HCPS 411 Update

January 27, 2022

COVID-19 Updates

Please take note that a new operational status will be effective February 1. The current COVID-19 transmission status for Harford County, as determined by the CDC, is “high.”

  • KN95 masks have been ordered by HCPS for all staff. Schools have begun to receive their shipments. Each employee can request a pack of 20 masks when they arrive at each location.

  • The COVID-19 Home Test kits purchased by the Health Department have begun to arrive, and distribution is underway. We will distribute them continuously as they arrive.

  • All staff can attend after-school testing clinics at all high schools. The details are:

A Message from Nurse Walters

Vickie Walters, HCPS nurse at Norrisville Elementary School, shares how she and other HCPS nurses care for and support students and families throughout Harford County Public Schools. Please take a moment to watch her video message below.
HCPS Nurse Walters

Forest Lakes Elementary Named January's Family Friendly School Winner!

HCPS Parent Academy, in partnership with Chick-fil-A of Harford County, is excited to announce that Forest Lakes Elementary School is the January winner for the school system’s Family Friendly School Award program!! Way to go, Lions!

This month, a total of 21 schools were nominated and 1,816 unique votes were cast by the community among the nominated schools, naming Forest Lakes Elementary the winner with 316 votes!! Not only does the school earn the coveted title of Family Friendly School for the month of January, but the entire school staff will be treated to a luncheon by the program’s partner, Chick-fil-A of Harford County.

We want to give a special shout out to this month's runner up schools, that narrowly missed the title by a few votes:

  • George D. Lisby Elementary School at Hillsdale
  • Bel Air Elementary School
  • Jarrettsville Elementary School

Keep up the great work!

The school system will continue to celebrate its schools that best engage all families by consistently demonstrating the National PTA Standards for Family-School Partnerships. One school will be named a family friendly school each month through May.

February is up for grabs! Want to see your school highlighted for this award on the website and social media, plus treated to a Chick-fil-A lunch? Continue to encourage parents/guardians, students, staff and community members to nominate your school for the Family Friendly School Award! The nomination window will be open again February 1-8, 2022, on the Parent Academy page of hcps.org. If your school is nominated, our community can show how welcoming your school is by casting their vote February 10-17, 2022.

More information may be found on https://www.hcps.org/parents/parentacademy/familyfriendlyschools.aspx.

HCPS is deeply grateful for its generous Chick-fil-A partners at the Aberdeen, Bel Air, Constant Friendship, and Forest Hill locations for their tremendous support of this program.

Family Friendly Award Forest Lakes Elementary

Congratulations to This Month's Limelight Honorees!

Congratulations to the January honorees highlighted below! And thank you to this month's sponsor, Freedom Federal Credit Union. In addition to their certificate and car magnet, these employees were each gifted a Starbucks gift certificate, and the lucky grand prize winner by random drawing, Patricia Dunaway from North Harford Elementary School, won a $100 Amazon gift card!

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Remember our December grand-prize winner, Linda Puto from Churchville Elementary School? Here she is enjoying her two tickets to the Baltimore Ravens -vs- Pittsburgh Steelers game on January 9 at M&T Bank Stadium from USB Payment Processing!

United Way Campaign Ends Tomorrow!

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. The Harford County Impact Report shows how United Way has helped our communities with your donations. With your support, events such as Dentures Access Day provided Harford County residents with free denture packages; a community garden was created at the Harford Family House; a back-to-school supply drive was held at Edgewood Elementary School; a Huddle for 100 Ravens event for community service was held at Hall’s Cross Roads Elementary School; and so much more. If every employee contributed just $1 each paycheck, HCPS could collect $55,000 for United Way. It’s not too late - donate today!

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United Way: Creating Lasting Change for a Brighter Tomorrow.

Maryland Public Schools Strategic Planning Survey

Help shape the future of our schools!

The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) invites Maryland residents to complete their Strategic Planning Survey, which will help guide the implementation of their multi-year strategic plan to reshape the State's public education.

Be sure Harford County voices are heard! Start the survey by clicking here.

Freedom Federal Credit Union Donates Classroom Libraries to New Teachers

Freedom Federal Credit Union, in partnership with HCPS, is providing all new educators, teaching in kindergarten through second grade, with starter libraries for their classrooms. Across the county, 42 new teachers, across 22 schools, will receive a bundle of more than 500 grade-specific reading books appropriate for their students and aligned with their curriculum.

Freedom Federal Credit Union leadership gathered with representatives from HCPS on Monday, January 24, at Magnolia Elementary School to present the libraries. Kris Scarry, supervisor of Reading, English, and Language Arts, was integral in working with Freedom Federal Credit Union’s liaison to the schools, Business Development Director Lisa Snodgrass, on completing the project. Both are looking forward to continuing to expand the program, looking at including higher grade levels next year, and then expanding existing classroom libraries.

Thank you to Freedom Federal Credit Union!

PACE Magnolia Elementary

Get Psyched Winter Newsletter

The newest edition of the School Psychology Department’s Get Psyched newsletter, entitled The Building Blocks of a Strengths-Based Perspective, is available here.

Upcoming Harford County Special Education Citizens' Advisory Committee Meeting

The next Harford County Special Education Citizens' Advisory Committee (SECAC) meeting will be held virtually on Thursday, February 3, 2022, beginning at 6:30 p.m. The topic is Understanding the Related Services Assessments. A panel discussion will follow the presentation. All are welcome to join! Please see the flier for more details.

Extended School Year and Summer Program Coordinator Positions Available - Internal Candidates Only

Applications are now being accepted for Extended School Year (ESY) Program and summer program coordinator positions. Interested candidates should submit an online application. To access the application, visit the Current Vacancies/Summer Programs section of the HCPS website at www.hcps.org, found under the About Us banner.

- ESY – Site Coordinator I

For more information, contact Jeff Hoffman or Kim Manzo, Coordinators of Special Education, at 410-588-5359.

- Elementary Summer Learning Program – Site Coordinator I
- Middle School Summer Learning Program – Site Coordinator I
- High School Summer Learning Program – Site Coordinator I
- High School Summer Learning Program – Site Coordinator II
- Summer Tutoring Coordinator

For more information, contact Rebecca Pensero, Coordinator of Supplemental Instruction, at Rebecca.Pensero@hcps.org.

- Stars of Summer Program Coordinator

For more information, contact Andrew Renzulli, Supervisor of Science, at Andrew.Renzulli@hcps.org.

- Summer Swim Learning Program – Site Coordinator I

For more information, contact Joseph Harbert, Supervisor of Physical Education and Health, at Joseph.Harbert@hcps.org.

Maryland State Future Business Leaders of America - 2022 Region 3 Competition Results

During the challenging times of virtual learning and instruction, Harford County’s FBLA (Aberdeen, Bel Air, Edgewood, Patterson Mill, and North Harford chapters) were able to participate in the 2nd annual virtual Regional Competition. Fifty students from the county placed, and 41 students will be moving forward to State Competition in March!

Congratulations to our five Harford County schools and students for their regional placements!

Aberdeen High School

Amanda Wang, Business Calculations - First Place

Genesis Esquivel, Business Management - Fifth Place

Jalen Lane, Computer Game and Simulation Programming - First Place

Michael Hillier, Data Analysis - Third Place

Katherine Connor and Sarina Donaldson, E-Business - Second Place

Isabella Keithley, Healthcare Administration - Fifth Place

Courtney Knight, Human Resource Management - Second Place

Darica Edwards, Introduction to Business Concepts - Second Place

Nana Adarkwa, Introduction to Business Presentation - Sixth Place

Sara Khan, Journalism - Third Place

Margaret Wang, Personal Finance - First Place

Raj Hillhouse, Keven Laurence, and Vainqueur Mukenyi, Sports and Entertainment Management - Seventh Place

Bel Air High School

Samuel Johnson, Accounting I - Second Place

Aidan Hermann, Economics - First Place

Zachary Clark, Graphic Design - Second Place

Conner Feehley, Max Moffitt, and Spencer Mullins, Hospitality and Event Management - Fourth Place

Gracie Reed and Jaden Renner, Hospitality and Event Management - Fifth Place

Isabelle Palmisano, Introduction to Business Communication - First Place

Kaitlyn Chiem, Introduction to Business Concepts - Third Place

Corneliu Oboroc, Introduction to Business Concepts - Eight Place

Daewood Rauf, Introduction to Information Technology -Third Place

Kaitlin Hagedorn, Carlos Sanchez Gonzalez, and Theresa Young, Marketing - Second Place

Anna Markland, Vanessa Rodriz, and Kylie Street, Marketing - Seventh Place

Nicholas Golinsky and Payton Todd, Marketing - Tenth Place

Emily Fatkin, Public Speaking - Third Place

Ethan Crosby and Joshua Robertello, Sports and Entertainment Management - Second Place

Kaleigh McPherson, Sarah Walker and Paris Watnoski Pinter, Sports and Entertainment Management - Fourth Place

Edgewood High School

Derek Gable, Accounting I - Sixth Place

Kyle Porretti, Accounting I - Eighth Place

Mackenzie Aarsen, Advertising - Second Place

April Wong, Marketing - Eighth Place

North Harford High School

Silvia Guevara-Martinez, Accounting I - First Place

Kyle Hoy, Accounting I - Third Place

Christopher Hash, Accounting I - Ninth Place

Jackie Bultman, Jessica Fannin, and Grace Herron, Broadcast Journalism - First Place

Alex Lavitz, Business Calculations - Fourth Place

Elijah Brown, Business Management - First Place

Raph Frank, Business Management - Seventh Place

Elizabeth Herron, Introduction to Business Communications - Fourth Place

Braxton Victor, Introduction to Business Concepts - First Place

Adeola Bamidele, Introduction to Business Concepts - Ninth Place

Caleb DeHart, Introduction to Business Procedures - Second Place

Kyle Difilippo, Introduction to FBLA - Third Place

Emilee Gast-Woodard and Colette Rogers, Social Media Strategies - Third Place

Caitlyn Travagline and Piper Wright, Social Media Strategies - Fourth Place

Logan Rakestraw, Website Design - Second Place

Patterson Mill High School

Aaron Mincey, Accounting I - Fourth Place

Lucas Cooper, Business Ethics - First Place

Bryce Ervin and Carson Goddard, Business Management - Second Place

Nicole Cordoba Villarreal and Victoria Figueroa, International Business - Second Place

Jaylen Mann, Job Interviewing - Second Place

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.

Registration Now Open: 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. Click here to register for the February 9 event.

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 ShareCare February Challenge: Jump-Start Your Heart

Show yourself some love this February. Improve your cardiovascular health by stressing less, exercising more, getting adequate sleep, and eating a nutritious diet. Aim to track 21 green days this February through your CareFirst ShareCare app, available to all HCPS employees, to support your heart health! The challenge runs from February 1 to February 28. Click here to learn more about how to participate.

Registration Available Now: Heart Smart Cooking Demonstration

Virtual Event Date: February 16, 2022, at 6:00 p.m.

This free event is available to all employees of Harford County Public Schools. Learn new skills in the kitchen yourself, or invite your friends and family over for a fun virtual cooking demonstration. Our February cooking demonstration is set to inspire participants to prepare nutritious meals at home by showing them how to create a simple, healthy three-course meal. Participants will learn about techniques for making their meals healthier and receive recipes to practice their new culinary skills in the comfort of their homes. If you cannot attend the live event, the session will be recorded and posted to the HCPS Staff Wellness page.

Click here to register. Webinar information, recipes, and materials will be emailed to those registered participants two days before the event date.

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!

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.

Getting Into The Right Frame of Mind for 2022

Presented by KEPRO Employee Assistance Program

The January KEPRO EAP resources are here! Are you looking for ways to approach 2022 with a fresh perspective? Reframing is an excellent way to check in with yourself and see a situation differently. This session will help you think about things realistically with a positive focus by using practical steps to guide your way through 2022. Click here to learn more.

Date: Available on demand beginning January 18, 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, seven days per week toll-free at (866) 795-5701 to visit their website online at www.EAPhelplink.com.

Upcoming Webinar Workshop: Tax Strategies

While some tax strategies are easy to accomplish, others may take some planning. That’s why we’re pleased to offer MetLife’s Tax Strategies: The Basics and Beyond; a complimentary 60-minute workshop where you will learn about the tax planning steps, including tax basics, diversification, cutting your tax bill and when to call a professional.

Date: Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Time: 5:00 – 6:00 p.m.

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

Still on the fence? Here’s a sneak peek of what to expect. Spouses and partners are welcome!

Home COVID-19 Tests Now Reimbursable Under Your Medical Plan

The federal government now requires commercial health plans to cover the cost of over-the-counter COVID-19 tests for members beginning January 15, 2022. This policy will remain in effect for the duration of the Federal Public Health Emergency. We recognize the important role testing, along with vaccines and boosters, has played in the effort to battle the pandemic. Over-the-counter at-home tests have been in limited supply over the last few weeks, and finding tests can be challenging. The process CareFirst has put in place empowers members to buy and submit claims for tests purchased through online vendors and retail locations of their choosing.

Reimbursement Eligibility: You may be eligible to receive reimbursement for up to eight (8) over-the-counter COVID-19 at-home tests per covered individual in the household per 30-days without a healthcare provider order or clinical assessment. If multiple tests are sold in one package, i.e., if one package includes two tests, it counts as two tests and not one test package toward the quantity limit. Tests that can be purchased at a retail location or online but are then sent to a lab for processing are not covered unless accompanied by a doctor's order. To be eligible for reimbursement, the purchased COVID-19 tests:

  • must be purchased on or after January 15, 2022
  • must be for personal diagnostic use
    - used to identify the potential COVID-19 infection
    - not be used for employment purposes
    - not used for surveillance testing
  • will be self-administered with results that can be self-read
  • will not be resold, given, or supplied to persons other than family members covered under the same policy
  • will not be reimbursed by another source

Reimbursement Submission Process: Members must complete a claims form and mail it to CareFirst. To print and mail your claim form, log in to My Account; choose the Plan Documents tab, then Forms. Next, select the appropriate form for your claim. Once you have your claim form:

  • Complete and sign the form.
  • Attach the required documentation to include:
    - The purchase receipt documenting the date of purchase and price, and
    - Universal Product Code (the barcode and 12-digit-number that typically runs below) from the over-the-counter-COVID-19 test packaging.
    - Signed completed attestation confirming and acknowledging that the purchased over-the-counter at-home COVID-19 test meeting eligibility guidelines to assist in ensuring tests are accessible and affordable for those who need them.
  • Mail everything to CareFirst according to the directions on the form. Reimbursement will come directly from CareFirst and not HCPS.

Chick-fil-A Everyday Heroes Award

WMAR is teaming up with Baltimore-area Chick-fil-A restaurants to celebrate "Everyday Heroes." They are looking to celebrate local children 18 and under who give their best all the time, are inspiring, and are great leaders.

Click here for more information and to nominate a child today! (Parent/legal guardian contact information is needed, if it is not a parent nominating the child.) WMAR will start picking winners the beginning of February.

Wear Red Day

This year, Wear Red Day is Friday, February 4, 2022! On this date, everyone is encouraged to wear red clothing in recognition of, and to raise awareness for, heart disease. The HCPS Staff Wellness Committee will be holding a prize raffle for those employees who submit a photo of themselves wearing red! Submit your photo using the hashtag #HCPSHealth and #WearRedDay, and tag HCPS social media accounts for your chance to win a CareFirst collapsible chair!

Follow @CareFirst on Facebook and Twitter, and @carefirstbcbs on Instagram for more heart health posts throughout the month of February.

Shout Outs!

"I want to extend a shout out to my colleague, Brian Lehman, Swan Creek virtual learning middle school Project Lead the Way teacher. Not only does Brian make learning engaging and fun by creating meaningful activities for students, he also grabs the students' attention with a different costume every day. Students can't wait for the Teams meeting to begin to see if Sponge Bob, Yoda, or Inigo Montoya awaits! Brian also helps and supports his co-workers; he is always willing to meet and discuss strategies and ideas that best help students in the virtual world."

-Lisa Mullen, Grades 7/8 RELA Teacher, Swan Creek School

"Shout out to the cafeteria staff at Aberdeen High School! Catriana Mooney and Liz Weddle have led the team while we were short staffed. Everyone working in the cafeteria keeps a positive attitude and greets the students with a smile. Thank you to all - we appreciate you! Shout out to: Kelly, Rachel, Jennifer, Joe, June, Ilka, Nafi & Tesema! We are proud to have you at Aberdeen High School!"

-Kerrie Bauer, Mathematics Teacher, Aberdeen High School

Welcome to HCPS!

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

  • Katie Addington, Administrative Support Technician - Supplemental Instruction, Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment
  • Alisha Buckmaster, Part-Time School Nurse, Edgewood Middle School
  • Susan Fradel, Part-Time School Nurse, Aberdeen Middle School
  • Kimberley Gentry, Paraeducator, Hickory Elementary School
  • Melissa Hayward, Inclusion Helper, Fountain Green Elementary School
  • Megan Jaimes, Administrative Support Assistant, Transportation
  • Emma McKinnis, Inclusion Helper, Hickory Elementary School
  • Nicole Szewczyk, Administrative Support Assistant, Patterson Mill High School
  • Gabriel Webster, Inclusion Helper, Fallston Middle School
  • Ephraim Young, Custodian II - Shift 2, 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.