Loudoun Teachers’ Red-Carpet Welcome Gets Them ‘Bee Boppin’

Loudoun school leaders are serious about making new teachers feel welcome.

As is tradition, they rolled out a literal red carpet this morning to welcome about 750 new faces during the annual new employee orientation. The John Champe High School honor band blasted pep songs, pom-pom-waving cheerleaders chanted, and administrators offered hugs, high fives and shouts as they spotted their fresh hires.

Superintendent Eric Williams, outfitted in a tux, got so into it that his throat hurt afterward.

“My voice is a little hoarse,” he said when he took the stage at the orientation.

Superintendent Eric Williams snaps a selfie at the new employee orientation. (Danielle Nadler/Loudoun Now)
Superintendent Eric Williams snaps a selfie at the new employee orientation. (Danielle Nadler/Loudoun Now)

He greeted the educators that packed the John Champe auditorium, and cued a couple of music videos as part of his speech to get them pumped up, including Meghan Trainor’s “Me Too.”

“I see you on the left back there bee boppin’, and that’s OK,” the superintendent said.

Williams, who is beginning his third school year at the helm of Loudoun County Public Schools, said teachers—not just rock stars and pro athletes—deserve a red-carpet welcome. “We do noble work in terms of empowering students to make meaningful contributions to the world,” he added. “So carry that pride that you have this morning as we move forward this year.”

The new employees were also welcomed by humorous speaker and author Ron Culberson. He kicked off the day with a few funny stories and a call to all of the teachers, many of whom are just beginning their career in education, to make learning fun and memorable for students.

He told the story of maintenance workers who dressed up in super hero costumes as they washed the windows at University of Missouri Children’s hospital earlier this summer. “What a gift for those children—to change one step in the process,” he said. “To still do a great job but do it a little more fun. That’s do it well, make it fun. That’s what you can do in the classroom.”

The teachers will now prep over the next two weeks for the first day of school, Aug. 29.

The John Champe High School honor band provided the beat for this morning’s new employee orientation. (Danielle Nadler/Loudoun Now)
The John Champe High School honor band provided the beat for this morning’s new employee orientation. (Danielle Nadler/Loudoun Now)
(Danielle Nadler/Loudoun Now)
(Danielle Nadler/Loudoun Now)


8 thoughts on “Loudoun Teachers’ Red-Carpet Welcome Gets Them ‘Bee Boppin’

  • 2016-08-12 at 4:57 pm

    What are we supposed to get from this article? Teachers are still underpaid and treated poorly by administration, students and parents when the hoopla is finished. The do this “red carpet” every year. LCPS also has high turnover.

    • 2016-08-12 at 11:23 pm

      LCPS has “high turnover”? On what basis?

      LCPS teachers are among the best paid in the nation, forget just NOVA. They deal with much less disadvantaged students (about 1/2 rate of FFX), much less ESL students (again about 1/2 FFX) and are virtually guaranteed a stellar evaluation (99.5% “effective”).

      Teachers receive gift certificates at holidays, lunch by the PTA, and work 195 days/year. On what basis is this “treated poorly”?

      You may have a point in terms of the historical support by the administration. Principals apparently expect brand new teachers to create lesson plans all by scratch, provide little time to observe other teachers in their classrooms, and provide little in the way of observational feedback. Teachers are not allowed to give midterms or finals and pressure is typically provided to inflate grades. I would agree with you on any of these.

  • 2016-08-14 at 11:35 am

    On what basis is this “treated poorly”? To start with, SGP, we have to deal with a handful of parents like you who LOUDLY proclaim that we are overpaid and underwork. Many of us have taken huge pay cuts to teach at public schools. Others have dedicated their entire careers to teaching despite being able to earn outrageous salaries and bonuses like you in the public sector. You complain about us getting a free lunch once every few months yet you, working for a federal contracting company, overcharge the US gov’t and have lavish expense accounts and yearly bonuses. You do nothing for your community besides complainiing and Yes, you treat us poorly everytime you post here with disrespect for our efforts and devotion to public service.

  • 2016-08-15 at 1:53 pm

    CareerSwitcher, name a single spot where I said teachers are overpaid and underworked? I haven’t. I have said that some great, young teachers are underpaid. I have also said some older, ineffective teachers may be overpaid because they received annual step increases regardless. But I have never said what you stated, period.

    Nobody believes that you took a huge pay cut or could generate an “outrageous salary” in the private sector. I, like many workers, receive neither an expense account nor bonus.

    Note that you say if we even critique educational workers, then we “treat [you] poorly…with disrespect for [your] … devotion”. In other words, if we don’t bow down, lavish you wish gifts, and accept ineffective teaching, we do “nothing for our community”. You get paid with our $$ to instruct your clients, our kids. We have a right to speak out on both the efficient use of tax $ and the effectiveness of your instruction. From your many errors on these boards, it is clear your teaching replacement would elevate our school system.

    • 2016-08-15 at 7:34 pm

      SGP, you make me laugh

      When an article or discussion thread is not about you, you hijack the conversation and change the narrative to be all about how your are oppressed by LCPS,

      When, as in this case, the discussion is specifically about you, you again change the narrative to make it about the public in general.

      It is as if you refuse to accept responsibility for your past posting and rantings.

      I have nothing against the general public getting involved in discussions about the schools. I am only against you, personally. Your disparaging remarks about teachers are well documents but your involvement with your local school seems to be non-existent. You fight against all the professional educators but you refuse to get involved in your neighborhood schools. You choose your own ego over being involved in your children’s’ schools. You attempt to insert yourself into budget, benefit, and pay discussion without any experience, insight, or operations details. You write nasty things about SB members, school administrators, and teachers. So, yes, you do treat us poorly. Again, this is about you and no one else.

      • 2016-08-16 at 10:03 am

        CareerSwitcher, I completely understand why you are so against me individually.

        Folks, CareerSwitcher is a little sore that I pointed out how virtually every point he made has been wrong, whether it’s on financial analysis, the effectiveness of teachers, or how much teachers actually receive in compensation. I think we can all have a little empathy for CareerSwitcher’s embarrassment.

        But it goes much deeper. Union activists try to isolate and shame anyone who might speak out. That’s their MO. If they can make individuals pay a price for simply raising valid criticism, they can silence any dissent. That’s what they try to do at LCSB and BOS meetings. That’s what they tried to do to me when I sued for the SGP data. I was called virtually every name in the book. Heck, an LCPS insider even reported me to CPS because my daughter went to school in rain boots and thus couldn’t play kickball. I’m not making this stuff up.

        So the LEA union activists are enraged that I have pointed out: 1) they have received step increases for the last 5 years, 2) they earn 18% more via pensions than their salary indicates, 3) teachers can retire at the ripe ol age of 52 with a $50K/yr pension, 4) teachers literally evaluate themselves on student growth instead of the federally required SGP data, and 5) LCPS knowingly lies about the budget numbers. They can’t believe someone would stand up to them so they bring all their fury to attack one’s reputation. It’s ok. I am not scared. But I will defend myself.

        Note that virtually everything in this post is about policy. None of it can be contradicted by CareerSwitcher so he attacks the messenger. I wonder… does LEA have seminars in which they teach you all how to attack opponents with such vitriol?

        • 2016-08-16 at 11:01 am

          Let’s stop with the misleading statements right now, SGP. You can say anything and everything you want but it does not make it true, or even relevant.

          You asked how are teachers treated poorly and you cited the example of a free lunch a few times a year as an example of how wonderfully we are treated. (Though, everyone appreciates a lunch, so thank you to the families that help) Then you go on to berate us for not knowing how much is in our pay check. All the while, you claim that teacher take home pay is passing the increase in the costs of living and teachers are retiring early and living high on the hog.

          For many teachers, take home pay barely moves from year to year.

          Look around at the teachers in the schools. How many of them are working well pass 52? This is because you theoretical retirement benefit does not match real life.

          You challenge the idea that career switchers earn less than what we were earning in the private sector despite reality. Then, even though you push for all students to become STEM worker and earn significant livings (like you do), you totally challenge the idea that if someone had taken this path instead of becoming a teacher they would be earning much more now, It is as if you never heard of site like salary.com which provide actual pay data for all types of jobs.

          On top of that you throw around the Union label as if it was correct or even a bad thing. While you know that LEA is not a union, you use the term in an attempt to demote anyone who speaks up against your tirade.

          Luckily, you are only one, little man who makes a whole lot of noise. Most of the families in Loudoun appreciate and support their local teachers. They vote for SB and BOS members who understand the value of our schools. They support their local schools and contribute to lunches (which we very much appreciate, BTW).

          So, I will continue to challenge you postings every time you go off on teachers. Meanwhile, how about you devoting some of your time to your local schools? Be part of what makes them great instead of simply trying to make yourself sound good.

          • 2016-08-16 at 11:28 am

            Many of us would like to contribute to our schools. Not by picking up trash or making copies, but by contributing to the best of our talents. Does anyone on God’s green Earth think LCPS can implement an ERP system well? No. How many tech consultants live in this area who do that for a living and would volunteer to assist? Many. Any chance LCPS would ever create a citizens’ board to assist in that process? Not a chance.

            My whole goal with SGP data was to assist in the analysis and use of growth data. If we knew which teachers were effective in Virginia, LCPS could hire them. We hire 750+ teachers/yr. Most counties do not. We could have issued offer letters to the best teachers throughout the state who wanted to come work in LCPS. LCSB ignored that idea not so much because it wouldn’t work but because they shun the idea of actually measuring performance at all. Teachers from other states on WaPo boards are shocked you all get to write you own evals. Yes, you claim you do not, but student “progress” makes up 40% of your eval and you provide all the documentation for that. You literally make up 40% of your eval score.

            And in case you don’t recall, I was banned from my school. I had offered to assist in coaching the after school math team. Let’s just say I have a little bit of experience in that area. Kind of hard to coach when the principal bans you and (likely) reports you to CPS to have your kids taken away, eh?

            Teachers still can’t read their paycheck. None of them know how much LCPS contributes on their behalf to their pension. Private sector workers do because it’s in their 401K accounts and it’s much less than teachers. You don’t even understand that each year you receive an increase in compensation from health benefits, not a cut.

            I encourage kids to learn STEM because it helps train their mind to think. I hired a lawyer who had an engineering undergraduate degree because she could argue more clearly and understand tech concepts. Business, med schools, everybody wants a STEM major. I advocate the same for the education sector. But LCPS won’t hire somebody with just an engineering degree. Why? Because the unions would cry bloody murder. And yes, LEA is a union and admits as much.

            The BOS has to manage the “teenage” LCSB. As a very wise person said recently, giving funds to the LCSB is like giving the keys to the car to a teenager and hoping they won’t do something stupid (to that effect). LCSB is essentially a criminal cartel with hidden conflicts who openly defraud federal laws. They lie about the budget, the requirements of Title 1, and even whether a suicide prevention plan was taken down to CYA. Nobody can believe a word they say. But the teachers still back them to the hilt because most LCSB members are just trying to pump more money into teacher paychecks including those who live in their household.

            Many hope we could get a competent LCSB. We have to wait at least 3 years. Why don’t you try to argue policy points on their merits. I guess that’s hard because you don’t have much justification for that.

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