HCPS 411 Update

May 12, 2022

Open Enrollment Has Begun!

Stay on top of your health coverage and enroll today!

The deadline to enroll or make changes is 11:59 p.m., Monday, May 23.


  • May 9, 2022 – May 23, 2022
  • The rate for Basic Life Insurance will increase from $0.174/$1,000 to $0.236/$1,000 (the Board pays 90% of the premium for eligible employees’ basic life insurance coverage).
  • There are no premium changes for medical, dental, or supplemental and dependent life insurance.
  • There are no changes to the designs of the medical, dental, or life insurance plans.

Unless you login to your account and actively select and submit a change, your current health, dental, and life elections will carry over to the 2022 - 2023 benefit plan year. If you currently carry the flexible spending benefit and want to do so again for the following benefit plan year, you will need to complete an active enrollment through your account at hcps.benelogic.com before 11:59 p.m. on Monday, May 23.

This year, employees will have the opportunity to participate in a virtual open enrollment informational session with representatives from CareFirst, Delta Dental, Flexible Benefit Administrators, MetLife, and KEPRO. The next session can be accessed by clicking the link below at the specified time and date:

Wednesday, May 18, at 4:30 p.m.: Click here to participate on the date and time of the event.

The 2022 - 2023 Benefit Reference Guide is now available on the HCPS website at https://www.hcps.org. Please take the time to review the guide now to be ready to make changes to your elections at hcps.benelogic.com.

To log into your account through Benelogic:

1. Using a computer with the internet, visit hcps.benelogic.com.
2. Enter your User ID, which is your HCPS 5-digit Employee ID number.
3. Enter your password. If you do not know your password, click on the “Forgot User ID/Password” link for further assistance.
4. Click the orange “Sign In” button.
5. Click on the large green “GO” arrow to start your enrollment.
6. Once you have reached the end, click the Submit button to finalize your enrollment.
7. Print a copy of the Enrollment Summary for your records.

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

HCEA Sick Leave Bank Open Enrollment/Cancellation

The open enrollment period for the Harford County Education Association (HCEA) Certificated Unit Sick Leave Bank (SLB) will be from May 1–31. Certificated employees represented by the HCEA who wish to enroll in the Sick Leave Bank or those who wish to cancel their membership in the Sick Leave Bank may access the linked Enrollment/Cancellation form. Please see the form for specific details and timelines regarding the application/cancellation process. Note: Current members will be AUTOMATICALLY RENEWED.

The open enrollment period for the Harford County Education Association (HCEA) Non-Certificated Instructional Support Personnel Sick Leave Bank (SLB) will be from May 1–31. Non-certificated employees represented by the HCEA who wish to enroll in the Sick Leave Bank or those who wish to cancel their membership in the Sick Leave Bank may access the linked Enrollment/Cancellation form. Please see the form for specific details and timelines regarding the application/cancellation process. Note: Current members will be AUTOMATICALLY RENEWED.

Questions regarding the SLB should be directed to HCEA at 410-838-0800 or HarfordSLB@mseanea.org.

Universal Availability Notice 403(b)

In accordance with IRS regulations governing 403(b) deferred compensation plans, Harford County Public Schools must annually provide a notice to all eligible employees regarding the opportunity to make elective deferrals or change existing deferrals into the plan. Employees may access the plan’s Universal Availability Notice, as well as information on how to get started contributing to the Roth and/or tax-deferred investment program, at http://www.hcps.org/departments/humanresources/benefits/retirement.aspx.

261st Duty Day for 12-Month Employees

To maintain the negotiated 260-day work year, December 28, 2022, will be a non-work day for 12-month employees.

Blueprint North Star Highlight

The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future (Blueprint) legislation contains requirements for school districts to have certain college and career readiness pathways, which align and support the HCPS North Star initiative for graduate outcomes. The Blueprint North Star subcommittee is chaired by Mike O’Brien, Executive Director of Middle & High School Performance, and Bill Seccurro, Chair of the Harford Business Roundtable for Education Executive Committee.

Here are resources to support your knowledge of Blueprint North Star:

HCPS Blueprint Northstar

National Board for Professional Teaching Standards - Webinar for Maryland Educators

National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) will hold the following webinar for Maryland educators on Monday, May 16, 2022, at 4:00 p.m. for those who are interested in pursuing National Board Certification (NBC).

Date: May 16, 2022

Title: Introduction to National Board Certification

Registration Link: https://nbpts.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_USDKaPSMRDSudlQ_JaDSqw

Those who DID submit a 2022-23 Application for National Board Certification Financial Aid: Our screening team is currently reviewing your applications. Our goal is to inform you by mid-June if you have passed the HCPS portion of the application process. In the meantime, this webinar may be of value to you.

Those who DID NOT submit a 2022-23 Application for National Board Certification Financial Aid: Although the application deadline for the upcoming school year has closed, if you are interested in learning more or pursuing certification on your own, you are welcome to register for the webinar.

National Board Academy June 28-30, 2022

Mark your calendars for this summer’s National Board Academy. Held virtually from June 28-30, this free, three-day conference is open to all educators. This year’s theme of Connect, Reflect, Reimagine invites educators to come together to develop skills, learn from colleagues, and build community.

The line-up for this year’s event is being finalized and will feature a range of sessions on topics including teacher leadership, advocacy, education equity, and pursuing and maintaining National Board certification. There will also be space for educators to connect with other educators from across the country.

We encourage you to join for all or part of the event and make it part of your summer development plan. One strand will be specifically for educators pursuing National Board certification, but because the National Board is a resource for the teaching profession, any educator is welcome to join. Feel free to share this email with your colleagues.

Registration will open soon and we will be back in touch when it’s time to reserve your place in this year’s National Board Academy! Visit our dedicated National Board Academy site for all of the currently available information.

Don’t miss our other webinars leading up to the Academy! See our webinar page for a full listing.


The National Board Academy Team

Contact Us

Diversity 365 Highlights - April/Autism Acceptance Month

William S. James Elementary

Rebecca Reese, Principal

WJES celebrates Autism Acceptance Month in a BIG way! Each year, WJES has an Autism Acceptance Week in which the special education department develops mini lessons for classroom teachers to implement in their classrooms. Using videos, activities, and books, students "meet" people with autism (and other differently-abled people) and have discussions with their classmates about advocacy, acceptance, and inclusion.

Special thanks to Ms. Stephanie Bartholomew.

Fountain Green Elementary

Mary Ann Clinton, Principal

FGES places art and creativity at the forefront of Autism Acceptance Month. Click here for a list of books/resources on Autism Acceptance.

"Believe it or not, my first graders get it. We constantly remind each other... "It's okay to be YOU! Thank you for letting me... be ME!" - Ms. Keisha Nandalal

Special thanks to Ms. Luzmaria Vignola & Ms. Keisha Nandalal

C. Milton Wright High School

Erica Harris, Principal

At CMHS, Autism Acceptance takes center stage. The Shining Stars Drama Class, which consists of students in both the STRIVE and Life Skills classes, has done three performances this school year. Recently, they performed "The Three Little Pigs" and "Little Red Riding Hood." For each performance, fellow CMHS students attend to cheer on and support the performers.

"It's been wonderful watching the way the student body has supported our students with autism and other disabilities in their theatrical performance." - Mrs. Jennifer Gusso

Special thanks to Mrs. Jennifer Gusso & Mrs. Rebecca Borkowski

Joppatowne High School

Pamela Zeigler, Principal

Autism acceptance and the visual arts make a colorful combination at JOHS.

"As an educator of autistic voices, I want my students with autism to grow up in a world where they can freely #stim, are always accommodated, are proud of the way they were created, are collaborative, and most importantly always included in diverse environments." - Ms. Tomisa Snyder

Special thanks to Ms. Tomisa Snyder

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.

Equity Chats

The Office of Equity and Cultural Proficiency hosts monthly Virtual Equity Chats this school year. This is an opportunity to speak frankly about topics of equity and cultural proficiency. The next chat will be held on Wednesday, May 25, 2022, from 5:00-6:00 p.m. For this chat, bring questions or topics that YOU want to chat about with the group. We will provide time for participants to weigh in on topics/questions and break into small groups when appropriate. Use this link to register to attend the chat no later than May 24, 2022, at 3:00 p.m.: https://forms.office.com/r/BrWxK5iMky.

Also, if you would like to lead future Equity Chats or have topics in mind, please reach out to Kimberly Sullivan at Kimberly.Sullivan@hcps.org.

Family Friendly School Award Voting Window Now Open!

The voting window to name the Family Friendly School Award winner for this month is NOW OPEN! This will be the LAST winning school for the 2021-22 school year. Make your vote count!

Click here to vote once before 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, May 18, to let us know which nominated school should win the coveted title of “Family Friendly School” and a staff Chick-fil-A luncheon!

We are so excited to share that our Family Friendly School Award program sponsor, Chick-fil-A of Harford County, has committed to supporting this program for the coming school year! If "your" school did receive the award this school year and is family-friendly, nominate it next school year! One winning school will be named each month September through May, and schools may win multiple times. Reminders about nominating and voting windows will be shared in the HCPS 411 Update and on the Parent Academy Facebook page throughout the school year.

We look forward to announcing the May winner later this month!

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HCPStories: Kelsey Clayton - From HCPS Student, to HCPS Teacher!

Amazing things are happening at Harford County Public Schools! Our staff, our students, our community, we all have a story to tell, please join us as we share #HCPStories.

HCPStories: Kelsey Clayton - From HCPS Student, to HCPS Teacher!

Congratulations to This Month's Bowtie Breakfast Honorees!

The HCPS Bowtie Breakfast program celebrates Central Office employees who consistently demonstrate outstanding customer service and go above and beyond in their roles. Honorees are nominated by colleagues to attend Superintendent Bulson’s virtual event held each month. Congratulations to the May honorees! Join us in celebrating our awesome HCPS staff!

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Keeping PACE at Darlington Elementary School

In this short video, Principal Alberta Porter and PACE Liaison Lea Mussini highlight some of the great work taking place at Darlington Elementary School that focuses on the school’s climate and culture. Ms. Porter talks about the importance of communication and building family efficacy, and Ms. Mussini shares an idea the school had this year for a video presentation for families about establishing routines at home to support their student. Take a watch!


Teacher Tour Stop 5: Engagement

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” -Benjamin Franklin

Engaged students are interested in the content, involved in the lesson, and invested in their learning. Engaging classrooms often have students that are excited, curious, and committed to learning. These classrooms can be identified by a positive and energetic environment, resulting in a deeper understanding and a higher level of retention. Do you know a teacher who is a master at engaging students in their content? Tell us about some of the amazing things they do to engage their students. They could be the next stop on our Teacher Tour!

Please use this link to nominate an outstanding teacher on or before May 15, 2022. They may be the next stop on our teacher tour!

Professional Development Announcements

Loyola School of Education Virtual Information Session

Wednesday, May 18, 5:30 p.m.

Loyola School of Education invites you to join them on May 18 for a virtual information session where you will learn about the flexible and affordable graduate programs, admission process, financing options, and scholarship opportunities offered through Loyola University Maryland's School of Education. When you attend, they will automatically waive your application fee. Once registered for the information session, you'll receive a confirmation email with a Zoom link. Please see flier. Scan the QR code to register!


Towson University – Master’s Degree in Elementary Education

Are you interested in a master’s degree in Elementary Education? TU is offering a 100% online multi-county group at a greatly reduced rate! Join one of the Virtual Information Sessions to learn more:

Tuesday, May 17, and Wednesday, May 18, at 6:00 p.m.



Zoom Link: https://towson-edu.zoom.us/my/tu.xliu

Can’t attend? Email xliu@towson.edu for more information.

Please note, this opportunity is not covered through a MOU between HCPS and Towson. If you pursue this opportunity, you will pay Towson upfront and if eligible, request reimbursement from HCPS. It is important for you to know your limits of reimbursement. Tuition Reimbursement site.

Restorative Approaches in Maryland-Discovering Our Next Steps

A new interactive webinar opportunity, “Restorative Approaches in Maryland-Discovering Our Next Steps,” presented by The Restorative Approaches Collaborative: Maryland State Department of Education and University of Maryland School of Law-Center for Dispute Resolution, will take place on June 7 from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m.

In this highly interactive session, participants will:

● Learn the basics of the restorative paradigm

● Apply that paradigm to a familiar case study

● Unpack its meaning and implications with colleagues in small groups

● Hear how school systems across Maryland are using restorative approaches

● Take advantage of opportunities to learn more


Nancy Schertzing: Director, Restorative Approaches in Education Center for Dispute Resolution-University of Maryland, Francis King Carey School of Law

Stacy Smith: Director, Special Projects-Center for Dispute Resolution University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law

Walter Sallee: Director, Student Services & Strategic Planning-Maryland State Department of Education

Kim Buckheit: Section Chief, School Safety and Climate Maryland State Department of Education

Brad Engel: School Climate Initiatives Specialist/Interagency Collaboration-Maryland State Department of Education

Register here.

Consider also watching the webinar Marg Thorsborne did for the Restorative Practices Collaborative from MSDE on February 23, 2021, The Stickiness Factor: Embedding Restorative Practices in School Communities.

For more information, please contact Faith Buxton at faith.buxton@hcps.org.

Congratulations to Drusilla Herbert of Bel Air Middle School!

From The Aegis:

Bel Air Middle School teacher honored as Harford County’s Maryland District Teacher of the Year

By Tony Roberts

At the first in-person Maryland History Day State Contest in three years, Drusilla Herbert, a social studies teacher from Bel Air Middle School, was honored as Harford County’s Maryland District Teacher of the Year.

“Maryland History Day is not part of the curriculum in Harford County Public Schools, but despite that, Mrs. Herbert has continued to support students interested in participating,” said Stephanie Boyle, program officer for Maryland History Day and Maryland Voices at Maryland Humanities. “We commend her for these efforts and ensuring that those students are still able to participate and expand their critical thinking and research skills through History Day.”

The Maryland History Day team at Maryland Humanities chooses the District Teacher of the Year Award based on nominations from the district contest coordinators who Maryland Humanities works with to facilitate the contest, or in the case of Harford County, on the students’ successes at History Day, said Sarah Weissman, communications specialist for Maryland Humanities.

Herbert has served as the History Day teacher for students from Harford County Public Schools for the last three years, Davis said.

District Teachers of the Year receive $50 and a plaque. Additionally, professional development for teachers is offered through online courses and platforms, summer teacher institutes, workshops and classroom outreach. Maryland Humanities produces Maryland History Day.

Support for Maryland History Day is provided by the State of Maryland through the Maryland State Department of Education.

2022 Golden Apple Awards from Freedom Federal Credit Union

Please see the flier below. Access the application and and learn more by visiting their website. Entry deadline is May 30, 2022.
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CareFirst Member Survey Notice

Harford County Public Schools is committed to providing its employees with quality health insurance options. CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield will survey Harford County Public Schools employees enrolled in our CareFirst group medical plan in the upcoming weeks. The goal is to gather member opinions about the services CareFirst delivers and to identify ways they can better meet your needs.

You can expect to receive an email invitation with a link to the online survey form and instructions on how to complete it. The invitation to complete the survey will be sent to members who have provided an email address to CareFirst and have consented to receive electronic communications from them on Tuesday, May 17. It will be sent by “CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield” CareFirstCustomerInsights@carefirst.com. The survey will take about five minutes to complete. All responses will be kept confidential unless you specify otherwise. CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield thanks you in advance for your participation.

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 beginning May 17, 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.

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.

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.

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.

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: Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Session: 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.

Shout Outs!

"Michele Martin, the FMS lead secretary, is an amazing woman who deserves a shout-out. Michele is friendly, kind, caring, and thorough. She is always willing to help and go the extra mile to help the faculty and staff. From helping to make lunch labels for the staff appreciation luncheon, to printing countless materials and making countless purchases for clubs (and otherwise), to offering a mint to whoever saunters into her office, she always has a smile and a helping hand. She is an invaluable part of our team and deserves all the praise! We love you, Michele!"

- DeAnna Burke, 8th Grade Social Studies, Fallston Middle School

"I would like to give a shout out to Eric Davis. It means so much when instead of sending an email he takes the time to walk to your desk to give you feedback you were waiting for…and great feedback at that!"

- Patricia Smith, Office of Health, Physical Education & Athletics

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.