HCPS 411 Update

January 13, 2022

COVID-19 Vaccination Incentive For All HCPS Employees

An important safety layer of any COVID-19 mitigation program is the support and encouragement of vaccinations. The CDC, the Maryland Department of Health and the Harford County Health Department stand behind vaccination as the leading public health prevention strategy to end the COVID-19 pandemic. Vaccinations, to include boosters, reduce the transmission and severity of the disease. Having a larger percentage of our HCPS staff vaccinated is critical to keeping our staff healthy and able to report to work. Reducing staff quarantines will have a positive impact on our ability to staff our buildings and provide a consistent instructional program for the students we serve.


HCPS will be offering all employees a $500 incentive who have completed the primary vaccination series and booster. Each employee who voluntarily submits documentation to the Human Resources Department demonstrating receipt of their individual vaccination doses shall receive a stipend up to $500. Employees choosing to participate in the voluntary program are encouraged to consult with their healthcare provider regarding whether or not to obtain the COVID-19 vaccination if you have not previously done so.


Phase one - Employees will receive a one-time stipend of $300 for providing proof of completing the initial phase of vaccination shots to include:


  • In the case of the single dose option, such as Johnson and Johnson, an individual is considered vaccinated two weeks after one shot.
  • In the case of Oxford/AstraZeneca, Moderna, and Pfizer vaccines, an individual is considered vaccinated two weeks after receiving the second dose of the two-dose vaccine.


Phase two - In addition, employees will receive a one-time stipend of $200 for providing proof of receiving an FDA approved booster.


The Benefits Department will collect the proof of vaccination status using a survey to be completed within Microsoft Forms. Employees will be required to answer a few brief questions and upload a photocopy/image of their Covid-19 vaccination card(s) to include the front and back.


All employees, regardless of vaccination status and/or interest in getting the vaccination series are strongly encouraged to complete the survey.


  • Once an employee has completed phase 1, they will be able to complete the Microsoft Forms link and provide the requested information to receive the first $300 stipend.
  • When the employee has received their booster, they can use the same survey link to update their information to include the completed booster information and will then receive the additional $200 stipend.
  • Employees who already have both phase 1 and phase 2 to include the booster completed can indicate this information on the provided survey and the employee will receive the $500 stipend in one payment.
  • HCPS employees who do not have an HCPS email will not be able to use the provided Microsoft Forms survey link. This group of employees will be contacted through other communication outlets and can access the information applicable to them on the “Staff” tab found on the homepage of the hcps.org website.
  • We expect a large influx of initial employee responses and ask for your patience as we work to process the information. Human Resources will work collaboratively with our Payroll Department and will provide identified stipends to employees where we have successfully verified vaccinations during the 2nd payroll date each month starting with the February 18, 2022, pay date. Additional vaccination stipend pay dates will include: March 18, 2022, April 15, 2022, May 27, 2022, and June 24, 2022.
  • Any individual who is employed by HCPS and actively working prior to June 30, 2022, will be eligible for the vaccination stipend.
  • Individuals who are eligible for the stipend but receive the initial phase and/or booster vaccine over the summer months but before August 19, 2022, will receive the appropriate stipend incentive in the second pay in September 2022, if still employed by HCPS at the time of the payment.
  • Employees who have not reached fully vaccinated status by August 19, 2022, may not be eligible for the second phase $200 stipend.


Please use the provided link below to access the Vaccination Incentive Survey.


VACCINATION SURVEY LINK


Questions can be directed to benefits@hcps.org or via phone at (410) 588-5275.

Voluntary HCPS Staff Booster Clinic - January 14, 2022

As a reminder, there will be NO system, content, or school directed professional development on January 14, 2022, to ensure all HCPS staff members who wish to participate in the staff booster clinic are able to do so. Information is included below.


To register for the HCPS Staff COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Clinic, please click here.

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Mark Your Calendar: Board of Ed to Hold Public Input Session

Click here for instruction on how to participate in the virtual public comment.
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Payroll Direct Deposit Date

HCPS employees are paid bi-weekly on Fridays based on the appropriate 22 or 26 pay schedule unless there is a change due to a federal bank holiday falling on a Friday payday. HCPS’ agreement with bargaining units and our lead bank is that the funds will be available on identified Fridays as outlined on the published payroll calendar.


Some financial institutions may choose to make employee direct deposit available one day earlier. This is done as a courtesy and marketing tool by the financial intuitions and has nothing do with the HCPS Payroll Department. HCPS is under no obligation to ensure the posting of any direct deposit funds earlier than the scheduled Friday payday.

2021 W-2 Forms Information

W-2 forms will be placed in the courier on or before January 31, 2022, for calendar year 2021 wages.


Annually, the Finance Office provides an explanatory memo assisting employees to reconcile their final pay stubs for the year to the W-2 form and to answer frequently asked questions over the years. Click here to view the memo online or to print a hard copy of the memo, if desired. Please print and share the memo with non-networked colleagues at your location.


W-2 forms will also be posted on Employee Self Service (ESS) on or before January 31, 2022. For detailed instructions on using ESS, please click here.


Any questions should be directed to Jay Staab, Director of Finance, at Jay.Staab@hcps.org or x5237.

United Way: Donate Today to Create Lasting Change

Why should you support United Way? They are providing what’s needed, where it’s needed, tackling the toughest challenges, promoting equity, and connecting people—like you—to the causes you care about most.


With a donation to United Way today, you can create real change in another person’s life. We’re so grateful for your participation.

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You can learn more about the United Way of Central Maryland at www.uwcm.org. Please contact Christina Paquette in the Office of Communications and Family Outreach (Christina.Paquette@hcps.org) with any questions. Thank you, again, for joining together as a Harford County Public Schools family for this initiative to help our county.

Mentor Teachers Needed for Harford Community College Students

This semester, Harford Community College is looking to place approximately 60 education students for their 30-hour field placement experience. Hosting an HCC student is a great way to support the next generation of teachers. A significant number of special education placements will be needed for this semester. Interested teachers should visit the following link to indicate their interest: Spring 2022 HCC Student Interest Survey


Questions regarding this information should be directed to Heather Kutcher, in Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, at Heather.Kutcher@hcps.org or 410-588-5322.

Office of Equity and Cultural Proficiency: Virtual Equity Chats

The Office of Equity and Cultural Proficiency will be hosting monthly Virtual Equity Chats this school year. This is an opportunity to speak frankly about topics of equity and cultural proficiency. The second chat will be held on Wednesday, January 26, from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. This month’s chat is entitled: Interrupting and eliminating slurs in our schools: Addressing racial and other slurs in teachable moments. During this session, we will discuss ways to interrupt slurs and other hateful language in school. We will share resources such as our bullying and harassment modules and other tools that will help students understand the impact of their words.


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. Use this link to register to attend the chat no later than January 24, 2022, at 3:00 p.m.: https://forms.office.com/r/X2ynjpsujv . The meeting link will be sent once you have registered.

Professional Development Announcements

McDaniel College – Virtual Open House

McDaniel College will hold an information session on graduate programs for educators on Wednesday, January 19, 2022, at 4:30 p.m. Click here for the flier and to register.


University of Phoenix – Spring Classes

University of Phoenix is sharing their Spring Schedule of online classes for teachers. Continuing Education classes are four-week, online, asynchronous and available to enroll monthly.

3 credits/4 week online courses
$157.50 per credit with 10% tuition discount. Ask about their payment options of Tuition Deferment or Employer Billing.

Popular classes in Maryland:

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Advanced MAEd programs:

  • Master of Arts in Administration and Supervision (leads to Principal licensure)
    Starting on February 8, 2022. Deadline to enroll: 2/1/22.
  • Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction (up to 12 credits may be waived)
    Starting on February 8, 2022. Deadline to enroll: 2/1/22.


Contact Nicole Berkebile at Nicole.Berkebile@phoenix.edu or 480-290-4328 for 10% off tuition cost on classes or degree programs.


Notre Dame of Maryland University

Click here to learn more about earning your Environmental Educator Certification in eight online sessions, beginning in March.

Family Friendly School Award Voting Window Now Open!

It’s that time again! The voting window to name the next Family Friendly School Award winner is NOW OPEN! There can only be one winning school each month… now is your time to weigh in!


Click here to vote once before 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, January 19, to let us know which nominated school should win the coveted title of “Family Friendly School” and a staff Chick-fil-A luncheon!


As a reminder, if “your” school isn’t in the running this month and you feel it should be, nominate it next month! One winning school will be named each month 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 January winner later this month!

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Hickory Elementary Second Graders Write a Special Poem for our Favorite "Snow Lady"

Hickory Elementary School second graders in Mrs. Sauers class wrote a special poem for HCPS Manager of Communications Jillian Lader. They picked a topic that gave them a BIG feeling -- excitement. It's too cute not to share!


Jillian

By: Mrs. Sauers 2nd Grade Poets


What will she say?

Is it going to be a delay?

Will we have a snow day?

Can I sleep or have time to play?

Jillian will it be a happy day?

Wait for the call... Hooray! Hooray!

5xStronger Teacher Tour

The 2021 Teacher of the Year finalist team, 5xStronger, is heading out on tour! We are looking to recognize and celebrate some of the fantastic and extraordinary teachers in our schools. Each month, we will accept nominations for teachers who are doing an outstanding job in a specific area. Every teacher that is nominated will be highlighted in the HCPS 411 Update. One winning teacher will be selected each month. They will receive a surprise visit from the 5xStonger team and a special gift from one of our community partners. We will also highlight this teacher and share why they were chosen in the HCPS 411 Update.

For our first stop, we are looking to highlight and recognize one teacher "marigold." In the gardening world, a marigold is a companion plant. When it is planted near another plant, it will help that plant to grow big, strong, and healthy. Protected by its marigold, the other plant has a greater chance of survival. As teachers, it is vital that we surround ourselves with the resources, and people, to help us grow and flourish. Marigolds exist in our schools as well. They are the people who reach out to offer encouragement, support, and help. They remain positive and steadfast in their love and passion for the profession.

Are you lucky enough to be planted near a marigold? Tell us about them. How have they helped you continue to grow, even in difficult circumstances? Submit your nomination by clicking here by January 15, 2022, and your marigold might be the first stop on our 5xStronger Teacher Tour!

Academic Tutoring

The Academic Tutoring Program is currently 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. We are looking for tutors to begin as soon as possible. However, tutors can also begin at the beginning of third quarter.


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.

Updated Tuition Reimbursement Request Form and Submission Process

All Tuition Reimbursement Request Forms have been updated to reflect the current tuition reimbursement submission process. The revised forms can be found on hcps.org (under forms and documents) or the Tuition Reimbursement SharePoint page. Please be sure that you utilize the forms with the 01/2022 date in the lower right-hand corner of the form when submitting your request.


As a reminder, 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 PDF document and a separate email should be submitted with all other required documentation (as separate PDF attachments): tuition reimbursement request forms, itemized receipt, payment detail, if needed.


Reminder:

Tuition reimbursement requests, to include:

1. An official transcript,

2. The Partial Reimbursement Request form which aligns with your union, and

3. 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

Getting Into The Right Frame of Mind for 2022

Presented by KEPRO Employee Assistance Program


The January KEPRO EAP resources are here! Are you looking for ways to approach 2022 with a fresh perspective? Reframing is an excellent way to check in with yourself and see a situation differently. This session will help you think about things realistically with a positive focus by using practical steps to guide your way through 2022. Click here to learn more.


Date: Available on demand beginning January 18, 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, seven days per week toll-free at (866) 795-5701 to visit their website online at www.EAPhelplink.com.

Quarterly EAP Employee Newsletter: Balance

Balance, the newsletter provided by KEPRO, our Employee Assistance Program provider, is specific to help employees maintain a healthy work-life balance. This quarter’s newsletter features guidance for managing stress to work for you, becoming more resilient, getting a mental boost with decluttering, and other employee 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.

Upcoming Webinar Workshop: Tax Strategies

While some tax strategies are easy to accomplish, others may take some planning. That’s why we’re pleased to offer MetLife’s Tax Strategies: The Basics and Beyond; a complimentary 60-minute workshop where you will learn about the tax planning steps, including tax basics, diversification, cutting your tax bill and when to call a professional.


Date: Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Time: 5:00 – 6:00 p.m.


Click here to reserve your spot! Register online now. Space may be limited.


Still on the fence? Here’s a sneak peek of what to expect. Spouses and partners are welcome!

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.

CareFirst Wellness Announcements

New Year, New Goals!

A new year is a perfect opportunity to set resolutions that support a healthier version of you! Around this time every year, many of us create plans for the new year that we know will help us live longer and feel better. Yet only a small portion actually follow through. What is the secret to making these resolutions stick? The answer – healthy habits and SMART goal setting! This month’s wellness newsletter focuses on assisting you with creating those SMART goals, the importance of preventative care, and nutrition. Click here to view CareFirst’s January Wellness Newsletter.

Are you looking to improve your meal planning? Use this MyPlate Grocery Game Plan Weekly Calendar to help better plan your weekly breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. You can type directly into the boxes on the PDF and save or print for reference when grocery shopping and meal prepping! This document can also be found on the HCPS Staff Wellness webpage by clicking here.

Save the Date: Health and Wellness Mini Masterclass Sessions

In partnership with CareFirst, #HCPShealth is excited to provide employees with the opportunity to participate in live 15-minute Mini Masterclass sessions throughout January on various health-related topics. Join us on the following dates and times:


To participate in each live event, click on the date and time above. You can also access each event through the Wellness Calendar link on the HCPS Staff Wellness Webpage. If you cannot view the live event, all sessions will be recorded and posted to the HCPS Staff Wellness webpage within 24-48 business hours of the event date to view at a time convenient to you. (Please note: Meeting ID: 967 9932 3986. Passcode: 283152)


Couldn’t make it to the live event? No problem! To view the session at a time convenient to you, click on the topic below to view the recorded session:

Save the Date: Pre-Retirement Planning Webinar

The Retirement Coordinators of HCPS, via the Maryland State Retirement and Pension System (MSRPS), would like you to save the date of Wednesday, February 9, 2022, at 4:00 p.m. for a webinar for HCPS employees. As always, this webinar will provide vital retirement information to all members within eight (8) years of retirement, whether it is regular or early service. Please note: this webinar is a condensed version of our annual pre-retirement webinar held each fall.

A registration form and event link will be provided closer to the event date.

Shout Outs!

"I’d like to give Kim Debelius and Renee Mozingo from Central Office a huge Shout Out. I was in need of 350 stars and knew HCPS had a Cricut machine but didn’t know where to start. Renee connected me to Kim who kindly offered to help by cutting out 368 stars! She went above and beyond for me.


These starts are highly prized possessions at Harford Glen as every teacher who brings a class to the Outdoor Education Program earns a star for each return visit. Some teachers have 30+ years’ worth of stars to show for their efforts. The ‘Wall of Fame’ is found in the Dining Hall and goes back all the way to the first teacher who brought classes to camp in 1980. Renee and Kim helped me keep the tradition alive by solving my star problem. THANK YOU!"


-Amanda Subolefsky, Outdoor Education Teacher, Harford Glen Environmental Education Center


"Jen Knoll, the School Performance and Achievement Specialist at Edgewood Middle School, is exceptional in so many ways. She is a natural leader and a driving force in our school community; she helps to move our school forward in a positive direction. She is incredibly knowledgeable, resourceful, and professional. She goes above and beyond on a daily basis, helping and supporting colleagues and students in a variety of ways. Her work with teachers helps to elevate the level of instruction that students are receiving each day. Ms. Knoll is fully invested in the success of of both teachers and students at EDMS. Edgewood Middle School is so lucky to have Jen Knoll to teach, guide, lead and inspire all stakeholders in our school community."


-Sarah Q. Lumbard, Assistant Principal, Edgewood Middle School


"I'd like to give a Shout Out to an awesome ILA teacher at HDG Middle School. Beth Newby is an amazing teacher and colleague! She does a fantastic job with PBIS at our school. Beth is involved with after school help and tutoring with students at HDG and throughout the county. Beth also sponsors a Walking Club and helps lead the Volunteer Club at HDG Middle/High school. Beth always has a smile on her face and something nice to say. I don't know what we would do without her dedication to so many essential parts of our school. Thank you, Beth, for all you do and lifting us all up!"


​-Laura Hahn Magee, 8th Grade U.S. History, Havre de Grace Middle/High School

Welcome to the HCPS Family!

Please help us welcome the following new HCPS employees:


  • Kristine Foskey, Gifted & Talented Resource Teacher, Havre de Grace Elementary School
  • Angelica Kendall, Administrative Support Assistant, Bel Air High School
  • Heather Long, Administrative Support Assistant, C. Milton Wright High School
  • Stefanie Neuhof, Inclusion Helper, Red Pump Elementary School
  • Iris Sanabria-Ayala, Paraeducator, Hall's Cross Elementary School
  • Jacob Vazquez, Physical Education Teacher, Magnolia Elementary School
  • Jacqueline Warner, Grade 3 Teacher, Swan Creek 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.