Keeping PACE

April 13, 2021

Coming Soon! 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!

More information, including when the program will launch and how to nominate a school, will be forthcoming.

Parent Academy Real Talk: Getting to Know Our Board of Education Members

The HCPS Parent Academy Real Talk show is excited to launch a new monthly series, Getting to Know our Board Members. President Jansen Robinson and Vice President Rachel Gauthier sit down with Parent Academy's Mary Beth Stapleton to share their story - a little bit of their background and ties to the community, why they sought a position on the Board of Education, and what serving the students of Harford County means to them. In addition, they answer some questions from the community. Check it out!

Please help us share the videos in this series with your school communities.

Parent Academy Real Talk: Getting to Know Our Board of Education Members

Community Schools Toolkit

Community schools are schools that develop and utilize partnerships to connect the school, students, families, and surrounding community to the resources needed in order to thrive. At its core, the community school strategy is deeply rooted in equity; it highlights the assets in traditionally underserved communities and leverages additional partnerships, ultimately providing students, families, and communities with essential services.

Maryland is home to more than 260 community schools throughout the State, serving students and families from birth to adulthood. Through strategic partnerships, community schools work to provide access to health services, mental health support, academic enrichment, out-of-school time programming, crisis support, adult education classes, leadership development, and more.

MSDE has resources available for all schools in the state, not just Community Schools, working to support families and community partnerships:

Community Schools Toolkit (

Webinar Opportunity: Engaging Families in Re-Entry Planning

Students and teachers have started to return to in-person instruction after an unprecedented year of virtual and hybrid schooling. As schools reopen, educators will need to consider a variety of needs. Those include academic as well as socio-emotional needs. How can schools and districts collaborate with families in the re-entry process? And how can we ease anxieties and smooth the transition?

In this webinar, we'll hear from a panel of school and district representatives. The panel will discuss how they’ve engaged families in planning for the return to in-person instruction. They’ll share what's worked and what hasn't, lessons learned, and tips for those working through similar challenges.

Topic: Engaging Families in Re-Entry Planning

Date: Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Time: 3:00 p.m.

Register here:

The Success Project - A Community Resource for Families in Need

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Office of Communications and Family Outreach

Keeping PACE editors:

Mary Beth Stapleton

Manager of Family and Community Partnerships

Lindsay Bilodeau

Communications Specialist