Gestalt Community Schools - Unprepared for Work in Turnaround Schools | Glassdoor

Employee Review

Employee Review

Helpful (1)

"Unprepared for Work in Turnaround Schools"

StarStarStarStarStar
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Culture & Values
  • Career Opportunities
  • Comp & Benefits
  • Senior Management
Current Employee - Teacher in Memphis, TN
Current Employee - Teacher in Memphis, TN
Doesn't Recommend
Neutral Outlook
Disapproves of CEO

I have been working at Gestalt Community Schools full-time (More than a year)

Pros

School cultural expectations (Zero Zone, GCS High Five + 1, SLANT, etc.), when implemented effectively, can be useful in creating an atmosphere of trust and respect for scholars. Pay for first year teachers is well-above pay for teachers in the county/municipal school systems. One or two of the curriculum specialists in the CMO are helpful compared to the ever-expanding roles the network creates without regard to school-level need.

Cons

Leadership is ill-equipped and ill-prepared for their roles in a turnaround school, specifically at Humes Preparatory Academy. When members of the CMO are on campus, the lines of authority are blurred, leading to mass confusion. Teachers are terminated without regard to consistency from school-year to school-year. Teaching positions receive permanent substitutes for more than 50% of the school-year (7th grade science, 8th grade social studies - 2013-2014) leading to low-scores on state tests in traditionally "easier" core subjects. Teachers are not given autonomy in their classrooms and the school-wide behavior/consequence matrix is not implemented. Scholars are suspended without cause or allowed back into class when they should be suspended, contrary to network policy. For the 2013-2014 school year, Humes Preparatory Academy was rated a level 5 school; however, 90% of the teachers were non-renewed, with a handful choosing to leave the school.

Advice to Management

A greater effort must be made to retain irreplaceable teachers. School leadership must be given the authority to operate the school, even when CMO officials are on campus. Scholars must be reprimanded or rewarded consistently and fairly for their behaviors. Expansion to other ASD schools should be halted until GCS can solidify a tried and true methodology to manage turnaround work.

Other Employee Reviews

Other Employee Reviews

  1. Helpful (2)

    "Inefficient and Unhappy Place to Work"

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

    I worked at Gestalt Community Schools full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    I loved my team members and building staff. Staff was very supportive of one another.

    Cons

    Actual company practices are not aligned with mission that is portrayed to the public. School is actually run and operated like a company with no regard for students and their well-being. Inconsistencies between charter management office and school leadership causes a great deal of confusion for teachers who do not know whose directives to follow. Teachers are not provided any support or feedback to help improve instruction and quality of lessons. Teachers are also not respected by school leadership or charter management office. Most teachers fear reporting concerns to human resources due to lack of confidentiality and fear of retaliation. Teachers have extremely long work days with no flexibility or concern for personal obligations i.e doctor appointments, leaving for lunch, parental obligations, etc.

    Advice to Management

    Improve consistency and communication between charter office, school leadership, and teachers. Allow flexibility for scheduling. Make changes to improve work-life balance for teachers.


  2. "Poorly Managed Organization"

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

    I worked at Gestalt Community Schools full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Great staff who are willing to work together and are committed to student growth. Excellent mission.

    Cons

    There is very little work-life balance. Principals and administrators expect teachers to be on call at all hours. Administrators are more likely to side with students and parents in disputes leading to a break down in school culture.

    It seems as if many of the administrators earned their jobs because of who they know and not what they can do. People with limited experience are quickly promoted to high level positions.

    There is little contact with the CMO. Even if regards to HR issues, you are unlikely to receive a response.

    Advice to Management

    There needs to be a serious revamp of school and adult culture. Administrators need to consider the opinions and perspectives of teachers in creating policy. The school needs to follow through on programs to help teachers and students.

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