HCPS 411 Update

September 29, 2022

September Monthly Minute Video

Were you unable to join the Monthly Minute last week? No worries - we have you covered! Click below to watch Dr. Bulson's latest Monthly Minute message from September 22. This is the first Monthly Minute for the 2022-23 school year.

To view a complete archive of all past Monthly Minute videos, visit the Monthly Minute page on our website by clicking here.


Deerfield Elementary School Named September Family Friendly School Winner!

HCPS Parent Academy, in partnership with Chick-fil-A of Harford County, is excited to announce that Deerfield Elementary School is the September winner for the school system’s Family Friendly School Award program!! Way to go, Dolphins!

This month, a total of 18 schools were nominated and 2,362 unique votes were cast by the community among the nominated schools, naming Deerfield Elementary the winner with 423 votes!! Not only does the school earn the coveted title of Family Friendly School for the month of September, but the entire school staff will be treated to a luncheon by the program’s partner, Chick-fil-A of Harford County.

We want to give a special shout out to this month's runner up schools:

  • Joppatowne Elementary School
  • Churchville Elementary School
  • Old Post Road Elementary School

Keep up the great work!

The school system will continue to celebrate its schools that best engage all families by consistently demonstrating the National PTA Standards for Family-School Partnerships. One school will be named a family friendly school each month through May.

Want to see your school highlighted for this award on the website and social media, plus treated to a Chick-fil-A lunch? Continue to encourage parents/guardians, students, staff and community members to nominate your school for the Family Friendly School Award! The nomination window will be open again October 3-10, 2022, on the Parent Academy page of hcps.org. If your school is nominated, our community can show how welcoming your school is by casting their vote October 12-19, 2022.

More information may be found on https://www.hcps.org/parents/parentacademy/familyfriendlyschools.aspx.

HCPS is deeply grateful for its generous Chick-fil-A partners at the Aberdeen, Bel Air, Constant Friendship, and Forest Hill locations for their tremendous support of this program.


Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences (NRAS) Magnet Program Open House Rescheduled

If you attended one of the magnet information sessions that has already taken place, or reviewed the flier sent home at the beginning of the school year, an open house was scheduled for the Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences (NRAS) Magnet program at North Harford High School this Saturday, October 1. While we are not aware of Hurricane Ian causing weather conditions here in Harford County that would result in the need for HCPS to cancel or reschedule most events, we are anticipating weather conditions that may make touring the barns and fields difficult. We are proactively rescheduling the NRAS open house to Saturday, October 22, from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. to ensure families can comfortably tour the NRAS facilities. This information has been posted on hcps.org and shared on our social media outlets.

Academic Tutoring

The Academic Tutoring Program is seeking short-term and long-term tutors for the 2022-2023 school year. Tutors will provide students with instructional support and remediation. Tutors are needed in the areas of reading and mathematics for students in grades K-12, as well as Science and Social Studies for the graduation required courses at the high school level. Teachers and paraeducators in any content area may serve as tutors and will be able to select their desired content(s) and grade level(s). Tutors will also be able to determine the number of tutoring sessions that they would like to conduct each week. Elementary students will be supported in a virtual, one-on-one setting. Middle and high school students will be supported in a virtual, small group setting with three or fewer students. Tutors will be compensated at their per diem rate.

If you are interested in serving as a tutor, please complete this survey form:


Public Service Loan Forgiveness

The deadline for the Federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Limited Waiver is October 31, 2022. This limited waiver allows borrowers to receive credit for past periods of repayment that would not have qualified for PSLF. For more information, visit the US Department of Education's PSLF stakeholder resource page.

All PSLF forms may be sent via email to certification@hcps.org or by interoffice mail to Human Resources/Certification.

Professional Development Announcements

Goucher College Graduate Programs for Teachers

Please see flier. For more details, please contact Lim Leonard at (667) 444-2410 or kleonard@exploregoucher.com.

American College of Education

On Tuesday, October 11, American College of Education (ACE) will host a webinar at 7:00 p.m. to provide an overview of ACE and thier programs, along with the discounts available to HCPS staff. If you are not able to attend live, you can still register and will receive the recording the following day. The link to register can be found here, or see flier.

McDaniel College – Virtual Open House

Learn more about McDaniel's Graduate Programs for Educators. Please see flier for upcoming open house on Wednesday, October 12, 2022, at 4:30 p.m. and use the Register Here button to RSVP.

Real Talk: Community Schools

In this Real Talk episode, Mary Beth Stapleton sits down with Dr. Roclande’ White, Grants Specialist and in-house expert on the Community Schools model, which is funded by The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future (Blueprint). Community Schools provide support to students who need it the most, and Harford County Public Schools currently has 11 Community Schools. Take a moment to learn more about what it means to be a Community School, including how a specialist in each of these schools is tasked with identifying and providing the resources needed to support families, such as food pantries and clothing closets. In addition, the Community Schools Specialist serves as the liaison between the school and the community to establish partnerships to provide families additional services, such as medical care. In a Community School, the school building serves as the hub of resources for its school community.


Register today: Effective Parenting

Parent Academy, together with the Harford County Local Management Board, is excited to share details about an upcoming free and uplifting workshop. We hope you will join us on Thursday, October 13, 7:00 p.m. at Patterson Mill High School (85 Patterson Mill Road, Bel Air, MD 21015) for Effective Parenting: A positive, strength-based approach to raising your child.

This workshop will be presented by Charlie Appelstein, MSW, an internationally prominent youth care specialist and author of three youth care books widely used within his field. Mr. Appelstein will deliver a message of hope and possibility as he covers topics such as:

  • What is strength-based parenting?
  • Helping your child learn a positive, growth mindset
  • Strategies for enhancing your child’s self esteem
  • How to respond instead of reacting to your child
  • And more!

Register for the event here.

We hope you will mark your calendar now to join us at Patterson Mill High School on October 13 for this awesome event!

New Process for Teacher Certification

MSDE has released The Educator Application and Certification Hub (TEACH). Existing applicants and certificate holders will need to complete a one-time registration by visiting https://certificationhub.msde.maryland.gov. You will be required to upload verification of identification such as a driver’s license or passport. Verification of your identification must be completed before any service or request can be completed. When registering, please ensure your email address is updated. The Certification Department will provide updates and notification to teachers through TEACH as well as your HCPS email. TEACH requires educators to submit an application/request for initial certification, renewal of a certificate, adding an endorsement or name change. This must be done on MSDE TEACH through the educator’s dashboard.

For those who have a Maryland teaching certificate that is expiring DECEMBER 31, 2022, if you have not done so already, please log onto TEACH and request a renewal of your certificate. More information regarding this process can be found in the MSDE TEACH INFORMATION 9-2022 document on SharePoint, Human Resources, Certification, under Certification Forms & Information.

In order to renew certificates in a timely manner, please have your dashboard and request completed by November 1, 2022.

Questions regarding this information should be directed to CJ Harbach, Certification Assistant, or Aretha Young, Certification Coordinator, at Certification@hcps.org or 410-588-5258.

MRSPA Mini-Grant Opportunity

The Maryland Retired School Personnel Association (MRSPA) is offering six (6) Mini-Grants of up to $300 to classroom teachers across Maryland. The grants may be used on special projects or activities that are not funded through the school system or Parent Teacher Organization. Applications and additional information can be found at MRSPA.org. Applications can be submitted from October 1, 2022, through November 1, 2022. Please view MRSPA.org or contact wtwigg@mrspa.org for additional information.

School and Classroom Enrichment Grants From Harford County Education Foundation

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Diversity 365

Join us as we continue to shine the light on how HCPS celebrates Diversity throughout the year. Each month, we will highlight a cultural/organizational holiday. All you have to do is take a picture or two and share the wonderful things your school or office is doing to celebrate the contributions we all make to HCPS.

This month, we are celebrating: Hispanic Heritage.

Please email your celebration pictures and a brief write up regarding the event to Sherron Foster-Moore, Diversity Retention & Recruitment Specialist, at sherron.fostermoore@hcps.org by Thursday, October 6, 2022. This month’s submissions will be shared in the October 13th edition of the HCPS 411 Update.

CareFirst Wellness Announcements: Think Pink!

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

This October, we challenge you to spread awareness of not only the prevalence and impact of breast cancer but also the importance of early detection. To learn more, click here to view CareFirst's October Wellness Newsletter.

October Recipe of the Month: Hulled Barley Vegetable Soup

Few things warm your body and spirits like a steaming bowl of soup. Click here to try this healthy barley vegetable soup for a cozy night.

Maryland State Pension System: Mentor Newsletter

The Fall 2022 retirement newsletter provided by the Maryland State Retirement and Pension System is now available for active employee members. This edition includes information about members' personalized pension account statements, investment returns, Board of Trustee elections, and much more. To view the newsletter, click here.

#HCPSHealth Wellness Corner

Are you looking for healthy recipes, employee benefits, wellness information, or other health and wellness-related information available to HCPS employees? We encourage you to visit the HCPS Staff Wellness Program webpage! On this page, you will find a calendar of health and wellness events and webinars, helpful links to online fitness programs and challenges, employee assistance information, mental health videos, and more!

This page will be updated each month to include the most up-to-date health and wellness information. If you are interested in receiving HCPS Wellness emails, we encourage you to sign-up for those emails when visiting the Staff Wellness Program webpage.

Upcoming Webinar Workshop: A Parent's Guide to Kids and Money

For many of us, as children, discussing money was off-limits. Questions were ignored or received vague, incomplete answers. But times have changed. Today, you need to teach your kids good money habits and how to make sound spending, saving, and investing decisions. That is why MetLife is offering HCPS employees the upcoming workshop, A Parent's Guide to Kids and Money: Toddlers to Teen Workshop.

Date: Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Time: 5:00 – 6:00 p.m.

If asked for the company name, enter Harford County Public Schools.

Click here to reserve your spot! Register online now. Space may be limited.

On the fence? Here's a sneak peek of what to expect. Spouses and partners are welcome!

Drive Thru Flu Shot Clinics

Get Your Flu Shot Without Leaving Your Car

HCPS, in partnership with CVS, will be hosting a drive-thru flu shot clinic. Events will be held on various days in school parking lots throughout the county. Employees and their families (ages 3+) are welcome to attend an event to receive their flu shot.

Pre-registration is preferred but not required. To register, click on the school location+ and date you wish to attend.

Please be sure to bring your insurance card and identification with you. Flu shots will be billed to your insurance*. Questions? Email the Benefits Office at benefits@hcps.org.

*HCPS medical plans cover flu shots at 100% with no member liability.

+Events will be held at the school location listed per the selected link.

Ready for Your New Fall Fitness Routine with BurnAlong?

Are you looking for a quick workout or a jumpstart to a new fall fitness routine? Check out the BurnAlong playlist, "Monte's Greatest Hits," featuring some of Monte Sanders' most popular BurnAlong classes, along with eight (8) brand new workouts from America's Favorite Trainer. Click here to check out the playlist and get started with a quick workout, or meet Monte Sanders with a quick intro video.

Take BurnAlong with You

Join thousands of others on their health and wellness journey by downloading the Mobile App. Available in iOS and Android, take BurnAlong with you by downloading the app today!

What is BurnAlong?

As a reminder, BurnAlong is our health and wellness partner who provides you and your family with access to more than 23,000 live and on-demand online classes from 5,000+ credentialed instructors at no cost to you.

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To activate your complimentary account, get started by visiting https://fit.burnalong.com/hcps. If you have any trouble accessing your account, contact customercare@burnalong.com. Find out more about BurnAlong in this brief video.

AP Webinar: Open Communication - Talking about Talking

Presented by KEPRO Employee Assistance Program

We often spend most of our communication energy trying to get our point across and feel understood and heard by others. This month, participants will attain the skills to have open and effective communication at work and home. Click here to learn more.

Date: Available now on demand

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 this 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.

Employees and their family members can call KEPRO 24-hours per day, seven days per week toll-free at (866) 795-5701 to visit their website online at www.EAPhelplink.com.

Save the Date: Annual Fall Pre-Retirement Webinar

Through the Maryland State Retirement Agency and the Community College of Baltimore County, Harford County Public Schools announces a pre-retirement webinar for HCPS employees and their spouses. This webinar provides vital retirement information to all members within eight (8) years of retirement, whether normal service or early retirement. Discussion topics include:

  • HCPS Retiree Benefits
  • State Retirement Pension Benefits
  • Legal Consideration
  • Social Security Benefits
  • Financial Planning

This year's pre-retirement session will be held virtually on November 5, 2022, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Watch future HCPS 411 Update newsletters for more information on registering and obtaining a day of event link.

Access Healthcare Anywhere with CloseKnit

Virtual-First Primary Care Practice through CareFirst

CloseKnit is a virtual-first primary care practice that offers preventive, urgent, and mental health services through an easy-to-use app. As a CloseKnit member, you'll receive a dedicated Care Team to manage your health, navigate billing and benefits, and coordinate in-person and specialty care. Chats with your Care Team are FREE, and there are no annual or monthly membership fees.

How to Get Started or Learn More about CloseKnit Health:

1. Visit https://www.closeknithealth.com/register or download the free app using your phone or tablet.

2. Register and create your profile using your CareFirst member ID.

3. Start accessing the care you need.

COVID-19 Breakthrough Leave Survey Link

Employees who have received the primary vaccine series and at least one (1) booster can submit verification of their vaccination status through an online employee survey to be eligible for COVID Breakthrough Leave for the 2022-2023 school year. Individuals who already submitted both their primary vaccine series and booster information during the 2021-2022 school year will not need to complete this survey again. Information collected from the COVID Breakthrough Leave survey will be utilized for the 2022-2023 school year to determine COVID Breakthrough Leave eligibility. The survey can be accessed by clicking here.

The complete MOU specific to your bargaining unit can be found on the Staff Relations SharePoint page. Questions about COVID Breakthrough Leave can be directed to Staff and Labor Relations Office at (410) 588-5311.

Welcome to HCPS!

Please join us in giving a warm welcome to the following new members of the HCPS family!

  • Aidan Bennett, EndPoint Technician, Technology Department
  • Rocky Crowe, School Bus Attendant, Transportation Department
  • Kathryn Eckman, Part-Time School Nurse, Deerfield Elementary School
  • Hunter Hamilton, Custodian I-Shift 2, Bel Air High School
  • Asjayla Hines, Custodian I-Shift 1, Joppatowne High School
  • Jacqueline Jackson, Special Educator, Bel Air High School
  • Drew Johnson, Inclusion Helper, Bel Air High School
  • Angelina Jones, School Bus Attendant, Transportation Department
  • Zachary Marquez, Paraeducator, Aberdeen Middle School
  • Deborah Oshinrongboye, Maryland Leads Grant Specialist, Office of Strategic Initiatives
  • Frances Peaker, Custodian I-Shift 2, Magnolia Middle School
  • Samantha Potts, Paraeducator, Aberdeen High School
  • Carol Seifert, Custodian I-Shift 2, Bel Air High School
  • James Weber, School Bus Driver, Transportation Department

Office of Communications and Family Outreach

Editor: Lindsay Bilodeau, Innovation 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.