HCPS 411 Update

February 11, 2021

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COVID-19 Safety Protocols and Checklist Tool for Schools

The “COVID-19 Safety Protocols and Checklist Tool for Schools” mirrors the Continuity of Learning document regarding safety and health in our school buildings during COVID-19 as we move forward in 2021. This overview provides a framework of COVID-19 mitigation strategies that schools can use to support the safety and health of their in-person programming. Additionally, there is a checklist tool embedded in the document (pages 4-6) for schools to review their mitigation strategies as they prepare to receive students this March.

Questions regarding this information should be directed to Katie Ridgway, in Risk Management, at Katie.Ridgway@hcps.org or x5286.

Plexiglass Information/Fact Sheet

HCPS has purchased plexiglass shields for classrooms, cafeterias, and front offices. Please see the linked Plexiglass Guidelines graphic for information about how to use, handle, and clean the new barriers.

Edgewood Middle Chooses to #LeadWithLove

The Edgewood Middle School Learning Community chose to #LeadWithLove and come together to read Amanda Gorman's poem, The Hill We Climb. It is their goal to further elevate the powerful themes of hope, unity, healing, and resilience found in the poem to all of Harford County Public Schools.

Amanda Gorman's poem "The Hill We Climb." by: Edgewood Middle School

Module 6: Engagement Strategies for Digital Teaching and Learning

Module 6: Engagement Strategies for Digital Teaching and Learning is now available in itslearning. The module includes three principles of engagement for digital, distance, and hybrid learning environments: Building Relationships, Affordances of Instructional Tools, and Lesson Structure. Each principle and strategy align to the HCPS Digital Teaching and Learning Standards and Essential Skills document. You will have the opportunity to explore short HCPS teacher made videos that highlight innovative digital teaching and learning strategies and readymade resources. Module 6 will continue to expand as we add more best practices around digital, distance, and hybrid teaching and learning, so be sure to check back often!

HERE is a sneak peek to one of the many great resources you will find in Module 6.

Restorative Approaches Webinars: Supports for Disproportionate Discipline and Building School Culture and Climate

One of the most effective ways to address and prevent disproportionate discipline is through the use of Restorative Approaches and a Multi-tiered System of Support (MTSS).

MSDE, in partnership with the University of Maryland Center for Dispute Resolution (CDRUM), is hosting multiple webinars this semester that address Restorative Approaches. All webinars are free.

HCPS employees seeking additional Restorative Approach resources to address disproportionality and equitable discipline can access MSDE’s PBIS program:


Two additional trainings are planned for this year through PBIS, on April 14 and April 28.

Information will be shared closer to the events.

Questions regarding this information should be directed to Faith Buxton, in Special Education, at Faith.Buxton@hcps.org or 410-588-5362.

Student Picture Contracts

The Purchasing Department now has two separate contracts for schools to utilize for student pictures. The contracts are with Lifetouch and Strawbridge. Copies of these agreements and information about each supplier can be found in the Contracts folder on the Purchasing Sharepoint page. If you have any questions about either contract, please contact Sara.Harvey@hcps.org.

Parent Academy Real Talk: How to Raise an Upstander

In this latest Parent Academy Real Talk, Christina Alton, HCPS Mental Health Specialist, and Dr. Paula Stanton, HCPS Supervisor of Equity & Cultural Proficiency, talk about how to encourage our children to have empathy/compassion and share practical ways parents can assist. In addition, information is provided about what parents/guardians should do if they are concerned their child is being bullied.

This Real Talk kicks off a special movie event offered by the HCPS Office of Student Support Services. February 11-18, 2021, HCPS students, families, and staff members will have the opportunity to access the Indie Flix documentary, The Upstanders, which addresses the contemporary issue of cyberbullying, resilience, and how establishing personal connections can help end bullying. This movie is meant to spark discussion and encourage us to examine our own behavior. Families may access the link to the movie from the homepage of hcps.org: https://www.hcps.org/news/news.aspx?id=2547.

Parent Academy: Raising an Upstander

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.

Title IV Grant Monies Fund Calming Caddies for Elementary Students

The “calming caddies” pictured below are from Prospect Mill Elementary School, where each classroom will receive a container. The calming caddies were purchased with funds from the Title IV grant. Each elementary school was allotted $1,000 from the grant to provide these supports for our students.

We are so excited out students will have these resources available to them!

Thank You!

This video was sent to us from a parent who worked with other parents to produce this as a show of gratitude and love. Please take a moment to watch.

“We hope this provides some support and encouragement to our hardworking educators. Thank you for all you do.” – Renee Stratton, parent


Flexible Spending Account Mid-Year Changes in 2021

Due to the New Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, there have been numerous changes to current Flexible Spending Account laws. The following information is to notify you of the changes that Harford County Public Schools has implemented:

Mid-Year Election Changes

As a result of the recent IRS notice, you may make changes to your plan on a prospective basis. You may start, stop, or change your Healthcare and Dependent care Flexible Spending Account contribution elections mid plan year without the need of a qualifying life event. However, it is essential to remember that the Healthcare Flexible Spending Account is a pre-funded account. Therefore, you may not decrease your annual election below what has already been withheld year to date from your paycheck, or less than what has already been spent, whichever is greater.

If you have any questions, please contact the Benefits Office at benefits@hcps.org.

Setting Goals for Your Future

Presented by KEPRO Employee Assistance Program

The February KEPRO EAP communication resources are here! Learn how to strategically set short-term and long-term goals to help you succeed in all areas of your life.

Date: Available on demand beginning February 16, 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.

You Can Answer the Call for Help

On February 11, United Way of Central Maryland recognizes our 211 Maryland United Way Helpline and the assistance it provides. The helpline is available 24 hours a day, every day of the year. We’ve created several ways for you to help us celebrate 211 Day, including special volunteers! Please see the flier for more information.

PARAPRO Assessment Opportunity – February 12, 2021

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 February 12, 2021. The test will be from 1:00 to 3:30 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 HR site: HERE.

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

Financial Education Seminar Opportunity: Money Matters, Moving Forward in a Changing World

Because your money matters – three steps to take right now.

Hosted by MetLife

It is incredible how quickly our lives change. The global pandemic has altered our economy, lifestyle, the way we use technology, and how we interact with one another. Another different thing may be the way we may think about our finances.

By attending Money Matters: Moving Forward in a Changing World you will learn the three steps to take right now to help you deal with today's uncertainty and future unexpected events. From creating an emergency fund to evaluating your risk tolerance and maximizing your employee benefits – develop a plan that works for you.

Join your colleagues for the complimentary workshop. Spouses and partners are welcome!


Workshop begins:

Thursday, February 11, 2021

5:00 – 6:00 p.m.

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

Can't attend but still need help with financial questions? You can still sign up for a free, no pressure, no obligation personal consultation. For more information, click here.

Pre-Retirement Planning Webinar February 17, 2021 - Registration Deadline is TOMORROW

The Retirement Coordinators of Harford County Public Schools (HCPS) will host a free pre-retirement webinar for HCPS employees with assistance from the Maryland State Retirement Agency. This webinar is a condensed version of our fall pre-retirement informational session and will occur at 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 17, 2021.

Please complete the registration form to register, which can be accessed by clicking here. The deadline to register is Friday, February 12, 2021.

This webinar will provide vital information to all members approaching retirement, whether it is normal service or early retirement. Discussion topics include:

  • Planning for Retirement
  • State Retirement Pension Benefits
  • HCPS Retiree Healthcare

If you are within two years of being eligible to retire, this seminar is for you! As this year’s event will be hosted virtually, your spouses and or pertinent beneficiaries may sit with you to listen. We will host a Q&A session following the presentations. If you attended this year’s event recently, you may still attend due to the virtual format.

Date: February 17, 2021

Time: 4:00 – 7:00 p.m.

Event Link: Will be emailed to those who complete and submit the registration form closer to the event date.

If you have any questions, please email benefits@hcps.org.

Smart Money Moves in Your 20’s and 30’s

How can you make smart money moves in your 20’s and 30’s?

Hosted by MetLife

When it comes to money, there’s a lot to learn! Space is available at MetLife’s Smart Money Moves in Your 20’s and 30’s: 10 ways to help set yourself up for financial success.

This complimentary, 60-minute workshop includes 10 important tips to help get you on the right track from creating and sticking to a budget to making the most of your savings and investments. There is also an opportunity for a personal consultation.

Join your colleagues for the complimentary workshop. Spouses and partners are welcome!


Workshop details:

Thursday, February 25, 2021

5:00 – 6:00 p.m.

If asked for company name, enter “Harford County Public Schools”

Can't attend but still need help with financial questions? You can still sign up for a free, no pressure, no obligation personal consultation. For more information, click here.

Shout Outs!

"Shout Out to Board President Jansen Robinson for being recognized by the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM) Chemical Biological Center in their latest newsletter!"

Welcome to HCPS!

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

  • Jodie Rohrer, Social Worker, John Archer School
  • Mark Ressler, Grounds/Building Maintenance, Facilities
  • Laurie Dahlquist, Paraeducator, Hickory 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.