Oakland Unified School District Reviews | Glassdoor

Oakland Unified School District Reviews

Updated July 14, 2017
93 reviews

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2.7
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Oakland Unified School District Interim Superintendent Devin Dillon
Devin Dillon
2 Ratings

93 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Great kids, coworkers, community (in 5 reviews)

  • strong professional development, affordable health care coverage, newly negotiated contracts, increased salary (in 5 reviews)

Cons
  • low pay, large HR that moves slowly and makes mistakes, school culture determines happiness level (in 5 reviews)

  • The District does not value its new teachers (in 5 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (2)

    "Awesome Place to Work--If You're Willing to do the Work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Chemistry Teacher in Oakland, CA
    Former Employee - Chemistry Teacher in Oakland, CA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Oakland Unified School District full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Freedom and Autonomy--I was given freedom to run my classroom and laboratory any way I thought was best.

    Respectful Admin and Colleagues--I really enjoyed working with my admin team and fellow teachers-- some were a little slow to warm up to me at first, but once they did, it was awesome to work with them.

    Lots of PD Opportunities--Room to Grow--I really had some wonderful opportunities to grow in my craft and make a meaningful contribution to the team and the District working on curriculum development.

    Cons

    The work is hard. You really have to be a self starter because the resources may not be there to support you.

    The kids can be very challenging. The technology is hard to compete with. The parents can be challenging as well. Security procedures often are not followed--so you have to always be very careful about how you word things--your life may depend on it.

    This is a community in crisis--kids get shot, some get killed. our kids are always in some sort of transition, many families are homeless or have periods of homelessness during the year. Many kids are in foster care. Many kids are orphans. Parents and relatives die a lot here--diabetes, heart attacks, unknown reasons, car crashes, violence. Be prepared to give all you have --and then some. Its really a mission to serve and teach as much as you can.

    The learning pace is slow, most of the kids are 2 to 3 years behind on their reading and math skills, many have learning disabilities, and some are over the top, off the charts gifted. And all these kids are in the same classroom.

    Advice to Management

    Stay. This community, these kids, and these parents need administrators that will implement sound strategies and stick with them--they need people who will do good things and stay for the duration.
    Pay your staff well. Your teachers need to be able to support themselves and care for themselves.


  2. "Teacher over 5 years"

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

    I have been working at Oakland Unified School District full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    The diversity is what brought me here. The children and their families are awesome. Great administration, in the high school.

    Cons

    Teacher retention needs to be tighter. Helping those that come in on emergency credentials should be more than just checking to see where one is at completing their credentials...it's because the students come first, scaffolding the scaffold and then again! We need to track our students better before they enter high school, it's shameful. The high school administration is limited to how they can help teachers, eventhough one would think otherwise since they hold those positions.

    Advice to Management

    Keep track of our children starting in headstart, especially our young Black and Latino boys, all the way through 6th grade, so their high school graduating numbers will increase. Help those teachers trying to get in on emergency credentials (You have some great ones struggling) because they really want to see the children succeed. Each math and language class needs their own set of computers and graphic design desks for math class (high desk with seats) to break the monotony of those kids that need to stand. I have a lot to say, but will stop here. All schools in Oakland are not equal in resources and that bothers me.

  3. "Teacher"

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

    I worked at Oakland Unified School District full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Great benefits, lots of autonomy, amazing colleagues.

    Cons

    Never enough support. Such a hard job, not adequately compensated, so much built on your own personal connections without support to maintain your mental health.

    Advice to Management

    Raise salaries, train administrators, hire logistics managers so principals can support students and teaching.


  4. Helpful (1)

    "Great kids and teachers; embarassing dysfunction at the top"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Middle School Teacher in Oakland, CA
    Current Employee - Middle School Teacher in Oakland, CA
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Oakland Unified School District full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Awesome families, progressive community, lots of cultural resources and passionate teachers and kids. If you have some earned autonomy and a way with kids you'll love working here; I do!

    Cons

    Upper management has never managed to spend even 50% of the budget on classrooms and teachers. HR is slow. New teacher coaching vacillates from year to year: one year there are literally no requirements beyond "track when you meet with your support teacher," then the next year it's two major cycles of inquiry with tons of writing assignments on top of your responsibilities as a teacher. New teachers are given no guidance and the union does not support them. You can be fired within the first two years for no cause and then you are blocked from teaching in Oakland Unified for the following four (might be five?) years.

    Advice to Management

    Superintendent Antwan Wilson bled the district dry with new for-profit charter school contracts, catered lunches for upper admin, color newsletters that molded away in school offices, and a private security detail, then quit mid-year and left the district with a budget freeze. He left his flunky Devin Dillon in charge; she's been better because she hasn't exploited our kids for quite as many photo-ops, but the jury's out on her.


  5. "SDC Teacher"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - SDC Teacher in Oakland, CA
    Current Employee - SDC Teacher in Oakland, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at Oakland Unified School District full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Here to help could be more thought in helping with crating curriculums. But a really great place to work and advance.

    Cons

    no cons at all a good place to be


  6. Helpful (4)

    "How Does Talent Acquisition Do It?"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Teacher in Oakland, CA
    Current Employee - Teacher in Oakland, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I have been working at Oakland Unified School District full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    No pros. There is nothing good about this side of the coin.

    Cons

    The District does not value its new teachers. Far too many are not rehired after one or two years, and there is a consistent 20%-25% number of new Black employees who are fired each year. Blacks are 4% at most of the teaching force in Oakland. Nothing is done about this by Talent Acquisition, nor the teacher unions. It is not advised that people come to Oakland Unified to work as a teacher. While the rewards of teaching the diverse student body is great, the risk to a teacher's work history and professional reputation are too costly. Don't do it. Work somewhere else, where pay is higher, where health benefits are better, and where you, the teacher, ar respected for the work you to by your administrators. ~

    Advice to Management

    Stop it!


  7. Helpful (2)

    "Special Education Teacher"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - SDC Teacher in Oakland, CA
    Former Employee - SDC Teacher in Oakland, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    I worked at Oakland Unified School District full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    It is a large district so you could move to other schools or even positions that are promotional jobs, a better site, or outside of the classroom.

    You can get in fairly easily, get your experience and move on to another district that pays better.

    Cons

    While Human Resources personnel are very nice. It is like they have multiple players doing this and that; one ropes you into the job, then all of a sudden, you have an entirely new person emailing you. I had more than two I was dealing with one after another.
    Beware, you may get placed into a classroom that is total chaos where the teacher before you who had tenure and the district transferred out due to lack of good teaching and control of the class, and is ready to retire. The teacher let the students do whatever they wanted for several months, and then hire someone with very little experience to try to undue the mindset of getting on laptops everyday. The students were ED and I learned that, some should actually be in a non-public school or are one step away...WTH?

    Advice to Management

    You need to not try to fill a spot and put teachers in a bad situation where the person must decide whether it is worth possibly losing your credential due to having to break your contract.

    You need to offer real support from Spec. Ed mgt. that really cares to share their knowledge and not just make an appearance with invaluable tips such as, "pick your battles; let them curse." (But, every day, all day?)

    Get real psychologists in the classroom to help with counseling since if it is a "counseling enriched class", not interns worried about "doing their paperwork" and gaining their intern hours who are behind a closed door, or sitting at their table looking at shopping sites, and therefore, checked out and not paying attention, or not in the classroom helping manage the students.

  8. "Dedicated to our students but falls short at times in providing conditions to retain teachers."

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

    I have been working at Oakland Unified School District full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Particular site has helpful admin and I'm constantly surrounded by 100% focused and dedicated staff and teachers. We are truly in it for the kids!

    Cons

    Though the benefits are great, it's hard when we all work as hard as we do and don't get compensated to match our work, however that's the case for teachers everywhere.


  9. "Decentralized Leadership"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Computer Science Teacher in Oakland, CA
    Current Employee - Computer Science Teacher in Oakland, CA

    I have been working at Oakland Unified School District (Less than a year)

    Pros

    If you are an experienced teacher, you will enjoy a lot of autonomy

    Cons

    Teachers aren't paid enough in this country


  10. "Early Head Start"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Day Care in Sterlington, LA
    Former Employee - Day Care in Sterlington, LA
    Recommends

    I worked at Oakland Unified School District (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    I worked for the Oakland Unified School District for 15 years. I successfully completed the Customer Service Training class. I love my job. My chief duties are interacting with children 3-5 years old. Along with that I monitor the their outdoor activities as well as reading stories before naps.

    Cons

    I was a substitute for 15 years. It was difficult because I traveled to various sites. Multitasking by learning as I go.


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