HCPS 411 Update

June 16, 2021

Updated HCPS Operations Status - As of July 1, 2021

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Governor Hogan Lifts Mask Mandate

On Tuesday, June 15, 2021, Governor Hogan announced that the state of emergency and mask mandate will be lifted effective July 1, 2021, for the state of Maryland.


As of July 1, 2021, HCPS will adhere to the Governor’s announcement and will remove the mask mandate in all HCPS schools and offices. This means that for all in-person summer school instruction and summer programs, students, and staff, will not be required to wear masks as of July 1. If you would like your child to continue wearing a mask in school, please instruct your child to do so.


In addition, for the 4th of July events that occur after July 1, students and chaperones may choose to wear masks, but HCPS will not require masks during 4th of July events occurring after July 1. Participants will still need to follow any parade committee guidelines.


We expect to begin the 2021-2022 school year without masks. We will continue to dialogue with the Harford County Health Department, as well as review CDC and MSDE guidance around schools and best practice response to COVID-19 throughout the summer.

Katie Ridgway Named Acting Director of Strategic Initiatives

HCPS is excited to announce that effective July 1, Katie Ridgway, our current Supervisor of Risk Management, will be serving as Acting Director of Strategic Initiatives. In this role, she will be responsible for the coordination, implementation, and reporting of Blueprint for Maryland’s Future education initiatives, programs, and related funding. The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future is intended to transform Maryland's education system to the levels of high-performing systems around the world; read more here.


Throughout her career in risk management consulting, she has led risk assessment teams, maintained regional higher education and K-12 clients, developed education industry best practices, led seminars for education institutions, and focused on systemic changes for a variety of educational institutions. Katie became the HCPS Supervisor of Risk Management in 2015. Most recently, she has been instrumental in HCPS’ response to and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic while serving as our risk manager, demonstrating her effective leadership skills.


Please join us in welcoming Katie to this new opportunity with HCPS.


Human Resources will collaborate with Katie to temporarily support the functions of the risk management position. While this transition is taking place, please continue to contact Katie for any immediate risk management issues.

An Important Message from Dr. Susan Brown About itslearning

Harford County Public Schools was notified last week that itslearning would no longer be operational as of June 30, 2022. As such, a Request for Proposal (RFP) process will be conducted to determine a new learning management system. This is a standard process the school system utilizes to evaluate all instructional materials and resources. HCPS remains committed to an integrated digital ecosystem where teachers and students have efficient access to dynamic curriculum supported with digital tools and resources. Updates regarding the RFP process, as well as information concerning system-wide and teacher/administrator created resources housed in itslearning, will be shared with the HCPS community as they become available. At this time, we anticipate no disruption to teachers delivering 2021 Summer Learning instruction or to the 2021-22 school year instructional program.


Please contact the Office of Organizational Development at hcpsprofessionallearning@hcps.org should you have any questions or concerns.

Family Friendly School Award Program

The HCPS Parent Academy, in partnership with Chick-fil-A of Harford County, is excited to introduce the Family Friendly School award program. HCPS recognizes that building meaningful relationships between schools, families, and communities is imperative to student achievement. When families are involved in their children’s learning -- both at home and at school -- their children are likely to do better in school. Parents, guardians, and family members are more likely to be involved and engage with their child’s school if they feel welcomed and valued.


This new program is an initiative by the HCPS Customer Service Task Force to tie together all the work happening to strengthen home-school-community connections. We are looking to celebrate schools that best engage all families with inclusive practices. HCPS uses the National PTA Standards for Family-School Partnerships as an indicator of a Family Friendly School. With this new program, schools consistently demonstrating these standards have the opportunity to earn the coveted Family Friendly School Award and special recognition that accompanies that title, including:


  • Public recognition on the school’s website and the school system's social media pages;
  • Local news recognition;
  • Certificate and banner presentation from the Superintendent and a team of leaders/representatives;
  • Luncheon provided for the school’s staff by Chick-fil-A of Harford County;
  • And more!


This new recognition program will launch with the start of the 2021-22 school year. More information, including how to nominate a school, will be shared on social media over the summer. Be sure to follow the HCPS Parent Academy page on Facebook!

Family Friendly Award

2020-21 Second Grade Students' Log In to Change Beginning July 6

Each year, our second-grade students transition to a new log in name when they enter third grade. In preparation for the new school year, please be advised that between Wednesday, July 6, and Friday, July 8, 2021, second grade student log in names will change from the format of student ID @student.hcps.org to the student’s full first and last name @student.hcps.org.


Questions regarding this information should be directed to user.support@hcps.org.

Important Payroll Update

If employees have access to Employee Self-Service (ESS), payroll will no longer accept paperwork to change existing direct deposit accounts due to increasing fraudulent attempts to access employee payroll records. We are increasing security protocols and requiring all changes go through ESS. Payroll is happy to walk you through that process, should you have questions. If you do not have access to ESS, payroll will employ additional security measures to confirm your identity to ensure only authorized changes are made to your records. If you haven’t accessed ESS recently, we highly encourage you to re-familiarize yourself with this feature of our system here DSS And ESS Instructions. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we implement these changes.


Questions may be directed to Deborah Judd, in Business Services, or Drew Moore, in Technology.

TOY Transition Update

Many thanks to the 2020 Teacher of the Year Finalists, the Quaranteam5, for their words of wisdom and support during this challenging school year! This team of amazing educators is officially "passing the torch" to the 2021 Teacher of the Year Finalists group, or the 5x Stronger team. We look forward to hearing from them throughout the coming school year! Please take a moment to watch their transition video message.

TOY Transition Update

Real Talk: Summer Meals

During the summer, meal kit pick up dates will be on Thursdays. This change will take effect tomorrow, Thursday, June 17, 2021. Please be sure to check our website and social media pages for changes to pick-up locations.


Take a moment to watch this Real Talk segment where Mary Beth Stapleton talks with Kristen Sudzina, HCPS supervisor of Food and Nutrition, about stepping into her new role and the summer meal program.

Real Talk: HCPS Summer Meals

NMSI Laying the Foundation Workshops

Are you a middle or high school English, Science, or Mathematics teacher looking to expand your content knowledge to set high classroom expectations and shift students to advanced levels of thinking and learning? The National Math & Science Initiative’s (NMSI) Laying the Foundation (LTF) summer learning opportunity may be just what you are looking for!


NMSI has partnered with Aberdeen, Bel Air, and C. Milton Wright High Schools with the goal to expand access to rigorous coursework to traditionally underrepresented students through training and support for teachers, leaders, and students to increase the number of students enrolled in AP Mathematics, Science, Computer Science, and English courses. We know AP success is often based on the foundation of rigorous coursework in elementary, middle and high school, so Laying the Foundation is an additional program NMSI is offering this summer to support non-AP teachers in grades 6-12 at any of our HCPS middle or high schools.


Laying the Foundation provides vertically aligned professional development that is hands-on, real-time support aligned to grade and subject matter and provides coherent paths to advanced Mathematics, Science, and English courses. The training empowers educators with strategies and resources that raise academic rigor and prepare students to think critically and creatively at advanced levels. This online learning conference focuses on classroom units/lessons, pedagogical practices, and culturally responsive teaching. Teachers can engage in flexible participation options including live and on-demand learning sessions. Please access the linked flier in the description above for dates and details on the Summer Series and Content Workshops.


Questions can be directed to NMSI District Liaison, Eleni Libertini elena.libertini@hcps.org

Registration is now open for the 1st Annual UMD School Improvement Summer Institute!

This intensive and engaging two-day professional learning seminar is designed for principals, principal supervisors, and district administrators and will focus on:

  • Equity-Centered Leadership
  • Improvement Leadership
  • Learning Leadership


Keynote addresses by featured national education leaders, including:

  • Dr. Ash Vasudeva Vice President of Strategic Initiatives, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
  • Frederick Brown, co-author of Becoming a Learning System and The Learning Principal – Becoming a Learning Leader, and Chief Learning Officer and Deputy for Learning Forward
  • Dr. Stephanie Hirsh educator, advocate, author and former executive director of Learning Forward


The cost for the virtual School Improvement Summer Institute is $500 per person. More detailed information about the Institute, including the agenda, themes, and workshops can be found here.


Register for the UMD Summer Institute by July 15, 2021!


For questions, please contact Segun Eubanks, CEii Director, at: seubank2@umd.edu or (202) 436-4948.

Preliminary Report: Surveys on Student Engagement

Thank you for taking the time to complete the Educator Survey on Student Engagement and assisting your students in completing the Student Engagement Survey. We wanted to share the preliminary report with our teachers and other 10-month staff before they close out the 2020-2021 school year.


On average, more than two thirds of student respondents felt engaged during virtual instruction; and most HCPS educators felt that their students were engaged during virtual instruction. So, although this year was a difficult one, you certainly rose to the challenge and met overall success. Congratulations on a job well done!


A summary of the response counts for both the student and educator surveys is included below.


Student Engagement Survey:

  • Total Survey Response Count: 11,825
  • There were 5,583 comments received from students
    • 2,306 elementary student comments
    • 2,136 middle school comments
    • 1,141 high school comments


Educator Survey on Student Engagement:

  • Total Survey Response Count: 1,721
    • 1,385 out of 1,721 educator respondents are instructional staff
  • There were 2,691 comments received from educators
    • The challenges to engaging students open-ended questions had 1,294 text responses
    • The cognitive engagement open-ended questions had 658 text responses
    • The emotional engagement open-ended questions had 434 text responses
    • The behavioral engagement open-ended questions had 305 text responses


Please see the results of the survey here:


There were more than 8,000 comments in the responses to the open-ended questions; analyzing that data will take more time and will occur over the coming weeks to determine the overall survey key findings and recommendations. The final survey report will be shared with all HCPS staff in the fall.


If you have any questions or need additional information regarding this survey, please contact Yakoubou Ousmanou (Ousman), Manager of Research and Program Evaluation - North Star Initiative, at Yakoubou.Ousmanou@hcps.org.

CareFirst – More Virtual Care Options

As a CareFirst member, you have even more choices when it comes to virtual care, including access to 24/7 virtual visits from a wide range of credentialed doctors.


It’s like have a doctor on call just for you! Services include:

  • Urgent Care
  • Primary care (adult and pediatric)
  • Behavioral health
  • Diet and Nutrition
  • Testing referrals
  • Specialty services


Language support and translation services are also available. Visit carefirst.com/virtualcare to learn more.

Building Healthy and Happy Relationships

Presented by KEPRO Employee Assistance Program


The June KEPRO EAP communication resources are here! Are you looking for ways to build and keep healthy relationships? This online webinar will help you identify the ways to build and maintain health relationships with those around you, with a focus on the importance of boundary setting. Click here to more tips on how to set healthy boundaries.


Date: Available on demand beginning June 15, 2021

Broadcast Length: 50 minutes

How to Access: Go to your EAP website: www.EAPhelplink.com. Enter your code: HCPS and look for Online Seminars in the lower left-hand corner of the homepage or you can search for them by title.


The Employee Assistance Program is available to employees and their families anytime, any day and is a free, confidential program to help you balance your work, family, and personal life.


Call KEPRO toll free at (866) 795-5701 or visit their website online at www.EAPhelplink.com.

Virtual Pre-Retirement Planning Seminars

The Community College of Baltimore County is offering members of the Maryland State Pension System the opportunity to attend virtual pre-retirement planning seminars. Topics include:


  • Maryland State Pension System
  • Legal Issues to Consider in Retirement
  • Social Security Benefits
  • Financial Planning


The next session will be held from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on June 22 (CRN 38619).


To register, click here and follow the on-screen prompts. If you experience issues with registering online, call 443-840-5059.


Please note: This event is not hosted through HCPS, and therefore will not include information about our benefit plans. That session will be held will be in Fall 2021. More information will be shared in the HCPS 411 Update newsletter at a future date.

Harford County Invites Applications for the Position of On Call Crossing Guard

Do you know someone who would be interested in providing for the safe passage of pedestrian traffic; in rendering aid and assistance to ensure the smooth, safe movement of traffic; in providing advance warning to motorists of an intersection that is under the control of a crossing guard? Harford County is hiring for the position of On Call Crossing Guard. Please see and share the vacancy announcement: https://agency.governmentjobs.com/harford/job_bulletin.cfm?JobID=3109863. The deadline to apply is June 27, 2021, at 11:59 p.m.

Shout Outs!

"I would be remiss if I let the year end without a proper Shout Out to our media tech, Krissy Flatau. Being new to my position this year, Krissy has been the biggest cheerleader and support to me. She never hesitates to jump in and help with whatever she can. Her compassion seems unending, and it seeps into the relationships she works hard to build with our students. Thank you for everything, Krissy!"


-Ashley Thrasher, Media Specialist, Hall's Cross Roads Elementary School

Welcome to HCPS!

Please join us in welcoming the following employee to the HCPS family:


  • Antonio Gustavo, Administrative Support Technician - Curriculum, Harford Technical High School

HCPS 411 Update Publication Notice

Please note that this is the last regularly-scheduled issue of the HCPS 411 Update newsletter for this school year.


The newsletter will resume publication weekly on Thursdays with the start of the new school year.


Important information for staff will be shared over the summer via Special Announcement newsletters.


Have a safe, relaxing, and fun summer!

Office of Communications and Family Outreach

Editor: Lindsay Bilodeau, communications specialist


To submit an HCPS Shout Out or recognize a colleague in the Spotlight on Customer Service, please email the information and photo (if available) to HCPS.411@hcps.org.