HCPS 411 Update

January 6, 2022

COVID-19 Status and Updates

As we enter 2022, we continue to experience widespread COVID-19 in our community. Our goal is to keep schools open. We can only do this with your help. Due to the prevalence of COVID-19 and possible exposure in ALL settings, including school, community, and home, we ask that you monitor yourself daily for symptoms.

As highlighted in the January 3 HCPS Special Announcement, we currently have no plans for a systemwide closure. If directed by the Harford County Health Department, or if staffing shortages do not allow for safe school operations, individual grade levels or schools may need to move to virtual instruction for a specific amount of time.

To focus all efforts on educational needs of our students, our operational status has been updated.

Answers to frequently asked questions have been updated to reflect the changes in COVID-19 guidance and to address the questions we have received so far this year. As new questions come in, the FAQ will be updated.

To support the testing needs of our students and staff, we have set-up the following:

The Harford County Health Department just announced that Ripken Stadium will have drive through testing during the day starting Monday, January 10. More information is on SharePoint, here.

As a reminder, there will be NO system, content, or school directed professional development on January 14, 2022, to ensure all HCPS staff members who wish to participate in the staff booster clinic are able to do so. Information is included below.

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To register for the HCPS Staff COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Clinic, please click here.

United Way: Creating Lasting Change for a Brighter Tomorrow

The 2022 United Way campaign kicked off on Tuesday, January 4 and will run through Friday, January 28, 2022. The first payroll deduction will be taken from the February 4 pay, and the last deduction will be taken on June 24, 2022 (11 pays). Did you know that if each employee deducted $1.00 per pay, HCPS could collect more than $55,000 for the United Way campaign?

United Way works with families to keep them in their homes and out of shelters, with kids who are falling behind in school, and with people who need healthy food, and jobs to pay the bills. Your gift to United Way can make a difference in the life of a child, a veteran, a struggling family, or even someone you may know. Your support will help create lasting change–a brighter tomorrow–for those who need it most.

You can learn more about the United Way of Central Maryland at www.uwcm.org. Please contact Christina Paquette in the Office of Communications and Family Outreach (Christina.Paquette@hcps.org) with any questions. Thank you, again, for joining together as a Harford County Public Schools community for this initiative to help our county.

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Family Friendly School Award Nominations Window Now Open!

IT'S THAT TIME AGAIN!!! Calling all nominations for the January Family Friendly School Award!

Nominations for the award are being accepted NOW THROUGH 11:59 P.M. ON JANUARY 10.

***ONLY nominations submitted during this window will be considered for this month's award.***

It takes just a few minutes to nominate a school...access the link to nominate here: https://www.hcps.org/parents/parentacademy/familyfriendlyschools.aspx.

Please spread the word! Help your school be celebrated for their efforts to communicate well, engage and welcome all families, and support your child's success.

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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 2021-2022 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.

New Mileage Rate Effective January 1, 2022

Harford County Public Schools reimburses employees at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) standard mileage rate for business use of personal vehicles. The IRS announced a change in the mileage reimbursement for 2022. Beginning January 1, 2022, the standard mileage rate for use of a personal vehicle will be 58.5 cents per mile for business miles driven. Employees who are approved for mileage reimbursement should download an updated Employee Expense Reimbursement Voucher for mileage incurred on or after January 1, 2022. (This form is posted to the Business Services’ Accounts Payable SharePoint page.) Additional details may be found in the Employee Mileage Memo 2022.

Parent Academy: Into Adulthood

Topics covered by the HCPS Counseling Office in this parent workshop include applying for college and financial aid, apprenticeship/internship/summer employment opportunities, and resources to support students’ readiness for college, work, and life.

Parent Academy: Into Adulthood

5xStronger Teacher Tour

The 2021 Teacher of the Year finalist team, 5xStronger, is heading out on tour! We are looking to recognize and celebrate some of the fantastic and extraordinary teachers in our schools. Each month, we will accept nominations for teachers who are doing an outstanding job in a specific area. Every teacher that is nominated will be highlighted in the HCPS 411 Update. One winning teacher will be selected each month. They will receive a surprise visit from the 5xStonger team and a special gift from one of our community partners. We will also highlight this teacher and share why they were chosen in the HCPS 411 Update.

For our first stop, we are looking to highlight and recognize one teacher "marigold." In the gardening world, a marigold is a companion plant. When it is planted near another plant, it will help that plant to grow big, strong, and healthy. Protected by its marigold, the other plant has a greater chance of survival. As teachers, it is vital that we surround ourselves with the resources, and people, to help us grow and flourish. Marigolds exist in our schools as well. They are the people who reach out to offer encouragement, support, and help. They remain positive and steadfast in their love and passion for the profession.

Are you lucky enough to be planted near a marigold? Tell us about them. How have they helped you continue to grow, even in difficult circumstances? Submit your nomination by clicking here by January 15, 2022, and your marigold might be the first stop on our 5xStronger Teacher Tour!

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.

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.

Annual Student Page Breakfast

The annual HCPS Student Page Breakfast was held on December 22, 2021, at Aberdeen High School.

Pictured are members of the delegation and two student pages who were able to attend the event. The pages are in the front, from left to right: Liliana Norkaitis (Fallston High) and Kanae Holcomb (Harford Technical High School).

The esteemed guests in the back from left to right are: Senator Jason Gallion, Delegate Mary Ann Lisanti, Delegate Teresa Reilly, and Senator Bob Cassilly.

Congratulations to all of this year's Student Pages and we wish them the best as they head to Annapolis for session!

Staff Wellness Program

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! Each month, this page will be updated 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.

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.

CareFirst Wellness Announcements

New Year, New Goals!

A new year is a perfect opportunity to set resolutions that support a healthier version of you! Around this time every year, many of us create plans for the new year that we know will help us live longer and feel better. Yet only a small portion actually follow through. What is the secret to making these resolutions stick? The answer – healthy habits and SMART goal setting! This month’s wellness newsletter focuses on assisting you with creating those SMART goals, the importance of preventative care, and nutrition. Click here to view CareFirst’s January Wellness Newsletter.

Are you looking to improve your meal planning? Use this MyPlate Grocery Game Plan Weekly Calendar to help better plan your weekly breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. You can type directly into the boxes on the PDF and save or print for reference when grocery shopping and meal prepping! This document can also be found on the HCPS Staff Wellness webpage by clicking here.

CareFirst ShareCare January Step It Up Challenge

Looking to get more exercise? Need extra motivation to get started? Join the January Step It Up Challenge through CareFirst and the ShareCare app, available to all HCPS employees. Whether you’re adding a quick walk around the block during your lunch break or finally marking that Pilates class off your bucket list, making minor changes to your daily routine can make a significant impact over time. This month, find extra motivation to add more movement to each day and focus on tracking 5,000 steps per day for 21 days for a total of 105,000 steps! The challenge runs from January 1 – January 31, 2022. Click here to learn more about how to register and track your steps.

Save the Date: Health and Wellness Mini Masterclass Sessions

In partnership with CareFirst, #HCPShealth is excited to provide employees with the opportunity to participate in live 15-minute Mini Masterclass sessions throughout January on various health-related topics. Join us on the following dates and times:

· Tuesday, January 11 at 12:15 p.m. – Building a MyPlate Meal

· Thursday, January 13 at 12:30 p.m. – Nutrition and Sleep

· Wednesday, January 19 at 12:45 p.m. – Walking Meditations

· Thursday, January 27 at 1:00 p.m. – Grab and Go Breakfast Meals

To participate in each live event, click on the date and time above. You can also access each event through the Wellness Calendar link on the HCPS Staff Wellness Webpage. If you cannot view the live event, all sessions will be recorded and posted to the HCPS Staff Wellness webpage within 24-48 business hours of the event date to view at a time convenient to you. (Please note: Meeting ID: 967 9932 3986. Passcode: 283152)

Save the Date: Pre-Retirement Planning Webinar

The Retirement Coordinators of HCPS, via the Maryland State Retirement and Pension System (MSRPS), would like you to save the date of Wednesday, February 9, 2022, at 4:00 p.m. for a webinar for HCPS employees. As always, this webinar will provide vital retirement information to all members within eight (8) years of retirement, whether it is regular or early service. Please note: this webinar is a condensed version of our annual pre-retirement webinar held each fall.

A registration form and event link will be provided closer to the event date.

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 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.

Shout Outs!

"I'd like to give a shout out to Admin Support Staff at Havre de Grace Middle/High School. Barb Mclaughlin, Terri Bryant, Kate Morris, and Sonya Janouris run a well-oiled machine there. I was blown away by how they were able to multi-task and handle the combined requirements of two schools in one office. They were extremely focused on friendly customers service to the parents and students even during the stressful rush periods (which are twice as long at a middle/high school!). They are an amazing group and a great asset to the HCPS community!"

-Jack Getz, Senior Software Developer, Office of Technology

Welcome to the HCPS Family!

Please help us welcome the following new HCPS employees:

  • Stefany Barnhart, Paraeducator, Forest Hill Elementary School
  • Saquoia Amos, Inclusion Helper, Deerfield Elementary School
  • Evelynette Perez, Inclusion Helper, Deerfield Elementary School
  • Joseph Mendola, School Bus Attendant, Transportation Department
  • Meghan Boyer, Administrative Support Technician, Hickory Elementary School
  • Denis Jones, Custodian I - Shift 1, Edgewood High School
  • Alivia Blevins, Physical Education Teacher, Deerfield Elementary School
  • Amanda McGowan, Paraeducator, John Archer School
  • Celena Cotton Brooks, Grade 3 Teacher, Deerfield Elementary School
  • Gurpreet Klair, School Counselor, Aberdeen Middle School
  • Heidi McChristian, School Nurse, Aberdeen Middle School
  • Julia Shaw, Paraeducator, Emmorton Elementary School
  • Nicholas Littleton, Custodian - Shift 2, Aberdeen High School
  • Rachael Day, School Nurse, Joppatowne Elementary School
  • Taylor Sullivan, Inclusion Helper, Magnolia Elementary School
  • William Waldrup, Enterprise Infrastructure, Technology Department
  • Adebayo Adeniran, Inclusion Helper, Church Creek Elementary School
  • Alexis Felix, Inclusion Helper, Youth's Benefit Elementary School
  • Atavia Lewis, School Bus Attendant, Transportation Department
  • Connie Erby, School Bus Attendant, Transportation Department
  • Kevin Burton, Behavior Support Technician, Special Education Department
  • Luis Torres, Inclusion Helper, Magnolia Elementary School
  • Shane Sedlemyer, In-School Suspension Technician, Aberdeen Middle 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.