Esperanza Community Services Employee Reviews

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Cool
Direct Support Person (Current Employee) –  Chicago, ILOctober 21, 2015
Helping people of all needs was worth the opportunity, would definately need a part time job as well but overall experience great people and Awesome residents
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Best professional experience I have had thus far!
Behavior Analyst (Current Employee) –  Chicago, ILJuly 25, 2014
My career at Esperanza has been on an upward trend! I started off as an ABA paraprofessional and I loved the Special Education Teacher, Behavior Therapist, and other para in the classroom. We worked so well together! Within three months, I was promoted to a Behavior Therapist in another classroom. The staff in that classroom were very welcoming and we were able to work together in a fun yet professional manner. Six months after becoming a Behavior Therapist, I was promoted to become a Behavior Analyst at the adult day program! Two promotions in less than a year!

Although dealing with difficult behaviors on a daily basis can be challenging, Esperanza offers a great climate with co-workers that help you get through a busy day. I have learned so much in my time here from one of the BCBA's on staff; she has helped to create the professional in ABA that I am today.

I am grateful for the opportunities Esperanza has placed in front of me and I look forward to see what the future holds!
Pros
Co-workers, knowledgeable BCBA's, internal hire
Cons
Short breaks, lack of communication from management to staff, job training
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Very Friendly Staff
ABA paraprofessional (Current Employee) –  Chicago, ILMarch 7, 2014
I just started working here. I really like this job. Very different than other jobs I had. The staff is really friendly and supportive. From the first day, I was trained and helped by everyone including the administration and the classroom I am in. The students are really fun and they make the day go by quickly. I love all the different activities we do in the classroom.

I am really happy I work here. Way better than my old job.
Pros
friendly people, helpful, fun students
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Education through Dedication
Special Education Instructor (Current Employee) –  Chicago, IllinoisFebruary 21, 2014
I am a recent hire here (July 2013) at Esperanza School as a special educator for one of the high school classrooms, and I couldn't be happier. After my first interview and walk through the school and meeting some of the students and staff, I knew this was going to be a great place to work. Everyone...and I mean everyone...was very welcoming, supportive and informative all the way from the custodial staff to fellow teachers and paraprofessionals and administration. I immediately felt part of the "family environment" that I could tell was already well established here. Our school is filled with passionate, experienced, supportive, dedicated and fun staff members that are always willing to lend a helping hand. The morale here is amazing compared to my last school. Just in the few months that I have been here, I have already seen more improvements to morale, curriculum, training, infrastructure and hires than I saw at my last school that I was at for fifteen years! I am proud to be a part of this amazing group of people, and I look forward to helping them make even more strides in their promising future.
Pros
dedicated staff, supportive administration, great morale, free lunches
Cons
low pay, short breaks
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Supportive, Fun place to work and very team oriented
Behavior Therapist (Current Employee) –  Chicago, ILFebruary 21, 2014
I started working here approximately 8 months ago (June 2013); coming from another special education school. From day one, the administrative team has been truly supportive of my ideas and goals for my students. It is truly a team approach structure at Esperanza; from administration to teachers, to behavior therapist, social workers, and teacher's assistants.

- Great staff that get along with one another
- ABA & structured teaching approach
- 1 behavior therapist per classroom (small case loads)
- Administrative team which is not only supportive, but will come in and work along side you... because as anyone in the education field knows... you can always use an extra set of hands.
Pros
Passionate, Energetic Staff; Supportive Administrative Team, opportunity to be a part of a strong team connection
Cons
Parking (especially in the winter), compensation on the lower end of the scale, high insurance rates
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A Great Place To Work!
Educational Leadership Team (Current Employee) –  Chicago, ILFebruary 12, 2014
Esperanza has changed so much recently! The program has been expanding and increasing its staff, which has greatly impacted many of the issues that were commented on in other posts.
The staff at Esperanza are an incredibly strong team that work hard to ensure that the individuals they serve are getting the maximum benefit from their services. The organization has added many new programs recently, and their strong focus on ABA has advanced their program to a new level.
The school at Esperanza has improved so much it looks like a whole new program! The combination of ABA and Structured Teaching have really moved the program to a new level.
Everyone is friendly and genuinely cares about the students as well as other staff.
If you want a fun and supportive work environment where you will be able to grow along with a company, you have found your match! While Esperanza has undergone a number of changes, they are still working to improve their organization to better meet the needs of individuals with disabilities.
Pros
Friendly Staff, Professional Development, Opportunity to grow
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The school is making great progress!
school staff (Current Employee) –  Chicago, ILFebruary 12, 2014
While I can't speak for the other programs at Esperanza, the school has made a lot of improvement over the past year and continues to strengthen its services. With a few more tweaks and some fine tuning, this will be a top notch program that I would send my children to.

Staff within the school are really working as a team and morale has increased considerably. All students have shown great improvements both academically and behaviorally this past year, all of which can be attributed to Esperanza's push to utilize only evidence-based teaching/behavioral techniques in the classrooms.

Teachers have received a lot more support and have been invested in more compared to previous years. This seems to have made a huge difference in the classroom structure and instruction overall.

The new principal has really helped to transform the culture and attitude within the school. There is a lot more communication, staff are included in decision-making processes, and she is always visible around the school helping where needed.

The school really treats the students well. Every year at Christmas, the students get presents from several outside organizations (good presents!). There's also different parties for them throughout the year and a full Thanksgiving feast.

PTO is better than any other agency I've worked at. Between PTO days and holidays, staff essentially get upwards of 7 weeks off a year. Insurance is a bit on the expensive side, but it's not the worst I've seen. They do at least offer both vision and dental as an option which is not always the case.

Within the school,
  more... staff appreciation comes in the form of a bi-weekly recognition award (which has seemed to be something all staff are excited about). Outside the school, agency-wide staff appreciation comes in the form of Friday Appreciation (we've had everything from pizza to breakfast, from Italian pastries to tamales; it's always something fun). There are also a lot of events throughout the year that are fun to attend (Masquerade Ball, Gala, etc.).

All in all, it's a great place to work, perfect current skills and learn a lot of new things; and since it's in the middle of an huge turnaround, staff get a unique opportunity to be a meaningful part of exciting changes.
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Pros
Great work/life balance, great PTO, good sense of teamwork in the school, the school has great leadership
Cons
Little/no professional development, insurance a bit expensive, some slow/inefficient processes
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Great Place to Work!
ABA paraprofessional (Current Employee) –  Chicago, ILFebruary 12, 2014
Ignore the negative reviews. I did! I started my position as an ABA paraprofessional a few months ago. I am so happy I did. I love my classroom staff. Our special education teacher is nice, knowledgeable and caring. She keeps her students engaged. The behavior therapist has taught me so much about ABA, even though I had some understanding before I came to work here. The other paraprofessionals and I feel like our teacher and behavior therapists include us in decision making and give us a lot of responsibility (but with tons of support). At my old school as a paraprofessional, I was just told to do this or do that. Here I am part of the team.

The administration is new. The principal just came at the end of the last school year and the Curriculum Leader came in the beginning of the year. They are helpful and care about the students. They are always there to listen and they are try to listen to what the staff wants or needs. They get our jobs are hard and they figure out ways to make our jobs easier. If you need materials or office supplies, they get it fast. The Behavior Leader is always helping us to understand the function of the behavior and write correct behavior plans. She is also really positive all the time.

I am happy I ignored the previous negative reviews. Maybe that was the old Esperanza, but the new Esperanza is the best place to work. I love it!
Pros
Caring Staff, Friendly Environment, Teamwork, Free Lunch
Cons
older building
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I LOVE MY JOB!!!! This is the NEW Esperanza!
Educational Leadership Team (Current Employee) –  Chicago, ILFebruary 10, 2014
Esperanza Therapeutic Day School provides individualized instruction for students with Autism and developmental disabilities utilizing Applied Behavior Analysis and Structured Teaching as a means to develop academic, social, vocational and life skills that help improve the students' quality of life and help them reach their fullest potential as active members of their community.

Esperanza ABA School has made significant changes in the past year. The school is a complete turnaround from the previous staff and philosophy. The school has become an awesome environment, safe for students and staff, individuals that work as a team and people that are friendly and happy.

Every Classroom has an awesome team including a special education teacher, a behavior therapist and ABA paraprofessionals. The team works together to ensure every student receives the best instruction and behavior plan.

The best part of my day is watching our students becoming so much more independent, gaining skills and a staff that really cares about the students. Every day I love watching the students participate in a variety of activities including social stories, work stations, hygiene, high level thematic units aligned with the common core and fluency stations. The students also partake in fun activities such as science projects, cooking and doing laundry in the remodeled life skills room, creating art projects, attending plays and community outings!


Every Friday the organization has "Awesome Friday," where the staff comes together and celebrates. Some of the celebrations have included tamales,
  more... ice cream sundaes, nachos, pizza party and coffee/doughnuts.  less
Pros
Professional Development, Collaborative Team Work, True ABA program, best practices for Autism, positive caring individuals, fun place for everyone
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I have been working at Esperanza for over a year and I love my job because our clients are the best!
Behavior Therapist (Current Employee) –  Chicago, ILFebruary 6, 2014
My position at Esperanza Community Services is behavior therapist for the adult day program. I was first a Behavior Analyst intern at the school and then I was hired on to be the Behavior Therapist for the adult day program. To be hired right after my internship was very beneficial to my career. One major pro for this company is that they hire within the organization and they have a history of retaining their employees. I am so grateful to management that they looked at my qualifications and my work that I have done as an intern to consider me for the position. I have learned so much from my intern experience and took that knowledge into my position now.

Management is very supportive and considerate of employee’s opinions, concerns, and suggestions. All management is always willing and open to discuss any matter with employees. Management is very approachable and have an open door policy to talk and set up meetings to discuss anything. My department supervisor is very supportive of the behavior staff. What I appreciate most is that my supervisor listens and takes into consideration what the behavior department thoughts are of the organization as a whole. She values our suggestions and opinions.

The best part of Esperanza is our clients. Our mission is to promote independence and a quality of life to all our participants and that what our employees strive to do every day. Our clients encourage us and motivate us to do our best at our job to help them succeed.
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Look anywhere but here!
Case Manager (Former Employee) –  Chicago, ILJanuary 30, 2014
Please don't waste your time even applying here. It is dysfunctional and poorly run from the top to bottom. Management/administration have no prior experience in their positions.

While at Esperanza, there was a high turnover rate among staff. This was always a problem because there were never enough hands to help with the large amounts of behaviors at the school. Security is another issue I had a problem with...there wasn't enough of it. Many students wander around the building as they please, even leaving the building and coming back with items found on the street to be used as weapons. Staff were being injured(broken hands, sprains, etc.) on almost a weekly basis by students, and administration still made staff use PTO for the necessary doctor appointments.

The old, rickety building is hardly handicap accessible for many of the students with physical impairments.

Overall, it is a very chaotic environment for both the students and
staff and it is difficult to make for a safe learning environment.
Administration can appear aloof and uninterested in change for the
better.

Any job is better than working here.
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Great place to work
Behavior Analyst (Current Employee) –  Chicago, ILJanuary 26, 2014
Previous reviews seem very shocking to me and not accurate at all. Esperanza is a great place to work!!! It has made so many wonderful changes over the last year. I am proud to say I work there.

All employees are friendly, outgoing and have the students best interest in mind. There are ABA therapists in every classroom and all staff are trained in professional crisis management that help the overall behavioral needs of the students. They also have highly educated teachers, social workers, behavior analysts, crisis team members, speech & language pathologists and paraprofessionals.
Pros
great benefits, professional development, free lunch, staff appreciation days
Cons
older building
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Great job, co-workers vey helpful
Coach Assistant (Former Employee) –  Chicago, ILJuly 28, 2013
As a coach assistant, I taught teachers individually of how to navigate the internet and utilize computer programs (Word and Power point) so they could become more efficient in their day to day activities. I was also in charge of assisting the school driver with the monitoring of the handicapped children in what relates to safety while they were driven to their homes.
Pros
Working with special needs children, assist them as needed.
Cons
Part-time job, no stable do to grant funding
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Terrible Place to Work!
Staff (Former Employee) –  Chicago ILApril 23, 2013
If you are looking for work in a social service agency because you want to help people, this is NOT the place for you! Management has created such a dysfunctional work environment that is impossible for anyone to do what's best for the clients. No matter how bad you need a job, look somewhere else!
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Do Not Work Here!
School (Current Employee) –  Chicago, ILApril 11, 2013
This is the worst organization! This place is so chaotic and dysfunctional it's almost unbelievable! The school is in shambles, literally and figuratively. The building is old, falling apart and in need of major repairs, but instead of investing in the school and making it a better environment for the students, management decides to spend money redecorating their offices.

Management is the worst! They provide absolutely no guidance for staff, and when we ask for help, they just shrug it off and tell us it's our job and our problem to deal with. They provide no support and only care about themselves.

Do not work here! As bad as you may need a job, it's not worth it. Any job is better than working here. Everybody that works here is looking for a new job, that's how terrible this place is.
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Horrible place to work
Lower level management/leadership (Former Employee) –  Chicago, ILApril 4, 2013
I worked with this organization for a short time. I learned that the program itself, while well-intentioned, did not practice what they preached. It appeared that the whole concept of the agency was to appear as if they are doing well and providing quality services without actually doing so.

A typical day was full of challenges of navigating between the needs of the staff, clients, and the desires of the highest management levels. I watched staff completely disregard the needs of the clients and not respond to interventions from management. The CILA houses also have a major issues with bed bugs. The staff would ask for things that may or may not have been needed and management would state yes to most things and then tell people that the agency is short on money because the state is not paying. The upper management would state that they would pay for something and then when it came down to it, punish those in management for not doing it fast enough.

The school looks horrible and I fear that the students don't actually learn anything. They are going through a babysitting program most of the time. The staff don't even know how to fill out basic data sheets in any of the programs and non of the buildings are fully wheelchair accessible.

I continuously asked for upper management to assist and instead of support was met with concern as if I wasn't doing my job, meeting expectations, and not working hard enough hours even though I was working well beyond 50-60 hours in a week. After a while, I was glad to have another option and get out of that place.

I have individuals in my family
  more... with special needs and I would not even send them there to look at it as an option. There's a member of the board who won't even send their loved one there... that's saying something. I don't even believe that this place should still be open with all of the messes they are covering up.

Esperanza's upper management team believes that if they focus only on their strengths, then the problems will just go away. That's not the case. They focus more on their training and their advancement rather than the professional development of all of their staff. Also, the majority of the upper management team has not worked their way up and does not appear to be knowledgeable about any aspect of the programs. The people who are in upper management positions appear to be there based on who they know and not what they know. Well after I was gone, I was receiving phone calls asking about how something works and what they are supposed to be doing.

Management is horrible and doesn't seem to want to follow the same rules as everyone else. If management doesn't have to follow the rules, then they're not setting the example for staff. Also, management would do well to follow the concept of never asking staff to do something that management is not willing to do themselves. Co-workers were set in their ways and very resistant to change and it appears as if everyone is attempting to get others in trouble. You cannot run an agency when everyone is in fear of getting in trouble. So many people are worried about covering themselves that services are not being provided.

I am so glad that I am no longer a part of this organization. The clients deserve people in their lives who are focused on them, attentive to their needs, and most importantly, someone who will fight for them and advocate. That's just not happening anymore because the staff are stifled when they say anything negative. STIFLING THE NEGATIVITY DOESN'T FIX THE PROBLEMS AND SYSTEMS/PROCESSES. Upper management talks about staff and needing a "buy in with staff." Staff are human beings too, don't treat staff as clients or as people in need of being sold on a concept. This is a violently toxic work environment which prides itself on not appearing to be toxic. That's the worst kind of toxicitiy. Transparency in management would probably be best.

Salary in this organization doesn't even compare to other social service organizations for people in the same positions. Paying people what they are worth is best practice.

What I learned is that quality doesn't matter in their eyes. Growth and perception matters the most. That's completely inappropriate. Fix what you have first before expanding.

There is no balance for the ones who know what they are doing. The environment is constantly about working all the time and delegating to others as much as you can. You can only delegate so much before something goes wrong. The ones who actually have the knowledge and expertise are the ones who suffer with the task of doing the most work. Balance exists only for the three top leaders of the organization. Everyone else, they don't care about.

The ONLY enjoyable part was working with the clients and seeing small improvements. I felt bad for them that they were not improving faster because they didn't have the right staff and right resources to help.
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Pros
provides good medical/dental benefits
Cons
everything else
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Worst Organization I've ever worked with.
Staff (Former Employee) –  Chicago, ILMarch 11, 2013
I worked with this organization for a while. What I quickly learned is that there is a culture of apathy, disrespect, and gross neglect. I watched the CILA program residents continually come to day program un showered and unkept. The CILAs are dirty, half the staff do not take care of residents, and they eat poorly. The Houses have a repeating issue with bed bugs and the directors are not fixing the problem. In one house, the residents didn't get showered all weekend or many days in a row. Everyone knows about it, yet, nothing ever happens.

The school is a terrible mess. The teachers don't do what they are supposed to. Half the time the are just sitting there while students are not even engaged. Sometimes I felt terrible knowing that these vulnerable kids and adults are stuck in this place and no one realizes how terrible it really is. None of their buildings are wheel chair accessible. Their school and adult program buildings look terrible and their CILAs are extremely dirty.

I continually asked for something to happen and nothing ever did. When I complained, I was the one who as scolded and attacked, as though I was the one who wasn't doing my job. I worked tireless hours and exceeded my expectations. After a while I just gave up, because I couldn't stand it anymore.

This place should be shut down. I would never recommend this place to someone I cared about. I can't even believe this place is allowed to stay open.
Pros
free lunch
Cons
nearly everything else aside from the free lunch (that was usually not good anyways)
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Great place
Teacher's Aide (Former Employee) –  Chicago ilJanuary 12, 2013
I had a great time working for this school.The hours were great the time off with pay was great and just a different job but i loved it ,
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Excellent Place to Work.
Financial Administrator (Current Employee) –  ChicagoOctober 2, 2012
Esperanza Community Services is an excellent place to work. The managers and staff are really close knit and look out for each others best interst. It is good place to sharpen yours skill and develop new ones. The manangement is very friendly and approachable. The organization has a good culture for coaching and developing employees skills. The environment is not overly stressful. The organization is really in sync with its mission to provide services to the developmentally disabled individuals. Because of the work Esperanza has done with the DD population it has made it a truly inspiring place to work for.
Pros
awesome fridays, option to work from home, great group of co-workers, coaching, time off, flexible
Cons
doesn't pay as well as a for-profit corporations
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Excellent Place to Work!!!!
Case Manager (Former Employee) –  Chicago, ILSeptember 26, 2012
Although Esperanza has a well written mission statement with powerful and inspiring company objectives it is need of a major culture change, i.e. they uphold the status quo (only upper middle class people are in upper managment postions). Promotion from within is only for those with certain ascribed statues. Additionally Esperanza's management team does not reflect the people they serve which are primarily minorities.
Pros
sleeping at work is allowed
Cons
unpredictable and unstable work environment.
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Overall rating

3.5
Based on 26 reviews
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Work/Life Balance
3.6
Compensation/Benefits
3.3
Job Security/Advancement
3.3
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3.5
Culture
3.8

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