HCPS 411 Update

October 7, 2021

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COVID-19 Status and Updates

Today’s Harford County COVID-19 positivity metrics are 4.69% positivity and 19.35 cases per 100,000 residents. This information is updated daily at approximately 10:00 a.m. by the Harford County Health Department here. The HCPS operational status reflects consistent positivity at or below 5% and can be viewed here.

Resources regarding HCPS COVID-19 safety protocols can be found here. This dedicated page on SharePoint will continue to be maintained with resources and information as it becomes available.

New this week:

  • Redesigned HCPS COVID-19 Resources page (accessible from the homepage of hcps.org).
  • Within the HCPS COVID-19 Resources page, an expanded dashboard that now includes school-specific data.

Links and Information for Systemwide Professional Development - October 14, 2021

All instructional staff will participate in systemwide professional development on the student early dismissal date of October 14, 2021.

Charts with each Content or Student Service area and the Link(s) to access their sessions are housed in the October 14 Professional Development Folder. Instructional staff are encouraged to visit this folder ahead of October 14th to locate their grade level and/or content and identify their appropriate link.

As a reminder, Teachers/Service Providers will participate in virtual systemwide/content professional development based on the previously published timeframe:

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Questions about this information may be directed to Heather Kutcher in the Office of Organizational Development: heather.kutcher@hcps.org or 410-588-5322.

HCPS FY2023 Budget Input Sessions

Superintendent Bulson is asking for your input on the HCPS FY2023 budget. Join us as Dr. Bulson shares his thoughts and listens to feedback and discussion during two public input sessions.

On Wednesday, October 20, and Thursday, October 21, 2021, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Dr. Bulson will share his comments regarding the FY2023 budget and will provide an opportunity for small group discussions via Microsoft Teams meetings. Community members who plan to participate in a virtual session are asked to register via the links listed below by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, October 18, 2021.

If you have registered to attend, you will receive the link to join the meeting approximately 24 hours prior to the event. Please be sure to check your spam or junk folder. If you do not receive the link, please email budget@hcps.org for additional information.

This information will be sent to all contacts in our Blackboard Connect 5 system via phone, email, and text on Wednesday, October 13, 2021.

As a reminder, the Superintendent’s proposed budget will be presented to the Board of Education in January 2022. Thank you for your continued engagement and participation.

News Alerts on HCPS.org

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we wanted to make sure every communication that was sent systemwide was easily accessible on the HCPS website, so we put a copy of each message in the green pop-up News Alert. We recognize our community receives HCPS communications via phone, email, and/or text message, and doesn't necessarily need to see them front and center when they visit www.hcps.org. While the "pop-up" is gone, messages are now accessible via the green banner at the top of the website.

If there's an emergency or a change to normal operations, we will utilize a red pop-up Weather/Emergency Alert on the website.

Share Your School's Story!

The Communications Office wants to highlight all the amazing things happening in HCPS! Every school has a special story to tell, and they want to share that with HCPS families and the greater community!

Does your school have a program that you are proud of? A student who is doing some amazing things? A staff member being highlighted in the classroom? Please let the Communications Office know what great things are happening at your school, and they will do their best to schedule a time to come out and capture it for all to see.

Please use the form linked below to submit information:


Nearpod Professional Development Opportunities

Want to learn more about Nearpod? Attend one of the upcoming afterschool professional development opportunities. Register in Hector today.

Academic Tutoring

The Academic Tutoring Program will be running for the 2021-2022 school year. We are looking for short-term (“on call”) and long-term tutors. 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. We are expanding the program to tutoring students 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 per diem rate.

If you are interested in serving as a tutor, please complete this survey form: https://survey.hcps.org/rws5.pl?FORM=Fall2021TutorRegistration.

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

PARAPRO Assessment Opportunities – October 15, 2021

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 classrooms 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 October 15, 2021. The test will be from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 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 also available on the Human Resources site: HERE.

Questions regarding this information should be directed to Pauline Timmons, in Special Education, at Pauline.Timmons@hcps.org or 410-588-5246.

October is National Physical Therapy (PT) Month!

Celebrate PT Month with the HCPS Physical Therapy Team! HCPS has a proud team of countywide physical therapists (PTs) and physical therapy assistants (PTAs) that provide physical therapy services to students with IEPs and 504 plans. PTs and PTAs are licensed health care professionals and are movement experts. They work collaboratively with students, school staff, and families to improve students’ functional mobility.

The HCPS PT team created a fun quiz to see how much you know about Physical Therapy. There’s a sweet treat if you participate! Answer all questions and you will be entered into a raffle for two dozen custom decorated cookies to celebrate PT Month!

Take the quiz here: Physical Therapy Month Quiz.

All entries must be received by Friday, October 22, 2021.

Voices of Equity Highlighted by Harford Cable Network

HCPS Voices of Equity is the first segment featured on this episode of Harford Cable Network's Kids TV News. Take a moment to check it out!

Mini Grants Available From Maryland Retire School Personnel Association

Maryland Retired School Personnel Association is offering Mini Grants for student needs-based projects to support virtual or in-person learning that are not covered by the school system or parent/teacher organizations for the 2021-2022 school year. The mini grant application period is October 1 to November 1.

Check here for more information.

Military Appreciation - Veterans Day Poster Contest

The Susquehanna Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), in partnership with the Harford County James V. “Capt’n Jim” McMahan Veterans Commission, is hosting a virtual Veterans Day Poster & Essay Contest for school-aged children.

The Veterans Day Poster Contest provides kindergarten through eighth grade students in Harford County public, private, and home schools an opportunity to express their thoughts about Veterans through art. The top three posters in each grade category (K-2nd, 3rd-5th, 6th-8th) will receive monetary prizes. First place winners will receive $50, second place winners will receive $30, and third place winners will receive $20. Winners will also receive a special challenge coin. Monetary prizes are sponsored by Boyle Buick.

The Veterans Day Essay Contest provides high school students in Harford County Public, Private, or Homeschools an opportunity to express their thoughts about Veterans Day in their own words. Prizes will be awarded for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place essays. First place winners will receive $100, second place winners will receive $75, and third place winners will receive $50. Winners will also receive a special challenge coin. Monetary prizes are sponsored by Boyle Buick.

Submissions are due no later than midnight October 15, 2021. All submissions will be electronic. There is no entry fee to participate.

Details can be found at:


Winning entries will be recognized at the Harford County Veterans Resource Fair on November 13, 2021.

Email Delivery Of Pay Stubs

As a reminder, you have the ability to sign up for email delivery of your pay stub (it will still be available under My Pay Stubs in Employee Self Service). Email delivery allows you to receive a copy of your pay stub from any computer by logging into the email(s) you choose.

Here are the steps to enable this option:

  • Sign into Employee Self Service (ESS). See the link below if you need instructions for signing into ESS.
  • Select Bookmarks
  • Select Employee Self Service
  • Select Electronic Documents
  • Select Pay Stubs under My Delivery Settings
  • Check Yes for Web Delivery
  • Enter a personal e-mail address if desired and enter a password. This password does not expire so do not use your network password.
  • Click on Submit

To access ESS, you must be logged onto an HCPS computer. If you need information on logging into ESS, click on the following link DSS and ESS Instructions.

For questions regarding this information, please contact your Payroll Specialist. Click Here to find the Payroll Specialist for your school.

Pay Stub Address Verification

Verify the address shown on your 10/01/2021 pay stub is your current address. If the address is incorrect, log intoEmployee Self Service (ESS) and update your address (click on Life Events and then Move). Please note, to access ESS you must be logged onto an HCPS computer/HCPS network. The format for username is your network username followed by “@hcps.org”, for example, johsmith@hcps.org. See the DSS and ESS Instructions for all you can do in DSS/ESS.

If you plan on separating/retiring and will be moving prior to Friday, January 14, 2021, please complete the Change of Address Form and email it to HRIS@hcps.org so your 2021 W2 will reflect your current address and reach you timely.

For questions regarding this information, please contact your Payroll Specialist. Click Here to find the Payroll Specialist for your school.

Quarterly EAP Employee Newsletter: Balance

Balance, the newsletter provided by KEPRO, our Employee Assistance Program provider, is a newsletter specifically to help employees maintain a healthy work-life balance. This quarter’s newsletter features guidance for dealing with new stress of going back to work, leadership skills that can be learned, pandemic and prolonged grief, and other helpful tips. Click here to read more.

Employees and their family members can call KEPRO 24-hours per day, seven days per week toll-free (866) 795-5701 to visit their website online at www.EAPhelplink.com.

Embracing Diversity and Differences

Presented by KEPRO Employee Assistance Program

The October KEPRO EAP communication resources are here! Whether in our work or personal life, we all could benefit from learning about how to live and work in a way that is respectful, kind, and embraces diversity in all walks of life. Click here for more tips on how better embrace each other’s differences.

Date: Available on demand beginning October 19, 2021

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, seven days per week toll free at (866) 795-5701 to visit their website online at www.EAPhelplink.com.

Changes to the Submission Process for Certification and Tuition Reimbursement Requests

Effective October 1, 2021, all transcripts and or tuition reimbursement documentation should be electronically submitted to transcripts@hcps.org.

Electronic transcripts submitted directly from the college/university are preferred. If you cannot obtain an electronic transcript, a scanned copy, including the envelope, may be emailed in place of the electronic submission. Transcripts should be sent as a separate document from all tuition reimbursement forms.


Tuition reimbursement requests, to include:

  • An official transcript,
  • The Partial Reimbursement Request form which aligns with your union, and
  • An itemized receipt indicating payment method(s) and amount(s).

Documentation must be submitted via one of the above methods within 90 days of the course completion date. Please do not send incomplete requests; all documentation should be submitted collectively when possible (except for official transcripts when emailed directly from the college/university/transcript service).

Tuition Reimbursement Questions: benefits@hcps.org

Certification Questions: certification@hcps.org

Get Started with BurnAlong

BurnAlong is right by your side with a ton of great programming to keep you healthy, well, and fit. First off, a brand new BurnAlong partner, LivFitCo, is now offering upbeat cycling, HIIT, Barre, and breathing practice classes on the platform. Check them out!

As a reminder, BurnAlong is our health and wellness partner who provides you and your family with access to 1,000’s of online classes from 1,000+ local instructors at no cost to you. To activate your complementary account, get started by visiting https://fit.burnalong.com/hcps. If you have any trouble accessing your account, contact customercare@burnalong.com.

Find out more about BurnAlong in this brief video.

CLICK HERE to watch this quick two-minute video to help get started with your online member portal.

Save the Date: Annual Fall Pre-Retirement Webinar

Through the Maryland State Retirement Agency and the Community College of Baltimore County, Harford County Public Schools announces a pre-retirement webinar for HCPS employees and their spouses. This webinar provides vital retirement information to all members who are within eight (8) years of retirement, whether it is normal service or early retirement. Discussion topics include:

  • HCPS Retiree Benefits
  • State Retirement Pension Benefits
  • Legal Consideration
  • Social Security Benefits
  • Financial Planning

This year’s pre-retirement session will be held virtually on November 6, 2021, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Watch future HCPS 411 Update newsletters for more information on how to register and obtain a day of event link.

Drive-Thru Flu Shot Clinics

Get Your Flu Shot Without Leaving Your Car

HCPS, in partnership with CVS, will be hosting a drive-thru flu shot clinic. Events will be held on various days in school parking lots throughout the county. Employees and their families (ages 3+) are welcome to attend an event to receive their flu shot.

Pre-registrations is preferred, but not required. To register, click on the school location+ and date you wish to attend.

Please be sure to bring your insurance card and identification with you. Flu shots will be billed to your insurance*. Be sure to watch for additional dates and times that will be announced throughout September and October.

Questions? Email the Benefits Office at benefits@hcps.org.

+Events will be held at the school location listed per the selected link.

*HCPS medical plans cover flu shots at 100% with no member liability.

CareFirst Resources: Behavioral Health Digital Assistance

To help provide mental health support, CareFirst, in cooperation with 7 Cups of Tea, is launching a Behavioral Health Digital Resource for members. The new Behavioral Health Digital Resource is designed to provide a safe environment for you to seek confidential care needed. You can talk to active listeners, connect with licensed professionals, participate in online discussion boards, and learn coping skills through this new resource. To learn more about this process and how to access these available resources, click here.

Spotlight on Customer Service

"This week, our library is closed to students due to MCAP testing. I had a student who really wanted a specific book and was about to finish her current book. Our Media Technician, Daniela Weir, was able to find the book, check it out, and deliver it to the room. Being able to order “Door Dash” from the library truly made this student’s day!"

-Jennifer L. Gusso, English I/Honors English I/Drama I, C. Milton Wright High School

Shout Outs!

"Amadelis Mattei, Parent Engagement and Support Teacher Specialist, deserves a HUGE shoutout! She has been working with the staff at Edgewood Elementary School (as well as others!) to make unprecedented connections with our Spanish speaking families. We literally could not do the work we are doing without her. She is friendly, caring, and willing to do whatever it takes to make sure that we engage EVERY family. Thank you, Ama, for your support in these first few weeks of school!"

-Erika Jones, Community School Specialist at Edgewood Elementary

"I would like to give a shout out to Stephen Shaw from Technology. He has been making various trips out to the before and after care daycare sites to help guide and support them with getting their iPads connected and working for parents to check in/out during the before and after care. He has gone above and beyond helping them onsite and creating diagrams for them to follow to make things easier for them. Thank you for your commitment to these day care providers and not hesitating to go to each site for hands on help and support!"

-Maggie Cohen, Use of Facilities Specialist, Operations Department

"I would like to send a Shout Out to paraeducator Lita Hash from Joppatowne Elementary School. She is always willing to lend a helping hand to staff and advocates for students. She is an invaluable part of our school community and we are so lucky to have her at Joppatowne Elementary School."

-Keesha Mack, School Counselor, Joppatowne Elementary School

"Shout out to Christopher Thomas who is always available for help and extremely efficient resolutions to problems. Last week, he made quick work of a Smart Goal issue which is just one example of the many times he has expertly and kindly responded to requests over the past several years. Thank you to Christopher!"

-Heather Kutcher, Supervisor of Teacher Preparation and Professional Development

"A Big Shout Out to the ABMS faculty and staff. During this school year, the ABMS faculty and staff are offering 20 after school clubs, in addition to Intramurals, to support the students of ABMS. Thank you to all from the ABMS administration team."

-Christine Kelly, Assistant Principal, Aberdeen Middle School

"I had the privilege to help in the office at Edgewood Middle School. Ms. Cash should be commended for her passion and drive as she services her students, parents, teachers and staff. Ms. Cash is a rock star and an asset to Harford County Public Schools!"

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

Welcome to the HCPS Family!

Please help us welcome the following new HCPS employees:

  • Christy Riley, Inclusion Helper, Deerfield Elementary School

  • Sara Ruark, Inclusion Helper, C. Milton Wright High School

  • Blair Sanders, Paraeducator, Hickory Elementary School

  • Lisa Triller, Special Education Grades 1-8, Central Office

  • Beverly Wehner, School Bus Attendant, Transportation

  • Devin Wesly, Inclusion Helper, Hickory Elementary 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.