Moving to Northern Virginia and have some questions!

Discussion in 'Job Seekers' started by teach4thgrade, Jan 27, 2014.

  1. teach4thgrade

    teach4thgrade Rookie

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    Jan 27, 2014

    Hello everyone!

    :help:

    A little background:
    I'm currently in my 3rd year of teaching. My first 2 years were in 4th grade ELA/Sci/SS and this year I moved down to 3rd grade, all subjects. I currently work in a Title 1 TAP school. The students at the school are 84% minority and 94% free or reduced lunch. I've had some major successes in my current and last year with student growth.

    Recently, my friend was hired for a job in northern Northern Virginia and since I've never lived outside of my home state, I decided that this would be a wonderful opportunity to spread my wings and try something new.

    However, I'm a little lost on applying to jobs in the NOVA area. I want to stick with the Fairfax County area (as it seems this is where my friend will be based), possibly Falls Church or Alexandria could be an option. I have started the process of getting my VA teacher's license. Working through the CPR class right now! I have a few questions/concerns though.

    1. I've heard that FCPS does fast hires through HR. This would be the best bet for me as my friend will be moving around June (school let's out here at the end of May) and having a job for me would allow us to apt hunt. Currently, I have 2 possible dates to go up there for an interview with HR. #1 is during my Mardi Gras break (around March 3) and #2 is during my Spring break (around April 20). Which would be the best time frame to work with?

    2. This year, LA has begun implementing CC. Is Virginia a CC state? If not, what are some of the curriculums teachers are using?

    3. If anyone has been through the HR interview recently, can you please let me know of any important details I may need to know (I am TERRIBLE at interviews and need all the help I can get!).

    I have a 1,000 questions before I started this thread, but these are the 3 main ones. Thanks for your help in advance!
     
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  3. vateacher300

    vateacher300 Rookie

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    Jan 27, 2014

    I currently work in Virginia and will also be attempting to get hired in Northern Virginia for the next school year. If anyone has any tips for us, I'd love to hear them! I just need to be in the region and not anywhere super specific so I am open to any of the systems up there. I am planning on hitting up the recruitment fairs so if you have any background info on how those typically work, I'd definitely appreciate it!

    As for VA, it's not a Common Core state. Virginia has their own SOLs (Standards of Learning) and the best way to get comfortable with them is by checking them out on the Department of Education website. I would advise that you study them pretty well for the grades in which you want to work because you will be asked specific questions about the SOLs in interviews.

    Good luck!
     
  4. teach4thgrade

    teach4thgrade Rookie

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    Jan 30, 2014

    Thanks! I've been looking at the SOLs and they are pretty similar to CC. I'm really, really hoping I get hired as I started making plans :) Any and all help would be appreciated!!!
     
  5. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Jan 31, 2014

    Fairfax County is going through a budget crisis now. I expect the county to be on a hiring freeze, at least through May. I don't know if the county will be doing Early Hires this year, but if so, all of that stuff is handled before May 1. I wouldn't make plans until you get contacted. There's some "online interview" survey the county makes you do... if you don't get a score high enough on it, you won't get hired through HR.

    If you really want to get hired, I'd send résumés to principals. For the most part, principals are the ones that decide who they hire, and if a principal likes you enough, they might serve as a squeaky wheel to HR, if we do have Early Hires.

    Also, I disagree about being asked specific SOL questions. I've sat on the panel for about twenty panel interviews, and I interviewed at four schools in FCPS. The SOL standards never came up in any of those interviews unless the interviewee asked a question about them. It's not a bad idea to look at them, but I wouldn't stress much about being quizzed on them.

    What you will be asked in FCPS is about use of technology in the classroom, your use of differentiation, and what your math and reading blocks look like. We're being "encouraged" to use workshop models for both math and reading, so study up on guided math.
     
  6. ayla

    ayla Companion

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    Feb 1, 2014

    I work in Fairfax.

    1. I attended the early interview fair. You need to get your materials in asap and you will only be contacted if you are invited to interview. More info: http://www.fcps.edu/hr/employment/recruitment/jobfair.shtml I went to one of these, it was promising, I got offered a mid year job (which I couldn't take because I was under contract) so had to wait until late June when hiring opened up. In May current employees have the opportunity to transfer, and since they are looking to lay off 700 people in the proposed budget, there will be a lot of internal transfer to open positions in this time. I agree that early hiring will be zero to none. Keep in mind there are normally 2000 new teachers hired every year so there will still be jobs, it will just be later when you know what they are. Don't expect to be able to schedule an interview yourself. They set the timeline and the rules. I went on 5 interviews that late week in June and was offered my position by the end of the week. Arlington interviews earlier and I went up multiple times to interview with them. Again don't expect to set your own timeline; I also asked if I could tele-interview since many interviews were in the middle of the week in April and they told me basically that I would not get the job if I did that, I had to come in person. Alexandria will be similar to your current school, a lot of their schools are under state review right now and it is unclear what will happen at the end of the two year period ending this school year - state take over or similar. I did not apply there because my current school was going through that and I had no desire to do it again.

    2. We have a more rigorous system called Standards of Learning (SOLs), there is a map on the VDOE website at least for math that shows the topics in CCSS and how ours exceed them in every grade level. We have released tests (to an extent......) to work with also.

    3. Every elementary interview I went on asked about what was said above -- technology, guided groups in both reading and math (one school even had me do a mixed number addition problem that the fractions added over one whole to prove I could do it presumably, that I was confident with the topic, and that I could pre-empt student mistakes and explain to them the correct method and so on... It was for a 4th grade position so they must have had some math uneasy teachers in the past). Keep in mind FCPS elem schools go through 6th grade. You can apply K, 1-3 or 4-6 generally. You will also be asked about assessment and data. FCPS is on the forefront of every educational experiment typically so you'll fit in best if you are progressive. I also agree they will make you take a computer test (posters post about it here) and if you don't answer in a way that aligns to the district (it is about your teaching methods) then they won't hire you. As you are interviewing with specific principals (you mail your resume directly to them), it might have nothing to do with you if they don't hire you -- they are looking for a good team fit with your personality and take that really seriously up here. So if you are not the exact person they are looking to put on their team (whatever hole they have in their team they are looking to fill which will be different for every job) they won't hire you for that one job and it has nothing to do with your teaching ability.

    Let me know if you have more questions since I just went through the process last year.
     
  7. teach4thgrade

    teach4thgrade Rookie

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    Feb 15, 2014

    Thanks everyone! I've been working hard on getting my VA teaching license (only one more document left to get signed…and it's a toughie since I have to figure out how to get my college advisor to sign it). I'm also working on my resume and am super scared to turn it in. Mostly it's because of my reference section. I have two very good references, but my 3rd (my current principal) could possibly be a bad one (she's done this before). I have an asst principal from the past that I can use as a reference, but am unsure of how that would look.

    I'm also incredibly nervous about the TeacherInsight test. Can't imagine not getting a job because I didn't pass this test the first time. Any advice?
     
  8. ayla

    ayla Companion

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    Feb 16, 2014

    You will have to put your current principal for most VA schools. A lot of them do email references (you put in their email, and once you submit your online application then it auto emails all of your references before they ever get in touch with you).
     
  9. teach4thgrade

    teach4thgrade Rookie

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    Feb 19, 2014

    Fairfax is done. TeacherInsight is done. Now the waiting begins. How long should it take to get an invite to the job fair? I'm thinking if I do not hear by Friday, I may call them (this is because I need to book a flight and hotel asap). Thoughts?

    Thanks!
     
  10. ayla

    ayla Companion

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    Feb 20, 2014

    I heard within 4 days, ymmv.
     
  11. teach4thgrade

    teach4thgrade Rookie

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    Feb 20, 2014

    Got my invitation today :) So excited! Curious as to how the job fair is set up there. Here, it's basically a free for all and you just go to different principals. Is it set up by school or by district? And how long is it? I want to interview with as many schools as possible!!
     
  12. ayla

    ayla Companion

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    Feb 21, 2014

    You don't interview with schools. You get 1 interview and if you "pass" so to say you will be told that you are an early hire (a week to two weeks later I think?). You sign with the district and then in May you contact principals who have spots and they'll hire you to their school from there. If you aren't placed by... I forget if June or August, then they place for you.

    If you don't "pass" so to say you're put in the general hiring pool. The last week of June spots will be posted online and you contact individual principals from there.
     
  13. RedStripey

    RedStripey Comrade

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    Mar 13, 2014

    This was very helpful. I have an inteview with Fairfax on Saturday. Thank you very much. :)
     
  14. teach4thgrade

    teach4thgrade Rookie

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    Mar 16, 2014

    How did your interview go? I was super nervous but the principal I met with was great!
     
  15. RedStripey

    RedStripey Comrade

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    Mar 18, 2014

    I think it went really well. The principal seemed to like me a lot and she was super sweet and helpful. Not at all aloof like the principals here in NJ seem to be. :|
     
  16. teach4thgrade

    teach4thgrade Rookie

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    Mar 19, 2014

    Awesome! Glad your interview went well! Hopefully we both end up with jobs :) I talked with an HR rep today and they basically said if we don't hear from them by the end of May we weren't picked for early hire.

    Good luck!
     

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