problems. Suspension rates are sky high and directly leads to students failing classes and having to repeat. I've been to other schools with similar student populations where this has not been the case.
    - There is an enforced policy of positivity. People are not allowed to have bad days or be upset. When I say enforced, I mean it's mostly social pressure, but I was also directly told at one point by the AP that I was not allowed to say anything negative to anyone. Being a little annoyed that the photocopier was jammed--OK. Telling another teacher you had a rough day and your classes stunk--not OK.

    Advice to Management

    - Try to do something, anything to retain staff. Stop promoting people to leadership positions with limited experience. Principals need to have more than five years of experience in education.
    - Instead of giving staff so much swag, use that money to increase salaries instead. No one wants another darn DP baseball hat. I got three in my first six months there.
    - New discipline system that is focused more on conversations than suspensions. Actual conversations, not two minute pep talks.
    - Show more appreciation of staff (and not in the form of free swag, which nobody really wants). At the end of my last year, three staff members told me they were leaving simply because they said they did not feel their hard work was appreciated. Remember--we are working 60 hour weeks, at least.

    Democracy Prep Public Schools Response

    Nov 13, 2018 – Recruitment Outreach Associate

    Thank you for your review. Accountability amongst our staff and accessible leadership are integral to our work at Democracy Prep. However, we hear and understand your feedback and it is incredibly... More


  6. "Capitalism will eat democracy"

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

    Pros

    relatively high wages and benefits

    Cons

    the rest of the part

    Democracy Prep Public Schools Response

    Nov 13, 2018 – Recruitment Outreach Associate

    Thank you for leaving us a review. We appreciate your time in sharing your feedback.


  7. Helpful (1)

    "Math Teacher"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - High School Math Teacher in Queens Village, NY
    Former Employee - High School Math Teacher in Queens Village, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Salary is better than that of the DOE
    Some good PD's and free food.
    You get most basic supplies you need.
    The mission of DP is good.
    You form strong bonds with teachers.

    Cons

    You will work long hours and not have a lot of time for yourself or your family. You have far less sick days than in the DOE. When I worked there you got 5 DREAM days and that is it. If you miss more than that money is deducted from your paycheck.
    The administration was never clear as to how they conduct observations. No rubric or guide was ever given. In addition, the observations they did conduct don't accurately represent the ability of the teacher. You will NOT be treated as a professional at this place.
    They claim to hold students accountable but that is nonsense. In the end, you will get blamed if the students perform poorly. And they have this ridiculous habit of making teachers refer to students as "scholars." I don't understand where this came from but frankly they are not scholars since most are far below grade level.
    I had a decent relationship with my principal and assistant principal but in the end they did not acknowledge the good work I tried to do. Very disappointing.
    Many teachers have left DP over the years. When I was there about 5 teachers quit. That is a warning in itself.
    The math curriculum is very dry and boring. No textbooks are used and there is no room for creativity.
    The DOE is no better. I do not recommend anyone teach in New York City. If you feel it's your calling in life teach in the suburbs.

    Advice to Management

    Stop being so arrogant and acknowledge your teachers are leaving mid-year for a reason. Be a little humble and admit your mistakes. God help all of you.

    Democracy Prep Public Schools Response

    Nov 13, 2018 – Recruitment Outreach Associate

    Thank you for your feedback and support of our mission. At Democracy Prep, EVERY single student is a scholar because every single student has the ability to achieve at high levels, regardless of... More

  8. "Current Employee at CMO"

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

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

    Pros

    I started working at the CMO office a few months back. What caught my eye about DP was their mission. Coming from another CMO in the NYC area I knew supporting school staff is something I loved doing. Interview process was very easy, apply online, video interview and then final in person.

    I love the team I am working with. I am surrounded by a group of smart individuals that are friendly and helpful. The CMO office also has a very friendly and open vibe. DP offers 403B, tuition reimbursement and all employees receives iPhones and Macbooks for work. Also they pay out unused days. Tons of swag too!

    Cons

    The long hours and leadership.

    Although I have only been here for a few months the hours are very long and it is exhausting. Starting at 7:30am and ending at 5:15pm. What isn't fair is that it seems my department is the only ones to follow those hours. Many departments at the CMO come in and leave early. Work life balance is a bit hard to achieve.

    Leadership is very intimidating and I feel as though I am walking on eggshells around them. They are very demanding and not understanding.

    Advice to Management

    Be very honest during the interview process and disclose working hours.

    Democracy Prep Public Schools Response

    Oct 2, 2018 – Recruitment Outreach Associate

    Thank you for leaving us this review. We also love our mission-driven teammates at the CMO, who work very hard to support all of our schools. Democracy Prep cares deeply about our employees, and... More


  9. "Teacher"

    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 Democracy Prep Public Schools full-time

    Pros

    the scholars they literally make your day everyday

    Cons

    Extremely long hours
    not much attention on teachers in terms of coaching

    Democracy Prep Public Schools Response

    Oct 2, 2018 – Recruitment Outreach Associate

    Thank you for taking the time to leave us a review. We agree - our scholars are amazing and are at the very core of our work at DP. We are sorry that you have experienced issues with coaching, and... More


  10. "Cog in the machine"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend

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

    Pros

    –lots of ongoing professional development, routine observation, coaching, and feedback
    –co-teaching in all classrooms (elementary)
    –opportunity for professional growth/advancement within the network
    –relationships with colleagues
    –swag, perks, and material gifts
    –great salary and benefits

    Cons

    –extremely long hours and heavy workload
    –curricula and behavior management systems were completely prescribed, scripted, and enforced, so teachers had extremely limited autonomy or flexibility. For me, this took the joy out of teaching
    –one teacher was responsible for completing all of the planning in a particular subject for the entire grade level and had to write scripted lesson plans that all other teachers on the team were expected to use, word for word. Teachers couldn't adapt the lesson plans they were given to add their own unique voice or demonstrate flexibility based on their students' needs, which was problematic. I also experienced issues where the designated planner for a subject wasn't a strong curriculum writer, so the quality of the distributed plans stunk, as well as many cases where the planner fell behind on the lesson planning, resulting in the team either getting lessons the morning of or not at all.
    –behavior management throughout the school was horrible, and kids were constantly getting removed from the classroom and sent to an overcrowded DREAM room
    –low staff morale and high teacher attrition
    –despite all of the swag and outward acts of teacher appreciation, I rarely got the sense that leadership/the CMO truly cared or valued me

    Democracy Prep Public Schools Response

    Nov 13, 2018 – Recruitment Outreach Associate

    Thank you for writing a review. We are happy to provide our staff with comprehensive professional development and to support all employees with a great benefits package, and the necessary materials... More


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