Great Oaks Charter Schools Reviews | Glassdoor

Great Oaks Charter Schools Reviews

Updated September 1, 2017
71 reviews

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2.6
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Pros
  • Build relationships with staff and students (in 5 reviews)

  • there are a lot of opportunities to grow personally and professionally if you want to make a long term commitment to urban education (in 4 reviews)

Cons
  • Also, since you need to acquire 1700 of service in ten months, you spend a lot of hours at school, hindering work/life balance (in 9 reviews)

  • The long hours and small stipend of the tutor corps make the year a very difficult one (in 12 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Featured Review

    Helpful (6)

    "Tutor Core Member"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Great Oaks Tutor Core Member in Wilmington, DE
    Current Employee - Great Oaks Tutor Core Member in Wilmington, DE
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at Great Oaks Charter Schools full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Fast paced and upbeat environment to work in! I have a unique opportunity to spend a year working with great kids! The living space GO Wil provides is excellent!

    Cons

    Can be a bit overwhelming at times because I did not study education and have a lot to catch up on! Wish I knew a bit more about the curriculum and had a bit more training in it.

    Advice to Management

    It would be beneficial to give more curriculum training to the tutors! I learned a lot in professional development about controlling the behavior of a full classroom but think time would have been better spent learning about creating lesson plans.


  2. "tutor"

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

    I have been working at Great Oaks Charter Schools full-time

    Pros

    sense of community
    helpful staff members including manager, director, coaches

    Cons

    low living stipend
    dorm-like housing with roommates
    heavy work load
    new and inexperienced members

  3. "great oaks newark"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I worked at Great Oaks Charter Schools full-time

    Pros

    great students to work with

    Cons

    no communication amongst the staff everything is last minute changes


  4. "Needs Improvement"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - AmeriCorps Member in Wilmington, DE
    Former Employee - AmeriCorps Member in Wilmington, DE
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    I worked at Great Oaks Charter Schools full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Many networking opportunities for prospective teachers/educators, generally positive and hardworking administration

    Cons

    Inconsistent supervision, perceived favoritism, low follow through, general lack of leadership and assistance

    Advice to Management

    My year with Great Oaks was challenging and resulted in both positive and negative outcomes. I think a couple things could be done to improve the environment at Great Oaks-Wilmington for both staff and students.

    Foremost - it seemed that GO-Wil suffered from a pure lack of upper leadership and administration to truly execute the things it wanted to do. The school prided itself for having an above average amount of special needs students, but only had one Special Education coordinator and no full-time school counselor! I hope moving forward they decide to expand this department and give more support to those students with emotional and behavioral issues.

    There was only 1 staff member to conduct the entire front office/reception desk and manage student files and records. At the end of last year, the school had approx. 325 students. They will be bringing on another cohort of 6th graders this year and I hope they consider adding more staff to the front desk to ease the stress for the sole office manager currently.

    The "culture" office (as it was called at GO-Wil; essentially a behavioral office for students who would be sent out of class) most profoundly needed more staff members to accommodate it's students. The office was staffed by two Dean of Students (one with a dual role in community engagement) who both had multiple commitments throughout the day with other staff, families, and academic officials. This would leave the office to be maintained by AmeriCorps members who typically had no experience in education, let alone with misbehaving and emotionally disturbed children. The unfortunate reality of this meant that students who were sent there from class would not receive the care they deserved.

    Event logistics were routinely given less than a week in advance and sometimes multiple documents would be given out, leading to confusion among staff. I believe another Operations staff member has been hired for this upcoming year, so I believe that will help improve this.

    In theory, I believe the values and mission of Great Oaks is good, but they need more trained professionals to truly execute their goals.

    In regards to my position as an AmeriCorps member, there were frustrating times in which staff would merely listen to concerns and not seem to address them. Other administrative processes were done poorly, inconsistently, and lacked proper communication. Some tutors would get away with allowing students to play games instead of do work without repercussion which was demotivating to tutors who would work tirelessly on lesson plans.

    In a specific instance related to supervisory performance, I reached out to an administrator in regards to a concern I had and I was simply told that I they could not meet with me to discuss my concern and essentially dismissed it. I was not reached out to except informally be another administrator who told me plainly that the original administrator I e-mailed did not, in fact, have to meet with me about my concern.

    Despite the challenges, I would still recommend the program to a friend because of the learning experience I received, although it would come with a disclaimer about the challenges I faced as well. If you can persevere through, at times, awful administration processes for the sake of making the difference in a students life, it could be worthwhile.


  5. "Don't Even Do It"

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

    I worked at Great Oaks Charter Schools full-time

    Pros

    The Children are okay, and over time you develop such great bonds with them, and you get to be a big sister/brother to them.

    The head honcho, is also there to pop in once in a while and he is by far, the only person who seems passionate about their job.

    Cons

    Rarely in my professional experience have I felt this way about a job. Its so unfortunate, that the people who lose most from the perils of Great Oaks is the children. I have seen and heard things throughout my position here that make me question the integrity and professionalism of the staff members who work here, specifically the Middle School campus.

    The pay and living situation is not perfect. Although they frame it as a year of "service" you still are expected to live as a decent human being. There were tutors who had to go on government assistance just to survive. There is rarely anyone there who asks about the mental health and feelings of the tutors, since they are the ones who do the most work.

    I could say a lot more but I think that overall, they need a total revamp, starting with the staff and structure of the school. There are other programs way better than being here.

    Advice to Management

    Treat the people you hire as active, productive members of your team. Too often do tutors and other staff members get blindsided by last minute changes, and aren't heard.

    The living situation can be better as well. Its not fair to expect grown adults to share rooms like their clowns packed in a car.

    Also I wouldn't necessarily trust the hiring of a former rapper to then become the head of a campus. He seems very uninformed and unaware of the troubles these students face. Reconsider your hiring process.


  6. "Full time Tutor"

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

    I worked at Great Oaks Charter Schools full-time

    Pros

    Children are fun
    Being with a lot of tutors helps you get through it.
    The area you in is close to NYC
    You allowed to make a impact on kids lives.

    Cons

    Management is horrible.
    Tutors make 4.33
    Management treats you like kids not adults
    No work life balance
    Expected to work on Saturday's


  7. Helpful (1)

    "Tutor"

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

    I worked at Great Oaks Charter Schools full-time

    Pros

    Helping students
    Working with the families

    Cons

    Everything else
    Management
    Size of the school

  8. "I Had An Okay Experience"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Tutor Corps Member in Wilmington, DE
    Former Employee - Tutor Corps Member in Wilmington, DE
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    I worked at Great Oaks Charter Schools full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    -Rewarding work with children in an urban education setting
    -Opportunities to move up in the ranks, if you so desire
    -Free housing
    -The experience helped me hone in on my career interests
    -I was stretched daily and learned quite a bit about myself

    Cons

    -The school day is long as it is, and yet you are expected to stay after school often
    -Performed the duties of much more than a tutor
    -Too much emphasis is placed on discipline, to the point that it loses its meaning and potency
    -Weekly professional development sessions did not address the most relevant and dire issues
    -Not all staff members were appreciated/acknowledged equally
    -Training at the beginning of the year did not give enough time to curriculum and lesson planning
    -Too many rigid systems in place
    -Administration can be insensitive to the needs of tutors - we are subtly but constantly reminded that we are at the bottom of the hierarchy

    Advice to Management

    To the leadership team at GOWIL: Please seriously consider and take action on feedback when it is offered by tutors, as they have valuable insight that is gained by working so closely with the students. Treat and speak to all staff members with the same respect. Make efforts to show appreciation for every [individual] staff member. PLEASE prioritize hiring a professional school counselor/psychologist whose presence is known and visible during the school day.


  9. Helpful (2)

    "Well ran scam"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Tutor HS Campus in Newark, NJ
    Former Employee - Tutor HS Campus in Newark, NJ
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at Great Oaks Charter Schools full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Relationships with students. You get a feel of how the education system in NOT supposed to be ran.

    Cons

    Students are failing miserably. Long hours (6 days a week). Pay is horrible (Living off of a stipend that can barely pay your bills) You live in an apartment with 4-6 people (yes you share a bedroom). Staff/admin treats you like crap because you are disposable as tutors. You are beyond unappreciated. Focus on discipline and not on the curriculum. No certified individuals to work with SPED students. Along with worrying about work you also have to worry about being robbed (the area is horrible). Students spend more time in DOS office than in class.
    Students bring weapons to school and there is no serious repercussions.
    They do not expel students so they do what they want.

    Seriously think hard before you take this position. It is sold and advertised very well but it is not what it is depicted to be. And if you do it, hope that you get placed at the Legacy campus.

    Advice to Management

    PLEASE place more value on education for these students. If you are not going to give them a fight chance then close your doors. Leadership team need to be revamp. Instead of sending other to do your dirty work do it yourself and stop with the condescending nature. These need HELP. They are only taught how to do well on the PARCC. Only thing that matters to the staff is data not if the students can think for themselves. The students should also have permanent tutors for their 4 years instead of getting a new tutor every year. There is no consistency at all for them. Just DO BETTER for these Black and Brown babies.


  10. "Badly run school"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Tutor in Bridgeport, CT
    Former Employee - Tutor in Bridgeport, CT
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at Great Oaks Charter Schools full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    The students who want to learn make the rest of the stress absolutely worth it. There's nothing like seeing a kid go from struggling to be able to do a certain task (say two digit by two digit multiplication) then being able to ace it and ask for harder problems.

    Cons

    The administration is incompetent. For the sake of brevity, I'll limit myself to three examples. (TL;DR is at the bottom)
    1. A manager decided to cancel the last three weeks of tutorial, which is supposed to be the class that brings students up to speed when they are many years behind. So there's this big countdown to the end of tutorial in May, which is supposed to lead into fun and games time. However, this manager reversed her decision to cancel class. So one day at 1:20 in the afternoon she announces to the entire tutor corps that we must revise our lesson plans that we had prepared for the period starting in less than 30 minutes. So I do so, and tell the kids that no, we won't be playing games, we'll be doing packets. No sooner are the words out of my mouth than I receive a message that no, after all, the games are still on. So now we have to set up again for our original lesson plan. Then, next week, it's back to business. This is after we spent the first four periods doing the games.
    2. Their discretion in what is appropriate for a school is contradictory and incorrect. From undermining staff members to setting low and constantly changing standards for behavior the administration's approach to running the school was incoherent. We had a "culture" system at the beginning of the year, which was modified to be stricter, but the detentions were rarely served even when students would dare to tell a teacher to shut up. The students never believed adults when it came to a behavior issue because the consequence was never actually enforced. Then we had a big culture reset, with detention as a standard consequence for earning nine grows (demerits)-they rarely happened even when earned, then it was lunch detention, and those did not always happen. Additionally, some administrator's decisions were grossly inappropriate. Most of the students watched "The Mask You Live In," a good documentary about what it means to be a boy and a man during their Friday "Jump Circle" class. It's a good documentary, but the audience is adults. The brief, partially censored clips of sadomasochistic pornography should have been an obvious clue that it was not for children.
    3. Training was bad. The English tutors had incorrect training and the principal had to do a mid-year change in how English tutorial was to be run. This caused huge frustration among the staff-they could have taught more if they had been trained correctly the first time. Math tutors had to teach from two books at a time against the advice of the authors. Additionally, far too much time was wasted on personality tests and name games than actual lesson planning at beginning of year training.
    I could go on with many examples. However, the takeaway is this: this school is badly run by a group of adults who do not follow through on their promises to the children (from detention to putting an Xbox in the student lounge-yes, that was once promised. Then the lounge area stopped existing.) or adults, can't train their tutors correctly, ignore curriculum instructions from the people who write the textbooks, while bloviating about the importance of following well-researched methods.

    Can I give 0 stars?

    Advice to Management

    Resign (most of you, anyway).


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