HCPS 411 Update

May 6, 2021

Teacher Appreciation Week

Thank you, HCPS teachers and instructional staff, for inspiring and preparing your students to achieve great things! There is no doubt that we have the best teachers in our system, and we are grateful for you ALWAYS! Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!
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Updated Graphic: HCPS Operations Status

To view an enlarged version of or to print the image displayed below, please click here.
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Harford Council Appoints Ariane Kelly to Fill Vacancy on HCPS Board of Education

The Harford County Council appointed Ms. Ariane Kelly to the vacant school board seat (District D) in a unanimous vote on May 4. The board seat was vacant due to the resignation of former Board Member Tamera Rush when she moved out of her district. School board members are required to live in the district in which they are elected. District D covers northern Harford County and includes the communities of Jarrettsville, Norrisville, Whiteford, Street, Dublin, Darlington, Level and Forest Hill, among others.

Ms. Kelly was born in Harford County and attended North Harford elementary, middle, and high schools before earning her undergraduate degree from University of Delaware. She relocated to California for a time, but moved back to Harford County about five years ago and now lives in Pylesville. Her children attend Harford County Public Schools.

Ms. Kelly is currently the Director of Academic Support at Johns Hopkins University where she works with college students to acclimate them to the university environment. Before that, she worked with disadvantaged students to make post-graduation plans.

Ms. Kelly will finish out Tamera Rush's term, which ends in 2023.

National School Nurse Day - May 12

National School Nurse Day is next Wednesday, May 12. HCPS knows the significant role our nurses play every day in ensuring our students are prepared and supported to learn. It is important every year to recognize and thank our nurses for the work they do, but it is especially timely this year given the crucial role school nurses are playing in ensuring a safe and sustainable reopening of schools. Be sure to show your school nurse some love next week!
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Four-Day Work Week Summer 2021

Agreements have been completed with the Harford County Education Association (HCEA) and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) to implement a 4-day work week for the summer of 2021. The summer schedule will be effective starting Monday, June 14, 2021, and will end Friday, August 20, 2021. Operation days will be Monday through Thursday. Additional details will be published at a later date.

Questions regarding this information should be directed to Ben Richardson, Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources, at Benjamin.Richardson2@hcps.org or x5226.

Open Enrollment is Quickly Approaching


  • No changes to medical, dental, or life insurance rates
  • No change to medical, dental, or life insurance plan design
  • New Service Covered: Bariatric Surgery. Beginning July 1, 2021, members who meet the requirements to enter a bariatric surgery program at a CareFirst Blue Distinction Center may be eligible for coverage of bariatric surgery services. For more information, please view the Benefit Reference Guide available on the Human Resources Department page of the HCPS website.

This year, all employees will have the option to view the open enrollment presentation on the Human Resources page of the HCPS website to learn more about their benefits package. We will host two virtual Q&A sessions with representatives from CareFirst, Delta Dental, Flexible Benefit Administrators, MetLife, and KEPRO. These sessions can be accessed by clicking the links below at the specified time and dates:

Your current health, dental, and life elections will carry over to the 2021-2022 benefit plan year unless you go in and make a change. If you currently carry the flexible spending benefit and want to do so again for the following benefit plan year, you will need to complete an active enrollment through your account at www.hcps.benelogic.com before 11:59 p.m. on Monday, May 24.

The 2021-2022 Benefit Reference Guide is now available on the HCPS website at https://www.hcps.org. Please take the time to review the guide now to be ready to make changes to your elections at www.hcps.benelogic.com, beginning on Monday, May 10.

To log into your account through Benelogic:

1. Using a computer with the internet, visit www.hcps.benelogic.com.

2. Enter your User ID, which is your HCPS 5 digit Employee ID number.

3. Enter your password. If you do not know your password, click on the "Forgot User ID/Password" link for further assistance.

4. Click the orange "Sign In" button.

5. To start your enrollment, click on the large green "GO" arrow.

6. Once you have reached the end, be sure to click the Submit button to finalize your enrollment.

7. Print a copy of the Enrollment Summary for your records.

Questions? Contact the Benefits Office by email at benefits@hcps.org.

Lincoln Financial Group Salutes Teachers This Week

This week, look for some time to take care of yourself and take care of your future. Click here to view the Lincoln flier for some ideas how.

Universal Availability Notice 403(B)

In accordance with IRS regulations governing 403(b) deferred compensation plans, Harford County Public Schools must annually provide a notice to all eligible employees regarding the opportunity to make elective deferrals or change existing deferrals into the plan. Employees may access the plan’s Universal Availability Notice, as well as information on how to get started contributing to the Roth and/or tax-deferred investment program, at http://www.hcps.org/departments/humanresources/benefits/retirement.aspx.

Master's +60 (M60)

Beginning May 2021, the Planned Program of Studies – Master’s +60 (M60) program has been revised. The M60 program recognizes and compensates eligible employees who have completed coursework that bring value to themselves and HCPS. Eligible employees must have completed the Master’s +30 requirements prior to submitting a Master’s +60 application. M60 is defined as 30 credits earned after the completion date of the M30 requirements. Employees who currently have completed credits beyond M30 may be able to apply those credits to the M60 plan. Credits must have been completed within the last 5 years from the date of the M60 application.

The Master’s +60, or M60, form has been updated and is available on SharePoint under Human Resources > Certification > Certification Forms >M60 Application 2021 (5-2021).

  • Coursework that will be eligible for consideration includes 24 graduate credits and 6 MSDE Continuing Professional Development/CPD, graduate or undergraduate credits.
  • Similar to the M30, there is a M60 Course Substitution form to make changes to your original application.

Employees Already in the M60 Process:

Employees who have already had a M60 plan approved and are currently in the M60 process have the option of finishing your approved M60 plan OR submitting a plan based on the updated guidelines. There is no need to let us know if you want to continue with your approved plan. If you wish to submit a plan based on the updated guidelines, simply submit an updated M60 Plan application. Please email the MastersPlus60@hcps.org address if you have questions.

Keeping PACE: Riverside Elementary School's Virtual Community Fair Event

Each week in the HCPS 411 Update, the Parent Academy will release 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 will serve 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 Riverside Elementary School Principal Christopher Yancone and Title I Teacher Specialist and PACE Liaison Lauren Donnelly share about their school’s upcoming virtual Community Fair. This event will provide an opportunity for Riverside Elementary families to connect with organizations/resources for mental and physical health, early learning and childcare, faith, finances, and more. This school-community event is an excellent example of PTA Standard 2: Communicating Effectively and PTA Standard 6: Collaborating With Community.


Parent Academy Real Talk: Getting to Know Our Board of Education Members

This month's segment of Real Talk: Getting to Know our Board Members will feature Dr. David Bauer and Dr. Carol L. Mueller. They will sit down with Parent Academy's Mary Beth Stapleton to share their story - a little bit of their background and ties to the community, why they sought a position on the Board of Education, and what serving the students of Harford County means to them. Then, Drs. Bauer and Mueller will answer questions submitted directly from our community.

Don't miss your opportunity to submit your burning questions: https://survey.hcps.org/rws5.pl?FORM=ParentAcademyRealTalkBoardOfEducation.

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.
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Academic Tutoring

This summer, the Academic Tutoring Program will run from July 6 through August 5, 2021. Tutors will provide students with instructional support and remediation. Tutors are needed in the areas of reading and mathematics for students in grades K through 9. 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.

Orientation for summer tutors will be held in early June. Parents/guardians will complete an online form to express interest in tutoring for their child. Tutors will receive their list of students by June 21. If you are interested in serving as a tutor, please complete this survey. For any questions, please contact Academic.Tutoring@hcps.org.

Survey link: https://survey.hcps.org/rws5.pl?FORM=SummerTutoringInterestForm.

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.

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

McDaniel College

McDaniel College will host an informational meeting tonight, Thursday, May 6.

Topic: McDaniel College Summer Cohort Information Session, Harford County Public Schools Summer Cohort Opportunities

Description: Learn more about the following cohorts:

  • Post-bachelor's Certificate in Equity and Excellence in Education (EEE)
  • Master of Science in Elementary or Secondary Education: focus areas in EEE and STEM Instructional Leadership

  • Convenient and flexible online delivery
  • 8-week sessions
  • Taught by experienced, expert faculty
  • Affordable tuition through our Educational Partnership program
  • Certificate program courses can be applied toward completion of a master’s degree at McDaniel College
  • Curriculum designed to use innovative and interactive learning activities steeped in theory and research with real-world application
  • Designed to prepare participants to become change agents and cultural leaders, both in and out of the classroom

Time: TONIGHT, Thursday, May 6, 2021, 5:00 p.m.

Register here: https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJcucOChqTkqE9JzEMXTx7b4gT9OHwYI-BGQ.

Fall 2021 & Spring 2022 TU Off-Campus Partnership Programs

Towson University is excited to share information regarding several new professional learning opportunities in partnership with HCPS.

If you are interested in one of the programs listed below, CLICK HERE to inquire about programs in your local school system. This link will allow you to inquire about opportunities available within your particular school system. Once you complete the interest form you will receive additional information about the program. This may include an email from the Graduate Program Director, upcoming webinar details, and/or fliers, as well as access to the free Towson Learning Network (TLN) graduate application link.


  • Cost
    • TLN partners with school systems to significantly reduce tuition. Reduced tuition rates align with school system reimbursements resulting in minimal or no cost to participants successfully completing the programs.
    • Employees may request tuition reimbursement for which they are eligible by following the process managed by their employer.
  • Content
    • Participants can expect the same rigorous content delivery as on-campus programs.
  • Convenience
    • Most courses are held at an approved off-campus location within your local school system or online. Please note MOST fall 2021 courses will be held 100% online.

FALL 2021 / TU Towson Learning Program Off-Campus Academic Opportunities

Action Research for School Improvement (P.B.C.) Focus on Teacher Leadership
Arts Integration (P.B.C)
Autism Studies (P.B.C.) starts spring 2022 100% Online-Synchronous Instruction Helping Educators, Guidance Counselors, OTs, SLPs, and others to understand and succeed with students of all ages on the autism spectrum.
Autism Spectrum Disorder in the Classroom (P.B.C.)
Geared towards classroom teachers and related service providers
Community Engagement & Leading School Change (P.B.C.)
Educational Administrator 1 (P.B.C.)
Foundations of Special Education (P.B.C)
Reading Certificate of Advanced Study (C.A.S.)
School Library Media (P.B.C.) 100% Online

Early Childhood Education (M.Ed.)
Elementary Education (M.Ed.)
Gifted & Creative Education (M.Ed.) 100% Online
Instructional Technology (M.S.) Educational Technology Concentration 100% Online
Instructional Technology (M.S.) School Library Media Concentration 100% Online
MATH Education (M.S.) Middle School Track (Elem/Mid School Teachers)
MATH Education (M.S.) SCED Track (Mid/High School Teachers)
Reading Education (M.Ed.)
Secondary Education (M.Ed.)
SPED (M.Ed.) Special Education Concentration
SPED (M.Ed.) Teacher as Leader Autism Spectrum Disorder
Special Education (M.A.T.)
Transformational Educational Leadership (M.S.)

Instructional Technology (Ed.D.) Please contact Dr. Sadera at bsadera@towson.edu.

Please contact the TLN office via email at tln@towson.edu with any questions.

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.

CareFirst Wellness Announcements

May 2021 Wellness News: May is mental health month! Mental health and substance abuse issues not only impact an individual experiencing the illness, but they also create a ripple effect impacting family, friends, co-workers, and ultimately the community. For support during a crisis or help making an appointment, call 800-245-7013, or, for more information, visit carefirst.com/mentalhealth. To read more, click here.

Recipes of the Month – Post Workout Smoothies: For immune-boosting antioxidants and extra nutrition after your workout, try one of these smoothies to fill you up! To access the full recipes, click here.

Have You Discovered Your RealAge®?

Harford County Public Schools has a new wellness program available for ALL HCPS employees, in partnership with CareFirst powered by Sharecare.

This program helps connect you to personalized information, support, and resources to help you live your healthiest life. If you haven’t already, get started by taking the RealAge health assessment. You will learn the physical age of your body and identify which habits may be helping you stay younger or making you age faster.

This program provides a wealth of tools and resources, as well as easy-to-understand recommendations an insight that reflect your individual interests and needs – all tailored to help you live your healthiest life. Available through the program: RealAge Test, Personalized timeline, Trackers, Challenges, Health Profile and Health Coaching, Weight Management Programs, and Financial well-being.

BurnAlong Online Fitness Platform

May is Mental Health Month and BurnAlong as a lot of great resources available to help you focus on not just your physical health, but your mental health as well. With this in mind, BurnAlong is providing a series of events this month for anyone to join that will help you stay centered, mindful, and reduce stress. To register for the session, click on the event title below.

Using Movement to Improve Mental Health with Tony Stubbs

May 11 at 11:00 a.m.

Managing Stress: The Mind Body Connection with Sasha Rydlizky

May 12 1:00 p.m.

Improving Mental Health through Nutrition with Sylvia Doss

May 18 at 11:00 a.m.

BurnAlong Summer Camp that is kicking off on June 1! BurnAlong is offering members three months of classes and activities for families and kids, as well as adults, to help you and your family stay healthy and active throughout the summer. Be sure to keep an eye out for future HCPS 411 Update newsletters for more information.

If you haven’t already signed up for this free benefit, BurnAlong is an online on-demand fitness platform. This program is being powered by Harford County Public Schools in partnership with CareFirst. You and your family have unlimited access to 1,000’s of on-demand and live video classes spanning 45+ health and wellness categories. 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.

CareFirst Work/Life Balance Webinar Series

With the constant pressure to work harder, stay at work longer, and take on more workload, employees are increasingly on the brink of burnout. This series teaches participants how to create a balance between work and the rest of your life. These are live sessions for all interested employees. Session dates and times are listed below:

Wellness Investment

Friday, May 7, 12:00 – 1:00 p.m.

Creating Healthy Habits While Working from Home

Friday, May 14, 12:00 – 1:00 p.m.

Discussing Burnout

Friday, May 21, 12:00 – 1:00 p.m.

Guided Meditations

Friday, May 28, 12:00 – 1:00 p.m.

To participate in the above session(s), click on the topic title listed above at the scheduled date and time. The Meeting ID: 996 0444 3697 and Passcode: 20uwjF will be the same for all four sessions.

May 7 is the Last Day to Register for Work of Art

Presented through CareFirst Wellness

Get on the path to better mental health with the Work of Art program. The program began on May 3.

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?

Click here to register.

Registration will be open through tomorrow, 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.


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!

Shout Outs!

"A huge shout out to our Norrisville Helping Hands! Renee Ford, Elaine Heilman, Kelly Koerber, Margaret Luczak, Sharon McNutt, and Kelley Saneman are the support staff DREAM TEAM!! The dedication they have to their students and to the school is evident in their work. Every day this year, they have shown up virtually or in person with a smile. Their positive energy is contagious throughout the building. Our students are so fortunate to have these amazing professionals working with them!

We appreciate you!"

-Jennifer Drumgoole, Principal, Norrisville Elementary School

-Mary Ann Clinton, Assistant Principal, Norrisville Elementary School

“I’d like to recognize Paul Kline, Cody Dixon, Mark Winzenreid, Nick Stutelberg, Jessie Knopp, Jarrett Leuschner, Chris Desell, Cory Stanley, and JD Bonham from the awesome Facilities Grounds team for lending a helping hand to Technology. This group has been a huge help in getting antiquated technology materials loaded onto multiple trailers for disposal. It’s always a pleasure to work with these guys and appreciate their willingness to help when we need some extra manpower or machinery to get the job done!”

-Josh Oltarzewski, Computer Support Technician, Office of Technology

Welcome to HCPS!

Please help us give a warm welcome to the newest member of the HCPS family:

  • Luke Simon, HRIS Analyst, Central Office - Human Resources

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.