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Roanoke City Public Schools Reviews

Updated January 15, 2018
24 reviews

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2.3
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Dr. Rita Bishop
18 Ratings

24 Employee Reviews

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  1. "Go RCPS!"

    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 Roanoke City Public Schools full-time

    Pros

    Great place to work! Really enjoy the people.

    Cons

    Employee engagement could be higher.


  2. "Great Students & Communities ... Not Worth the Dysfunction at Central Office"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Elementary Administrator in Roanoke, VA
    Former Employee - Elementary Administrator in Roanoke, VA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Roanoke City Public Schools full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Administrators have the opportunity to foster long lasting relationships with students, their families, and teachers who worked tirelessly on behalf of their classes. Administrators can grow professionally in many ways, particularly in learning how NOT to operate. Administrators will come out of RCPS more clear about their moral and ethical foundations, which will likely allow them to be more successful and kind leaders elsewhere.

    The pay was better than most divisions in the area. The benefits were even better, with reasonable family premiums, something that can mean a lot if there are significant medical needs within the family.

    Cons

    * Students as no more than data points: Students are seen as no more than test scores. In public, there is a great show. Indeed, teachers and their genuine relationship with students make the show believable. But behind closed doors, Students are nothing more than test scores. When students don’t do well, the central administration will blame the teachers. When teachers explain real life struggles with hunger and poverty and violence, they are told not to have excuses. Meanwhile, when the school board questions division leaders about their practices and scores, they routinely accept her quips about how hard life is for some students. When expedited retakes and extenuating circumstances are employed during state testing, there is routine discussion of students to be placed on the “3rd deck”, meaning that they are so hopeless that they are “left to die.” Such students would not receive any more educational resources, which would be consolidated to help those with a “fighting chance” (2nd and 1st decks) have a better opportunity to pass. It is interesting to note just what division leaders will accept as a valid reason for an "extenuating circumstance" for retakes for state tests. The central office will scrounge and dig for as many extenuating circumstances to give in order to help bolster a school’s pass rate. But once accreditation is reached, miraculously there appears no more need for students to be identified for extenuating circumstances.

    * Lack of Training. Principals across the city were not evaluated at the midyear or end-of-year between 2015 and 2017.

    * Internal Politics. The blame game is strong. As a means for survival, people tend to harbor vendettas and grudges. The Global Compliance hotline is abused and there are no checks and balances to ensure fidelity to purpose. Division leaders have talked behind people’s backs quite often, including reigning and former city teachers of the year. When the media is hot on the trail of poor decisions made by the city (or at least signed off by division leadership), they will seek to pin blame on others. Good people have lost their careers based on this practice.

    * Global Compliance Hotline. Anybody can call in on the hotline and make a complaint. HR will use this and assume guilt upon the accused, and teachers and administrators will be forced to defend yourself, even against bogus claims.

    * Appointed School Board: The School Board does not represent the city or its neighborhoods. They are appointed by City council. So long as the division leaders can remain on the right side of council and school board, they have them in their pockets. There are good people on both the Council and board, but they are powerless to hold the school division leadership accountable.

    * Community Relations: The Community relations department has too much power. I have had to defend them in the past and explain that, no joke, they are the department of community relations, even if they consistently comes off as disinterested and condescending to community members and employees. They are clearly interested in putting the schools in the best light, which isn't inherently bad. However, as people buy into this glossy image of RCPS, there is little incentive for the system to address real matters of equity, growth, relationships, transparency, etc. School Resource Officers have routinely vented over the fact that the director is allowed to dictate investigations and related law enforcement to the side. Complaints by resource officers are rare because the city school leadership wields so much power over the sheriff and chief that all she needs to say is that she desires a certain deputy or officer to be off the school property, and the agencies will listen. This is certainly the perception by teachers and resource officers alike.

    Turnover: Over 50 administrative turnovers in 10 years. It’s excessive. Teachers leave the system with alarming regularity. The division leadership and HR will often used the tired excuse that those teachers who left were never committed, or that they were not cut out for "urban education." Often left out of the conversation is the fact that so many teachers were hired away from more challenging situations in which they found success. Teachers who have left RCPS have been standouts in Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, D.C., Newport-News, etc. Those same teachers continue to be stars in the classroom once they have left RCPS.

    Advice to Management

    Be kind. Be transparent. Develop the talent you hire.

  3. Helpful (1)

    "Lack of support"

    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 Roanoke City Public Schools full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Great parents, and beautiful school.

    Cons

    District focus is not on the education of students or on their future success but instead on test scores and budget numbers.

    Advice to Management

    Be less condescending to leadership, promote a supportive environment. Focus on the students, not their scores.


  4. Helpful (1)

    "Disneyland for Corruption and Harassment"

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

    I worked at Roanoke City Public Schools full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Fellow colleagues and the students, break schedule is good. That's all there truly is, sadly.

    Cons

    Administration is overtly currupt and unchecked. Good ol boys club and connected at every level of city government. If you have dignity, ethos or self respect, RUN FOR THE HILLS

    Advice to Management

    Fire the felonious superintendent and out her behind bars


  5. Helpful (1)

    "Tough district to work for"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - School Counselor in Roanoke, VA
    Former Employee - School Counselor in Roanoke, VA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Roanoke City Public Schools full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Some great co-workers. Good kids that really need help and support means a chance to really make a difference. Good pay and great benefits. School schedule and breaks are awesome. Good athletics programs. Really smart kids in the AP/DE program.

    Cons

    Roanoke city schools only care about the graduation rate instead of making sure students learn and are prepared for the real world. Students are not held accountable dor their actions because to do so would mean they would fail classes and not graduate. Administration is non-supportive because they're too afraid of getting punished by central office. Central office caves to whatever parents want because they don't want to be sued or in the news again. Fights happen almost daily in the high school and the entire atmosphere is negatively charged. Students who really need to learn technical skills are not allowed to take the technical classes because their grades arent good enough or they have some behavior issues. These kids need to learn job skills and they arent even given the chance.

    Advice to Management

    Need a new superintendent who cares about more than the graduation rate. Hold students accountable and teach them responsibility. Support your staff when they are trying to do those things.


  6. "Teacher"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Teacher in Roanoke, VA
    Current Employee - Teacher in Roanoke, VA
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Roanoke City Public Schools full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Work with a very diverse population. If you can work here, you can work anywhere.

    Cons

    Very challenging student population.

    Advice to Management

    More resources and support is needed at times... we are all trying as hard as we can.


  7. "Negative work environment"

    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 Roanoke City Public Schools full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Higher pay than most of the surrounding school districts

    Cons

    Student population is extremely challenging and there are not enough resources or extra help to be able to do what needs to be done, focus on test scores, disorganization/things change quickly without explanation

    Advice to Management

    Learn about employee retention and support your schools where everyone on staff is struggling. Learn from the past.

  8. "Challenging environment"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - School Educator in Roanoke, VA
    Former Employee - School Educator in Roanoke, VA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Roanoke City Public Schools (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    The culture of Roanoke City is on the rise. The school system as a whole is at the forefront of a lot of the challenging issues in our area and is really trying to make a difference in the lives of our now thriving community. If you can learn to work in this school system and survive, you can work anywhere!

    Cons

    The current Superintendent is trying very hard to do the right thing for our community, but her style of leadership has caused a large amount of turnover in a very short period of time. For the amount of time and energy that you will put in, you are not as well compensated as in other surrounding districts.

    Advice to Management

    The current condition of the school system means there are immediate needs that must be met, but help your staff out by being more supportive and giving stronger levels of guidance/support.


  9. "Activity Assistant"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Activity Assistant in Roanoke, VA
    Former Employee - Activity Assistant in Roanoke, VA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Roanoke City Public Schools part-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    The children's progress and joy are worth their attitudes.

    Cons

    The administration (downtown) offered little to no support and resulted in multiple newspaper headlines.

    Advice to Management

    Remember that the children's best interest should always be first over any personal grievances.


  10. "Dirty"

    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

    Pros

    *Working in Roanoke can be rewarding, as you feel like you are making a difference in the community. I worked in NW.
    *There are fabulous teachers, building principals, and even some members of central office
    *Health Benefits (excellent HSA plan)

    Cons

    *Easy hire, easy fire (3 assistant superintendents in 3 years??) which is beginning to draw the ire of some community members
    *High turnover
    *Principals appear to work hard to be a buffer between central office and the teachers
    *Senior leadership's tendency to play the blame game. The concept of being "thrown under the bus" is all too real.
    *The superintendent has overseen some tremendous growth. There are some tremendous leaders under her and she is simply getting in the way of potential.
    *Image is everything in RCPS. The public relations machine is very effective.

    Advice to Management

    *Take care of teacher morale.
    *Whatever stresses senior leadership has been heaping on principals needs to be tempered
    *Turnover among fellow teachers is alarming. Turnover among central office and administration is alarming


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