HCPS 411 Update

December 2, 2021

COVID-19 Status and Updates

The current COVID-19 transmission status for Harford County, as determined by the CDC, is “high.” To view the CDC Data Tracker, please visit: https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#county-view. Please remain diligent in mask wearing, distancing whenever possible, staying home when sick, following quarantine guidance, and intentionally including COVID-19 mitigation measures in school activities. 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.

Monthly Minute with Dr. Bulson

As a reminder, last month's Monthly Minute with Dr. Bulson, originally scheduled for November 18, was rescheduled for Monday, December 6, from 12:15-12:30 p.m. Click here to join the LIVE event next Monday, December 6.

Early Notification of Separation Incentive

In an effort to assist HCPS with forecasting budget savings and project staffing needs for FY 2022-2023, an Early Notification of Separation Incentive is currently offered to employees. A memorandum of understanding has been executed with each collective bargaining unit and includes the following information:

  • Incentive. HCPS is offering a one-time payment of $500 for employees who provide notification on or before Friday, January 28, 2022, of their intent to separate from employment with an effective date of separation of Friday, February 25, 2022, through and inclusive of Thursday, June 30, 2022. Written notification of intent to separate must be received in the Superintendent’s Office no later than 4:30 p.m. on January 28, 2022. In consideration of COVID-19 restrictions, an email including the signed letter of intent to separate will also be acceptable. Send email to Ms. Teri Schmid, Executive Assistant to the Superintendent, at Teresa.Schmid@hcps.org.

  • Eligibility.
    1. Separations pertaining to this incentive are limited to separations resulting from retirement or resignation.
    2. The early notification incentive does not apply to probationary employees.
    3. An employee must be in good standing on the date of his/her submission of intent to separate from employment through the date of his/her separation. Good standing means that the employee has no disciplinary investigation/action pending against the employee.
    4. If the employee’s separation from employment will result in a breach of his/her teacher contract, he or she is not eligible for the early notification incentive.
    5. Any staff member who, prior to the execution of this MOU, provided written notification to the Superintendent of his/her intent to separate effective Friday, February 25, 2022 through and inclusive of Thursday, June 30, 2022, will be eligible for the early notification incentive.

  • Payment. The payment for early notification provided pursuant to this MOU shall be issued on July 22, 2022, or with final reconciliation check, if earlier. HCPS reserves the right to deduct from the $500 incentive payment any amount owed by the employee to HCPS, at time of separation.

The full memorandum of understanding regarding this incentive can be found on the Human Resources SharePoint page or by clicking here. Questions regarding this information should be directed to C. Mae Alfree, Ed.D., Director of Staff and Labor Relations, at Mae.Alfree@hcps.org or x5226.

Annual Leave Reminders - Carryover Guidelines

Annual leave allows eligible staff members an opportunity to get much needed and uninterrupted down time in order to decompress from the stress of the work environment. Use of annual leave is strongly encouraged in order to enjoy leisure time activities, focus on mental health, and connect with family and friends, either near or far. Employees are strongly encouraged to use the annual leave available to them.

Please note that carry-over of accrued annual leave will follow the guidelines as stated in your respective negotiated agreement at the end of the fiscal year and exceptions will not be permitted this coming June.

Questions regarding this information should be directed to Human Resources at 410-588-5226.

Office of Equity and Cultural Proficiency: Virtual Equity Chats

The Office of Equity and Cultural Proficiency will be hosting monthly Virtual Equity Chats this school year. This is an opportunity to speak frankly about equity and cultural proficiency. The first chat will be held on 12/16/21 from 5:00-6:00 p.m. Please join our chat entitled: Responding to Bias and Deficit Thinking: How to push forward through pushback. During this session, we will discuss strategies that center students as our primary focus when we engage with our school community (parents, teachers, students, and other stakeholders). We will practice specific sentence starters for addressing bias and deficit thinking.

Use this link https://forms.office.com/r/fUegFLkNFA to sign up to attend the chat by 12/14/21 at 3:00 p.m. We will send you the meeting link as soon as you have signed up.

Also, if you would like to lead future Equity Chats or have topics in mind, please reach out to Kimberly Sullivan at Kimberly.Sullivan@hcps.org.

Professional Development Announcements

Maryland Virtual Professional Learning Opportunities

Earn Continuing Professional Development (CPD) credit through online courses offered by the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE), Maryland Public Television (MPT), and Maryland Universities. The Spring 2022 Course Catalog in available.

MSDE Registration Dates:

  • Monday, November 29, 2021: Registration opens
  • Week of January 10, 2022: Occasionally, courses are cancelled due to low enrollment. During the week of January 10, cancellation notifications will be emailed.
  • Thursday, January 27, 2022: Registration closes.

MSDE Course Dates:

  • One credit course: February 23, 2022 – March 29, 2022
  • Two credit courses: February 23, 2022 – April 5, 2022
  • Three credit courses: February 23, 2022 – April 26, 2022
  • Four credit courses: February 16, 2022 – May 10, 2022

University of Maryland, TESOL programs and Courses

The University of Maryland, Baltimore County offers its Master of Arts in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages and Postbaccalaureate Certificate at a 20% discount to all Maryland public school teachers, paraeducators, and administrators. Please see link below for additional information.

UMBC TESOL for Maryland Educators

UMBC Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages program is offering two special professional development courses online in the Spring 2022 Semester. Details in the link.

Spring 2022 Special PD Courses

Staff Wellness Program – December 2021

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. December 2021 highlights include: 12 Days of Self-Care presented by BurnAlong, a virtual cooking demonstration, and more!

Upcoming Parent Academy Workshop: Middle School Matters

Parents/caregivers of a 4th, 5th, or 6th grader are invited to attend a special Parent Academy virtual workshop, Middle School Matters, on Wednesday, December 8, 2021, at 5:00 p.m. During this event, participants will hear directly from HCPS experts on the middle school years, including Magnolia Middle School Principal Laurie Namey, Supervisor of Mathematics Joanne McCord, and Curriculum Specialist Katie Campbell. Parents will learn more about what to expect while their child is in middle school, how to ensure their child is on track for opportunities with magnet programs, and more.

Mark your calendar for December 8 at 5:00 p.m.! Click here to join the Microsoft Teams event that evening. Those who are unable to join the live event will be able to access the recording afterwards via the Parent Academy workshops archive on hcps.org here.

Family Friendly School Award Nominations Window Now Open!

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

Nominations for the award are being accepted NOW THROUGH DECEMBER 8.

***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/.../paren.../familyfriendlyschools.aspx.

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

Big picture

Keeping PACE: Patterson Mill Middle/High School’s Family Dinnertime Talk Tabs

Please take a moment to hear from Dr. Sean Abel, principal, and Lee Edmonds and Leslie Sunderland, PACE liaisons, who share their school’s new vision statement: Your children. My students. Our kids. and the important work they are doing this year to support that vision. They talk briefly about some of the innovative ways they are engaging their school’s families and empowering parents to communicate with their children about their school experience by providing them with an awesome, tangible tool: color-coded Family Dinnertime Talk Tabs. Take a look to learn more!


Parent Academy: Stock Market Game Resources

The Stock Market Game is intended to be a completely flexible experience. Participants are encouraged to follow a pace that best suits the schedule, needs, and abilities of the student investor. Instruction can be facilitated by a parent/guardian through the use of Teacher Support Center lessons and activities or opt for a more self-paced experience through the use of the SMG Student Activity Packet.

Click here for some resources to help student investors get started, videos for both parent advisors and student investors, and some favorite research sources. Please share this information with students/families who may be interested in participating this year.

MCEE Parent Academy Part 1

CareFirst Wellness Announcements

It's that time of year again! As the holiday season approaches, it often brings a side of stress. It can become very overwhelming between the demands of cooking meals, entertaining, cleaning, and shopping for gifts, alongside the regular day-to-day duties. This December, focus your health and well-being through various CareFirst resources available to you. Click here to view CareFirst’s December Wellness Newsletter. Click here to view more information about CareFirst’s Behavioral Health Digital Resource, which can also be accessed from the HCPS Staff Wellness webpage.

Check out a few other December well-being awareness dates below:

BurnAlong - A Virtual Wellness Platform

BurnAlong is launching a new, easy-to-use experience in December. Members will experience a clean, modern interface that helps them find content more easily, receive personalized AI-powered recommendations, and see supercharged improvements to challenges. Click here and log in to your BurnAlong account to watch an overview of what’s new on the BurnAlong platform.

Big picture

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.

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.

The Season of Giving - Central Office Coat and Toy Drive

A winter coat and toy drive will run through December 17, 2021. Coats and toys will be delivered to Harford County Title I families for the holiday season. All coat sizes will be accepted. Toys should be unwrapped and can be for all ages. A box will be in the lobby of the A. A. Roberty Building for donations.

Shout Outs!

"Shout Out to some amazing Aberdeen Eagles staff! Thank you to Jamie Connor and Jennifer Kelley for organizing a successful food drive to help those in need this holiday season. In addition to the food drive, Ms. Connor and Ms. Kelley lead our schoolwide Eagle Connection program, promoting PBIS and school spirit. A big thank you to our Aberdeen staff, students, and families for your generous donations.

Also from Aberdeen High School, many kudos to Kaitlin Lovelace and Lindsey Harbert for organizing a food distribution event for local Aberdeen families. Many local families were able to pick up supplies from our food pantry. Thank you both for offering your time, service, and support of our school families!"

-Kerrie Bauer, Mathematics Teacher, Aberdeen High School

"Shout Out to BAES Bus #451 driver Ms. Rita Reinke and attendant Ms. Amy Smith. They've worked INCREDIBLY hard with many of my students to fade things like safety vests, provide support to parents and keep them and school staff in the loop in regard to student safety. We absolutely adore them at BAES."

-Nichole Eveland, Special Education Teacher, Bel Air Elementary School

Welcome to the HCPS Family!

Please help us welcome the following new HCPS employees:
  • Lynette Loadholt, Special Education Teacher
  • Laura Archis, School Nurse, Red Pump Elementary School
  • Joseph Muller, Financial Specialist - Grants, Business Services
  • Andrea Allman, Paraeducator, Havre de Grace Elementary School
  • Michael Schlaud, Paraeducator, William Paca/Old Post Road Elementary School
  • Tiffany Gray, Administrative Support Specialist, Joppatowne 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.