Rocketship Public Schools Reviews | Glassdoor

Rocketship Public Schools Reviews

Updated June 5, 2018
93 reviews

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2.8
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Preston Smith
46 Ratings

93 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • "Most people are extremely hard working" (in 13 reviews)

  • "great mission and strong commitment to students and families" (in 5 reviews)

Cons
  • "Absolutely no work-life balance; doesn't seem to be a priority" (in 16 reviews)

  • "Long hours with essentially no work life balance" (in 13 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Teachers"

    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 Rocketship Public Schools full-time

    Pros

    Curriculum Support
    Pay for Performance

    Cons

    Long Hours
    Relationships across the network


  2. Helpful (1)

    "Great Mission, No Balance"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Rocketship Public Schools full-time

    Pros

    Meaningful work, mission-driven, smart and collaborative teammates.

    Cons

    Absolutely no work-life balance; doesn't seem to be a priority.

    Rocketship Public Schools Response

    Jun 4, 2018 – Senior Director of Talent

    Thank you for your feedback and your service to our Rocketeers. We hear you, and we've made big changes to our lesson planning process for the 18-19 school year, among other improvements, to help... More

  3. "Great Philosophy, but Execution is Too Perfect"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Teacher in San Jose, CA
    Former Employee - Teacher in San Jose, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Every aspect of the schools is so well-designed and so well-thought out. The professional development was a lot more helpful than when I worked at district schools. At least at Mateo Sheedy, the environment of the staff attitudes was very positive.

    Cons

    *Treats teaching like a science more than an art, which isn't how teaching always works.
    *There is more work than is able to be done in a reasonable amount of time during the day. I would estimate on average, teachers have to work 60-70 hours per week in order to do everything asked of them.
    *8-9 hour school days with only a 20 minute recess each day along with a 40 minute PE twice a week

    Advice to Management

    Figure out how to relieve a lot of burden off of teachers.
    Increase the quality and quantity of recess.


  4. Helpful (1)

    "Preaches, but doesn't practice, "students first""

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - 5th Grade Teacher in Redwood City, CA
    Current Employee - 5th Grade Teacher in Redwood City, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Rocketship Public Schools full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Pays well, staff is young and energetic, which can be fun and inspiring - everyone is "in it together," giving it their all every day. Consistent coaching and high expectations from administration is helpful and leads to lots of growth for new teachers.

    Cons

    Lack of behavioral support, high emphasis on test scores can lead to unsafe and unhappy classrooms. Combined with an overall lack of experience from staff, it can be a really tough place to work. Don't feel like network's heart is in the right place - they place good test scores above the safety and happiness of students and teachers.

    Advice to Management

    Invest in curricular changes that engage and empower students. Invest in experienced teachers and experience ISE and support staff that can help them.

    Rocketship Public Schools Response

    Jun 4, 2018 – Senior Director of Talent

    Thanks for your review and your service. I'm glad you find our coaching model helpful, but I'm sorry to hear your frustrations. Test scores are important to us only as a measure of individual student... More


  5. Helpful (1)

    "Enrichment Coordinatoor"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Enrichment Coordinator in San Jose, CA
    Current Employee - Enrichment Coordinator in San Jose, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Rocketship Public Schools full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Under-credential teaching opportunity , community based work closely with families and staff to create and facilitate a fun play environment.

    Cons

    full time but not enough pay because you are a none credentialed teacher

    Advice to Management

    Keep on doing what you are already doing , your training tolerance and performance makes me a better employee


  6. Helpful (6)

    "A sad mess of a network"

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

    I have been working at Rocketship Public Schools full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    - There are great people here who are truly dedicated to providing kids the best education possible., despite the selfish intentions of the network
    - Families who want the world for their children and are willing to partner with you to get it.

    Cons

    Before I start, I just want to say that it is a travesty what is going on in this network and all the lies that they tell these families who are so ready to believe them because they really want what is best for their kids. This network is a joke in the charter world. They aren’t innovative as they would like you to believe, but just unbelievable cheap and money hungry. Preston, the CEO, is the worst of them. He feigns listening and caring, but nothing changes. Money is the only priority, regardless if the kids and staff suffer consequences. This mentality affects everyone in the network, especially the kids.

    - As a teacher, you are worked to the bone. On average, you work 12 hours per day (M - F) and at least 8 hours over the weekend. If you make 60k per year, you are really making about $14 an hour working at Rocketship. The other school districts have higher pay with less hours (like 40 hours a week). Given this, there is no reason to work here unless you want to be overworked and underpaid.
    - The school leaders and their management are so inexperienced and don't know how to manage staff and their schools. People are promoted so quickly because people are constantly leaving. No one actually knows what they are doing. At the end, the kids suffer the most.
    - What are you doing, you may ask? Making tons of copies (there are no textbooks), re-writing poorly created lesson plans, and doing whatever is the ‘flavor of the week’ from school leaders. They will tell you that you will get lesson plans to work from, but they are truly the lowest quality that I’ve ever seen. They’re written by people who have 2-3 years teaching experience that barely know what they are doing. The network is so cheap that they allow this to go on even though kids are always underperforming.
    - Kids are seen as money bags. They stuff kids in your room because they want more money. Imagine having a room of 32 Kindergarteners with no teacher aid and numerous behavior issues, all with no support from admin. This is normal at a Rocketship school. These kids spend nearly 9 hours a day at school, but only get one 15 minute recess, which explains the behavior problems. Kids with severe behavior problems are constantly coddled rather than disciplined. They are afraid to do this because it makes them look bad. Its a safety hazard to have kids intentionally throwing pencils at other kids’ faces or trying to stab their classmates. This happens all the time, leaving teachers afraid in their own classrooms. Admin leaves these issues all to you, so if this happens in your room, its your fault. Parents complain, but nothing gets done.
    - The data here is bad, really bad. They lie and say that they are doing all of these things to improve outcomes for kids, but kids are always pushed through to the next grade level, whether they have the necessary skills or not. They are quick to blame you for your students’ shortcomings, even if they have been in the same school for years. Their test scores are on par or below the neighborhood schools. Don’t promise that you can do more when you clearly can’t.
    - All they care about is test scores. There is no joy in teaching because you are teaching to the test. If you really want to do what’s best for kids, this not where to do it. This is not what an education is supposed to be. Kids only learn math and literacy. They spend at least 2 hours a day in front of a computer screen. They don’t get the chance to do anything creative or fun. Kids are taught to be robots and expect the minimum of what is supposed to be a solid education.

    If you decide to join this network in any capacity, this is what you are signing up for. If you are still thinking about it, read these other reviews. They are not exaggerating. Join at your own risk.

    Advice to Management

    Even with all the internal feedback you get, you refuse to change. You are doing a disservice to the community you claim to care about and serve. I have no advice for you because you wouldn’t take it anyway.

    Rocketship Public Schools Response

    Jun 1, 2018 – Co-Founder/CEO

    I’m sorry you’ve grown frustrated by your experience at Rocketship. Can we do better? Absolutely. But few schools do better than Rocketship when it comes to serving our communities.

    Rocketship is... More


  7. "You'll learn a lot, but expect to get burnt out"

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

    I worked at Rocketship Public Schools full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Great committed teaching staff, go above and beyond for students

    Cons

    Very little work life balance, little support of teachers in contrast with high expectations. Many students with IEPs did not get the support needed.

  8. Helpful (2)

    "Nope"

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

    I have been working at Rocketship Public Schools full-time

    Pros

    I knew the challenge ahead of me and the population I was serving. I was a prepared, happy teacher. I read the reviews beforehand and after a year if I had the chance to it over again, I would choose to work for a different organization. These reviews can apply to any location, unless you have very limited choices, think twice.
    -Good people (Very dedicated teachers)
    -Great students
    -Nice facilities
    -Good benefits
    - you will gain unique charter school perspective of branding schools to underserved communities

    Cons

    -Paycheck to Paycheck even with high salary (local cost of living is extremely high, do your research)
    -Merit based pay is subject to very subjective reviews (Even with excellent data)
    -You must follow a brand of education that is often written by inexperienced and unqualified people
    -Toxic environment
    -40 percent of teaching time is standardized testing
    -Even if you are extra dedicated, it will feel like you are expendable
    - They don't share the full picture with their community by making mediocre data look good, not providing resources and doing things like not letting kids access libraries bc it's more important that they look organized
    -Read your contract carefully ( you may leave owing them money)
    - Admin/coaches aren't experienced or knowledgeable, you will not be supported
    -Many of your demands will be done outside of "extended school hours", even if you are the most organized talented multitasking worker
    - forget self care, wI like many have gained weight and have become as miserable as the rest of the staff
    - If you are a special Ed teacher you will receive no support
    - you will have no work time to do case manager duties, but it's a core part of your job
    - Many people commute hours a day
    - you will have no time to socialize or do people things
    -this will be your life, plain and simple

    Advice to Management

    We know you are real people and are just as overwhelmed as us. Please do not work 90 hours a week, because you are burning out and your ability to coach, problem solve or support is diminished. Take care of yourself. Please stop passing the buck on issues to nest. This school needs sustainbility as a core characteristic.
    -Autonomy, collaration, planning time, experienced leadership, textbooks

    Rocketship Public Schools Response

    Jun 4, 2018 – Senior Director of Talent

    I am very sorry to hear you haven’t been satisfied with your experience at Rocketship this year. Thank you for taking the time to offer your feedback so that we can improve. While we believe all... More


  9. Helpful (1)

    "Teacher"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Teacher, Elementary School in San Jose, CA
    Current Employee - Teacher, Elementary School in San Jose, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    - Higher salary ( starts at about $56k )
    - Great, hardworking teachers that are friends-for-life kind of material
    - Some of the sweetest parents and children who really want to take advantage of having a better education
    - Free occasional lunches
    - Well educated staff
    - Decent benefits including PTO housing stipend, cell phone reimbursement, and health insurance with EAP

    Cons

    - Long hours with essentially no work life balance. There are also many after school events that teachers have to attend or are shamed if not attended.
    - Lack of adequate enrichment and recess for the children - on top of having an extended school day from 7:45-4:00/4:10!
    - Tons of micromanagement about turning in lesson plans. Feels like grad school or college, really.
    - Preston, the CEO, doesn’t really care about how teachers feel and pass the problem downwards to management at the school. He seems to have tunnel vision about opening as many schools as he can instead of focusing on the quality of the schools and teacher retention. He shows up with a notebook to show face at “brown bag lunches” but could really care less about his workers.
    - Lack of consistent implementation and follow through of logical consequences and restorative justice practices...so behavioral problems are simply pacified instead of addressed due to fear of high suspension rates.
    - High teacher and management turnover and lack of appreciation, therefore teacher burnout is rampant (according to Preston, he’ll just replace us and find someone else to do our job if teachers just leave. Thanks, Preston. Way to value your teachers.)
    - Making your staff “survey” the neighborhoods and essentially act like Tupperware salesman in semi-sketchy neighborhoods to beg people to enroll at Rocketship.
    - Rigged salary “bans” system that makes it virtually impossible to get decent raises the following year based on computerized numbers. Your teachers and students are more than just numbers. Where is the qualitative aspect to this school? Data is important to an extent and needed as guiding/reference points, but we are not cattle or simply high functional robots that are boiled down to numbers with standardized tests.
    - Great mission and vision - poor execution and massive disorganization

    Advice to Management

    See the cons. Take more feedback from your teachers as they are the core of every school. Preston, please actually care about all of your workers and don’t just do things to show face and just tunnel vision your way to building more schools that are high in numbers but low in quality. Stop overworking your teachers and making them see through why charters fail and discover why unions are needed to protect teachers’ well-being. For being so liberal, it’s sure a conservative mindset to not really value your teachers.

    Rocketship Public Schools Response

    May 11, 2018 – Co-Founder/CEO

    Thank you for serving our Rocketeers for more than three years. I am very sorry to hear you’ve grown frustrated with your experience at Rocketship and appreciate you taking the time to provide... More


  10. Helpful (2)

    "Teacher"

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

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

    Pros

    A lot of benefits, including credentialing availability

    Cons

    Stressful work/life balance, long hours, invasive coaching


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