HCPS 411 Update

December 9, 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.

December 6 Monthly Minute With Dr. Bulson

Were you unable to join the Monthly Minute live this week? No worries - we have you covered! Click below to watch Dr. Bulson's latest Monthly Minute message from December 6, 2021.

To view a complete archive of all past Monthly Minute videos, visit the Monthly Minute page on our website by clicking here.

Monthly Minute with Dr. Bulson. Dec 6, 2021

Next Monthly Minute with Dr. Bulson

The next Monthly Minute with Dr. Bulson is scheduled for Thursday, December 16, from 12:15-12:30 p.m. Click here to join the LIVE event on December 16.

IRS Employee Benefit Limits for Retirement Plans in 2022 Announced

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently released the 2022 employee benefit limits for retirement plans. The flier provides information about 2022 cost of living adjustments, which impact contribution limits for pension and other retirement-related plans. The chart in teh flier summarizes key limits and shows how they compare to 2021 limits.

Changes to Microsoft App Store for High School Students

A component of Microsoft Windows is an App Store where HCPS students and staff can download applications. We are noticing an increase misuse of the App Store by high school students who have Windows-based 1:1 devices. This misuse is forcing the Office of Technology to place an “allowed list” of downloadable apps only on the Microsoft App Store for the student laptops.

This will not impact any applications previously installed on the high school student devices. Applications that are approved by the Office of Technology will still be available for downloading in the app store.

This new policy will take effect on December 23, 2021.

Congratulations to This Month's Bowtie Breakfast Honorees!

The HCPS Bowtie Breakfast program celebrates Central Office employees who consistently demonstrate outstanding customer service and go above and beyond in their roles. Honorees are nominated by colleagues to attend Superintendent Bulson’s virtual event held each month. Congratulations to the December honorees! Join us in celebrating our awesome HCPS staff!

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Family Friendly School Award Voting Window Now Open!

It’s that time again! The voting window to name the next Family Friendly School Award winner is NOW OPEN! There can only be one winning school each month… now is your time to weigh in!

Click here to vote once before 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, December 15, to let us know which nominated school should win the coveted title of “Family Friendly School” and a staff Chick-fil-A luncheon!

As a reminder, if “your” school isn’t in the running this month and you feel it should be, nominate it next month! One winning school will be named each month through May, and schools may win multiple times. Reminders about nominating and voting windows will be shared in the HCPS 411 Update and on the Parent Academy Facebook page throughout the school year.

We look forward to announcing the December winner later this month!

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Upcoming Parent Academy Workshop: Into Adulthood

Parents/caregivers of 9th, 10th, and 11th graders are invited to attend a Parent Academy virtual workshop, Into Adulthood, on Thursday, December 16, 2021, at 4:30 p.m.

During this event, participants will hear directly from the HCPS Counseling Office on important topics such as:

  • applying for college and financial aid,
  • apprenticeship/internship/summer employment opportunities,
  • resources to support readiness for post graduation,
  • and more!

Mark your calendar for December 16 at 4:30 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.

PACE: Heart Healthy Market at Aberdeen Middle School

Aberdeen Middle School is focusing on Dr. Constantino's Principle #5: Engage the Greater Community by offering the Aberdeen Middle School Heart Healthy Market the fourth Tuesday of every month. The market features wraparound services and resources for families, including utility and housing assistance. There is also a boutique designed to help improve school attendance by focusing on the mental, emotional, and physical health of students and families facing poverty, homelessness, and other crises. The boutique provides free, in-school access to clothing and necessities and connects families with community partners to meet students’ other immediate needs.


SHAPE Maryland Adapted Physical Education Teacher of the Year Announced

The SHAPE Maryland Honors & Awards Committee recently announced that Jessica Willson of John Archer School was selected as the 2021 Adapted Physical Education Teacher of the Year. Congratulations, Ms. Willson!

Professional Development Announcements

HCPS Spring 2022 CPD Course Offerings

The Spring 2022 Continuing Professional Development (CPD ) Course Catalog is now available. Registration for these MSDE credit courses is available on HECTOR. Register early for the best course selection.

HECTOR Directions

Need assistance in HECTOR with:

  • Registering for courses,
  • Checking registration and history, or
  • Changing or canceling registration?

Please see the Instructions for HECTOR.

Regional Training Center (RTC)/La Salle University Spring 2022 Courses

Regional Training Center will be offering virtual classroom and online courses with numerous start dates from January through April in partnership with La Salle University. Visit theRTC.net or click here to View the Spring 2022 Schedule.

Walden University – Check Off Your Classroom Wish List

Walden is grateful for the commitment of Harford County Public Schools employees who make wishes and dreams come true every day in your classrooms and communities. They are dedicated to supporting your classroom and your career. Please see the flier.

Enter to win a $125 Amazon gift card. Spruce up and restock your classroom—Walden University wants to make your wish list come true! ENTER NOW

Additionally, Walden will donate $2 to Make-a-Wish for each contest entry received (up to 1,250 entries) to help fulfill the wishes of children with a critical illness.

Walden University – Paraprofessionals, Explore your Career Path in Education

Limited-Time Offer for Paraprofessionals

Whether you are a teacher’s aide, substitute teacher, or are working on your teaching certificates, Walden University is here for you. Walden University wants to help paraprofessionals achieve their education goals and make a greater difference in our communities.

As an employee of HCPS, you can receive a 10% tuition reduction on Walden’s programs, plus a $4,000 grant on bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral course-based programs.

Learn more about Walden’s programs and tuition reductions: WaldenU.edu/harford

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 December 16, 2021, 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 December 14, 2021, 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.

2022 Langston Hughes You​th Oratorical Contest

The Havre de Grace Colored School Museum & Cultural Center, Inc. is pleased to announce the 2022 Langston Hughes Youth Oratorical Contest. The contest provides a wonderful forum for students to develop their speaking, writing, and oratory skills while developing poise and confidence in the skill of public speaking. For more information, please visit https://www.hdgcoloredschool.net/langston-hughes-youth-oratorical.

Register Now: Live Virtual Cooking Demonstration

In partnership with CareFirst, #HCPShealth is excited to provide employees with the opportunity to participate in a live virtual cooking demonstration on Tuesday, December 14, 2021, at 6:30 p.m. This cooking demonstration inspires participants to prepare nutritious meals at home by creating a healthy and straightforward three-course meal. Participants will learn about making their meals healthier and receive recipes to practice their new culinary skills. To register, visit the HCPS Staff Wellness page by clicking here. Then, click on the event registration link posted to the Wellness Events Calendar.

If you have issues registering for this event, please email benefits@hcps.org.

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.

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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.

BurnAlong Lean into Gratitude - Virtual Event

BurnAlong will be hosting a virtual event December 17 at 12:00 p.m., focusing on gratitude and mindfulness during the holiday season. Click here to register to join the BurnAlong team and others from across the country for this live event with top BurnAlong instructors.

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 all the Fallston Middle School 7th grade students and faculty who helped make our toy drive supporting the Harford County Sheriff's Office Annual Toy Drive a success. All donations stay right here in Harford County. Many smiles will be had by the generosity of the 7th grade students at Fallston Middle School."

-Regina Abel, Social Studies Teacher, Fallston Middle School

"I’d like to send a BIG shout out to Haley Taylor, Title 1 counseling interventionist, for being such an amazing resource and support for our school based teams, our students, and their families! Haley goes above and beyond every day, and works tirelessly for her students. We love you, Haley!!"

-Rachel Potter, school psychologist. Havre de Grace Elementary School

"A huge shout out goes to Laura Hahn Magee, 8th grade social studies teacher at Havre de Grace Middle School. She runs the after school volunteer club and with over 75 student participants, they are making a huge impact in our community. The club members regularly pick up trash around the school campus, collect donations for those in need and volunteer for community events. Thank you for all you do for our students and our community Mrs. Magee!"

-Sarah Scholl , School Librarian, Havre de Grace Middle High School

"Shout Out to Shelby Morris for always trying to meet the needs of our students. She works INCREDIBLY hard to make sure the students are safe, engaged, and prepared to learn. On top of supporting the needs of our students, she gave our staff lounge a makeover to make it more inviting and relaxing for our staff. Our cozy corner, monthly calendar, and many resources have made our staff lounge more enjoyable for all of us!"

-Rebeccah Clifton, Third Grade Teacher, Halls Cross Roads Elementary School

"Shout Out to the Early Learners programs in HCPS for the hard work and dedication to the children, parents, and staff. I would like to give a shout out to Kari Mills, Sandra Fuqua, and Kelly May at HWES. Love working with you ladies."

-Amanda Livingston, Paraeducator, Homestead/Wakefield Elementary School

"Harford Glen would like to give a Shout Out to the staff and administration at William Paca Elementary. When Harford Glen learned that we would have a shortage of counselors for our session with WPES, Mr. Ron Wooden and his staff provided additional personnel to assist with their 5th graders visit to Harford Glen. Harford Glen greatly appreciates the time and effort provided by these folks to ensure a safe and memorable environmental stewardship experience for the proud Penguins. Thank you for your flexibility and responsiveness."

-Howard Eakes, Assistant Supervisor of Science, Harford Glen Environmental Education Center

Welcome to the HCPS Family!

Please help us welcome the following new HCPS employees:
  • Brooke Daddario, Paraeducator, Red Pump Elementary School
  • Jennifer Stallard, Food & Nutrition Services Worker, Harford Technical High School
  • Raquel Bonilla, Paraeducator, Abingdon 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.