HCPS 411 Update

November 24, 2021

A Message From Superintendent Bulson

Dear HCPS Family,

During this season of gratitude, I want to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt appreciation to each of you who collectively are Harford County Public Schools. We are more than just a group of employees that make up a school system; we are like a family in many ways. It is a true gift to work with such passionate, talented, and dedicated people, and I am grateful for each of you.

Thank you for your unwavering commitment to better the opportunities for all students. Your efforts to provide an exceptional educational experience for our students and their families, regardless of the changing and often challenging circumstances, do not go unnoticed. No matter what individual role you play in our school system, I humbly say thank YOU for all that you do each day.

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday with your loved ones and a restful break. I look forward to continuing our great work, #HCPStogether.


Sean Bulson, Ed. D.


Red Pump Elementary School Named November Family Friendly School!

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

This month, a total of 23 schools were nominated and nearly 900 unique votes were cast by the community among the nominated schools, naming Red Pump Elementary the winner with 151 votes!!

Not only does the school earn the coveted title of Family Friendly School for the month of November, 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:

  • Prospect Mill Elementary School
  • George D. Lisby Elementary School at Hillsdale
  • Youth's Benefit 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.

December 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 December 1-8, 2021, 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 December 13-17, 2021.

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 - RPES

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.

Covid-19 MOU: Vaccine and Booster Paid Leave

Our goal is to keep schools open and students in school. HCPS fully supports staff who wish to receive the vaccine or the follow up booster and will provide Vaccine Paid Leave as follows:

  • Harford County Public Schools will provide up to one half (.5) vaccination day to allow employees to receive a COVID-19 booster vaccination. Employees requesting this leave must provide documentation of the scheduled vaccination.
  • Harford County Public Schools will provide up to two (2) vaccination days to allow employees to receive a COVID-19 vaccination. Employees requesting this leave must provide documentation of the scheduled vaccination. Employees who were charged leave to receive their vaccine during their duty day must contact the Human Resources Department to have their leave adjusted appropriately.

Questions regarding Vaccine Paid Leave should be directed to the Staff Labor and Relations Office at 410-588-5311.

COVID-19 MOU: Quarantine Leave/Virtual Work

HCEA represented teachers and clerical who have been directed to quarantine due to COVID-19 exposure or possible exposure, or required to stay home with a dependent child who must isolate or quarantine, HCPS will provide COVID-19 quarantine leave as follows:

  • HCEA represented certificated members will be provided up to five (5) full days (to be used in half-day increments) of COVID/Quarantine leave for employees who voluntarily elect, and are able, to write sub plans, grade student work, and maintain teacher-parent communication during the quarantine period.
  • This benefit can be retroactively applied to unit members who wrote sub plans during their COVID/Quarantine absences since the first day of the FY22 school year (September 8, 2021) upon verification by their principal.
  • Unit members who elect, and are able, to work during this quarantine period will only be charged 3.75 hours (.5 day) of personal sick leave each day.
  • Beginning Monday, November 22, 2021, HCEA represented clerical staff will be provided with up to five (5) full days (to be used in half-day increments) of COVID/Quarantine leave upon the discretion of their principal or department head based on the employee’s duties, responsibilities, and ability to telework during the quarantine period.
  • This leave will be capped at five (5) full COVID/Quarantine leave days that can be applied to ten (10) duty-days and will expire on December 23, 2021. Certificated and clerical employees can request additional days by contacting the Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources. These requests will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Questions regarding COVID-19 Quarantine Leave may be directed to the Staff and Labor Relations Office at 410-588-5311.

2021-2022 Calendar Update: School System Closure December 24-December 31

Superintendent Bulson has announced that schools and offices will be closed from Friday, December 24, 2021, through Friday, December 31, 2021. The changes to note from previously published school calendars are the office closures on December 29 and 30.

Questions should be directed to the appropriate supervisor.

HCPS Good to Great Moments

This month's Good to Great Moment focuses on how to serve an angry customer. Please see the graphic below for highlighted communication strategies and tactics for successfully meeting our customer service standard, even in tougher situations.

For a printer-friendly version of the graphic, click here.

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Congratulations to Our 2021 Support Services Superstars!

  • Mary J. Buie, Administration Support Technician – Student Services, Edgewood Middle School
  • William B. Ford, Distribution Center Associate I, Procurement – Forest Hill Annex
  • Carolyn “CJ” J. Harbach, Administration Support Technician – Staff Management, Human Resources
  • Jennifer S. Horner, Procurement Agent I, Business Services - Procurement
  • Nichole F. Keys, Chief Custodian – Level IV, Joppatowne High School
  • Paul J. Kline, Crew Chief II – Grounds & Equipment Maintenance, Facilities – Hickory Annex
  • Tina F. Mayne, Administration Support Specialist – Technology and Information Systems, OTIS
  • Elizabeth “Beth” A. Mink, Administrative Support Coordinator – Business Services
  • Renee T. Mozingo, Administrative Support Specialist - Curriculum
  • Christina S. Paquette, Administrative Support Specialist – Public Information, Communications and Family Outreach
  • Allison E. Panowitz, Administration Support Technician – Staff Management, Human Resources
  • Denise M. Semenkow, Procurement Agent I, Business Services - Procurement
  • Patricia “Trish” L. Sommerville, Administrative Support Specialist – Procurement, Business Services - Procurement
  • Ryan C. Walters, Paraeducator – Special Education, Hall’s Cross Roads Elementary School
  • Jenna M. Weitzel, Administrative Support Coordinator – School Finance, Business Services

This employee recognition program is an opportunity for HCPS stakeholders to recognize support services employees. Nominations were accepted during September 2021. Then a panel of judges reviewed all nominations submitted and identified a list of finalists to recommend to the Superintendent of Schools. The winners were notified during a surprise office visit and check presentation on November 17, 2021 – Education Support Professionals Day.

APG Federal Credit Union (APGFCU) is the proud financial sponsor of HCPS Support Services Superstar Awards. The 15 award recipients received $200 each, and their supervisors were given $100 to host a celebration for the recipient at their work location.

APGFCU understands that teachers and school staff are vitally important to the communities they serve. So they make it a priority to support them. Their exclusive U Educate Member Rewards Program* can help educators and support services staff save money through specialized products, discounts, preferred rates and reduced fees. See the APGFCU website for a complete list of rewards: APGFCU U-Educate Program.

The awards were based on nominated employees demonstrating at least one of the following criteria:

  • Exemplary performance, outstanding achievements, or accomplishments.
  • Exemplary role model to include outstanding customer service, collaboration, and positive attitude.
  • Cost savings or ideas that contribute to increased efficiency.
  • Design and implementation of new systems or processes.

All HCPS regular support staff employees (clerical support, instructional support, central office support, operational support, etc.) who have successfully completed one year of continuous service with the organization are eligible for the annual award.

Parent Academy Real Talk: Social Media 101

In this Real Talk, hear from experts about the challenging topic of social media for parents/caregivers of our secondary students with smartphones. They share important information about internet safety as it relates to popular social media apps like TikTok, Instagram, and Snapchat, to name just a few. Learn what’s trending on these social media apps lately and how to equip yourself with ways to address things like social media challenges. This Real Talk features Havre de Grace Middle/High School Assistant Principal Brad Spence, Supervisor of Equity and Cultural Proficiency Dr. Paula Stanton, HCPS Coordinator of Safety and Security Donoven Brooks, and Maryland State Police Internet Safety Specialist Joe Dugan.

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P-Card Users Making Purchases Through HD Supply

Supplier Solutions, who we use for our catalog look up for HD Supply, is no longer PCI compliant. They moved the customers that were affected to a new platform; however, were not able to put government customers onto it for unknown reasons. That is why your P-card number is no longer available to HD Supply.

There are three alternatives for you to place an order:

  1. Use the account you have set up already that has terms on it and don’t use your P-Card.
  2. Log into the HDSUPPLY.com website, and create an account. You may use your P-Card on the site directly.
  3. Call in your order to HD Supply and it can be entered for you with the P-Card.

Keeping PACE: Magnolia Middle School’s WHY Sessions

Take a moment to watch Principal of Magnolia Middle School Laurie Namey and PACE Liaison Mijiza Green highlight one of their school’s best practices for family engagement with their virtual WHY sessions. WHY (We Hear You) sessions are an innovative way to establish and maintain relationships with parents/caregivers by giving them a space to ask questions, get answers, and feel heard by school staff.

MAMS v2 0

BurnAlong - A Virtual Wellness Platform

BurnAlong is launching a new, easy-to-use experience in December. Soon, you will be able to use the new simplified BurnAlong platform, search for classes with a re-imagined advanced search, and view personalized recommendations meant just for you. Here is a sneak peek:

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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 complementary 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.

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 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!

"Cynthia Poper, Bel Air Middle School ISS tech, stepped up to be a long-term sub when a teacher had to unexpectedly have surgery the first week of school. She takes on extra responsibilities at BAMS o help support students and staff."

-Lindsey Ferrari-Puopolo, 8th grade mathematics teacher, Bel Air Middle School

"Thank you to Lisa Jirsa with the technology help desk for going above and beyond when helping me install computer updates remotely. Ms. Jirsa was calm, reassuring, and so professional as she brokered a connection between my machine and the Technology Office. It was such a relief to be met with a caring voice on the other side; one who was committed to helping me as I seek to help our number one customer: our students. I can’t thank you enough for your kindness. It was just what I needed after a stress-filled day."

-(Akila) Gina Wilson, English teacher, Swan Creek School

Welcome to the HCPS Family!

Please help us welcome the following new HCPS employees:

  • Amanda McShane, Kindergarten Teacher, Homestead/Wakefield Elementary School
  • Cynthia Padilla, Paraeducator, John Archer School
  • Walter Webb, Custodian I - Shift 2, Bel Air High School
  • Allen Dudek, Custodian I - Shift 2, Havre de Grace High School
  • Antoine Johnson, Inclusion Helper, Aberdeen High School
  • Franz Kuschan, Custodian I - Shift 2, Havre de Grace High School
  • Elizabeth Maier, Check & Connect Grant Mentor, Special Education
  • Katherine Muniz, Paraeducator, Deerfield Elementary School
  • Julia Newby, Inclusion Helper, Aberdeen High School
  • Kathrin White, Paraeducator, Emmorton Elementary School

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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.