HCPS 411 Update

December 16, 2021

COVID-19 Status and Updates

The current COVID-19 transmission status for Harford County, as determined by the CDC, is “high.” Currently, we have nine schools in school-wide outbreak status. With the risk of COVID-19 transmission rising in this county, it is important to focus on our goal of keeping schools open. To aid in this effort, please emphasize COVID-19 mitigation, including renewed efforts at social distancing and having virtual meetings whenever possible. Any concerns about COVID-19 mitigation can be directed to COVID19Questions@hcps.org.

Other resources regarding HCPS COVID-19 safety protocols can be found both on hcps.org under COVID Resources and on SharePoint here.

COVID-19 MOU: COVID Work/Leave

HCEA represented teachers and clerical staff who have been directed to quarantine due to COVID-19 exposure or possible exposure, or required to stay home with a dependent child who must isolate or quarantine, HCPS will provide COVID-19 quarantine leave as follows:

  • HCEA represented certificated members will be provided up to five (5) full days (to be used in half-day increments) of COVID/Quarantine leave for employees who voluntarily elect, and are able, to write sub plans, grade student work, and maintain teacher-parent communication during the quarantine period.
  • This benefit can be retroactively applied to unit members who wrote sub plans during their COVID/Quarantine absences since the first day of the FY22 school year (September 8, 2021) upon verification by their principal.
  • Unit members who elect, and are able, to work during this quarantine period will only be charged 3.75 hours (.5 day) of personal sick leave each day.
  • Beginning Monday, November 22, 2021, HCEA represented clerical staff will be provided with up to five (5) full days (to be used in half-day increments) of COVID/Quarantine leave upon the discretion of their principal or department head based on the employee’s duties, responsibilities, and ability to telework during the quarantine period.
  • Beginning Wednesday, December 15, 2022, HCEA paraeducators, inclusion helpers, interpreters and techs will be provided with up to five (5) full days (to be used in half-day increments) of COVID/Quarantine leave upon the discretion of their principal or department head based on the employee’s duties, responsibilities, and ability to telework during the quarantine period.
  • This leave will be capped at five (5) full COVID/Quarantine leave days that can be applied to ten (10) duty-days.
  • All HCEA employees can request additional days by contacting the Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources. These requests will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Questions regarding COVID-19 Quarantine Leave be directed to the Staff and Labor Relations Office at 410-588-5311.

Monthly Minute TEAMS Live Link - Rescheduled for December 21

This month's Monthly Minute with Dr. Bulson, originally scheduled for today, Thursday, December 16, has been rescheduled for Tuesday, December 21, from 12:15-12:30 p.m. Click here to join the LIVE event on December 21.

Blueprint for Our Students’ Future

Please take the time to watch a brief video update outlining the committee structure for Blueprint implementation at HCPS. There will be an overarching Steering Committee with sub-committees in the areas of early childhood, college and career readiness or NorthStar, career ladder, and student supports. Each of these committees will have balanced representation from central office, schools, and the community.

HCPS Blueprint Committee Structure

FY22 Payroll Calendar Revision

The FY22 Payroll Calendar has been revised for the recently announced closures on December 29 and 30, 2021, and April 14, 2022, as well as for the early dismissal on April 13, 2022.

The revision is available on SharePoint and can be accessed by clicking here.

If you have any questions, please contact your Payroll Specialist. Click Here to find the Payroll Specialist for your location.

Not sure who to contact? Send your question to the general email at Payroll@hcps.org.

Address Verification for W-2’s

Please verify the address shown on your 12/10/2021 pay stub is your current address. If the address is incorrect, log into Employee Self Service (ESS) and update your address (click on Life Events and then Move). Note - To access ESS, you must be logged onto an HCPS computer/HCPS network. The format for username is your network username followed by “@hcps.org”, for example, johsmith@hcps.org. See the DSS and ESS Instructions for all you can do in DSS/ESS.

If you plan on separating/retiring and will be moving prior to Friday, January 21, 2022, please complete the Change of Address Form and email it to HRIS@hcps.org so your 2021 W2 will reflect your current address and reach you timely.

If you have any questions, please contact your Payroll Specialist. Click Here to find the Payroll Specialist for your location.

Not sure who to contact? Send your question to the general email at Payroll@hcps.org.

2021 Maryland Earned Income Tax Credit

Maryland’s Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a credit for certain taxpayers who have earned income. Most taxpayers who are eligible and file for a Federal EITC can receive the Maryland state and local EITC. The allowable Maryland credit is up to one-half of the Federal credit.

To be eligible for the Federal and Maryland EITC, Earned Income (EI) and Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) must be less than:

  • $51,464 ($57,414 married filing jointly) with three or more qualifying children
  • $47,915 ($53,865 married filing jointly) with two qualifying children
  • $42,158 ($48,108 married filing jointly) with one qualifying child
  • $21,430 ($27,380 married filing jointly) with no qualifying children

If your income is less than the amounts shown above, visit the Internal Revenue Service website at www.irs.gov, visit Maryland’s website at www.marylandtaxes.gov, or contact your tax advisor to learn if you meet the other requirements.

Email Delivery Of Pay Stubs

As a reminder, you have the ability to sign up for email delivery of your pay stub (it will still be available under My Pay Stubs in Employee Self Service). Email delivery allows you to receive a copy of your pay stub from any computer by logging into the email(s) you choose.

Here are the steps to enable this option:

  • Sign into Employee Self Service (ESS). See the link below if you need instructions for signing into ESS.
  • Select Bookmarks
  • Select Employee Self Service
  • Select Electronic Documents
  • Select Pay Stubs under My Delivery Settings
  • Check Yes for Web Delivery
  • Enter a personal email address if desired and enter a password. This password does not expire so do not use your network password.
  • Click on Submit

To access ESS, you must be logged onto an HCPS computer. If you need information on logging into ESS, click on the following link DSS and ESS Instructions.

If you have any questions, please contact your Payroll Specialist. Click Here to find the Payroll Specialist for your location.

Not sure who to contact? Send your question to the general email at Payroll@hcps.org.

Academic Tutoring

The Academic Tutoring Program is currently running for the 2021-2022 school year. We are looking for short-term (“on call”) and long-term tutors. 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. We are expanding the program to tutoring students in Science and Social Studies at the high school level. Tutoring will be offered for the graduation required courses in these two areas. Teachers and paraeducators in any content area may serve as tutors and will be able to identify 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. We are looking for tutors to begin as soon as possible. However, tutors can also begin at the beginning of third quarter.

If you are interested in serving as a tutor, please complete this survey form: https://survey.hcps.org/rws5.pl?FORM=Fall2021TutorRegistration.

For any questions, please contact Academic.Tutoring@hcps.org.

PARAPRO Assessment Opportunities – January 14, 2022

With principal approval, the ParaPro Assessment will be available to all HCPS employees seeking to meet the highly qualified requirements of paraeducator positions in Harford County, which permits an individual to work with students in the classrooms under the direction of the teacher.

The test measures skills and knowledge in reading, math, and writing, as well as the ability to apply those skills and knowledge to assist in classroom instruction. Test administration is scheduled for January 14, 2022. The test will be offered from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. at C. Milton Wright High School (located at 1301 North Fountain Green Road, Bel Air, MD 21015). Please sign-up and pay for the assessment on HECTOR.

Additional information related to the test, procedures for reimbursement, test prep/review, and the MD passing score requirements are also available on the Human Resources site: HERE.

Questions regarding this information should be directed to Pauline Timmons, in Special Education, at Pauline.Timmons@hcps.org or 410-588-5246.

Parent Academy: Middle School Matters

A special Parent Academy virtual workshop, Middle School Matters, was recently offered to 4th, 5th, or 6th grade parents. During this event, parents heard from Magnolia Middle School Principal Laurie Namey, Supervisor of Mathematics Joanne McCord, and Curriculum Specialist Katie Campbell about the importance of the middle school years.

Parent Academy - Middle School Matters

Campfire Stories with 5xStronger

This past November, the 2021 Teacher of the Year team, 5xStronger, assisted by a few of the 2020 TOY team, QuaranTeam 5, hosted a social event for first- and second-year teachers. This event allowed time for new teachers to meet and socialize with colleagues from around the county. In addition to enjoying a delicious sandwich from Vagabond and roasting marshmallows over the open fire, teachers shared stories, laughs, and lessons learned during their first years of teaching. These stories included highs and lows, struggles, laughs, and invaluable connections made with others. New teachers had time to reflect on their own memorable moments, struggles, and strengths. Teachers also walked away with wonderful gift baskets graciously donated by the Harford County Education Foundation.

Scholarship Opportunity - Maryland Retired School Personnel Association

The Maryland Retired School Personnel Association (MRSPA), through its MRSPA Fund, is offering three $2,000 scholarships to public school employees in Maryland who are enrolled in a program leading to teacher certification or certification as a school counselor, speech and language pathologist, physical or occupational therapist, school social worker, administrator or supervisor, media specialist or school psychologist. Applicants must hold a high school diploma or GED certificate.

The scholarship is also available to certificated teachers who are pursuing certification in another area or level of teaching or to become qualified as one of the above-listed education specialists. Applicants must be current employees of the Board of Education and must intend on working in a Maryland public school while working toward certification and upon completion of their requirements for certification.

Applicants apply online between January 1, 2022, and January 31, 2022, at www.frederickcountygives.org. Winners will be notified by March 1, 2022. Additional information can be found at https://www.mrspa.org/scholarship-committee.

Professional Development Announcements

Harford Community College

Do you need credits for recertification? Harford Community College is offering fully online courses this spring, including EDUC204: Advanced Materials and Curriculum for Preschoolers, EDUC210: Children with Behavioral Challenges, EDUC219: Everyday Classroom Assessment, and more. To see all classes being offered, go to https://hccweb1.harford.edu/scheduleofclassescredit/. If you have questions or need assistance, please contact Laura Hutton, Teacher Education Program Coordinator, at lhutton@harford.edu.

University of Phoenix – Spring and Summer Classes

University of Phoenix is sharing the new schedule January–July 2022 Continuing Education for Teachers, graduate-level courses for MA+30, Professional Knowledge Teacher requirements, or endorsements.

Please see the downloadable schedule for the Spring and Summer 2022. The schedule has classes grouped by subject area.

To receive 10% tuition discount, please contact: Nicole Berkebile at nicole.berkebile@phoenix.edu or call/text message: 480-290-4328.

In addition, University of Phoenix would like to highlight their Graduate degree programs with available start dates:

  • MAEd/Administration and Supervision (leads to principal licensure)
    Starts on February 1, 2022
  • MAEd/Curriculum and Instruction
    Starts on February 8, 2022
  • Doctor of Education
    Starts on February 1, 2022

BurnAlong Virtual Wellness: Invite Your Family and Friends

Did you know you can invite up to four of your family members and friends to create free BurnAlong accounts to participate in various virtual wellness activities together? It’s easy. To add family and friends:

1. Go to your profile picture and select Sub Accounts.

2. Select “Add Sub Account.”

3. Complete the fields on the screen and select “Add.”

To take a virtual class with your friends, family members, and co-workers:

1. Select the class you want to take.

2. Click Schedule and select up to three (3) contacts.

3. Click “Schedule Now,” and your invitees will be notified.

As a reminder, BurnAlong is our health and wellness partner who provides you and your family with access to 1,000’s of online classes from 1,000+ local instructors at no cost to you. 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.

BurnAlong Lean into Gratitude - Virtual Event

BurnAlong will be hosting a virtual event December 17 at 12:00 p.m., focusing on gratitude and mindfulness during the holiday season. Click here to register to join the BurnAlong team and others from across the country for this live event with top BurnAlong instructors.

Making Time to Make a Difference

Presented by KEPRO Employee Assistance Program

The December KEPRO EAP resources are here! Inspired to make a difference, but don’t know where to start? Even small actions can have big impacts. This month, you’ll learn about small but powerful ways that everyone can “pay it forward” and make a difference to the lives of others. Click here to learn more.

Date: Available on demand beginning December 21, 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 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, 7 days per week toll free at (866) 795-5701 to visit their website online at www.EAPhelplink.com.

Holiday Cheer at Edgewood High School

"The Freedom Federal Credit Union's Golden Apple recipients wanted to share a glimpse of our community outreach at Edgewood High School.

We sponsored select families for Christmas, collected toys, and put together bags of household essentials for each family. We also provide food not just for the holiday, but to help ease the burden during an extended break from school. We are so blessed and thrilled to have this opportunity and look forward to continuing the Blessings in a Backpack program following the winter break!"

-Alycia Covelly and Chiwy Webster, EDHS

Shout Outs!

"I would like to express my appreciation and gratitude to our library media family. Being the only person in the building who does the job we do can be challenging at times. One of the things that makes it easier to feel a part of a common community is having other librarians who take time to share their knowledge, expertise, and great ideas, with enthusiasm. Peter Carpenter is energetic, exuberant, and always receptive to our ideas or concerns. This is a professional family that I rely on and can count on and am grateful for. As we face challenges, we hold each other up and work toward solutions. As we find successes, we join to celebrate our strengths. HCPS librarians rock!"

-Marcia B. Buckley, School Librarian, C. Milton Wright High School

"Claire Ring, librarian at FAMS, is an unsung hero. She has a brilliant, creative mind and a knack for making us laugh during stressful seasons. She's also always willing to help when a need arises. We are so thankful for you, Claire!

-Chrissy Davis, School Librarian, Southampton Middle School

"Forest Hill Elementary would like to recognize our school secretaries, Rhonda Utz and Andrea Ensor. They make everyone feel warm and welcome and keep our school running efficiently. Their hard work is greatly appreciated. And they always look fabulous!!"

-Stacey Sewell, Physical Education Teacher, Forest Hill Elementary School

Welcome to the HCPS Family!

Please help us welcome the following new HCPS employees:
  • Samantha Pelletier, Paraeducator, Southampton Middle School
  • Joshua Wagner, Custodian I - Shift 2, Youth's Benefit Elementary School
  • Rachael Fitzsimmons, School Nurse, Student Services
  • Cassandra Ortega Vargas, Paraeducator, Roye-Williams Elementary School

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.