Custodians celebrate end of year at annual Custodian Appreciation Day

The message was clear to everyone in the packed Kellam cafeteria: No matter your official title with the school division, everyone working in Virginia Beach City Public Schools (VBCPS) teaches.

That was the heart of Superintendent Dr. Aaron Spence’s opening remarks shared at the 2016 Custodian Appreciation Day. This end-of-year celebration was held June 20 at Kellam High School to honor the work of the more than 740 custodians in the division.

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“Collectively and individually, everyone across the school division is a teacher—perhaps not in the true sense of the profession—but because of the messages that we send to students through our work,” Spence said.

“If there’s trash and graffiti across our campuses, it sends a message that school is not important. Instead, you ensure that every building is shiny and clean, which creates learning environments that say students are here to learn.”

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Following remarks from Spence, School Board Chairman Dan Edwards and Chief Operations Officer Dale Holt also took the stage to say thank you and extend their congratulations for another year of great work.

“It’s essential that we celebrate their worth because all of the work they perform daily—for the good of our students, staff members, fellow employees and the community,” said VBCPS Director of Custodial Services Larry Ames. “Oftentimes, they can go unseen or unnoticed.”

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On a daily basis, custodians clean and maintain more than 11 million square feet of school buildings and administrative offices.  The event Monday was the chance to publicly share the pride custodians have in that work. As part of the event, the 2015-2016 Gold Award winner were brought to the stage to receive their award – many wearing their “Clean it like you mean it” t-shirts.

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The Gold Award is given to those custodial teams who achieved the highest marks on 110 criteria during a building inspection. Inspectors check everything from clean classrooms to litter free outside areas. Building custodians continually monitor restrooms, stairwells, lobbies, entrances, cafeterias, gyms, lockers, libraries, and storage closets to ensure they meet the highest standards. In addition, crew members are also scored on programs, procedures and safety.

91 teams earned the Gold Award this year, which again proved there was plenty to celebrate.

For more information about custodial services, visit Or, you can read more here about the new professional learning course created this year for custodians by the Office of Professional Growth and Innovation.

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One thought on “Custodians celebrate end of year at annual Custodian Appreciation Day

  1. I appreciated the invitation to this annual event and was happy to help acknowledge the contributions of Mr. Ames and his celebrated custodial crews. I could not help but think of my beloved Uncle Tony, a “career-switcher” who retired as a high school custodian in New Jersey after decades of work in construction and brick-laying. It is my hope that many of those custodians present at this luncheon will consider applying for the new professional learning course being offered by PGI to stretch their potential, and enhance their standing within VBCPS.

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