HCPS 411 Update

April 21, 2022

Monthly Minute with Dr. Bulson

The next Monthly Minute with Dr. Bulson is scheduled for Tuesday, April 26, from 12:15-12:30 p.m. Click here to join the LIVE event on April 26.

Diversity 365

In honor of Celebrate Diversity Month, we invite you to share how your school or office 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 Autism Acceptance!

Please email your celebration pictures and a brief write-up about the event to Sherron Foster-Moore, Diversity Retention & Recruitment Specialist, at Sherron.Fostermoore@hcps.org by Friday, April 29, 2022. This month’s submissions will be shared in the May 5th edition of the HCPS 411 Update.

Be on the Lookout: Open Enrollment is Coming!

Open enrollment for the 2022-2023 plan year will begin on Monday, May 9, and end at 11:59 p.m. on Monday, May 23, 2022.

The 2022-2023 Benefit Reference Guide will be posted to the website in early May to review to be ready to make changes to your elections beginning on Monday, May 9. Virtual Open Enrollment meetings will be hosted on Tuesday, May 10, and Wednesday, May 18.

More information about the open enrollment and the virtual meetings links will be posted closer to the start of Open Enrollment.

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

New Educator Certification System

The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) will be releasing The Educator Application and Certification Hub (TEACH) in April! TEACH will replace the current certification application system, which will be shutting down on April 20, 2022. TEACH is expected to be released on April 26, 2022. All Maryland educators will have access to an online Dashboard where they may apply for certification, make payments, download their certificate, access various online services, and update their contact information. Existing certificate holders will need to complete a one-time registration by visiting TEACH at https://certificationhub.msde.maryland.gov once the system is released. MSDE will be providing technical support for educators needing assistance during the registration process. Should you need assistance, please email certinfo.msde@maryland.gov.

There will be changes to how you access the state system, how you make requests for certification renewals, endorsement requests, and requests for other changes to your certificate. Training will be available to help you navigate these changes. More information about training sessions will be provided as it becomes available. Please note that the HCPS Certification Department will remain your point of contact for any certification questions other than TEACH technical support.

HCPS Certification Contact Information:

Aretha Young, Certification Team Leader - Aretha.Young@hcps.org

Christine Lambert, Certification Support Specialist - Christine.Lambert@hcps.org

Professional Development Announcements

McDaniel College

Registration is open for Summer and Fall courses. For assistance from a Graduate and Professional Studies Liaison, please contact 410-857-2500 or email gpsadvising@mcdaniel.edu.

Harford Community College

Do you need courses for certification? Harford Community College is offering courses for teachers this summer including: EDUC205 Instruction of Reading, EDUC209: Literacy in the Content Area Part II, EDUC211: Assessment for Reading Instruction, EDUC222: Assessment and Diagnosis of the Exceptional Child, and others. The schedule of classes is available at https://hccweb1.harford.edu/scheduleofclassescredit/. If you have questions about any of their course offerings or need any assistance, please contact Laura Hutton at lhutton@harford.edu or 443-504-9639.

ParaPro Assessment Opportunity

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 classroom 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 May 6, 2022. The test will be offered from 1:00 to 4:00 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 available on the Human Resources SharePoint site HERE.

End of Year Tuition Reimbursement Requests

Tuition reimbursement requests, including the Partial Reimbursement Request form that aligns with your union, an itemized receipt showing payment method(s) and amount(s), and an official transcript sent electronically from your university, must be submitted to the transcripts@hcps.org email address within 90 days of the course completion date. Please visit https://hcps365.sharepoint.com/sites/HumanResources/Benefits/tuition/default.aspx for additional tuition reimbursement information, including reimbursement request forms, sample receipts, eligibility, and more details about the reimbursement submission process.

All Spring 2022 semester reimbursement requests received on and after May 1, 2022, will be reimbursed after July 15, 2022, leading up to and including the new school year’s first and second pay dates. Employees will receive an email confirming the reimbursement date of their request once it is processed. This processing timeline will apply to all staff, including those not scheduled to work during the summer break. Employees taking coursework through a direct bill partner will have their coursework billed directly to HCPS. Therefore, no paperwork is needed from the employee for the reimbursement as the partner University/College will provide the required official transcript/grade report.

Courses completed before July 1, 2022, will count towards the July 1, 2021-June 30, 2022 fiscal year, while courses completed on or after July 1, 2022, will count towards the July 1, 2022-June 30, 2023 fiscal year.

Questions concerning reimbursement should be directed to Lisa Patterson at lisa.patterson@hcps.org. Questions concerning certification should be directed to certification@hcps.org.

Littles University

Calling all families of Littles University Scholars! With only 133 copies available, register NOW! Our book for the month of May is "Two" by Kathryn Otoshi. Why this book?? So you can go to the library and check out Ms. Otoshi's first two books in this series before a special message from Mrs. Lader on May 10! If you haven't read "Zero" and "One" by Kathryn Otoshi, make sure you do before you receive "Two" on your doorstep from our amazing partners at the Harford County Education Foundation! We love the opportunity they give our Littles Scholars to grow their home library!
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National FFA Organization Members From North Harford High School Earn Top Honors at Recent Career Development Events

Congratulations to the 22 North Harford National FFA Organization members who recently competed in the Career Development Events at the MD FFA Spring Judging. Advisors Erika Edwards, Aimee Densmore, and Hannah Schantz are thrilled to share that all teams placed in the top 3 in their respective competitions, with five of the six teams moving on to the Regional and National Competitions.

The following teams scored in 1st place in the state and will travel to Indiana to compete at the National Convention.

Meat Evaluation – 1st out of 4 teams (Coach – Hannah Schantz)

Zachary Wyatt – 1st overall

Beverly Bigelow – 7th overall

Teagan Flaherty – 8th overall

Cole Hellwig – 9th overall

Nursery Landscape 1st out of 7 teams and 6th ​consecutive year taking home the gold! (Coach – Erika Edwards)

James Ortt – 2nd overall

Emily Cassidy – 3rd overall

Abigail Sheets – 7th overall

Sarah McKee

Agriscience Fair – 1st (Coach – Dana Morton & Greg Murrell)

Sydney Phipps

The following teams scored in 2nd place in the state and will travel to Massachusetts to compete at the Big E Easter Regional Contests.

Vet Science 2nd out of 17 teams (Coach – Aimee Densmore)

Kyla Bolton – 6th overall

Noa Blanken – 7th overall

Madelyn Koellner

Grace Conklin

Floriculture – 2nd out of 19 teams (Coach – Erika Edwards)

Sophia Shull – 3rd overall

Laura Erisman – 7th overall

Lauren Richardson

Malinah Jerscheid

Damien Thomas

Food Science – 3rd out of 6 teams (Coach – Aimee Densmore)

Mia Coleman – 9th overall

Lily Jerscheid

Joshua Woods

Natalie Ling

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Southampton Middle School Raises Nearly $40,000 in Annual Harford Family House Fundraiser

Students at Southampton Middle School recently raised money for Harford Family House with their Hoops for Homes event. Harford Family House supports families with school-aged children in Harford County who are homeless by providing them with a home for up to one year and helping them get back on their feet.

This is the school's fourth year raising money for Harford Family House. Over the past four years, they have raised a total of $101,367.50!! This year's event set a school record for the largest amount of money ever raised by Southampton Middle, a total of $38,637.50! WOW!

Way to go, Southampton Middle School! Thank you to the students, staff, and families for their incredible effort to give back in our community!

Jarrettsville Elementary School Holds Domino Cereal Box Challenge to Benefit Manna House

Jarrettsville Elementary School joined in on the excitement around the cereal box challenge and organized a fun visual to show just how much their school community contributed to helping families in need of food. The entire school collected more than 570 boxes of cereal that were then set up as dominos throughout the halls of the school. Students lined the hallways with grins on their faces as they watched box after box topple.

Fifth graders then helped load up the hundreds of boxes of cereal to be donated to the Manna House, an organization that offers assistance and support to the homeless, poor, and needy of Baltimore with services contributing toward their independence and stability.

Way to go, Jarrettsville Elementary School!
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Save the Date! A Family Wellness Night

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Each year, millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental illness. While 1 in 5 people will experience a mental illness during their lifetime, everyone faces challenges in life that can impact their mental health. Over the past several years, our country has seen an increase in behavioral health conditions, including depression, anxiety, and substance misuse. The stigma which often times surrounds behavioral health, keeps many people from seeking the help they need, when they need it most. In fact, most people living with behavioral health challenges say the stigma they face causes shame and self-doubt, isolation, increased substance use, and loss of hope in the ability to recover (NAMI, 2016). The Harford County Local Behavioral Health Authority are passionate about paving the way to confront behavioral health stigma head-on.

Now, it is more important than ever before to raise awareness about mental health. Through the development of partnerships and collaboration between public and private sector businesses and agencies, we strive to make Harford County a stigma-free community.

How can you learn more?

We all play an important role in destigmatizing mental health. Please help us raise awareness and thank you for your support in this effort.

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Summer Academic Tutoring

The Academic Tutoring Program will be running from July 10 – August 6, 2022. 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. Tutors are also needed 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 true hourly rate when working with students and the negotiated rate for planning.

If you are interested in serving as a tutor, please complete this survey form:


For any questions, please contact Academic.Tutoring@hcps.org.

Summer Jobs in Maintenance Listed

Harford County Public Schools Facilities Management Department has a nine-week Summer Maintenance Program (June 20 – August 18, 2022) open to anyone who enjoys varying jobs such as painting and general maintenance tasks. Those selected will work at school buildings and annexes throughout the Harford County Public Schools system. Applicants must be at least 16 years of age and able to provide their own transportation to the various job sites.

The hours are 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday. There are two 15-minute breaks plus a 30-minute lunch. Starting pay for painting is $12.50.

Applications are located on the Harford County Public Schools website (hcps.org) under About Us > Current Vacancies > Other Career Opportunities/Substitutes. Only online applications will be accepted until positions have been filled.

If you have any questions regarding the program, please call the Hickory Annex at 410-638-4088.

Here’s A Little Treat Just For YOU

Presented by BurnAlong Virtual Wellness Portal

You are doing awesome, and the weekend is almost here! Enjoy some rejuvenation in under 10 minutes with the most popular classes others at Harford County Public Schools have enjoyed this month.

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: Stress Awareness Month

April is Stress Awareness Month

Feeling overwhelmed lately? You are not alone. Now more than ever, many of us face challenges that can be stressful, overwhelming, and exhausting. In addition to dealing with the regular stressors of our day-to-day lives, the pandemic has added an additional layer of stress and uncertainty. It is important to help yourself learn how to cope with stress in healthy ways. To learn more, click here to view CareFirst’s April Wellness Newsletter.

April Recipe of the Month: Vegetable Fried Rice: Click here to learn more and try this delicious dish.

Upcoming Webinar Workshop Series: Retirewise

Get your finances on track with the Retirewise workshop series presented by MetLife.

With Retirewise, you’ll be on your way to making smarter financial decisions and creating an action plan that works for you. From budgeting and building an emergency fund to determining your investment options and creating a will, there’s something for everyone to learn.

Each Retirewise session has different topics that build on each other:

  • Building the Foundation
  • Creating & Managing Wealth
  • Establishing Your Retirement Income Stream
  • Making the Most of What You Have

Workshop Details:

Session 1: Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Session 2: Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Session 3: Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Session 4: Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Time: 5:00 – 6:00 p.m. EST

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

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

On the fence? Here’s a sneak peek of what to expect. Spouses and partners are welcome! For more information, click here.

EAP Webinar: Finding a Hobby: How it Impacts Your Life

Presented by KEPRO Employee Assistance Program

The April KEPRO EAP resources are here. Studies have shown that engaging in enjoyable leisure activities can reduce stress, replenish depleted reserves, and lead to overall positive mental and physical health benefits. This session will help you to understand the importance of having a hobby. Click here to learn more.

Date: Available on demand beginning April 19, 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, 7 days per week toll-free at (866) 795-5701 to visit their website online at www.EAPhelplink.com.

Shout Outs!

"A HUGE thank you to Jack Getz and Luke Bullis in OTIS for ALL of their help behind the scenes with modifying and updating HECTOR to meet the needs of the Canvas Professional Learning experience. Every time I would make a request to them, many of which were “big asks,” they would reply with a “No problem” or “That’s easy.” Jack and Luke’s work allowed for choice in teachers’ PL experience, while also maintaining prerequisites and requirements. Thank you for always being amazing and considering the teacher perspective in your work!"

-Laura Knapp, Instructional Technology Teacher Specialist, Office of Organizational Development

"Thank you to Lindsay Bilodeau for her patience with the many back and forth design changes to our Canvas newsletters, especially Tuesday’s edition. Lindsay was willing to draft early, send out at 7:30 a.m., and was so kind and patient as we changed design and wording many times. Thank you for helping us to get things “just right” for teachers!"

-Laura Knapp, Instructional Technology Teacher Specialist, Office of Organizational Development

"A sincere thank you to NHMS PLTW teacher, Mr. Andrew Thomson, for the countless hours he's contributed to the PLTW curriculum writing, inputting that curriculum to itsLearning, supporting colleagues with the implementation of the curriculum, evaluating Canvas from a CTE perspective, and offering continued support for the middle school teachers even as he moves up to high school. I am sure the current 8th graders feel extra special and comforted knowing he'll be starting high school with them next fall. We are sad to see him leave middle school, but so fortunate to keep him in our CTE family; a wonderful teacher, colleague, mentor, and friend."

-Katie Campbell, Curriculum Specialist

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.