HCPS 411 Update

March 25, 2021

CDC Guidance for Schools Update

We have reviewed the newest guidance from CDC released on Friday, March 19, for schools and have determined that it does not impact our current HCPS COVID-19 safety plan. We are not changing the “whenever, wherever” possible approach, as the more distance, the more mitigation against this virus. When we can’t distance with six (6) feet, we add other layers of mitigation such as plexiglass barriers, sanitization, and staggered use of common areas. It is also extremely important that the definition of close contact, which includes six (6) feet, has not changed, so whenever we can maintain this distance, it improves our ability to keep students and staff in school. Above all, staying home when sick is one of our most important defenses against spreading this virus.

Important Links:

Updated COVID-19 Dashboard on hcps.org

Thank you to staff who helped update the school system's COVID-19 dashboard on the website! Information will now load daily, Monday through Friday, and viewers can search specific dates and data.
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Monthly Minute - Recordings Available Beginning Next Week

With the return to in-person learning, secondary and elementary school staff may find it challenging to join the live "Monthly Minute with Dr. Bulson" events. To ensure that all employees have the opportunity to hear what Dr. Bulson shares during these system check-ins, we will now record the event and share it in the following week's HCPS 411 Update. So, if you were not able to tune in this afternoon, look for the recording in next Thursday's HCPS 411 Update!

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

In order to maintain the negotiated work year, schools and offices will be closed on Monday, December 27, 2021, and Friday, December 31, 2021, in recognition of the Christmas and New Year’s Day holidays.

In order to maintain the 260 day work year, Tuesday, December 28, 2021, will be a non-work day for 12-month employees. This replaces any previous announcements that have been published regarding the 261st non-work day.

Questions regarding this information should be directed to the Human Resources Department at x5226.

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Blended Virtual Teacher Informational Session

Are you interested in teaching virtual next year but missed the 2021-2022 Blended Virtual Teacher Informational Session? The event was recorded and is available below. In addition, the Q&A from the event is available here.
Blended Virtual Teacher Informational Session - Live Event

eLearning Blended Virtual Program Applications

HCEA-represented employees who wish to be considered for transfer to the eLearning Blended Virtual Program must complete an online application. Program description and application can be found at the following link: https://harford.tedk12.com/hire/Index.aspx. Requests for transfer will be accepted from tenured teachers who meet the certification requirements for the position identified at time of application.

Online applications will be accepted for these vacancies from March 24, 2021, until the positions are filled. Candidates who apply by April 14, 2021, will be given first consideration. Each subject and/or position requested must be submitted separately. The need to fill these positions will be dependent upon student enrollment.

Questions regarding this information should be directed to Shannon Hagan, in Human Resources, at Shannon.Hagan@hcps.org.

April 6th Professional Learning Day Details

Staff now have access to the choice session menus for April 6th. Access the menus on the Professional Development Share Point Site to build your own, personal 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. day of learning. If it is helpful, download a Planning Tool Template to schedule in the synchronous and asynchronous sessions of your choice.

All sessions are open to all staff so please peruse choices beyond what may seem like an immediate fit. Choices are organized around these areas:

  • Elementary Content Area or Job Specific
  • Secondary Content Area or Job Specific
  • Equity
  • Technology
  • Wellness

We have a new category called Spotlighted Sessions. These are sessions that encompass topics that may apply beyond an individual classroom and may appeal to different teams in schools and offices, as well as to a diverse range of roles and job duties in the system such as bookkeepers, administrators, SST members, education support personnel, operations staff, and more.

A few key reminders:

  • April 6th is not a scheduled workday for Inclusion Helpers.
  • Buildings will be closed to visitors on April 6th so staff may focus on their professional learning.
  • Staff able to access the sessions remotely through itslearning and Microsoft Teams are welcome to do so.
  • Administrative Assistants are to work with their immediate supervisor to determine the balance of professional learning and other work-related responsibilities.

Questions can be sent to HCPSProfessionalLearning@hcps.org.

2021 Commencement Schedule Announced

HCPS Leadership and a special Graduation Task Force have been working diligently to establish a plan to hold in-person graduation for the graduating class of 2021. It has been a challenge due to changes to venue and gathering restrictions, in addition to the need to make plans with venues well enough in advance to finalize contracts and details. We are pleased to officially announce that we have reached an agreement with Ripken Stadium in Aberdeen. The venue holds approximately 1,600 seats and what the stadium calls “pod” seating. In this venue, with these seating options, we anticipate our graduates will be able to celebrate this milestone with their classmates as well as their invited guests. Please note, mitigation strategies like social distancing through “pod” seating, mask wearing, and a health check, will be required. This is an outside venue, so rain dates have been built into the schedule.
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Thrive by Five Early Childhood Summit

The Parent Academy is proud to sponsor the upcoming Thrive by Five Early Childhood Summit for parents/guardians of children ages birth through five and childcare providers. During April 12-15, 2021, registrants will participate in up to 14, 30-minute sessions. For the list of session topics and the summit schedule, please see the event flier on the Parent Academy Facebook page or the Parent Academy page on www.hcps.org. Spots are open to the first 250 registered. Registration for this event closes at midnight on April 6, 2021.

Register now!

Year-end Dates for Processing Transactions

A memorandum communicating due dates for processing transactions relating to fiscal year ending June 30, 2021, is now available on SharePoint: Year-End Dates Memo. Please share this information as appropriate. Please be aware that any purchases through year-end must have been included on the budget worksheets provided to Eric Clark. If additional purchases are required, please contact Eric Clark at Eric.Clark@hcps.org. Questions regarding the deadlines should be directed to Jay Staab, in Finance, at Jay.Staab@hcps.org.

2021 Stars of Summer Program - Educators Needed!

HCPS is seeking educators to teach in the 2021 Stars of Summer program! Stars of Summer is a virtual, camp-like summer school experience for rising grade one through grade nine students. We need your ingenuity and creativity in order to provide students with another exciting summer experience. Please see the overview to learn more about this paid teaching opportunity. Please be in touch with Diane.Sumutka@hcps.org or Andrew.Renzulli@hcps.org with any questions.

HCPS will also release a catalogue of other summer professional opportunities for educators May 3.

March Good to Great Customer Service Moment

Our HCPS User Support Team operates within the A.A. Roberty Building to assist and support HCPS employees with technology questions. They have the important role of providing support across the district through the use of phone and computer. For this team, effective communication skills are a must. A few of those skills are to speak/write clearly, listen attentively, respond patiently, and document accurately. This team is known for their efficient, speedy problem-solving.

When asked about their top tips for Great Customer Service, they responded,

“As a team we believe providing good customer service means first and foremost to be the person you want to hear on the other line. Treat each caller as the most important caller of the day.”

We thank the HCPS User Support Team for their great customer service.

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.
Thatcher mental health minute

Keeping PACE - Game Changers Club Book Drive Event by Bel Air Middle School

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 will be 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 Bel Air Middle School Principal Natalie Holloway and School Counselor Bryan Sanchez share how Game Changers Club student leaders Mia Castellano and Pragnya Jagarlapudi successfully worked with their peers, school staff, families, and the community to collect books to donate to the Maryland Book Bank facility in Baltimore. This project is a great example of PTA Standard 6: Collaborating with the Community, “teachers, students, and families work with community groups to develop solutions to local problems.”

Keeping PACE - Bel Air Middle School's Game Changers Club Book Drive

March's Mental Health Minute

This year, the 2020 HCPS Teacher of the Year Finalists, dubbed the "QuaranTEAM 5," are shining a light on mental health issues and maintaining mental well-being. Our finalists researched ideas and consulted with mental health professionals in order to share helpful tips and strategies for building better mental health in our professional community. Each month, this information will be shared through a Mental Health Minute.

Take a moment to watch this month's Mental Health Minute.

March Mental Health Minute Presented by the "QuaranTEAM5"

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.

Professional Development Announcements

McDaniel College – Summer Course Schedule

Please see here a list of summer courses that will be offered through McDaniel College. Registration for summer and fall opens on April 1. These are course that are available to all teachers as open enrollment students. This is not part of any cohort arrangement.

COVID-19 Leave Provisions through the American Recovery Plan (ARP)

As COVID-19 continues to impact our daily professional and personal lives, Harford County Public Schools recognizes the importance of providing our employees with leave options as they deal with the fallout of COVID-19. Therefore, Harford County Public Schools has chosen to extend leave options to employees who may need to take leave for a COVID-related reason as listed below effective April 1, 2021:

Employees are eligible for:

1. Up to two weeks at the employee’s regular rate of pay where the employee is unable to work because the employee is quarantined or needs to isolate according to Federal, State, or local government orders or the advice of a healthcare provider and or is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis; or

2. Up to two weeks of paid sick leave at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay because the employee cannot work because of a bona fide need to care for an individual subject to quarantine according to Federal, State, or local government orders.

Eligible Employees: All employees are eligible for up to two weeks of paid sick leave for reasons listed above as they relate to COVID-19. This benefit caps at a maximum of two weeks for April 1, 2020, through June 30, 2021. If you are someone who has already utilized two weeks for COVID-related under the previous FFCRA policy, you will not be eligible for this extended benefit.

Leave used under this provision will run concurrently with an individual’s Family Medical Leave Act allowance of 12-weeks of leave within their 12-month benefit period.

If you have any questions, please contact the Benefits Office at benefits@hcps.org or Kathy DeHoff at Kathleen.Dehoff@hcps.org.

Digital Will and Estate Planning Services

Presented by MetLife Insurance Company

Create a will and other important estate planning documents in as little as 15 minutes. While you cannot predict life outcomes, you can help prepare for them with Digital Estate Planning, now available to employees enrolled in the life insurance benefit through HCPS and MetLife.

For more information on this service available through MetLife, click here.

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 1: Thursday, April 8, 2021
Session 2: Thursday, April 15, 2021
Session 3: 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.

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 and 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.


Sharecare, Inc. is an independent company that provides health improvement management services to HCPS employees.

Virtual College Planning Seminar Sponsored by Freedom Federal Credit Union

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Shout Outs!

Shout Out to Board Member Patrice Ricciardi for being named one of the 2021 Maryland's Top 100 Women!

"I'd like to give a HCPS Shout Out to Ms. Samantha Brown for continuing to organize our schoolwide THANK YOU campaign. Each year, for the past 3 years that I've been a member of the Havre de Grace High School teaching staff, we have acknowledged our students! This year was different because instead of traditional hand-written notes we used a Microsoft Form, and it still made its mark on our students' lives. They appreciated the small notes of appreciation, and as teachers, we got to know how they felt about those notes. Ms. Brown sends us back their comments! A truly personalized task (and I'm sure time-consuming on her part), but it builds up our community and hearts (❤️), so thanks again, Ms. Brown, for spear-heading this great initiative at HdGHS!"

-Deanna Burch, FACS Teacher, Havre de Grace High School

"I would like to recognize how helpful Dave McComas has been to the students of NHMS and the staff. He is always there for every tech issue we have. He offers help setting up the classroom, helping students with their devices, and trouble shoots every issue we have. Our school runs smoother because of his help!"

-Courtney Carletti, 8th Grade Math Teacher, North Harford Middle School

"Thank you to Behavior Intervention Coach Stephanie Schmid, Mike Thatcher, Robin Meyer, and the Special Education Office for supporting a student in need at EMES. Beyond offering suggestions and consultative services, they have physically stepped in, joining hands with our school-based team to establish and implement protocol, train staff members, and share in the challenges and celebrations of the day. We appreciate your partnership!"

-Rebecca Spencer, Principal, Emmorton Elementary School &

Jenn Vlangas, Assistant Principal, Emmorton Elementary School

Welcome to HCPS!

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

  • Courtney Blake-Miller, Paraeducator, John Archer School
  • Doris Corfman, Inclusion Helper, Roye-Williams Elementary School
  • Ayne Delgado, Inclusion Helper, Bel Air High School
  • Tonya Peters, Paraeducator, Forest Hill 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.