HCPS 411 Update

April 22, 2021

Monthly Minute Teams LIVE Link

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Join Dr. Bulson next Thursday, April 29, at 12:15 p.m. by clicking here.

Lauren Byrd of Hickory Elementary School Named 2021 HCPS Teacher of the Year

Lauren Byrd, 1st grade teacher at Hickory Elementary School with 17 years of teaching experience, nine in Harford County Public Schools, was named the 2021 HCPS Teacher of the Year during a surprise announcement at the 27th Annual Harford County Teacher of the Year live event. This year, the virtual event included approximately 200 invited guests and was open to all community members to join in the celebration.

Mrs. Byrd began her career with HCPS in 2012 at Roye-Williams Elementary School and currently teaches at Hickory Elementary School. Mrs. Byrd holds a master's degree from Loyola University as a reading teacher and a bachelor's degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from Juniata College. She was nominated for Harford County’s Teacher of the Year by the Turner family.

Mrs. Byrd will now compete for the title of Maryland Teacher of the Year to represent teachers across the state as an education spokesperson. We anticipate the state winner will be announced at the Maryland Teacher of the Year Event in October.

To read the full announcement about Mrs. Byrd, please click here. If you were not able to watch live last night, the recording of the event is below.

TOY Event

Mobile COVID-19 Testing Site Coming to Patterson Mill Middle/High School on April 27

On Tuesday, April 27, from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m., the Maryland Department of Health will bring a mobile testing pop-up site to Harford County. The testing site will be located in the parking lot at Patterson Mill Middle/High School. The site is open to all Harford County residents NOT experiencing COVID-19-like symptoms who would like to be tested to see if they are asymptomatic with COVID-19. Testing is available for all ages. Anyone under the age of 18 will require parent/guardian permission. Attendees may walk up, scan a QR code, complete the registration, and will receive information at the time of testing on how to access results.

In case of inclement weather, the pop-up testing site will be moved indoors.

Additional information about COVID-19 is available from the Maryland Department of Health at covidlink.maryland.gov. Questions may be emailed to mdh.rapidpoctest@maryland.gov.

Celebrate Earth Day Today - Restore Our Earth

Small steps can make a big difference. See the attached flier on SharePoint for ways to take care of the world and yourself.

Information on the Website for Supplemental Retirement Plans Has a New Look!

Click here to check out the updated website for your Supplemental Retirement Plans – HCPS 403(b) and 457(b) Plans. The direct link to the NEW Lincoln microsite has been added for your convenience. Questions should be directed to Beth Mink at Elizabeth.Mink@hcps.org.

Year-end Processing Deadlines Fast Approaching

The Year-End Dates Memo lists the due dates for processing transactions related to fiscal year ending June 30, 2021. Please share this information as appropriate. Questions regarding the deadlines should be directed to Jay Staab at Jay.Staab@hcps.org.

REVISION: SY 2021-2022 Calendar for 12-Month Employees

Schools and offices will be closed on Tuesday, June 28, 2022, in recognition of Primary Election Day. The color-coded calendar for the 2021-2022 school year has been updated to reflect this. Please click here to see the 2021-2022 School Year color-coded calendar in its entirety.

GET More Program

Are you interested in becoming a teacher?

The Growing Exceptional Teachers More (GET More) Program is a program that provides tuition reimbursement equivalent of the negotiated tuition reimbursement rate for instructional staff (currently $300 per graduate credit hour) for employees who are represented by HCEA-ESP (formerly HCESC) or AFSCME. The purpose of this tuition reimbursement assistance is to allow program participants to complete a teacher certification program in a high needs area of teacher education, with the ultimate goal of receiving their teacher certification and returning to work as a teacher in HCPS.

This program is open to employees who have been employed with HCPS for one (1) or more years of service.

More information is available by clicking the provided link: GET More Application. Questions on how to apply for this program should be directed to Benjamin Richardson at Benjamin.Richardson2@hcps.org

Keeping PACE: Bel Air High School's Parent Engagement Activities

Each week in the HCPS 411 Update, the Parent Academy releases a new video showcasing a school/program that demonstrates a best practice related to one of the six National PTA Standards. Additionally, the videos are archived on the Parent Academy page on hcps.org for reference.

This series serves as a way to highlight and recognize the good work happening in our schools and create an opportunity to share ideas within our system.

Please take a moment to watch Bel Air High School Principal Greg Komondor and mathematics educators and PACE Liaisons Andrew Kassouf and Allison Benfield share about their school’s successful family engagement activities that demonstrate PTA Standard 3: Supporting Student Success.


Wellness Recovery

As part of HCPS’ Wellness Recovery efforts, the Office of Student Support Services will be providing a short video each week with some tips, reminders, and things to think about as students and staff return to in-person learning. We hope these videos provide some thoughtful guidance to your work with students and your own personal reflection on wellness throughout the remainder of this school year.
Phipps Video Mindfulness

Mental Health Awareness Art Contest

All HCPS students are encouraged to consider participating in the 2021 HCPS Mental Health Awareness Art Contest. The contest is open to all grade levels, and winners will be selected from the elementary, middle, and high levels. The student's contest submission should reflect what mental health means to him/her; all forms of art are acceptable (drawings, pictures, collages, etc.). The contest will be open May 3 through May 27, and winners will be announced June 1. Contest entries will be featured on social media. Please see the flier for more details, including how to submit contest entries.

Seeking Educators and Staff to Work EL Summer Camp 2021

HCPS, in partnership with the Department of English Language Learners Programs and LASOS, is seeking educators and staff to work our "EL Summer Camp 2021." This camp is open to all English Learners (EL) students in grades K-12 who are interested in learning about their community and how they play an important role in its functioning. A variety of hands-on academic and social activities are planned for participants, all aimed to help them grow in their English proficiency. Walking excursions and visits to community agencies are also planned. Students will be grouped by age level in the camp.

  • Camp dates: 6/28/21 - 7/23/21 (Monday through Thursday)
  • Camp time: 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
  • Camp location: Homestead/Wakefield Elementary School

This is a paid opportunity. To indicate interest and to be considered for this paid opportunity, please contact Chandra Krantz, supervisor of English Language Learners and World Language, via email at Chandra.Krantz@hcps.org.

National Board Certification Virtual Informational Meeting Scheduled

All teachers who have three years of teaching experience in the state of Maryland are encouraged to apply for financial aid to pay for the National Board process. Certification can be achieved in one, two, or three years and leads to many benefits, including: professional learning, stipends from HCPS and MSDE, CPD credits, and support from the NBCT community throughout the process. An informational meeting will be held to share the requirements for the 2021 application process:

Teams Meeting: April 27, 2021, 5:00-6:30 p.m.

Join on your computer or mobile app

Click here to join the meeting

Or call in (audio only)

+1 240-600-1475,,772764971# United States, Bethesda

Phone Conference ID: 772 764 971#

Find a local number | Reset PIN

Questions or concerns? Please email Lori Gohlinghorst at Lori.Gohlinghorst@hcps.org.

National Board Scholarship Applications Now Available

The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) seeks to elevate the status, voice, and role of accomplished teachers in shaping a true profession. Through a rigorous certification process, teachers may achieve certification in 26 areas, which represent all contents. HCPS is pleased to announce that it’s time for teachers to apply for the National Board scholarship, which will fund most of the cost of the certification process. The only cost to teachers will be a $75 processing fee for each year they attempt to certify.

Click here to apply for the National Board Scholarship*: https://harford.tedk12.com/hire/ViewJob.aspx?JobID=4755.

*Please note this link will not be live until April 26, 2021.

All applications are due May 19, 2021.

Questions regarding this information should be directed to Jacqueline Tarbert, in Professional Development & Curriculum, at Jacqueline.Tarbert@hcps.org.

Professional Development Announcements

University of Phoenix

University of Phoenix graduate-level credits for teacher license renewal, conditional licensure, and salary advancement courses. With multiple start dates and a variety of topics to choose from, you’re in control of taking the continuing education for teachers courses that meet your needs, on your schedule.

  • Complete a three (3) credit course in four weeks online.
  • Class start dates offered every month; enroll now for summer!
  • Instructor-led classes by subject area experts.
  • Asynchronous online, so there is no required day/time.
  • 10% off tuition cost = $157.50 per credit
  • Tuition deferment payment option

To enroll, contact Nicole Berkebile and receive a 10% tuition discount: email Nicole.berkebile@phoenix.edu or text/call 480-290-4328.

100+ online courses in multiple subject areas

  • New course added for Human Learning - EDUC/518: Psychology of Learning, 3 credits / 4 weeks online

To view all the courses offered and download the schedule, click here.

Degree Programs starting in May and June 2021!
If you are seeking a degree or certification program, the 10% tuition discount will also apply by contacting nicole.berkebile@phoenix.edu. University of Phoenix programs are created for working adults seeking career advancement degrees in: Education, Health Care, Nursing, IT, Business, and Criminal Justice.

MAEd/Administration and Supervision (leads to principal licensure) - Starts May 11, 2021
MAEd/Curriculum and Instruction - Starts May 18, 2021

Scholarships now Available

PARAPRO Assessment Opportunities – May 21, 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 May 21, 2021. The test will be 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.

Introducing: Work of Art

Presented through CareFirst Wellness

Get on the path to better mental health with the Work of Art program. Register today for the Work of Art Challenge!

Work of Art helps participants learn and practice activities that elevate emotional well-being including skills to enhance resilience and cultivate happiness. Emotional fitness, like physical fitness, requires repetition and commitment to yield the most benefits. In Work or Art, participants perform activities that mean the most to them (more than 30 activities to choose from) in five categories:

  • Mindfulness
  • Optimism
  • Gratitude
  • Connection
  • Collage (miscellaneous)

Your Daily Activity:

  • Aim to complete two activities a day, most days each week.
  • Choose activities that matter most to you.
  • You can do the same activity each day or skip around.

How Do I Register?

Registration is now OPEN! Click here to register. Registration will be open through Friday, May 7. While visiting the registration page, please take time to read through the challenge frequently asked questions (FAQs). These will explain how the challenge works.

Who Can Participate in the Challenge?

Everyone, even family members 13+, can participate! When registering, make sure you select employee or family member.

Questions? If you still have questions about the challenge, use the “HELP” tab at the bottom of the challenge web page.

Register before Friday, May 7, to move toward a healthier you!

CareFirst LiveWell Webinar Series

Through CareFirst, we are excited to announce the LiveWell webinar series for the month of April. Those interested may participate in any of the sessions listed utilizing the access link below. These are live sessions for all interested employees. This month’s topics include:

Mindfulness 101

Friday, April 23, 12:00 – 1:00 p.m.

Follow along this presentation that will educate participants on mindfulness techniques and how they can use mindfulness to manage their daily stressors. Afterwards, your instructor will lead you through a mindful activity.

Sleep Solutions

Friday, April 30, 12:00 – 1:00 p.m.

Follow along a presentation that provides tips and tricks on how to get your best night’s rest. Then, your instructor will take you through a guided body scan to help you relax and slow down your mind.

To participate in the above session(s), click on the topic title listed above at the scheduled date and time. The Meeting ID: 991 5827 0491 and Passcode: 431278 will be the same for all four sessions.

If you would prefer to participate by phone, you may do so by calling 301-715-8592 utilizing the same Meeting ID and Passcode listed above.

FINAL CALL: Get Your Finances on Track with the Award-Winning Retirewise Workshop Series

From budgeting and building an emergency fund to determining your investment options and creating a will, there is something for everyone to learn. Each Retirewise session has different topics that build on each other.

With Retirewise, you’ll be on your way to making smarter financial decisions and creating an action plan that works for you.

Join your colleagues for the complementary Retirewise workshop series. Spouses and partners are welcome!


Workshop Details:
Session 3: TONIGHT, Thursday, April 22, 2021
Session 4: Thursday, April 29, 2021
Time: 5:00 – 6:00 p.m

If asked for company name, enter Harford County Public Schools

Can’t attend but still need help with financial questions? You can still sign up for a free, no pressure, no obligation personal consultation. Click here.

Harford County Education Foundation - Summer Palooza Raffle!

Spring is here, and summer is right around the corner. Harford County Education Foundation is getting ready by hosting the Summer Palooza Raffle! The winner of the raffle will receive a Trailmate All Terrain Igloo Cooler filled to the brim with over $1,000 of great stuff to get your summer fun started! You can learn more about the Summer Palooza raffle and purchase raffle tickets online at https://harfordeducation.org/events/raffle/. Online sales of the raffle will end on April 28, 2021. The winner will be drawn and notified on May 3, 2021. The proceeds from the Summer Palooza raffle will fund programs that provide support to teachers and students of Harford County Public Schools. Contact deb@harfordeducation.org with any questions.

Shout Outs!

“Congratulations to James “Jimmy” Grant for being awarded a Fellowship from the James Madison Memorial Fellowship Foundation. Jimmy is one of only two HCPS Educators to be awarded this honor in the last 30 years! We are grateful for his hard work and dedication to the students our community.”

-Fallston High School Social Studies Department

"A huge shout out to Aretha Young in HR. Ms. Young has been super responsive to the numerous requests by teachers as they work toward certification, their Master’s degree, or their M+30. Thank you for your quick replies – you can feel the “HCPS Shine” through your emails!"

-submitted anonymously

"Many thanks go to Mr. David McComas, Media Specialist at North Harford Middle School! Mr. McComas continues to be an extremely valuable resource for everyone, particularly with troubleshooting technology issues. Without a moment's hesitation, and always with a positive attitude, Mr. McComas will assist any student or staff member with whatever dilemma they face: Chromebook issues, Office 365 problems, teacher laptop concerns, classroom technology glitches, etc. He will pop into classes throughout the day to support teachers, and every student (and teacher) knows they can count on him! Mr. McComas, your tireless efforts to help us are SO appreciated!"

-Erin Pracko, 6th Grade English Language Arts Teacher, North Harford Middle School

"Shout out to all of our Special Educators, SE Department Chairs and Support Staff who have been working SO hard to service students! We know and appreciate all you do to keep the students connected and parents informed. You continue to amaze us with your flexibility and creative solutions to make sure that every student has what they need to succeed!"

-Kate Snow, Jen Burr, Lynn Jennings, Beth Thatcher, Office of Special Education, Secondary

Welcome to HCPS!

Please help us welcome the following new employees to our HCPS family:

  • Amanda Carter, Paraeducator, Magnolia Middle School
  • Luz Garced, Inclusion Helper, Bakerfield Elementary School
  • Claudia Parks, Administrative Support Assistant - 10 mo., Edgewood Elementary School
  • Terry King, Food and Nutrition Services Worker, 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.