HCPS 411 Update

May 26, 2022

COVID-19 Updates

As inquiries increase about COVID due to rising positivity and classroom outbreaks, here are a few important reminders:

  • The CDC currently lists Harford County as medium on the Community Levels tool for COVID-19. This tool considers the impact of hospitalizations, and the number of new cases experienced in a county. The tool updates on Thursday evenings and is being actively monitored.
  • School-Specific Outbreak Data: https://coronavirus.maryland.gov/pages/school-resources.
  • To view the current HCPS Operational Status (as of April 1, 2022), please click here.

Blueprint Early Childhood Highlight

The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future (Blueprint) legislation contains a significant expansion of pre-kindergarten education for 3- and 4-year-old children, which includes additional family income eligibility, HCPS full day pre-k programs, and private programs meeting Maryland qualifications. The Blueprint Early Childhood sub-committee is chaired by Susan Brown, Executive Director for Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, and Deb Merlock, President of Harford County Education Foundation.

Here are resources to support your knowledge of Blueprint Early Childhood:

HCPS Blueprint - Early Childhood

Open Enrollment is Now Closed

What do I need to do now that open enrollment is over?

  • Changes elected during open enrollment will take effect on July 1.
    - New deductions for 11- and 12-month employees will begin on the July 8 pay.
    - New deductions for 10-month employees will begin on the September 2 pay.
  • New ID cards will arrive to member homes in late June if changes were elected.
  • If you added new dependents to your health or dental coverage, you must submit the Dependent Verification Form and required documentation to the Benefits Office by June 15.
  • Effective immediately, changes to your coverage options can only be made within 30-days of a qualifying life event. For more information, please review the 2022-2023 Benefits Reference Guide available on the Human Resources Department page of the HCPS website.

Questions? Contact the Benefits Office by email at benefits@hcps.org.

George D. Lisby Elementary School at Hillsdale Named May's Family Friendly School Winner!

HCPS Parent Academy, in partnership with Chick-fil-A of Harford County, is excited to announce that George D. Lisby Elementary School at Hillsdale is the May winner for the school system’s Family Friendly School Award program!! Way to go, Hawks!

This month, a total of 12 schools were nominated and 1,048 unique votes were cast by the community among the nominated schools, naming George D. Lisby Elementary School at Hillsdale the winner with 322 votes!! Not only does the school earn the coveted title of Family Friendly School for the month of May, 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:

  • Forest Hill Elementary School
  • Hall's Cross Roads Elementary School
  • Riverside Elementary School

Keep up the great work!

The May announcement was bittersweet for us because this is the last Family Friendly School award for the 2021-22 school year. What an amazing first year for this program, which wouldn't have been possible without the support from our community.

Thanks to our friends at Chick-fil-A of Harford County, we are thrilled to share that the Family Friendly School Award program will return for the 2022-23 school year!

Until then, we are still celebrating with the amazing staff and students at George D. Lisby Elementary School at Hillsdale, and all of our other 2022-23 Family Friendly Schools!

Family Friendly Award - GLES

Red Pump Elementary Celebrates Their National Distinguished Principal of the Year!

Ms. A. Blaine Hawley, principal of Red Pump Elementary School, was recently named this year's National Distinguished Principal by the Maryland Association of Elementary School Principals (MAESP)!

Ms. Hawley is the first principal in Harford County history to receive this distinguished honor. WOW!!!

This week, her school came together to host a celebration in her honor. Take a moment to watch the video from the event below.

Congratulations, Ms. Hawley! #HCPSproud

Blaine Hawley Named MAESP 2022 National Distinguished Principal

Law Enforcement Partners Present to HCPS Administrators

On Friday, May 20, a panel of local law enforcement partners presented to HCPS administrators about safety and security. Deputy States Attorney Gavin Patashnick gave a very informative presentation that explained crimes related to child trafficking and child pornography. School Resource Officer (SRO) supervisors presented information on the roles and responsibilities of SROs and the importance of immediately reporting incidents to them. They stated “It is better to over-report and allow them to under-react. When in doubt contact law enforcement.”

Many thanks to Lt. Veto Mentzell, Gavin Patashnick, Capt. Joe Alton, Cpl. Neidig, and Lt. Paul Marziale for their collaboration and continued support.

Swan Creek School Applications Now Being Accepted

Applications are now being accepted for the blended virtual learning programs at Swan Creek School for the 2022-23 school year.

Apply for grades 1-12 e-learning or grades 6-8 in-person, blended learning, or grades 9-12 in-person, blended learning by Tuesday, June 7, 2022. You can access additional program information and an optional FIT Assessment on hcps.org or on the Swan Creek School website to determine if Swan Creek School is a good fit for your student for the coming school year.

If the number of eligible applicants exceeds the number of seats per classroom, a lottery system will be implemented. If after reviewing the program information on the website you have questions about the program or application process, please contact Swan Creek School at 410-273-5594.

Apply here.

HCPS Stars of Summer Registration Has Been Extended!

Registration for HCPS Stars of Summer has been extended! Don't miss your chance to sign up for any remaining seats. Registration will close Tuesday, May 31, at 8:00 a.m.

Stars of Summer is an online learning program designed for HCPS students who were enrolled in kindergarten through eighth grade during the 2022-23 school year. This program provides students the opportunity to experience camp-like workshops in all content areas. Each camp is designed to be fun, engaging, and interactive!

Instruction is provided by HCPS teachers in real time.

Stars of Summer will run in separate, one-week blocks between July 18 and August 4, Monday through Thursday.

  • Week One: July 18 through July 21
  • Week Two: July 25 through July 28
  • Week Three: August 1 through August 4

Students are invited to register for up to a total of three workshops. Three workshops may be chosen within one week or they may be spread out over the three-week program. Workshops should be chosen based on the grade level a student will enter during the 2022-23 school year.

Please pay special attention to workshop descriptions which provide information related to session length and timeframe. Click here for the Stars of Summer catalog. Additional summer programs information is available under the "Parents" tab on the HCPS website.

All summer programs are dependent upon student enrollment, available staffing, and budget.

Attention Special Educators

TIME IS RUNNING OUT! Please communicate with your parents to complete the MD Special Education Parent Involvement Survey by TOMORROW, May 27, 2022!

Professional Development Announcements

Wilmington University – National Board Certified Teacher Programs

For those teachers interested in National Board Certification, there is an additional opportunity to earn graduate-level credit while preparing to attain National Board Certification. Wilmington University offers stackable, online graduate certificate and master’s degree program options that support candidates while they work on National Board components. Please see flier and contact Dr. Palmer at jennifer.l.palmer@wilmu.edu if you are interested in attending an information session to learn more.

University of Phoenix

As the last month of the school year approaches, many teachers are planning to complete course credits this summer. Whether it's to gain credits towards MA+30, fulfill Reading requirements, or Conditional Teacher Licensure, we offer online courses beginning monthly at University of Phoenix, Continuing Teacher Education.

See schedule here.
Classes are 3 credits/4 weeks online, asynchronous
$157.50 per credit (includes tuition discount)

Click here to view Reading coursework offerings.

To begin enrollment steps and to apply the 10% off tuition cost, please contact Nicole Berkebile via email at Nicole.Berkebile@phoenix.edu or call/text message 480-290-4328.

Diversity 365 - May

Join us as we continue to shine the light on how HCPS celebrates Diversity throughout the year. Each month, we will highlight a cultural/organizational holiday. All you have to do is take a picture or two and share the wonderful things your school or office is doing to celebrate the contributions we all make to HCPS.

This month, we are celebrating:

Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage

Jewish American Heritage

Please email your celebration pictures and a brief write up regarding the event to Sherron Foster-Moore, Diversity Retention & Recruitment Specialist, at sherron.fostermoore@hcps.org by Friday, May 27.

This month’s submissions will be shared in the June 2nd edition of the HCPS 411 Update.

Mark Your Calendar: Churchville Elementary is Celebrating 90 Years of Charging Toward Excellence

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What’s New on BurnAlong

Let’s head outside in June! Join the June BurnAlong Challenge

June is National Outdoors Month, so take BurnAlong on the go with you this summer! Join the challenge beginning on June 16 to participate in their Wellness Habits Challenge. From June 16 to June 30, track a wellness habit through your account on the BurnAlong app or your desktop. If going outside isn’t your thing, no big deal! Commit to another wellness habit for 15 days, such as drinking water. Click here to update your wellness habits.

BurnAlong Coaching Services

BurnAlong Coaches can help individuals with developing a routine no matter where you are starting from, starting a new BurnAlong category, connecting you with coaches and instructors to best meet your needs, set and track your goals and wellness habits, and assist you with finding the perfect program to achieve your health, wellness, and fitness goals. To get started with a BurnAlong Coach today, email coach@burnalong.com.

Healthy Mind, Healthy Life

If you need to have some more reasons to head outdoors, BurnAlong has curated some compelling benefits, ideas to incorporate the outdoors into your workday, and some suggested classes to take with you while you roam. For more information, click here.

On the Road this Summer?

You can take BurnAlong with you! Download the app and create an account if you have not done so already. BurnAlong has curated classes that you can take from hotel rooms with limited time and depending on your mood.

What is BurnAlong?

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.

CareFirst Wellness Announcements: Mental Health Month

May is Mental Health Month

To be healthy as a whole, mental health takes a role. Our emotional, social, and psychological wellbeing affects how we think, feel, and act. After the last two years, many are realizing just how much of an impact stress, isolation and uncertainty have taken on all of us. That’s why it is important we all take the time to support our own mental health. To learn more, click here to view CareFirst’s May Wellness Newsletter.

May Recipe of the Month: Antioxidant-rich Berry Smoothie: Click here to learn more and try this delicious dish.

EAP Webinar: The Importance of Sleep on Your Overall Health

Presented by KEPRO Employee Assistance Program

The May KEPRO EAP resources are here. If you are someone who experiences sleeplessness, the good news is that there are minor changes you can make to improve your sleep. This session will explore strategies to start a healthy bedtime routine to help you reduce stress and improve your well-being. Click here to learn more.

Date: Available on demand NOW

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.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Your EAP is Here to Help

The importance of addressing emotional wellness has never been so great. Mental health is a critical part of overall health. Everyone faces challenges in life that can impact their personal well-being. Don’t wait if you are finding yourself struggling. Commit to prioritizing yourself this month. Contact KEPRO Employee Assistance Program (EAP) today for help with the following and more.

24/7 Support – The EAP is available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, to help you connect with a counselor either in-person or virtually to discuss your concerns. Household members and dependent children are also eligible for counseling. EAP counseling is solution-focused to bring measurable improvement to your situation.

Grief and Loss Support – The past few years have been complicated when dealing with grief and loss. Even if you have not lost someone from the pandemic, many are mourning the loss of a pre-pandemic lifestyle and events that could not take place. KEPRO can help you work through emotions that may be causing you distress.

Confidential Support – Confidentiality is the cornerstone of your EAP. What is shared in your sessions is protected information, with some exceptions around safety, which your counselor will review.

Anxiety and Depression Assistance – How do you know if you are experiencing anxiety or depression, and when is it time to get professional help? Perhaps you are finding yourself turning to drugs or alcohol to help you cope. Not sure where to begin to get a handle on things? The first step is reaching out to the EAP for guidance. We can help point you in the right direction.

Daily Living Support The stress associated with daily life can be overwhelming at times. KEPRO is here to alleviate your burdens when getting items checked off your list. Contact KEPRO, and they can conduct searches for resources and get this off your plate, whether you’re looking for a new gym, dog walker, realtor, moving company, party planner, or house cleaner.

Legal Support Almost half of the employees who take unscheduled time off work do so to deal with legal-related problems, while 70% of the population doesn’t obtain help due to the cost. Through KEPRO, you have access to a free 30-minute legal consultation with an attorney who has expertise in your matter, with a 25% reduction in their hourly rate should you choose to retain the attorney.

Financial Support – Financial struggles are rated as one of the most significant sources of stress for individuals. Let one of our financial advisors assess your specific concerns and help you determine the most appropriate way to manage your financial situation. Take advantage of this free service and put a plan in place today.

Resources at Your FingertipsWhether you are looking for information about wills, daycare options for your child, or seeking more information about depression, anxiety, or living a healthier lifestyle. Your EAP Website has many resources available for you and your loved ones. KEPRO EAP also offers webinars and training on timely topics to help you manage the work/life challenges we face. Log on and check out what is available.

Harford County Environmental Scholarship Program

Seven Harford County Public Schools seniors recently received $1,000 scholarships through the generosity of local businesses and private donors. The well-deserving seniors visited Harford Glen to receive their scholarship packets and have a photo opportunity with Harford Glen staff and contributors. Each scholarship winner also received a yard sign, sponsored by the Harford Glen Foundation, to proudly display in their neighborhood.

This year’s winners and scholarship sponsors are:
  • Aberdeen High School senior Emma Chaney, sponsored by Jones Junction
  • Bel Air High School senior Snigda Jagarladudi, sponsored by PNC Bank
  • C. Milton Wright High School senior Bayne Landreth, sponsored by Ecotone and Plaza Ford
  • Edgewood High School senior Reece Neary, sponsored by the Harford Glen Foundation
  • Fallston High School senior Georgia Sento, sponsored by the Harford Glen Foundation
  • Harford Technical High School senior Micaela Venyo, sponsored by the Harford Glen Foundation, Foxborough Nursery, and Harford Financial Services
  • North Harford High School senior Teagan Flaherty, sponsored by Clear Creeks Consulting

This year’s countywide winner was Bel Air High’s Snigda Jagarladudi. Snigda received an additional $1,000 scholarship sponsored by the Harford Land Trust (pictured on the right).

Each of the scholarship winners plan to study for environmentally focused degrees at the college or university level to further environmental stewardship and action in the community.

The Environmental Scholarship Program has been in place since 1972 and has awarded more than $300,000 in scholarships over the years. Harford Glen and the scholarship committee sincerely thank the local businesses, private donors, and Harford Glen Foundation for their continued support of this long-standing program.

To view all the images, click here.

Sports for Life Corn Hole Tournament

On May 23, Bel Air High School hosted the first in-person Sports for Life Corn Hole Tournament for 142 participating athletes.

Thanks to Athletic Director Craig Reddish and the physical education staff and students from Bel Air High who set-up the turf field and decorated for the event. Many students from Bel Air High and the other high schools in the county worked the event as peer buddies and scorekeepers to keep things running smoothly. Mr. Reddish and site coordinators Deane Clark and Dave Ackley, along with support of administration and Bel Air High staff, worked together to make the tournament a success. And many thanks to all who came out to cheer on the athletes. It was a beautiful day to watch the competition and enthusiasm on the corn hole courts!

The first Harford County Sports for Life program originated in 1999 as a basketball program under the direction of Ginny Popiolek and Bonnie Fry of C. Milton Wright High School. The program then grew to include every high school and evolved into three seasons of sports, including basketball, bocce, and bowling. High school teams are comprised of athletes of various skill levels and are combination of students with and without disabilities working together to compete against the other high school teams. At the end of each season, high school teams compete in a countywide tournament against teams of similar skill level.

This spring, basketball was replaced with in-person Corn Hole (the most popular virtual season last year) to create an outdoor spring event. Harford TV recorded the tournament; watch for it soon on-air, online and on-demand!

Special thanks to the following:
  • Michael Thatcher – HCPS Supervisor of Special Education
  • Joe Harbert – HCPS Supervisor of Adapted, Elementary, and Middle School Physical Education
  • Deborah Basler – HCPS Supervisor of Athletics and High School Physical Education
  • Melissa Wilson, Charmaine Bishop – Tournament nurses
  • Amanda Evans, Jean Grieser, Katie Peaco – Adapted Physical Educators
  • Score keeper students from high schools
  • Tim Reca, Kelly Jara – Harford Cable Network
  • Calvin Skelton, Jen Chandler, Nancy Greene – Event announcers
  • BAHS PE staff and Craig Reddish – Field set-up
  • Sara Collins, Robert Deleva, Nitrease Quickley, Jason Redmond – BAHS administration
  • Coaches
  • Parents

John Archer and Deerfield Elementary schools partner for Bridge Building event

John Archer School recently hosted a Bridge Building Partnership event with 4th and 5th graders from Deerfield Elementary School. John Archer students welcomed 19 students for a morning of Bridge Building STEM activities, followed by a rambunctious and wonderful DANCE PARTY with ice cream! John Archer students and staff were tremendous hosts, and the Deerfield Elementary students could not have been better guests.

The school is very hopeful this event was just the first of many, many more in the future. John Archer thanks all those who supported this opportunity!

Edgewood High School Student Opens Clothing Closet for Students in Need

HCPS student Grace Callwood is making a difference in our community! Families at Hall's Cross Roads Elementary School will get a chance to explore the Threads of Hope Clothing Closet, Grace's vision come true.

Joppatowne High P-Tech Students Enjoy Day at APG

APG hosted a field day for the Pathways in Technology Early College High School, or P-TECH, program May 13 at the Myer Pavilion in celebration of Armed Forces Week. The event marked the end of the school year and gave the Army civilian mentors a chance to wish their Joppatowne High School P-TECH students farewell for the summer.

The P-TECH program expands students' educational skills through a technical and work-based learning environment, gaining relevant workplace experience, while the students build innovative and creative portfolios.

Students and their mentors participated in several team building activities and learned about STEM-based innovations during the day-long event. The experience also provided students an opportunity to present their end of year projects to U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command senior leaders, showcasing their innovative computer programing skills and allowing them to demonstrate how far they’ve progressed in the program.

The highlight of the day was the “Behind the Fence” tour of the Aberdeen Test and Evaluation Command (ATEC). P-TECH students and their mentors had the rare opportunity to go behind the fence line to learn about ATEC’s unique contribution in protecting our Soldiers and the nation.

Visit https://www.army.mil/article/256966 for the entire story.

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Shout Outs!

"We would like to extend our sincere appreciation to Buck Hennigan, Christina Alton, Kay Malone, the Crisis Team and all of the HCPS PPW’s, counselors, and school psychologists who helped us navigate through a very tragic event here at Bel Air Middle School. We are so grateful for the extra support and resources to staff, students, and the school community. It is comforting to know that in a moments notice this team was here to help BAMS during a very difficult time."

With gratitude,

Natalie Holloway, Kelly Curio, Matt Koester and Brent Ritz

Bel Air Middle School Administration

"I want to shout out Michele Barrie from ABMS 7th grade science. She is not only an exceptional teacher in her content area, but she also believes in the students and pushes them to their best ability. Watching her science class, I not only saw students engaged in the lesson, but able to take ownership of the lesson and teach other students and adults what they were learning. We are so lucky to have her on our Aberdeen Middle School team."

-Hilary Johnson, Special Education Teacher, Aberdeen Middle School

Welcome to HCPS!

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

  • Kevin Ellsworth, Telecommunications Tech, Technology Department
  • Tammy Davidson, Inclusion Helper, John Archer School
  • DeVaughn Edwards, Custodian I - Shift 2, Aberdeen High School
  • Shannon Faulhaber, Paraeducator, Forest Hill Elementary School
  • McKenna Fernandez, Inclusion Helper, John Archer School
  • Eric Mitchell, Custodian I - Shift 2, Havre de Grace Middle School
  • Sagan McIntyre, EndPoint Technician, Technology Department
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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.