Perkins School for the Blind Reviews | Glassdoor

Perkins School for the Blind Reviews

Updated July 13, 2017
44 reviews

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3.2
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Dave Power
13 Ratings

44 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (2)

    "As I get ready to retire....."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - School Psychologist in Watertown, MA
    Current Employee - School Psychologist in Watertown, MA
    Recommends
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Perkins School for the Blind full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    I have worked at Perkins (in the Deafblind Program) for nearly 45 years. It has been an amazing experience that I wouldn't trade for the world. Over these years, I have had several jobs (all within the DB Program) ending as a School Psychologist. I have always felt a part of a Team; worked with remarkable colleagues; and had opportunities that I never dreamed of but because of Perkins, they became possible (i.e., I became a Certified Sign Language interpreter; had opportunities for international travel; on-going training opportunities as education and our student population has changed).

    Cons

    Do we all want a higher salary? of course, but most people don't go into Human Services work for the salary (and any person hired knows what they are being paid before they accept the job).
    I have often felt that the DeafBlind Program is an afterthought....this should not be.

    Advice to Management

    *Always remember to pay attention to all levels of staff: they are all working for the benefit of the School and our remarkable students; the staff is invaluable and deserve your respect.
    *As life and direction at Perkins changes, upper management needs to communicate, communicate, communicate to faculty and staff so they/we understand what and why and how the School is moving forward and how we all can participate and be included for the "greater good".
    *Parents come to us because they know we can appreciate and help their child achieve; this happens through the education programs: this should always be priority one.


  2. "Historical reputation is not the reality"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Perkins School for the Blind (Less than a year)

    Pros

    -The students. They're amazing and inspiring.

    -The campus. It's beautiful and has a lot of history, Just being there makes you feel like you're part of something important,

    -A lot of the staff. The staff can feel like family - sometimes dysfunctional, and sometimes supportive and caring. At the teacher/direct care level, it feels like everyone works as a team.

    Cons

    -Turnover rate is ridiculous. Any of the more recent positive reviews on here were written in order to mask the ugly truth. Yes, some staff have been at Perkins for DECADES. However, due to the low pay and extreme work demands, many people leave to go onto bigger and better things.

    -The pay. My first year at Perkins in 2015, I made ~$44,000. The next year, I got a 1% cost of living bump up. Unlike public schools, there are no salary steps. But at least there's always the option of free housing in the tiny dorm rooms, right?

    -Lack of adequate leadership. Director level leadership is totally swamped. People are asked to do the work of two positions without going crazy. This leads to disorganization, confusion, chaos at the teacher/residential level, as there is no clear direction in programming,

    -General sense of instability and unease. Departments and programs are laid off en masse, which gives a general feeling of instability and low morale.

    Advice to Management

    -Strengthen the programs you already have by staffing them adequately - hire high quality workers and don't make them do the work of two or three positions.

    -Increase salary to a livable wage so employees a)want to stay b) don't have to resort to living in on campus dorms. College grads might be willing to live on campus, but more experienced hires may not. More experienced hires are more likely to stay long term and be higher quality, unlike fresh faced college grads. In short, having a large population of low paid college grads perpetuates the high turnover rate cycle.

    In short - Perkins is beautiful and has a lot of interesting history. The website and PR materials are great. Let's make the reality of the Perkins experience match what is advertised to the world.

  3. Helpful (1)

    "Excellent Place to Work"

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

    I have been working at Perkins School for the Blind full-time

    Pros

    A very caring culture of intelligent committed teachers and staff. The school is on the most beautiful campus, too. It's a delight to walk around the campus each day

    Cons

    The pay could be higher for teachers. Though having "Perkins" on your resume is a plus.


  4. "Perkins Review"

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

    I worked at Perkins School for the Blind full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    -Working with passionate people for a wonderful cause
    -Flexible work environment with understanding and helpful management
    -Friendly co-workers
    -Great benefits
    -School assistance

    Cons

    -Non-profit pay
    -No on campus lunch option


  5. "Perkins is great and bad"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    I worked at Perkins School for the Blind full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    The people are amazing. It is a family feeling with coworkers. Granted there will be people you dislike. I disliked 4 people out of hundreds. I made very good friends there that I would lay down in traffic for. You will fall in love with the students. They will wow you with their achievements and melt your heart. Something about blind kids makes them very kind and understanding. (mostly)
    Everyone who leaves Perkins wants to go back. It is a beautiful campus and the benefits are good. You will learn a lot about all different things and learn about yourself as well. If there is an opening, you can get on campus housing. If it is a room in a cottage I think it is free to live there.

    Cons

    The pay is low. It's just the nature of the business. The kids with behavioral issues with be tough for people who have a lack of patience and understanding. You need to be strong if you work with those kids.
    Management is caring but can be disorganized because they are overwhelmed and understaffed.The new CEO is not as good as the last one. He doesn't know the kids names like most of the upper management does. As dumb as that sounds, it was that family feel the last CEO and the past and current Superintendent kept alive by being a part of the community and taking interest in students and staff. The current management wants to run it like a business but do not understand the difficulties the hands on staff have to deal with. It is not a science. All kids are different and all situations are different and rules need to be broken depending on the situation.

    Advice to Management

    See above and get better people in the Board of Directors. Rich folk do not know what it is like to be a TA making $12/hr in Boston. All upper management should spend a week doing what TAs do to really understand it. If someone is really bad at their job but have been there for over 20 years....LET THEM GO. They ruin it for everyone else and it affects morale. Too sensitive about firing people who are downright awful employees.


  6. Helpful (4)

    "Non-profit, it is what it is"

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

    I have been working at Perkins School for the Blind full-time

    Pros

    Good mission, mostly good people who are dedicated to what they do, as long as not a director or c-level. Days can be kept interesting, usually a different day every day, keeps you on your toes. Historic campus, decent location. Depending on what your position is, there is usually a good work/life balance. You don't have to be at the office late or take work home with you. That can't be said for everyone though.

    Cons

    It's a non-profit, so don't expect a competitive salary or benefits. Don't expect fellow staff that will stay, unless they've already been there forever. Management doesn't seem to care about keeping employees, either by virtue of workload balance, or compensation. But then when an employee leaves, there is an enormous hole left and then there's constant need to retrain and find the right fits.

    Upper management lacks real transparency, constantly changing things with seemingly no purpose. Constantly implementing programs that don't work and leaves Perkins' future uncertain. But in an effort to implement those programs, staff are overworked and treated like means to ends.

    Management hires people they're friends with, rather than who could be the right person for the job, leading to difficulties working between different departments as well.

    For management, Perkins seems like their own sandbox to just play dress-up with products and programs, seemingly without any forethought, and using their staff as tools. Doesn't matter if the staff has a good idea or not. Leads to a very frustrating environment.

    Not a ton of room for advancement in the organization. Positions are fairly closed off, as far as upward movement. An upward move most likely requires a new skill set, and probably outside of what you would want to be doing; positions are very specialized. That, and, they don't seem to want to keep people anyway.

    Benefits need help. The health plan is confusing, with a deductible for the first part of it, then Perkins covers the next little bit, then you cover the next bit after that. Not straight forward at all. Retirement plan is nice that they contribute a base amount, but it doesn't start until you've been there one year, and doesn't vest until you've been there three years. Barely even worth it. I've never seen any plan as bad as that, aside from none.

    There are yearly performance reviews, and yearly raises, but the two don't coincide, or are even related. Everyone gets the same percentage every year. I've also never seen any place like that.

    Advice to Management

    Compensate your employees. Stop hiring for meaningless positions and stick with what works. When you do hire new positions, don't double the workload that's already doubled as it is. Fight for your employees; don't let them walk if they're valuable. It also sends a message to current staff that management doesn't care who's there or not. Everyone's expendable. Stop hiring your friends. Hire the right people. Hire people smarter than you.


  7. "Perkins School for the Blind / Food Services"

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

    I worked at Perkins School for the Blind full-time

    Pros

    Educational Staff & Students are terrific

    Cons

    Food Services Dept. is poorly managed - for example. provisions delivered late then writing up cooks for late meal services... etc. Lots of favoritism and blame shifting within. A generally miserably led dept. Lots of time off with no pay or temp.UE

    Advice to Management

    Clean house - get honest - pay a living wage to the people who REALLY keep Perkins running and students cared for.

  8. Helpful (3)

    "Non-profit double standard"

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

    I have been working at Perkins School for the Blind full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    The majority of the people who work at Perkins are passionate about the mission of the School and that passion makes working with those people very gratifying. Work is never boring.

    Cons

    Employees are expected to accept being paid less because they work in the non-profit sector. That is pretty standard for the non-profit world. However, this expectation does not apply to upper management who get much more competitive salaries.This is incredibly demoralizing and communicates volumes about how much management does not value staff. Performance is neither rewarded nor penalized which fosters discontent and mediocrity. There is also little room for advancement and the only way you get a raise s if you are also promoted, i.e. more money means a lot more work.

    Advice to Management

    Take good hard look at the reasons for employee turnover. Stop applying a double standard to employee compensation. Hold the CEO accountable for decisions he made that did not benefit the school.


  9. "Great Place to Work"

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

    I have been working at Perkins School for the Blind full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Perkins inspires me everyday. It is amazing to watch our students grow. Staff are amazing as well. Everyone is here for the mission, our students and those that are visually impaired, blind or deafblind around the world. While I do not work directly with the students, I feel everything I do contributes to their success. It is great to tell people I work at Perkins because it always brings such a positive response. I find I have the ability to be innovative in what I do, to try new things and make a difference in the overall mission.

    Cons

    Because we're a non-profit, the pay is not exceptional but the benefits are especially the wellness offerings. There is a lot of change going on right now but it is exciting. If you like to work in a fast paced organization Perkins is it.


  10. Helpful (1)

    "Admission Associate"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Admission Associate in Watertown, MA
    Current Employee - Admission Associate in Watertown, MA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Perkins School for the Blind full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    The people I've interacted with are wonderful- in every department, not just mine! In my opinion, I feel that my work and my personal well-being is respected and acknowledged at Perkins. I feel comfortable yet challenged in a wonderful way. I see myself staying here for many years!

    Cons

    There is some shifting going on, but I see it as Perkins rebuilding their name and reputation as an amazing institute and making sure people know who we are.

    I truly believe that all of their focus is in the right place- the focus is still on getting more students in that need our resources. (So it's not really a con! Just a bump in the road to get us on track)

    Advice to Management

    Keep doing what your doing!


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