HCPS 411 Update

February 17, 2022

COVID-19 Updates

Masks Guidelines:

We are sharing the following due to the number of individual inquiries we have received inquiring about our current policy on masks in our schools. This information is available on hcps.org through both the homepage and COVID-19 resources F.A.Q.

The Board of Education of Harford County follows Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) guidelines on mask wearing in schools. The State Board mask requirement can be found here. MSDE has provided an FAQ about the off-ramps for the mask requirement here.

In their latest update, MSDE provided the following: At each monthly meeting, the State Board reviews current COVID-19 metrics in the State to assess the need for the continuation of the regulation; the next review will occur at the next State Board meeting on February 22, 2022.

KN95 Masks & COVID-19 Home Test Kits for Staff:

All KN95 masks and COVID-19 home test kits have arrived and been distributed. Shipments to each location should arrive by the end of the week.

COVID-19 Testing Clinics:

All staff can attend after-school testing clinics. Details are available in the employee COVID-19 FAQs: School-based Employees; Non-school based Employee.

*Note the schedule and locations will change starting February 28, 2022. The new schedule will be released in the next HCPS 411 Update.

Operational Status:

We are currently planning a new Operational Status for March 1, 2022. Note, it includes masks. If any changes occur, we will update the status as needed. A preview of this operational status is on SharePoint here.

Monthly Minute with Dr. Bulson

The next Monthly Minute with Dr. Bulson is scheduled for Thursday, February 24, from 12:15-12:30 p.m. Click here to join the LIVE event on February 24.

New Employee Support Procedure

On February 8, 2022, the administrative procedure entitled Employee Support was adopted and posted to the HCPS SharePoint site under Administration - Administrative Procedures, as well as to the HCPS website. We want to share this with all staff directly to ensure awareness for the new landmark procedure. Please take a moment to review it.

Pop-up Message on HCPS Devices for Students in Grades 6-12

Starting February 23, 2022, students in grades 6-12 will see a pop-up message on their HCPS device each time they log in. The message will read, "Your mental and physical wellness are important to us. Please click on the link below for resources and contact information if in need of support." The pop-up will provide these students with a direct link to the Mental Health Resources page on hcps.org. The information on this page will provide valuable resources to students in the event they need to access them for assistance. Click here to see a screenshot of the pop-up message.

Communication will go out to parents/guardians via phone, email, and text on February 21, 2022.

Questions regarding this information may be directed to Buck Hennigan, in Student Support Services, at Bernard.Hennigan@hcps.org or 410-588-5334.

Employee Service Recognition: Save the Date

Harford County Public Schools congratulates all staff members who have completed specific milestones of service between 9/16/2021 and 9/15/2022. Staff members who have completed five (5) years of service will receive a service pin, and staff completing 10, 20, 30, 40, or 50 years of service will receive a thank you gift of their choosing from an online catalog. Freedom Federal Credit Union is the sole sponsor of the Harford County Public Schools Service Recognition Program. An email will be sent in early March to staff members being recognized to provide instructions on selecting their gift. Service recognition gifts and pins will be shipped to the staff members’ work location for distribution by the principal or department head.

In addition, the Service Recognition LIVE Virtual Program will be held on Tuesday, May 10, 2022, at 6:00 p.m. to honor staff reaching their 10, 20, 30, 40, or 50 year milestone with HCPS. All of this year’s honorees will be invited to the LIVE Virtual Program via an email in early March. We thank Freedom Federal Credit Union for fully funding all milestone gifts.

Questions may be directed to Human Resources at 410-588-5226.

Diversity Partners

The Diversity Retention & Recruitment team is looking for school-based partners to help advance our work toward a more diverse HCPS. Our goal is to have at least one Diversity Partner in each of our schools, so we invite you to join us.

Diversity Partners will:

  • Serve as diversity ambassadors within the school community;
  • Work collaboratively with colleagues from around the county to develop and implement diversity initiatives;
  • Assist with recruitment;
  • And more!

A meeting will be held on Wednesday, March 23, from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. via Teams. Participants will be compensated per the negotiated rate.

For more information on becoming a Diversity Partners, please contact Sherron Foster-Moore, Diversity Retention & Recruitment Specialist, at Sherron.Fostermoore@hcps.org.

All Are Welcome!

Parent Academy February Workshop: Parenting Pivots During the Pandemic

This month’s Parent Academy workshop is designed for parents/caregivers of children in PreK-Grade 2. On Wednesday, February 23, at 5:00 p.m., worldwide, award-winning speaker and child advocate Frank Kros, MSW, JD will present Parenting Pivots During the Pandemic via Zoom.

Over the past two years, young children have experienced drastic changes to pre-pandemic routines, experiences, and opportunities. These changes can greatly influence a child's normal patterns of thinking, feeling and behavior. During this event, Frank Kros will discuss practical tools parents can use to support their child's healthy development in this challenging time, address behavior conflicts at home, and identify when to reach-out for help. Frank has more than three decades of experience in "Helping Adults Help Kids" and brings a wealth of knowledge and experiences to his workshops.

Please share this flier and information with those in your school community who may be interested in joining the event. The link to join via Zoom is: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/86354113155.

A Blackboard Connect5 email was sent to those in our system with a child in grades PreK-2 today, Thursday, February 17, at 10:00 a.m. In addition, the information has been shard on the HCPS and Parent Academy Facebook pages and is available on hcps.org.

2022 Stars of Summer Program

HCPS is seeking educators to teach in the 2022 Stars of Summer program! Stars of Summer is a virtual, camp-like summer school experience for rising grade one through grade nine students. We need your ingenuity and creativity to provide students with another exciting summer learning experience. Please open the attachment to learn more about this paid teaching opportunity. Any questions may be directed to program coordinators at starsofsummer@hcps.org.

New Location - HCPS Garage

The Transportation Department is pleased to announce as of February 22, 2022, the HCPS garage will be moved into the new Harford County Shared Fleet Maintenance Facility. The new address is 1304 Enterprise Court, Bel Air, MD 21014. The phone number remains the same: 410-638-4095.

For those who utilize HCPS vehicle maintenance services, the new Fleet Management Operating Procedures for HCPS staff vehicles has been uploaded to the Transportation Department SharePoint page and can also be accessed via the following link: Fleet Management Operating Procedures - Staff Vehicles.

Questions regarding this information may be directed to Cathy Bendis, in Transportation, at Cathy.Bendis@hcps.org or 410-638-4092.

National Board Certification

What is National Board Certification?

  • National Board Certification is a voluntary process to certify teachers against national teaching standards established by teachers, for teachers.
  • The process was designed to develop, retain, and recognize accomplished teachers and to generate ongoing improvement in schools nationwide.

Why Certify?

See slides with the benefits the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards have identified, including:

  • Students learn more
  • Teachers improve their practice
  • Create opportunities – What does this one mean?
  • Financial incentives

Check out more benefits of National Board.

How can I learn more about the process of certification?

Would you like to become a National Board Certified Teacher? Are you interested in getting more information for the 2022- 2023 school year? Please complete this form.

Upcoming HCPS 411 Updates will contain additional information on National Board Certification, so stay tuned!

Check out the National Board site. Questions may be emailed to HCPS.NationalBoard@hcps.org.

PARAPRO Assessment Opportunities – March 18, 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 classroom 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 March 18, 2022. The test will be offered 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.

Littles University

This month, Littles University, in partnership with the Harford County Education Foundation, is bringing you, "Are You Ready to Play Outside?" by Mo Willems. Be sure to visit the Harford County Education Foundation website to register for your free copy of the book by March 1, and then join Mrs. Lader on March 8 for her next video message.
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HCPS Health Challenge, Presented by QuaranTeam5

The physical and mental health of our teachers and staff is important to the QuaranTeam5. They are committed to keeping a focus on the health of our colleagues by creating the HCPS Health Challenge.

The QuaranTeam5 is challenging you to participate in activities to support staying fit - both mentally and physically. Click here to see the challenges! When you participate in any challenge, submit a photo or screenshot here to enter to win a prize. You can also share your commitment to health using the hashtag #HCPSHealth on social media.

The more challenges you complete, the more entries to win! The first 50 teachers to participate will receive the book, 180 Days of Self Care for Busy Educators! Two lucky winners will receive a Nutri Ninja Pro Single Serve Blender, and one winner will receive a CareFirst gift package!

We Love Community Schools

Valentine’s Day may have passed, but we are still showing our love for our community schools! Take a moment to hear directly from our Community School Specialists about they love most about the work they are doing.
Community School Specialists

HCPS Customer Satisfaction Survey Link Encouraged in Email Signature Lines

We recognize customer service as a vital component of an organization's culture that, in our case, ultimately affects overall student success. To ensure that HCPS remains accountable for delivering top-notch customer service, we are encouraging all HCPS employees to add a link to a customer satisfaction survey to the signature line of their HCPS emails. To do so, simply copy and paste this into your current signature line:

Click here to take a brief customer satisfaction survey.

In addition, the link to the survey is accessible in the footer on hcps.org.

The responses to this survey will greatly help us gauge our current level of service and identify opportunities for improvement. Survey responses and data are collected and monitored by Judy Simon, HCPS Customer Service Specialist.

2022 Fair Housing Art Contest

The Harford County Association of REALTORS is pleased to announce its 2022 Fair Housing Art Contest. The Association is seeking entries from all students in Harford County from kindergarten through grade 12. All students who enter the contest will receive recognition, and a chosen entry from each grade category will be granted a special award. The contest theme this year is "Fair Housing Opens Doors" and all art mediums that comply with contest criteria will be accepted. The deadline for submissions is April 1, 2022 (earlier submissions are encouraged and appreciated). Please see the linked document for more information.

NEW EAP Webinar: Navigating Through Grief and Loss

Presented by KEPRO Employee Assistance Program

The February KEPRO EAP resources are here. Experiencing loss can be difficult no matter the circumstance. KEPRO can help you cope and provide strategies to grieve in a healthy way. This session will help you discover ways to say goodbye and work through the five stages of grief in a healthy way. Click here to learn more.

Date: Available on demand beginning February 19, 2022

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.

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.

Upcoming Webinar Workshop: Investment Basics

If you are new to investing or simply need some direction, then this complimentary workshop is for you. From an overview of investing and investment concepts, to terminology and how to deal with market volatility, MetLife’s Investing 101 will help you sort it out.

Date: Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Time: 5:00-6:00 p.m.

If asked for company name, enter Harford County Public Schools

Click here to reserve your spot! Register online now. Space may be limited.

On the fence? Here's a sneak peek of what to expect. Spouses and partners are welcome!

CareFirst Wellness Announcements

February is American Heart Month

This month is all about bringing awareness to the leading cause of death in men and women in the United States, heart disease. Did you know that approximately 659,000 people in the United States die from heart disease each year? That is 1 in every 4 deaths. Luckily, living a healthy lifestyle and incorporating healthy habits such as regular physical activity, having a healthy diet, not smoking, and maintaining a healthy weight will help keep blood pressure and cholesterol at a normal level and reduce the risk of heart disease or a heart attack. To learn more, click here to view CareFirst's February Wellness Newsletter.

CareFirst February Recipe – Heart Healthy Fajitas

This healthy fajita recipe is an explosion for your taste buds. Enjoy healthy veggies paired with vibrant spices for a delicious meal for one. Click here to view the full recipe.

Upcoming Wellness Webinar: A Heart Healthy Diet

February 18, 2022, at 1:00 p.m.

Learn about the benefits of eating a heart-healthy diet and how to incorporate these meals into your day. Click here on February 18 at 1:00 p.m. to attend the event. (Meeting ID: 987 4596 6975, Passcode: 621347)

If you cannot attend the live event, the session will be recorded and posted to the HCPS Staff Wellness page.

CareFirst Members: Will You Find the Golden Ticket?

Beginning February 1 through April 30, all CareFirst Members registered for their Well-being Platform powered by Sharecare will be eligible for the Golden Ticket!

What is the Golden Ticket Promotion? Every month, 60 randomly selected members will have a Golden Ticket image on their Well-being platform timeline. Lucky winners will each receive a $25 Visa® Virtual Gift Card! To claim your prize, you must find the Golden Ticket on your Sharecare timeline located in the CareFirst ShareCare app and click the "Claim Your Prize" button.

Ready to win? Follow these steps to get started!

1. Register or log in to your Sharecare Account! Click here to access your Sharecare Account.

2. Check your timeline daily to see if a Golden Ticket image appears.

3. If you see the image, follow the prompts to claim your prize!

From Our Partners at the Aberdeen IronBirds...

Looking for an exciting and dynamic summer job? Or know a student looking for one? Want to make money while being at a baseball game? Attend the Aberdeen IronBirds OPEN HOUSE HIRING EVENT on Saturday, February 19, 2022! More information is included on the flier.

Shout Outs!

"Big thanks to Jess Hichkad, instructional coach at WPES and YBES. Not only does she provide outstanding support and encouragement daily to new teachers and specialists, she also provides schoolwide professional development that challenges each of us to extend beyond what is comfortable and easy. Thanks, Jess, for inspiring students and teachers alike! You're amazing!!"

-Tonya Chandler, Literacy Title1 Teacher Specialist, William Paca/Old Post Road Elementary

"A huge shout out goes to Kristen Bard, Brenda Hinton, Linda Mitchell, and Kelly Younts. They manage the academic tutoring program and spend countless hours ensuring the program runs smoothly on top of their everyday teaching workloads. They ensure students are paired with tutors, create communication with parents, ensure tutors are keep updated, payroll goes in… and the list goes on with the many, many things they keep track of for the program. They are planning the summer tutoring as well. Their hard work is behind the scenes and not known by many but makes a huge difference for our students. Keep up the great work, ladies!"

-Gina Re, Instructional Data Specialist, Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment

"We would like to give a shout out to the Instructional Coaches that assist our World Language and English Language Learner (EL) students and staff members. Your collaboration and support is so greatly appreciated!"

-The EL/WL Office

Welcome to HCPS!

Please join us in welcoming the following new hires to the HCPS family:

  • Christina Scheeler, Occupational Therapist, John Archer School
  • Laura Aker, Administrative Support Assistant, North Harford Middle School
  • Caroline McCarthy, Paraeducator, William S. James Elementary School
  • Caroline Holderman, Inclusion Helper, Havre de Grace High School
  • Kristie Sylvester Vaccarino, Custodian I - Shift 2, Churchville 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.