Social Worker & Learning Specialist (Current Employee) – New York, NY – March 28, 2018
A school that makes many efforts to live up to its mission. It looks to better the lives and nature of the children and families it serves, in addition to helping to promote a stronger sense of community.
Teacher (Former Employee) – Harlem, NY – November 20, 2017
I worked as a long term sub in the middle school. They had run through many teachers that year, not an atypical situation there, and I found my efforts undermined by colleagues. The students are largely special ed, with many students considered emotionally challenged so that they are reactive and low achieving, which took extra energy. In the past I have found similar students difficult but rewarding, but the overall environment was combative rather than supportive or collegial.
Terrible place to work if you are a new or still growing teacher.
Teacher (Former Employee) – New York, NY – September 29, 2017
Over 5 principals in three years of working there. The management is so poor. Students are not held accountable for their learning or their behavior. There is very little support from admin when it is needed. Teachers are not given enough time to complete any tasks they are assigned. Tasks are assigned back to back and at times without a real reason.
It's a friendship system. If you are friends with admin you will survive. However if admin doesn't like your style of work they will make your life Difficult.
The school is run by "HR" department. Namingly one person. That one person is the judge, jury, and persecutionor all day everyday. The CEO tells that one person how to do things and it gets done. Principals come and go by the dozen because once they are in they realize that it's a puppeteer system and they have zero power to implement or make any changes to the already broken system.
On the upside some of the students are amazing little human beings who are willing to work hard.
There's also no parking available. You may park on the street but be sure to be ready to pay hundreds in tickets per month.
HR watches your every move. If you do not do what you are told to do. If you are late they call you in a meeting to warn you. Students who are rude to you on a daily basis face no consequences. Turn over rate of 95% every year.
Assistant Basketball Coach (Current Employee) – New York, NY – August 2, 2017
I've been working here at OCS for some years now. I can easily say that i feel welcomed here by the staff and students in the building. I highly recommend this Charter School to people who want change for those as bad as they might want it. (Pertaining to students).
Special Education Teacher (Current Employee) – New York, NY – May 23, 2017
The middle school section of the school may not have their charter renewed, therefore, employment is not secure for the middle school family. Teachers give their all and administration (principal, assistant principal, deans, etc) also give 100%. Most of the students have special needs and need this school to let them know that they matter in this world.
Teacher (Current Employee) – Harlem, NY – August 7, 2016
The school is 51% special needs kids and unfortunately does not have the SPED staff it needs right now to service all of its students. However, the teachers are enormously dedicated (especially the ones who have been there more than one year), and administration tries its best to support you. The students do get away with a lot, but this is not unusual for a public school or even a charter. The school works hard to implement restorative justice, but it takes more than one year and a lot of training to see a real change.
I have worked under a lot of different administrations and this school has the best by far. They are dedicated workers and fair in their assessments of both you and the students. Fair doesn't mean nice all the time--they will call you out if you are not following protocol. But they give you multiple warnings and strategies to help you before it becomes a job security issue.
They do keep the teachers until 4, but the kids are only there until 3. This is a great way to catch up on work and prep for the next day. This way, grade team and subject team meetings can happen when kids are not around.
I have learned a lot (and still need to) about classroom management. Despite my shortcomings in that area, I feel hugely valued by my administration which is one of the best parts of working here.
The one thing I'd change (besides the behavior of the kids, which is an ongoing process and something the school is actively working on) is the culture of the staff. We aren't really the type of staff that hangs out after work or plans weekend BBQs together. I thinkmore... we would show a more united front if we also socialized a few times a quarter and got to know each other more. It is just a professional environment with dedicated teachers--we socialize after work...just not with each other.less
union, benefits, salary tiers, administration & support staff
student behavior, lack of social activities for staff
Teacher (Former Employee) – Harlem, NY – July 23, 2016
They just throw you in a classroom with kids; more than 51% are special ed. They do not provide services that are needed for those kids. The class sizes are big - and while half is trying to learn, the other half spoils everything. Students do crazy stuff and they are not being hold accountable for that. AP lives in her own world and she does not care about the staff, she pretends she cares more about the students. Many teachers are great to work with though, however sometimes teachers leave or get fired during the semester. When the teachers gets evaluated often teacher gets fired at the end of the year, because they are "not efficient". But the school does not provide the support that really needed. They really do not know how to handle those students appropriately. And so they blame it on the teachers.
They put too much work on teachers and they keep them every day till 4. When you need a break there is a class in your room; when you have a staff prep there is a class in your room. Or after school.
Supportive workplace with unrealistic expectations
ELA Teacher (Current Employee) – Harlem, NY – June 27, 2016
The staff at OCS are very supportive. They do, however, expect a lot from their teachers. Close to 50% of kids in each class have IEPs. They expect tight classroom management. Academic levels are below standards.
Supportive staff, great benefits.
50% or more kids have IEPs, outdated and old building, low funding.
Former teacher (Former Employee) – Manhattan, NY – October 8, 2015
The opportunity School is wonderful place to obtain the skills need to conjure up student support and strategies for academic success. Although, I had to resign due to serious family issues, however, the supervisors in both high school and middle school are well equipped with all the resources for their new teacher as I had shortly experienced.
Staff support, Administrative leadership
no negative comments, the school has worked towards any challenges faced for school
Teaching Assistant/Teacher (Former Employee) – New York, NY – April 13, 2015
OCS is a school that services students with some of the highest needs. More than 50% of the students these have IEP's and are in need of some type of academic or behavioral intervention. Due to the needs of all the students the school is understaffed despite its apparent large staff. There are too many students with intense needs to be serviced in these classrooms. Leadership can be fickle and creates new policies on a day by day basis. As a result the turnover rate was laughable while I was there.
Camp Counselor (Former Employee) – Manhattan, NY – February 13, 2014
Very repetitive of a work day with the children. The hardest part was trying to not make it feel so repetitive for the kids for them to get the most out of their summer. I enjoyed the span of activities offered to them and being able to join in with the kids at times.
co-teacher (Former Employee) – Harlem, NY – October 23, 2012
No discipline; parents and students run the school; released all teachers that were there over three years; the physical space is cramped- four hundred and fifty students middle through high on the third and forth floor of a former high school; stand in line to clock out, using their palm reading punch clock; long, unstructured hours for teachers; two and three teachers assigned to one classroom; inconsistent and poorly planned school events (often canceled at the last minute); poor communication between management, behavioral team and teaching staff; wrong behavior program in use; students disciplined accordiing to social/status/favoritism; staff/student personal issues not heeded; admin supports student over staff; teacher evals done according to personal like/vendetta; not all eval decisions based from principal observations; reembursment request needed for "buy box"/activities; forth floor walk up-need health note to request elevator key; ;One minute late- 5 times: write up 9 times: terminated; No curriculum maps; lack of books and resources; no library; no computer lab; overabundance of frustrated teachers at the end of each day
very excellent and dedicated teachers; one outstanding counselor