HCPS 411 Update

February 24, 2022

COVID-19 Updates

Based on the CDC data tracker, Harford County is in “Substantial” transmission.

The Maryland State Board of Education members voted 12-2 to allow local districts control over COVID-19 mask decisions by March 1, pending approval from the Maryland General Assembly’s administrative, executive, and legislative review committee. HCPS is watching all changes closely, and should there be any additional updates, we will communicate them as soon as possible. The still-in-effect State Board mask requirement can be found here.

Next week, the required after-school COVID-19 testing program will end. It will be replaced by a voluntary program open to ALL students and staff as follows:

Bel Air High School: Monday from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.

Fallston High School: Tuesday from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.

North Harford High School: Wednesday from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.

Aberdeen High School: Thursday from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.

Registration: If you have already registered with MAKO for a prior COVID-19 screening clinic, you do not need to complete the registration again before attending a voluntary clinic. If you have not registered with MAKO, please register via the link below for your “HOME” school or office. *Do not register at the location of your intended clinic unless it is your “home” school.

Screening Clinic Registration

Update: February Monthly Minute

The February Monthly Minute with Dr. Bulson, originally scheduled for today at 12:15 p.m., has been rescheduled for Monday, February 28, 2022, at 12:15 p.m. If your schedule allows, you are invited to join Dr. Bulson and your colleagues around the school system on Microsoft Teams at that time for a brief 10–15-minute update.

Click here to join on Monday. We will send a reminder email with the link that morning as well.

No Healthcare or Dental Premium Deductions in March and April For All HCPS-Insured Employees

As a result of budgetary savings related to health and dental care, all HCPS-insured employees will receive four premium holidays in the months of March and April. The premium holiday means that health and dental insurance premiums will not be deducted from employee paychecks in the months of March and April. The pay dates in March and April where there will be no health or dental deductions are Friday, March 4, 2022, Friday, March 18, 2022, Friday, April 1, 2022, and Friday, April 15, 2022. As a reminder, when there is a three-pay-period month, health and dental deductions do not occur on the third pay date. Since April is a three-pay-period month, employees will not see deductions come out for the entire month. Health and dental deductions will resume with the first pay in May on May 13, 2022.

Mark Your Calendars: HCPS Teachers Shop for Free School Supplies!

The Harford County Education Foundation is pleased to announce that the Tools for Schools Resource Center will be open on Tuesday, March 8, 2022, for HCPS teachers to shop for free school supplies!

Registration is open now, but there are limited spots available.

More information and registration here:


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Voluntary Transfer Requests

HCEA represented employees and inclusion helpers (HCEA-ESP represented employees) who wish to be considered for a voluntary transfer must submit their request online prior to the deadline date stated in the applicable negotiated agreement. The Voluntary Transfer Request site may be accessed on the following SharePoint link: Staff Management Department. Each subject and/or position requested must be submitted separately. It is important to note that the Voluntary Transfer Request site is only accessible from a HCPS device connected to the HCPS network. Please note that only online requests completed on the voluntary transfer request site will be accepted.

Transfer requests are accepted on a year-round basis. Although transfers are accepted on a year-round basis, decisions will be based on the existing vacancy/transfer timeline. To review the 2021-2022 SY Employment Timeline, please click on the following SharePoint link: Staff Management Department.

New - Please note the following programs are being added for the 2022-2023 SY:

  • STRIVE at Abingdon Elementary School
  • Classroom Support Program at Church Creek Elementary School
  • Early Learners Program at Meadowvale Elementary School

NewBlueprint Career Ladder Low Performing Schools & NBCT:

Under the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future Legislation, there is an element of the Career Ladder which incentivizes teachers who have National Board Certification to apply for positions at “low-performing schools.” This designation is defined by MSDE and must include schools identified as a 1-star or a 2-star school in 2 of the 3 most recently available years of the Accountability System. The designation also includes some local flexibility, where schools can be included if they are in the bottom 10% of schools in their Elementary/Middle or High schools.

NBCT teacher salary increases associated with the career ladder include the following:

  1. A Nationally Board-Certified Teacher currently working in an approved position as determined by MSDE will receive the NBCT salary increase of $10,000. (previously $2,000 per year). The $10,000 salary increase takes effect for the 2022-2023 school year.
  2. A Nationally Board-Certified Teacher teaching at a Blueprint Career Ladder Low Performing School will receive an additional salary increase of $7,000 and the increase continues as long as the teacher is teaching at the school, even if the school ceases to be low performing.

For the 2022-2023 school year, the following schools will be designated as a Blueprint Career Ladder Low Performing School and are eligible for the additional $7,000 in compensation in relation to the Career Ladder salary increases:

  • Aberdeen Middle School
  • Edgewood High School
  • Edgewood Middle School
  • Magnolia Elementary School
  • Magnolia Middle School

Individuals holding NBCT who are already working in one of these schools will receive the $10,000 salary increase (effective 2022-2023 school year) and the additional $7,000 salary increase for working in an identified low performing school. Individuals holding NBCT who request a voluntary transfer into one of these identified schools and who are selected to fill a known vacancy will also receive the additional $7,000 salary increase.

Current NBCT salary eligibility as defined by MSDE is as follows: Teachers eligible for the mandated salary increases provided under the Blueprint include only "a certified public-school employee who is primarily responsible for and accountable for teaching the students in the class" (Md. Code Ann., Ed. Art. § 6-1001). The law clarifies that ‘teacher’ does not include: curriculum specialists, instructional aides, attendance personnel, psychologists, social workers, clerical personnel, an individual with a resident teacher certificate, or an individual with a certificate for career professionals" (Md. Code Ann., Ed. Art. § 6-1001).

This language continues to be a topic of discussion between MSDE and all of the Maryland LEAs. Should any changes to eligibility be made, we will communicate this information with the HCPS community.

All Other HCEA-ESP Represented Employees

For all other HCEA-ESP represented positions, applications, including transfers, must be done through the online application process. All positions within the unit, which offer promotional and transfer opportunities, will be posted for at least one week prior to the close of the application deadline. You must apply online for consideration.

Questions regarding voluntary transfer information should be directed to:

Joanna Karolenko, Human Resources Joanna.Karolenko@hcps.org x5238

Questions regarding information related to NBCT should be directed to:

Aretha Young, Human Resources Aretha.Young@hcps.org x5258

Jarrettsville Elementary Named February's Family Friendly School Winner!

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

This month, a total of 13 schools were nominated and 1,441 unique votes were cast by the community among the nominated schools, naming Jarrettsville Elementary the winner with 333 votes!! Not only does the school earn the coveted title of Family Friendly School for the month of February, 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:

  • Ring Factory Elementary School
  • George D. Lisby Elementary School at Hillsdale
  • Dublin 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.

March 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 March 1-8, 2022, 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 March 10-17, 2022.

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 JVES

Congratulations to the February Limelight Honorees!

Congratulations to all of the February honorees highlighted below! And a special thank you to this month's sponsor, TraxMethod. In addition to their certificate and car magnet, the following employees were lucky gift card winners by random drawing:

$10 Starbucks Gift Card:

  • Tammi Shiles
  • Lea Mussini
  • Billie Lynch
  • Tiffany Gray
  • Amy Melnick

$50 Amazon Gift Card:

  • Allison Benfield
  • Deanna Gast

$100 Amazon Gift Card:

  • Jaime Bancells
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Teacher Tour, presented by 5xStronger

The Teacher Tour, presented by the 2021 Teacher of the Year finalists, known as 5xStronger, recognizes and celebrates some of the fantastic and extraordinary teachers in our schools. Each month, nominations are accepted for teachers who are doing an outstanding job in a specific area. One winning teacher will be selected each month, but every nominee will be recognized in the HCPS 411 Update. The winning teacher will receive a surprise visit from the 5xStonger team and a special gift from one of our community partners.

For their second stop, 5xStronger recognized Dawn Valle-Giba, of William S. James Elementary School! As educators, we endeavor to enhance the development of life-long learning in our classrooms. Classroom management plays a key role in helping teachers to create optimal learning environments for students where they feel safe, connected, and empowered to learn. Educators that are successful with classroom management develop strong working relationships with their students, set clear behavioral standards, know how to leverage and protect instructional time, and are consistent. Click here for more information and to see all of this month’s nominees! A big, heartfelt thank you to our program sponsor, APGFCU, for their donations to our program!

Teacher Tour Stop 3: Technology

As educators, we are constantly reinventing and reimagining ways to connect with our students. The last couple of years have taught us the importance of leveraging technology to support all students’ needs, moving from simply consuming and sampling technology to a true application of tools to transfer learning. For the next stop on our teacher tour, we are looking to celebrate teachers that do an exemplary job of leveraging technology in their classrooms to support all students. Please use this link to nominate an outstanding teacher on or before March 15, 2022. They may be the next stop on our teacher tour!

HCPS Health Challenge, Presented by QuaranTeam5

The QuaranTeam5 is challenging you to participate in activities to support staying fit - both mentally and physically. Click here to see the challenges! When you participate in any challenge, submit a photo or screenshot here to enter to win a prize. The more challenges you complete, the more entries to win! The first 50 teachers to participate will receive the book, 180 Days of Self Care for Busy Educators! Two lucky winners will receive a Nutri Ninja Pro Single Serve Blender, and one winner will receive a CareFirst gift package!

You can also share your commitment to health using the hashtag #HCPSHealth on social media. Some HCPS employees are already participating! Check out these educators who are making their physical and mental health a priority – Lauren Byrd, Melissa Dethlefsen, Amy Nines, and Amber Seyler-Vyskoci!

National Board - Getting Started

Who is eligible to seek National Board Certification?

To be eligible for National Board Certification, candidates must:

  • Hold a bachelor’s degree
  • Have completed three years of successful teaching or school counseling experience (Please note: conditional teaching experience does not count toward eligibility requirements.)
  • Hold a valid state teaching license or meet the licensure requirements established by MSDE for a school counselor
  • Meet any additional prerequisites for certificate area. Review the National Board Get Started page.

Would you like to become a National Board Certified Teacher? Interested in more information for the 2022-23 school year? Please complete this form.

Details on upcoming virtual HCPS Informational Sessions will be published in the next HCPS 411 Update.

Check out the National Board site. Questions may be emailed to HCPS.NationalBoard@hcps.org.

Scholarship Available for Master of Science in School Librarianship Program (Online)

McDaniel College Graduate and Professional Studies has partnered with the Community Foundation of Frederick County to award graduate scholarships for students seeking a career in school librarianship. The Carolyn D. McGolerick Scholarship fund was established in honor of Carolyn McGolerick, McDaniel alumna who served as a librarian at Fort Detrick and St. John's School in Emmitsburg.

A Virtual Open House will be held on Wednesday, March 23, 2022, at 4:30 p.m. Register here.

Learn more here. Application deadline is April 30, 2022.

Summer Academic Tutoring

The Academic Tutoring Program will be running July 5 – July 30, 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 by May 11, 2022: https://forms.office.com/r/4CrAzKzGYP.

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

2022 Stars of Summer Program

HCPS is seeking educators to teach in the 2022 Stars of Summer program! Stars of Summer is a virtual, camp-like summer school experience for rising grade one through grade nine students. We need your ingenuity and creativity to provide students with another exciting summer learning experience. Please open the attachment to learn more about this paid teaching opportunity. Any questions may be directed to program coordinators at starsofsummer@hcps.org.

America Saves Week

Have you ever thought about your “dream retirement”? It’s important to know this to help determine just how much to save for #retirement. Here are “6 Steps To Jumpstart Your Retirement Savings” America Saves Check out this site for additional resources: https://americasaves.org.

Get Psyched Spring Newsletter

The newest edition of the School Psychology Department’s Get Psyched newsletter, entitled Learning From Each Other: Supporting EL Students in the Classroom, is available here.

Maryland Arbor Day Poster Contest Winner From Ring Factory Elementary School

From the Maryland Department of Natural Resources:

Fifth-grade students who submitted Arbor Day posters to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources had their work judged by a panel of forestry experts and a special guest judge, Maryland First Lady Yumi Hogan, who is an accomplished artist and adjunct professor at Maryland Institute College of Art.

The posters were created using varied artistic techniques, including colored pencils, crayons, markers and paint, all illustrating this year’s contest theme, “Trees are Terrific…and Maryland Forests are Too.”

Original artwork focused on trees cleaning the air, creating shade and generally contributing to healthy outdoor living.

The first-place winner was Camden Steiner from Ring Factory Elementary School! Camden’s school will receive a prize of 15 trees.

The Maryland Forest Service accepted hundreds of entries for the 2022 Arbor Day Poster Contest. Previously selected winners from each participating county were then forwarded for judging by the volunteer Maryland Urban and Community Forest Committee.

The Arbor Day Poster Contest is hosted annually by the department’s Tree-Mendous Maryland Program. All winning poster entries along with photos from the contest judging are posted online.

Camden participated in this contest to support Ring Factory Elementary's Green School Status and the stewardship lessons that are part of the Harford Glen program.

Congratulations to Camden! We can't wait to see the new trees at the school.

Diversity Partners

The Diversity Retention & Recruitment team is looking for school-based partners to help advance our work toward a more diverse HCPS. Our goal is to have at least one Diversity Partner in each of our schools, so we invite you to join us.

Diversity Partners will:

  • Serve as diversity ambassadors within the school community;
  • Work collaboratively with colleagues from around the county to develop and implement diversity initiatives;
  • Assist with recruitment;
  • And more!

A meeting will be held on Wednesday, March 23, from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. via Teams. Participants will be compensated per the negotiated rate.

For more information on becoming a Diversity Partners, please contact Sherron Foster-Moore, Diversity Retention & Recruitment Specialist, at Sherron.Fostermoore@hcps.org.

All Are Welcome!

PARAPRO Assessment Opportunities – March 18, 2022

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 March 18, 2022. The test will be offered 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.

HCPS Customer Satisfaction Survey Link Encouraged in Email Signature Lines

We recognize customer service as a vital component of an organization's culture that, in our case, ultimately affects overall student success. To ensure that HCPS remains accountable for delivering top-notch customer service, we are encouraging all HCPS employees to add a link to a customer satisfaction survey to the signature line of their HCPS emails. To do so, simply copy and paste this into your current signature line:

Click here to take a brief customer satisfaction survey.

In addition, the link to the survey is accessible in the footer on hcps.org.

The responses to this survey will greatly help us gauge our current level of service and identify opportunities for improvement. Survey responses and data are collected and monitored by Judy Simon, HCPS Customer Service Specialist.

CareFirst Wellness Announcements

March is National Nutrition Month

This month is all about making informed food choices and creating healthy eating habits that will help increase your overall quality of life. As Hippocrates once said, "Let food be thy medicine" – a sentiment which still rings true today! Our diet's nutrients provide the fuel we need to get through our busy days. To learn more and view the recipe of the month, Healthy Omelet Makeover, click here to view CareFirst's March Wellness Newsletter.

CareFirst/ShareCare Monthly Challenge: March Healthy Plate Challenge

March 1 – March 31

Many people know that nutrition is essential to help you maintain a healthy weight. But there are many other benefits to good nutrition, including reducing the risk of heart disease, delaying the effects of gaining, and maintaining a healthy immune system. Join the challenge in March and prioritize your nutritious choices to improve your well-being.

Click here to learn more about this challenge and how to participate.

CareFirst March Health Awareness Dates:

  • March 2022: Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month- Do you know how to prevent Colorectal Cancer? Take this quick quiz from the CDC and test your knowledge! Colorectal Cancer Quiz | CDC
  • March 22, 2022: National Diabetes Alert Day- Observed annually on the fourth Tuesday in March, Diabetes Alert Day is a "wake-up call" that focuses on the seriousness of diabetes and the importance of understanding your risk. This quick and simple Diabetes Risk Test will help determine if you or a loved one are at risk for type 2 diabetes.

BurnAlong Virtual Wellness: Invite Your Family and Friends

Did you know you can invite up to four of your family members and friends to create free BurnAlong accounts to participate in various virtual wellness activities together? It’s easy. To add family and friends:

1. Go to your profile picture and select Sub Accounts.

2. Select “Add Sub Account.”

3. Complete the fields on the screen and select “Add.”

To take a virtual class with your friends, family members, and co-workers:

1. Select the class you want to take.

2. Click Schedule and select up to three (3) contacts.

3. Click “Schedule Now,” and your invitees will be notified.

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: Investment Basics

If you are new to investing or simply need some direction, then this complimentary workshop is for you. From an overview of investing and investment concepts, to terminology and how to deal with market volatility, MetLife’s Investing 101 will help you sort it out.

Date: Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Time: 5:00-6:00 p.m.

If asked for 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!

CareFirst Members: Will You Find the Golden Ticket?

Beginning February 1 through April 30, all CareFirst Members registered for their Well-being Platform powered by Sharecare will be eligible for the Golden Ticket!

What is the Golden Ticket Promotion? Every month, 60 randomly selected members will have a Golden Ticket image on their Well-being platform timeline. Lucky winners will each receive a $25 Visa® Virtual Gift Card! To claim your prize, you must find the Golden Ticket on your Sharecare timeline located in the CareFirst ShareCare app and click the "Claim Your Prize" button.

Ready to win? Follow these steps to get started!

1. Register or log in to your Sharecare Account! Click here to access your Sharecare Account.

2. Check your timeline daily to see if a Golden Ticket image appears.

3. If you see the image, follow the prompts to claim your prize!

EAP Webinar: Navigating Through Grief and Loss

Presented by KEPRO Employee Assistance Program

The February KEPRO EAP resources are here. Experiencing loss can be difficult no matter the circumstance. KEPRO can help you cope and provide strategies to grieve in a healthy way. This session will help you discover ways to say goodbye and work through the five stages of grief in a healthy way. Click here to learn more.

Date: Available on demand beginning February 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!

"I want to give a shout out to Denise Semenkow in Procurement. She is always willing to answer questions, assist with procurement problems, and tell us what is needed to purchase items we need for our students and staff. She is fast and efficient in everything she does and is a wealth of knowledge. Just today she answered questions about current contracts and told us the process and what was needed for us to move forward with an issue. She is a consistent support."

-Pauline Timmons, Grant Coordinator - State/Federal Special Education Programs, Special Education Department

"A huge shout out to Laura Knapp for her help and collaboration on offering an amazing PD on Nearpod for WL and EL. We are so grateful to you and the Instructional Technology team!"

-Erin Steelman, Curriculum Specialist, World Languages

"A shout out goes to Erin Kassouf, Shannon Linarducci, and Kim Heeter from Office of Special Education for their ongoing support at Fountain Green Elementary! They are knowledgeable, resourceful, and child advocates at heart. Each day we celebrate the small successes that we are observing with them due in part to their work at FGES!"

-Mary Ann Clinton, Principal, Fountain Green Elementary School

Welcome to HCPS!

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

  • Katherine Dubree, Inclusion Helper, Hall's Cross Roads Elementary School
  • Nittiya Hartman, Custodian I - Shift 2, Havre de Grace Middle/High School
  • Leonard Wanzer, Custodian I - Shift 2, Havre de Grace Elementary School
  • Noel Kelly, Custodian I - Shift 2, Jarrettsville Elementary School
  • Meghan Phelan, Media Technician, Joppatowne High 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.