HCPS 411 Update

March 4, 2021

Keeping PACE - Magnolia Middle School's Care Closet

Parent Academy is excited to release the very first video in a new video series that will highlight the work of our Parent and Community Engagement (PACE) staff. Each week in the HCPS 411 Update, the Parent Academy will release a new video showcasing a school/program that demonstrates a best practice related to one of the six National PTA Standards. Additionally, the videos will later be archived on the Parent Academy page on hcps.org for reference.

This series will serve as a way to highlight and recognize the good work happening in our schools and create an opportunity to idea share within our system.

Please take a moment to watch Magnolia Middle School's Principal Laurie Namey, PACE Liaison Mijiza Green, and School Social Worker Shanice Hackley share about their Care Closet, which is a great example of PTA Standard 6: Collaborating with Community.

Keeping PACE: A Peek Into Magnolia Middle School's Care Closet

Parent Academy Real Talk Featuring Dr. David Bishai and Mary Nasuta

The HCPS Parent Academy was honored to host special guest Dr. David Bishai, Harford County’s new health officer, who joined HCPS Supervisor of Nursing Mary Nasuta to answer health-related questions from parents/guardians related to the return to in-person learning.
Parent Academy Real Talk featuring Dr. David Bishai and Mary Nasuta

Upcoming Parent Academy Sponsored Event - "So You Want to Go to College: The ABCs of Scholarships"

Parent Academy is proud to once again partner with Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated ® to present, So You Want to go to College: The ABCs of Scholarships.

Registration is now open for the virtual workshop being held on March 24 at 6:00 p.m. Please see the flier for more information.

Students/families should use the following link to register:


March is Social Work Month!

School Social Work Week is March 7-13, 2021

During the month of March, we celebrate Social Workers. As a profession, Social Work has existed for more than 100 years! Social Workers are reformers, civil rights and social justice advocates, lawmakers, and mental health providers. Social Work is also one the fastest growing professions in the United States. You will find Social Workers in all aspects of our society, including social service agencies, corporations, community service organizations, and schools.

Within HCPS, we have a small but mighty group of Social Workers who are proud to support and serve our students every day. If you see or know one of them, be sure to wish them a happy Social Work Month! #socialworkisessential

Voluntary Transfer Requests

HCEA represented employees and inclusion helpers (HCEA-ESP represented employees) who wish to be considered for a voluntary transfer must submit their request online prior to the deadline date stated in the applicable negotiated agreement. The Voluntary Transfer Request site may be accessed on the following SharePoint link: Staff Management Department. Each subject and/or position requested must be submitted separately. It is important to note that the Voluntary Transfer Request site is only accessible from a HCPS device connected to the HCPS network. Please note that only online requests completed on the voluntary transfer request site will be accepted.

Transfer requests are accepted on a year-round basis. Although transfers are accepted on a year-round basis, decisions will be based on the existing vacancy/transfer timeline. To review the 2020-2021 SY Employment Timeline, please click on the following SharePoint link: Staff Management Department.

All Other HCEA-ESP Represented Employees

For all other HCEA-ESP represented positions, applications, including transfers, must be done through the online application process. All positions within the unit, which offer promotional and transfer opportunities, will be posted for at least one week prior to the close of the application deadline. You must apply online for consideration.

Questions regarding this information should be directed to Joanna Karolenko, in Human Resources, at Joanna.Karolenko@hcps.org or x5238.

March 5, 2021 Professional Learning - Links to Content/Service Area Office Hours

Just as a reminder, this Friday, each Content or Related Service Office will offer a one-hour, optional, synchronous Office Hour to their teachers, counselors, educational support personnel, social workers, psychologists, and/or related service providers. Instructional staff may join the Office Hour for informal networking, support, and Q&A. The comprehensive list of times and links are here: Chart for March 5 Office Hours.pdf The remaining professional learning time may be directed by your school(s). Modules 5 and 6 of the Digital Teaching and Learning course in itslearning remain open and available for review.

Questions about this information should be directed to Jacqueline Tarbert, in the Office of Organizational Development, at Jacqueline.tarbert@hcps.org or to Heather Kutcher, also in the Office of Organizational Development, at heather.kutcher@hcps.org.

Professional Development Announcements

Towson University Cohort Opportunities

Towson University will be offering information sessions about the following programs:

  • MS Transformational Ed Leadership Webinar, Tuesday, March 16, 2021, 5:00-6:00 p.m.
  • PBC Educational Administrator Webinar, Wednesday, March 17, 2021, 5:00-6:00 p.m.
  • PBC Community Engagement & Leading School Change Webinar, Monday, March 22, 2021, 5:00-6:00 p.m.
  • PBC Teacher Leadership Webinar, Tuesday, March 23, 2021, 5:00-6:00 p.m.

Please see flier for additional detail and virtual meeting links.

Teams Webinars

Are you an administrative assistant and want to enhance your knowledge Teams meetings? Are you interested in learning how to plan and host Teams meetings, and how to use Breakout Rooms?

Join us to gain an understanding of scheduling Teams meetings, the various settings available, and meeting options. Discover your role as a host and as a participant. Explore Breakout Rooms.

Choose to attend 1 of 4 webinar session choices held on Fridays. Each 90-minute session will be limited to 30 participants and will cover the same content. Employees may choose to participate in the 8:30 a.m. or the 1:30 p.m. session.

  • Who: Administrative Assistants and anyone who needs a Teams Meeting refresher.
  • What: Microsoft Teams Webinar
  • When: Fridays from March 5 – March 12
    Friday, March 5, 2021
    Friday, March 12, 2021

Register in Hector for your session.

Hybrid Learning Strategies Webinars

Various sessions with an elementary and secondary focus on hybrid learning strategies will be offered to teachers throughout the mornings of March 5, March 12, and March 19. Sessions will support educators as they prepare for learning and teaching in a hybrid environment. These sessions will incorporate strategies that highlight collaboration, communication, assessment, and engagement. Additional details and registration is available in HECTOR.

  • Who: All Teachers and Instructional Staff
  • What: Hybrid Learning Strategies Webinar
  • When: Fridays from March 5 – March 19
    Friday, March 5, 2021 – Secondary Focus
    Friday, March 12, 2021 – Secondary Focus
    Friday, March 19, 2021 – Elementary Focus

Register in Hector for your sessions.

Littles University Presents ABC! by Dr. Seuss

Jillian Lader, manager of communications, hosted the first Littles University book reading of ABC!, by Dr. Seuss, on Tuesday, March 2. Join Mrs. Lader each month on Facebook as she reads a story and explores ways to get "littles" ready for school!
HCPS Littles University

Spotlight on Customer Service

"Church Creek Elementary would like to thank the Transportation Department, and especially Matt Bedsaul, for turning an idea into a reality for our students. We were able to secure buses to take our teachers and staff on a Community Tour the Friday before students returned to get them pumped up for school! We were able to communicate a schedule to our families of where and when to be outside to see us on our adventure. Matt put together a great schedule and included our walker community as well! He also followed our buses to make sure everything went according to plan. We cannot thank you enough, and our families LOVED it as well!!! It was one of those moments that reminds us all of why we wanted to become teachers in the first place. The smiles were priceless (both teachers and students)!"

-Jeanna M. Gentile, Assistant Principal, Church Creek Elementary School

CCES Bus Tour

BurnAlong Challenge: Make March A Slam Dunk!

BurnAlong is hosting their 3rd annual March Mania Challenge beginning on March 15. The challenge will run for four weeks (March 15 – April 9) and will be LOADED with prizes directly from BurnAlong. Not only will you be competing against your coworkers, but with ALL BurnAlong users across the globe.

March Mania consists of four weekly challenges. To be entered to win, you must complete a certain number of classes each week. Here’s how to enter:

1. Week 1: Take 1 BurnAlong class

2. Week 2: Take 2 BurnAlong classes

3. Week 3: Take 3 BurnAlong classes

4. Week 4: Take 4 BurnAlong classes

Did somebody say prizes? YES! Each week all participants who complete their classes will be entered into a raffle where five winners will be chosen to receive a BurnAlong swag box. At the end of the contest, three winners who completed all four weeks will receive a $50 gift card. To read the full sweepsteaks terms and conditions visit: burnalong.com/sweepstakes-terms.

If you haven’t already signed up for this free benefit, BurnAlong is an online on-demand fitness platform. This program is being powered by Harford County Public Schools in partnership with CareFirst. You and your family have unlimited access to 1,000’s of on-demand and live video classes spanning 45+ health and wellness categories.

You can take classes alone or invite up to three friends or family to join you. You can add up to four friends or family members under your account to access this benefit at no cost to them or you.

To set up your account, go to fit.burnalong.com/hcps. If you experience any trouble registering your account, you may email customercare@burnalong.com for assistance.

CareFirst Wellness Announcements

March 2021 Wellness News: March is National Nutrition Month and includes Diabetes Alert Day. Learn more about these two important health management resources by clicking here.

Recipe of the Month – Whole Wheat Breakfast Burrito: Start your day off right with this simple and well-balanced breakfast. To access the full recipe, click here.

Have You Discovered Your RealAge®?

Harford County Public Schools’ has a new wellness program available for ALL HCPS employees, in partnership with CareFirst powered by Sharecare.

This program helps connect you to personalized information, support, and resources to help you live your healthiest life. If you haven’t already, get started by taking the RealAge health assessment. You will learn the physical age of your body and identify which habits may be helping you stay younger or making you age faster.

This program provides a wealth of tools and resources, as well as easy-to-understand recommendations and insight that reflect your individual interests and needs – all tailored to help you live your healthiest life. Available through the program: RealAge Test, Personalized timeline, Trackers, Challenges, Health Profile and Health Coaching, Weight Management Programs, and Financial well-being.


Sharecare, Inc. is an independent company that provides health improvement management services to HCPS employees.

Your Employee Assistance Program

More Than Therapy

Did you know your Employee Assistance Program (EAP), powered through KEPRO, provides 24 hour a day access seven (7) days a week to a variety of services?

Employees of HCPS have access to a variety of services through the EAP at no cost to them:

  • Family Caregiving Services: Referrals and information on a variety of related matters
  • Legal Services: 30-minute phone or in-person consultation to answer basic legal questions and simplify the process of obtaining legal help.
  • Financial Services: Telephonic consultation with a qualified financial consultant.
  • Convenience Services: Complimentary referrals to convenience services to help members make the most of their money and free time. Let KEPRO help do the planning and research for you giving you more time to do other things like spending time with your family.

A full list of a summary of services can be found by clicking here.

For more information about your EAP through KEPRO, please contact them by phone at (866) 795-5701, or online at www.EAPhelplink.com – company code: HCPS.

Shout Out!

"I would like to give a huge shout out to Alyssa King in the Instructional Technology Department for always being so helpful. She has helped me get a new technology experience for students off the ground and has been “on call” to offer additional troubleshooting and support, all while remaining calm and eager to help (even though she has other tasks going on at the same time/in the background)."

-Jessica Jeffries, Teacher Librarian, Havre de Grace High School

"Ron Costa is such an amazing Food & Nutrition manager. The way he goes above and beyond in his job every single day is truly admirable. He goes out of his way to ensure that our students with food sensitivities and allergies are accounted for, builds relationships with faculty and staff, and works hard to make sure everything is just right. His kindness and generosity have made him a celebrity among our STRIVE and Life Skills students here at C. Milton Wright, and we feel lucky to have him. Mr. Ron- thanks for being you!"

-CMW Admin

"My staff is amazingly talented! Masked up and ready to roll :)"

[see picture below]

-Cathy Bendis, Director of Transportation

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Welcome to HCPS!

Please help us welcome the following new employees to our HCPS family:

  • Rosalee Comeaux, Inclusion Helper, Homestead/Wakefield Elementary School
  • Cheryle Gerdes, School Bus Attendant, Transportation Department
  • Angela Ginnever, Inclusion Helper, Fallston Middle School
  • Nichelle Keys, Inclusion Helper, Hall's Cross Roads Elementary School
  • Elizabeth Kirk, Inclusin Helper, Joppatowne High School

Supporting our Elderly Community with Registering for the COVID-19 Vaccine

Do you have a friend or family member who is 65 years of age or older? Do you have a few minutes to reach out and see if he/she needs assistance in the COVID-19 vaccine process? Please see the linked document from the Harford County Health Department that outlines all vaccine locations, contact information, and details for registering by site in the county. Please note: All locations require an appointment; no walk-ins will be accepted.
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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.