HCPS 411 Update

February 4, 2021

Updated Employee Health Guidelines

The HCPS Employee Health Guidelines have been updated and the current version may be accessed by clicking here. This information is also included in the revised Continuity of Learning Plan. Guidance about COVID-19 continues to evolve; updates will be provided as needed.

Questions regarding employee benefits related to COVID-19, including leave, may be directed to Joanna.Hewitt@hcps.org or Lisa.Patterson@hcps.org.

Any questions pertaining to the information in the Employee Health Guidelines may be directed to Kathy DeHoff, Medical Case Manager in Human Resources, at Kathleen.Dehoff@hcps.org.

Important Communications From This Week

  • As shared on Wednesday, February 3, the HCPS Return to In-Person Learning plan has been updated. Beginning March 1, 2021, elementary students will have the opportunity to return to school buildings two (2) days per week. We are planning to increase that number to four (4) days per week as early as April, if conditions allow.

  • Harford County Health Department (HCHD) has notified HCPS staff that the vaccination clinics next week have been canceled due to a shortage of first dose vaccines. We are continuing to advocate that the HCHD provide an alternative solution, but at this time, one has not been presented. Secondary students and their families will be notified today, February 4, that virtual instruction WILL occur Monday through Friday, February 8-12, 2021, as a result of the HCHD clinic cancellations.

  • The next Board of Education of Harford County Business Meeting will be held on Monday, February 8, 2021, at 6:30 p.m. with only Board Members, staff, and presenters in attendance virtually. The meeting will be streamed live and archived for later viewing on the HCPS website. HCPS staff are encouraged to watch to hear the most recent updates and discussion around our Continuity of Learning Plan.

February 12, 2021 Early Dismissal Day Update

February 12, 2021, is a systemwide 3-hour early dismissal day. No synchronous systemwide professional learning will be mandated on that day. The Office of Organizational Development encourages all staff to access and review the resources found within Modules 5 and 6 of the Digital Teaching and Learning course in itslearning in order to prepare for the return to in-person learning. School administration will be directing the early dismissal professional development time on February 12.

Questions about this information should be directed to:
Jacqueline Tarbert, Office of Organizational Development, Jacqueline.Tarbert@hcps.org, or to
Heather Kutcher, Office of Organizational Development, at Heather.Kutcher@hcps.org.

Good to Great Moment

Great customer service hinges on the response that is provided in a given situation. Being RESPONSIVE and providing a solution is essential. In the scenario depicted in this video, you will notice each HCPS staff member demonstrating a solution-mindset. Throughout HCPS we can find examples of staff members working hard to find solutions. As you watch this video, consider your best techniques in using a solution-mindset to help the “customer” address the concern/question.
TRACK-ing Excellence in Customer Service - CMW

Black History Month

February is our annual celebration and observance of the contributions of Black/African Americans to the growth, development, and progress of our nation. As you know, we celebrate the achievements of racial and ethnic groups in America throughout the year. Black History Month provides one of many opportunities to celebrate and honor the continuing achievements of Black/African Americans as integral to the American landscape.

Black History Week was started by Carter G. Woodson in 1926 to recognize and celebrate Black/African Americans' contributions to America. In 1976, during America's celebration of our Bicentennial, President Gerald Ford endorsed Black History Month by urging Americans to "Seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history." As repositors and disseminators of the nation's history and culture, public schools are the ideal place to enrich and infuse classroom lessons with Black/African American history.

The Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) 2021 African American History Month theme this year is: "The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity." You can visit their website at https://asalh.org/ for additional information, resources, events, and publications.

Please take the opportunity to visit the Office of Equity's SharePoint site for more information and resources. We will continue to add to these all month:


Feel free to reach out to the Office of Equity and Cultural Proficiency at 410-809-6065 for assistance or opportunities as we celebrate together!

The Upstanders: A Virtual Movie Event

Once again, the HCPS Office of Student Support Services is proud to offer a special movie event to the HCPS community. From February 11-18, 2021, students, families, and staff members will have the opportunity to access the Indie Flix documentary, The Upstanders.

The film addresses the contemporary issue of cyberbullying. Viewers will hear personal experiences and perspectives and learn about the brain science behind bullying and successful prevention programs. Most importantly, the film is about resilience and how establishing personal connections can end bullying.

This is a whole family event meant to spark discussion and encourage us to examine our own behavior.

Movie trailer: The Upstanders.

CareFirst Wellness Announcements

February 2021 Wellness News: February is American Heart Month. Learn more about the importance of a healthy heart and heart healthy lifestyle tips by clicking here.

Recipe of the Month – Norwegian Style Oven Roasted Salmon: You need to eat at least two meals per week with fatty fish like salmon. You will enjoy the benefits of heart-healthy omega 3 fats, as well as vitamin D, which is critical for healthy bones. To access the full recipe, click here.

Summer Program Positions

Applications are now being accepted for Summer Programs. For immediate consideration, interested candidates should submit an online application by March 1, 2021. Please note that current employees should use the designated internal application.

To access an employment application, please visit the Current Vacancies section of the HCPS website at www.hcps.org found under the About Us banner or click here. Summer Program Employment Information can also be accessed on the HCPS website under the About Us banner.

The following positions are available:

  • Audiologist
  • Braille Transcriber
  • Inclusion Helper
  • Interpreter
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Paraeducator
  • Physical Therapist
  • School Nurse
  • Speech Language Pathologist
  • Teacher
  • Team Nurse

The following programs are being offered:

  • Special Education Infants & Toddlers
  • Special Education ESY Elementary & Early Interventions Programs
  • Special Education ESY Secondary
  • Special Education ESY John Archer – Camp-I-Can
  • Special Education Child Find Test Center
  • High School Mathematics
  • High School English
  • High School Physical Education
  • High School Science
  • High School Social Studies
  • High School Special Education

Announcements from the Professional Development Office

University of Phoenix

Please see course schedule for classes running January through May. The schedule has 4-week, 3-credit courses for teachers that need to fulfill requirements, recertification, or Master's +30 credits. Continuing Education Classes and degree programs begin monthly; start a program now or register for summer. The curriculum is designed for a work/school balance with online flexibility and completing one 4- or 6-week course at a time.

Online Teacher Preparation Programs:

  • Bachelor in Elementary
  • Bachelor in Early Childhood
  • Masters in Elementary
  • Masters in Secondary
  • Masters in Special Education
  • Post-Bachelor Certification in Elementary
  • Post-Bachelor Certification in Secondary
  • Post-Bachelor Certification in Special Education
  • or for those on Conditional Licensure - individual courses, see attached schedule.

Advanced Degrees in Education:
  • Masters in Curriculum and Instruction
  • Masters in Administration and Supervision (leads to Principal Licensure)
  • Masters in Adult Leadership and Training
  • Doctorate in Education (EdD)
  • Doctoral students can specialization in: Education Leadership. Curriculum and Instruction, Educational Technology, and Higher Education Administration (college/university)

For more information and 10% off tuition cost, contact Nicole Berkebile via email at nicole.berkebile@phoenix.edu or call/text 480-290-4328.

University of Phoenix has been continually accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), hlcommission.org, and its predecessor, since 1978.

PARAPRO Assessment Opportunity – February 12, 2021

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 February 12, 2021. The test will be 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.

Financial Education Seminar Opportunity: Money Matters, Moving Forward in a Changing World

Because your money matters – three steps to take right now.

Hosted by MetLife

It is incredible how quickly our lives change. The global pandemic has altered our economy, lifestyle, the way we use technology, and how we interact with one another. Another different thing may be the way we may think about our finances.

By attending Money Matters: Moving Forward in a Changing World you will learn the three steps to take right now to help you deal with today's uncertainty and future unexpected events. From creating an emergency fund to evaluating your risk tolerance and maximizing your employee benefits – develop a plan that works for you.

Join your colleagues for the complimentary workshop. Spouses and partners are welcome!


Workshop begins:

Thursday, February 11, 2021

5:00 – 6:00 p.m.

If asked for company name, enter “Harford County Public Schools.”

Can't attend but still need help with financial questions? You can still sign up for a free, no pressure, no obligation personal consultation. For more information, click here.

Pre-Retirement Planning Webinar February 17, 2021

The Retirement Coordinators of Harford County Public Schools (HCPS) will host a free pre-retirement webinar for HCPS employees with assistance from the Maryland State Retirement Agency. This webinar is a condensed version of our fall pre-retirement informational session and will occur at 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 17, 2021.

Please complete the registration form to register, which can be accessed by clicking here. The deadline to register is Friday, February 12, 2021.

This webinar will provide vital information to all members approaching retirement, whether it is normal service or early retirement. Discussion topics include:

  • Planning for Retirement
  • State Retirement Pension Benefits
  • HCPS Retiree Healthcare

If you are within two years of being eligible to retire, this seminar is for you! As this year’s event will be hosted virtually, your spouses and or pertinent beneficiaries may sit with you to listen. We will host a Q&A session following the presentations. If you attended this year’s event recently, you may still attend due to the virtual format.

Date: February 17, 2021

Time: 4:00 – 7:00 p.m.

Event Link: Will be emailed to those who complete and submit the registration form closer to the event date.

If you have any questions, please email benefits@hcps.org.

Smart Money Moves in Your 20’s and 30’s

How can you make smart money moves in your 20’s and 30’s?

Hosted by MetLife

When it comes to money, there’s a lot to learn! Space is available at MetLife’s Smart Money Moves in Your 20’s and 30’s: 10 ways to help set yourself up for financial success.

This complimentary, 60-minute workshop includes 10 important tips to help get you on the right track from creating and sticking to a budget to making the most of your savings and investments. There is also an opportunity for a personal consultation.

Join your colleagues for the complimentary workshop. Spouses and partners are welcome!


Workshop details:

Thursday, February 25, 2021

5:00 – 6:00 p.m.

If asked for company name, enter “Harford County Public Schools”

Can't attend but still need help with financial questions? You can still sign up for a free, no pressure, no obligation personal consultation. For more information, click here.

Shout Outs!

"I would like to give a shout out to Bri Connaghan for organizing a fun social virtual event for staff: musical bingo. It was so great to see and hear each other and have a good time together. Also to Kris Linville for consistently going above and beyond to support staff with compliance in our paperwork."

- Rachel Otremba, John Archer School

"I want to shout out Mr. Ryan Bayne at Havre de Grace High School for being a great colleague who does something as simple as surveying his students about "shouting" out teachers who are supporting their learning. Periodically, I'll get emails from him with one-or-two liners from students I have who have said awesome things about my teaching to him. It brings me joy and is a total confidence booster when it comes to teaching in our current environment. This is a GREAT staff morale for me and I'm sure my colleagues think so, too!"

- Deanna Burch, Family and Consumer Science Teacher, Havre de Grace High School

Welcome to HCPS!

Please help us welcome the following new employee to our HCPS family:

  • Bradley Howington, In-School Suspension Technician, Edgewood Middle School
  • Ryan Barrie, Environmental Compliance Coordinator, Facilities
  • Shannon Bien, Special Education Grades 1-8, Magnolia 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.