HCPS 411 Update

December 17, 2020

Holiday Giveaway From the QuaranTeam 5

Please watch this holiday message from the QuaranTeam 5 for a chance to win a holiday gift basket!

To enter, visit: https://tinyurl.com/y5p8mlta.

HCPS's Monthly Minute - Week 2 - Holiday Edition!

Good to Great Moments

The Office of Organizational Development is excited to launch the Good to Great Moments project. The vision for this project is to equip all HCPS employees with tips, tools, and ideas to enhance the customer service mindset. Videos designed to depict real-life situations will demonstrate what excellent customer service looks, sounds, and feels like. Good to Great Moments will be featured monthly in the HCPS 411 Update... the first video in the series is linked below!

As we all work to ensure HCPS customer service is top-notch, help us shine a light on the great moments happening every day in our schools and offices by recognizing your colleagues when excellent customer service is provided. We encourage you to send those names to HCPSprofessionallearning@hcps.org so we can highlight and share these tried and true service strategies across our system.

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TRACK-ing Excellence in Customer Service

Early Notification of Separation Incentive

In an effort to assist HCPS with forecasting budget savings and project staffing needs for FY 2021-2022, an Early Notification of Separation Incentive is currently being offered to employees. A memorandum of understanding has been executed with each collective bargaining unit and includes the following information:

  • Incentive. HCPS is offering a one-time payment of $500 for employees who provide notification on or before Friday, January 29, 2021, of their intent to separate from employment with an effective date of separation of Friday, February 26, 2021 through and inclusive of Wednesday, June 30, 2021. Written notification of intent to separate must be received in the Superintendent’s Office no later than 4:30pm on January 29, 2021. In consideration of COVID-19 restrictions; an email including the signed letter of intent to separate, will also be acceptable. Send email to Ms. Teri Schmid, Executive Assistant to the Superintendent at Teresa.Schmid@hcps.org.

  • Eligibility.
    1. Separations pertaining to this incentive are limited to separations resulting from retirement or resignation.
    2. The early notification incentive does not apply to probationary employees.
    3. An employee must be in good standing on the date of his/her submission of intent to separate from employment through the date of his/her separation. Good standing means that the employee has no disciplinary investigation/action pending against the employee.
    4. If the employee’s separation from employment will result in a breach of his/her teacher contract, he or she is not eligible for the early notification incentive.
    5. Any staff member who, prior to the execution of this MOU, provided written notification to the Superintendent of his/her intent to separate effective Friday, February 26, 2021 through Wednesday, June 30, 2021, will be eligible for the early notification incentive.

  • Payment. The payment for early notification provided pursuant to this MOU shall be issued on July 23, 2021 or with final reconciliation check, if earlier. HCPS reserves the right to deduct from the $500 incentive payment any amount owed by the employee to HCPS, at time of separation.

The full memorandum of understanding regarding this incentive can be found on the Human Resources SharePoint page or by clicking here. Questions regarding this information should be directed to Jeffrey M. Fradel, Senior Manager of Staff and Labor Relations, at Jeff.Fradel@hcps.org or x5226.

January 15, 2021 Early Dismissal Update

January 15, 2021, is a systemwide 3-hour early dismissal day. Due to evolving system needs, this day will now be a school-based professional learning time for all teachers, counselors, psychologists, and related service providers. School-based administrators will direct the activities on the January 15, 2021 early dismissal day. Systemwide content professional development will be provided on the February 12 and March 5 early dismissal days to all grade levels. Additional details will be provided at a later time. Questions about this information should be directed to Heather Kutcher, in the Office of Organizational Development, at heather.kutcher@hcps.org.

A Holiday Message From the HCPS Health Services Team

A COVID message from your Health Services Team

Parent Academy Real Talk: College Admission Process

The HCPS Parent Academy proudly partnered with the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. - Xi Delta Omega Chapter for an important event about the College Admission Process (#CAP) for high school juniors and seniors and their families. The presentation focused on tips for successfully navigating the journey of preparing to apply for college and ways to make the process a little easier. If you missed the live event, the taping is now available. Check it out!
AKA 12 16 2020

Work-related Injuries Reported Online Starting January 1

Risk Management is excited to announce that starting January 1, 2021, all injuries will be reported to Risk Mangement through an online reporting system. All paper Worker Compensation forms for both the employee and the supervisor will no longer be used. Anyone connected to the HCPS network at home or in an HCPS building can go to http://accidentreporting after the new year to provide Risk Management a self-report of any injury that occurs during the course and scope of your employment. Watch for a new tile on start.hcps.org for quick access. In the meantime, have a safe and healthy holiday break.

Title IV Grant After School Program Paid Teaching Opportunity

Are you interested in developing aspiring educators? The Office of Equity and Cultural Proficiency is looking for passionate teachers to co-facilitate virtual middle school after school program sessions with high school student tutors. The program is designed to support middle school students in developing social and emotional learning skills AND increasing academic engagement and achievement. The virtual after school program will tentatively start January 25, 2021.

For more information on the program, including available positions, use the QR code or this link: Program Interest Form.

The interest form will close on Friday, January 8, at 11:59 p.m. Please contact Meredith Heldt at meredith.heldt@hcps.org with any questions.

AVAILABLE SOON: BurnAlong Virtual Fitness Platform

Beginning January 1, 2021, employees can sign up for a *free* account through BurnAlong, an online on-demand fitness platform. This program is being powered by Harford County Public Schools in partnership with CareFirst.

Harford County Public Schools, in partnership with CareFirst, is happy to provide employees with access to BurnAlong. What is BurnAlong? They are an online health, wellness, and fitness class platform to help you stay motivated and focus on your well-being. BurnAlong provides classes from 100s of instructors spanning 40+ categories.

Best Part? This service is available to all part-time and full-time employees at no cost, thanks to CareFirst. Also, each participant receives up to four (4) free accounts for family and friends so that you can work out at home separately but together.

To set up your account, go to fit.burnalong.com/hcps. If you experience any trouble registering your account, you may email customercare@burnalong.com for assistance.

Interested in learning more? BurnAlong and HCPS will host an informational webinar on Tuesday, January 5, at 4:30 p.m. To participate, use the following link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88516266869?pwd=YzUvb2QyOHdZVlFyejd0UVZBN0JIUT09 or dial in to 301-715-8592, Meeting ID: 885 1626 6869, Passcode: 507804.

Learn more by clicking here for the member enrollment flier.

Family, Caregiving, and Parenting Assistance Through the Employee Assistance Program

Many families have had to adjust to new regulations on childcare and elder care provisions during the pandemic, as well as added pressure from being confined in the same space for longer than usual. Many articles and resources may be available through KEPRO, the Employee Assistance Program provider, to help you balance the competing priorities of caregiving while you also have to work, address concerns you may have with finding childcare or caring for an older loved one, and to cope with feelings and communicate during this unique time. Some of these resources available:

  • Activities for Kids in Quarantine
  • Balancing Working from Home and Virtual Learning
  • Celebrating Holidays During the COVID-19 Pandemic
  • Childcare and the Return to Work
  • COVID-19: Helping an Older Relative Stay Connected
  • COVID-19: Nursing Home Care and Assisted Living
  • Dealing with Caregiver Stress in a COVD-19 World
  • Helping Seniors Navigate COVID-19

To access this resource, employees can visit the KEPRO website at eaphelplink.com, using the Company Code: HCPS.

211 Resources During School System Winter Break Closure

The Food Access Workgroup Community Partners recently met to discuss ways to ensure families in need have access to vital community resources during the time the school system will be closed for winter break this year, December 23, 2020, through January 1, 2021. Linked here are 211 resource fliers: English / Spanish. Please encourage families to call 2-1-1 for resources if they need help when schools are closed. Also, continue to promote the food access resources available on the Healthy Harford website, healthyharford.org.

CareFirst Covers COVID-19 Testing

While our entire nation works to address the COVID-19 health crisis, there is no immediate resolution in sight. Therefore, CareFirst will continue to minimize potential barriers to care for members by extending COVID-19-related benefit enhancements for the foreseeable future. Those who are enrolled in a medical plan through Harford County Public Schools can receive this test at no cost, whether the need is due to exposure or due to an onset of symptoms.

Be sure to present your medical ID card at the time of service to have your test paid for 100% by your HCPS medical insurance plan.

Professional Development Announcements

Spring CPD Courses

The Spring 2021 Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Course catalog is now available. Registration for these MSDE credit courses is available on HECTOR. Register early for the best course selection.

Course Selections:

  • Education That is Multicultural in the Classroom of the 21st Century
  • Spanish for Communication I
  • Teacher Leadership: Developing Skills for Success
  • Authentic Learning in Science

Questions should be directed to Lori Gohlinghorst at Lori.Gohlinghorst@hcps.org, hcpsprofessionallearning@hcps.org or by calling 410-273-5261.

University of Phoenix

The Spring 2021 course schedule for January through May is HERE!

There are hundreds of courses available for those seeking renewal credit, teacher evaluation requirements, or degree or certificate programs available for those seeking initial teacher licensure. For assistance locating courses not shown, answering questions about any of the programs, or payment options, please contact Nicole Berkebile by phone, text or email at Nicole.berkebile@phoenix.edu or 480-290-4328.

2021 HCPS Teacher of the Year - the Deadline to Submit an Application is Approaching!

The Communications Office is starting to hear from nominated teachers during this application process and is excited to see more nominations come in! As a reminder, applications are due by midnight on Monday, January 4, 2021.

There's still time left to nominate that special teacher in your life who is truly a shining star with HCPS and worthy of this honor. Nominations may be self-submitted or submitted by administrators, colleagues, students, parents, or others. This award is not only an amazing experience for the winning teacher, but for his/her students and the entire school community.


If you or your teacher have any questions about the nomination process, completing the online application, or the Teacher of the Year program, please contact Christina Paquette in the Office of Communications and Family Outreach at Christina.Paquette@hcps.org.

Shout Outs!

"I want to give a HUGE Shout Out to Amy Ryan, Teacher Specialist for the Office of Science, for her dedication to the coordination, preparation, and distribution of science kits. Having spent a lot of time working in the Science Center at the annex and seeing Amy in action, it gives me a whole new appreciation of what goes into a feat such as this; something we have never had to do as an organization. Not only is she so very organized and on top of every situation that could and has occurred, she is a hard worker and a decent, pleasant person. Her heart is truly dedicated to the students of HCPS and making sure they have fun, hands-on projects to maintain their interest in science. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with Amy and getting to know her not only as a fellow employee, but getting to know her as a friend. She truly needs to be recognized for this massive endeavor. Way to go Amy!!!"

-Lucy Brandt, Office of Social Studies

"I would like to give a HUGE shout out to the School Counseling Team at Edgewood High School. They have been integral in our work with students in this virtual environment. I’m so thankful for their willingness to hop on a TEAMS meeting and work with me to reach the parents and the students in the Teacher Academy of Maryland @EHS. This is definitely a team effort and I’m so glad to be on their team!"

-Alissa C. Thomas, Teacher Academy of Maryland Teacher Specialist, Edgewood High School

"A big shout out to Mr. Jeffrey Winfield and Mr. Jason Berends for lending their time and expertise to the Health Services Holiday Video project. They were helpful, patient, and encouraging in assisting us to reach out to our student and school communities!"

-Barbara Polack, BSN, RN, Nationally Certified School Nurse, Edgewood Middle School

"I would like to send a huge shout out to the Technology Support Team but in particular to Lisa Jones and Monica Frakes, Application Support Analysts. The service provided by this entire team is invaluable. When struggling with an issue you can call and get an immediate response. The team will spend however long it takes to resolve the problem. This department is providing support not only to all employees, but to many students and families during this challenging time. Despite how busy they are Lisa and Monica are always cheerful, patient, kind, and incredibly knowledgeable. They have gone above and beyond in their time, encouragement, understanding and excellent customer service. Thank you to them and to HCPS for providing technology assistance to all."

-Diane MacKenzie, Ph.D., LCPC, School Counselor, Red Pump Elementary School

"I wanted to give a shout out to my Facilities family. All the men and woman in Facilities have impressed me with proving they can adapt and conquer anything put in their way during this pandemic. They have been problem solving issues that arise due to the pandemic. I expected the amount of work to decrease since buildings were only partially opened; however, through the entire pandemic, we have maintained an average of 350 work orders a week. Everyone continues to go above and beyond helping other departments while continuing to conquer their workload. I am so proud to be part of this group who have shined during difficult times. To me that is what #HCPSstrong, #HCPStogether and #HCPSproud is all about."

-Tiffany Sawyer, Work Order Coordinator, Facilities Department

Welcome to HCPS!

Please help us welcome the following new employees (hired between November 1, 2020 and December 15, 2020) to our HCPS family:

  • Abigail Bennett, Paraeducator, Havre de Grace Elementary School
  • Kristin Johnson, Paraeducator, Youth's Benefit Elementary School
  • Marie Lyons, Inclusion Helper, John Archer School
  • Alison Meehan, Paraeducator, John Archer School
  • Richa Misra, Paraeducator, Forest Hill Elementary School
  • Archangel Torres, Inclusion Helper, Riverside Elementary School
  • Jennifer Anderson, Inclusion Helper, John Archer School
  • Telvonne Lambert, Inclusion Helper, Havre de Grace Elementary School
  • Kenyada Brown, Inclusion Helper, Roye-Williams Elementary School
  • Emma Jakse, Inclusion Helper, Homestead/Wakefield Elementary School
  • Linda Midwig, Check & Connect Grant Mentor, Edgewood High School
  • Oluwaranti Oyenuga, Paraeducator, Edgewood Middle School
  • Michele Santelli, Inclusion Helper, North Harford High School
  • Jennifer Anderson, Inclusion Helper, John Archer School
  • Kaitlyn Kirby, Inclusion Helper, Abingdon Elementary School
  • Jessica Kowalewski, Paraeducator, North Bend Elementary School
  • Madalyn Hasz, Paraeducator, John Archer School
  • Tia Johnson, Social Worker, Joppatowne Elementary School
  • Madelyn Kelly, Inclusion Helper, Patterson Mill High School
  • Valarie Cook, Occupational Therapist, John Archer School
  • Michelle Goldberg, Mathematics Teacher, Harford Technical High School
  • William McMahon, School Bus Driver, Transportation
  • Tonya Dentry, Paraeducator, Roye-Williams Elementary School
  • LaShae Harris, Inclusion Helper, William Paca/Old Post Road Elementary School
  • Garrett Johns, Grounds/Building Maintenance I, Facilities
  • Nicole Triggs, Inclusion Helper, Dublin Elementary School
  • Yvonne Rallo, Administrative Support Coordinator - Board of Education, Central Office
  • Madison Raimondo, Paraeducator, George D. Lisby Elementary School at Hillsdale
  • Judy Simon, Administrative Support Specialist - Customer Service, Central Office
  • Sabrina Wiggins, Paraeducator, Edgewood Elementary School
  • Erin Tewey, Paraeducator, Forest Hill Elementary School
  • Raquel Hockaday, Administrative Support Assistant, Magnolia Middle School
  • Garrett Brace, Audio/Video Technician, Office of Technology
  • Tariq McCray, School Bus Attendant, Transportation

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.