HCPS 411 Update

February 25, 2021

Good to Great Moment

As we continue our focus of exceptional customer service techniques, this video is an example of using a positive, solution mindset. Mijiza Green and Tracey Hanus take us through a thought process of providing exceptional customer service, even when we may be approached outside of the usual school/office setting.
Costumer Service Positive Solution Mindset

HCPS Announces Littles University

For the families in our community with Littles who haven't yet started school, this new series is especially for you! Once a month, Jillian Lader, Manager of Communications for HCPS, will welcome you into her home as she, too, navigates preparing her Little for school! Whether you plan to register your child for school next year, or even if you have a few more years before your Little will start school, whenever you see this logo, please join us for Littles University!
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Keeping PACE - A New Video Series by the Parent Academy

The Office of Communications and Family Outreach is excited to announce a new video series, beginning in March, by the Parent Academy that will highlight the work of our Parent and Community Engagement (PACE) staff: Keeping PACE. Each week in the HCPS 411 Update, the Parent Academy will release a video showcasing a school/program that demonstrates a best practice related to one of the six National PTA Standards. Additionally, the videos will later be archived on the Parent Academy page on hcps.org for reference. The Parent Academy will work with the PACE liaisons at our schools to produce the short video. This series will serve as a way to highlight and recognize the good work happening in our schools and create an opportunity to idea share within our system.

Stay tuned… the first video in the series will be released in next week’s HCPS 411 Update!

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HCPS COVID-19 Testing Program

All schools and Central Office will have capabilities for COVID-19 testing by March 1, 2021. A COVID-19 testing program will reduce the number of students and staff needing to quarantine and decrease disruptions. Students and employees who develop symptoms in a school day will be given the option of a Rapid Antigen Test performed by a HCPS nurse under the direction of the health department. To view a graphic with this information, please click here. Questions regarding this information should be directed to Mary Nasuta, in Health Services, at Mary.Nasuta@hcps.org or x5361.

Return to In-Person Learning March 2021

HCPS Risk Manager Katie Ridgway and HCPS Supervisor of Health Services Mary Nasuta sit down to discuss mitigation strategies to return to in-person learning.
Return to In-Person Learning March, 2021

NEW Report COVID-19 PPE/Protocol Concerns Tool

With the district’s return to in-person learning plan, all employees are reminded to adhere to the published Employee Health and Safety Guidelines. HCPS is committed to providing employees with adequate PPE and sanitization supplies. Employees are obligated to report any health and safety concerns to the appropriate supervisor or principal to address in a reasonable amount of time. After a report has been made and a reasonable amount of time has passed without response from the supervisor or principal, the employee can utilize the new Report COVID19 PPE/Protocol Concerns tool to request follow-up for reported concerns.

Questions regarding this information should be directed to BangTam Miller, in Human Resources, at BangTam.Miller@hcps.org or x5226.

PPE Items in the Distribution Center Inventory

Starting March 1, 2021, schools will be able to order PPE items through the Lawson Requisition Center (RQC). Items available for purchase include: Non-Latex Gloves (Medium and Large ONLY), Disposable Face Masks (children, adult), Disinfectant Wipes, Hand Sanitizer (gallon, individual) and Face Shields (adult). To obtain inventory numbers, please use the Distribution Center Catalog by clicking DC Catalog_2021.pdf. For instruction on how to purchase items through the Requisition Center, please click Purchasing Consolidated Instructions.docx.

Technical questions should be directed to Dave Williams, Purchasing Specialist - Information Systems, at David.T.Williams@hcps.org.

Any other questions should be directed to Purchasing@hcps.org.

Department of Labor Unemployment Fraud Claims Alert

As you may be aware from local news broadcasts, Maryland’s unemployment claims and fraud claims are at an all time high during the pandemic. Please be assured that Human Resources staff are actively monitoring each claim and notifying affected employees if we have reason to believe the claim was fraudulent. In the event a fraudulent claim is identified, the employee will receive an email communication from Debbie Cannon or BangTam Miller with details and next steps. Please be aware that Debbie Cannon, former Compliance Specialist, is working for HCPS to handle unemployment cases during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Questions regarding this information should be directed to Debbie Cannon, in Human Resources, at Debbie.Cannon@hcps.org or BangTam Miller, also in Human Resources, at BangTam.Miller@hcps.org.

February'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 February's Mental Health Minute.

February Mental Health Minute Presented by Beth White


HCPS has blocked student access to Padlet after a recent security risk. HCPS is actively taking steps necessary to protect students to the fullest extent possible. Therefore, student Padlet accounts will remain disabled and Padlet will remain blocked to all HCPS students until further notice. Application alerts on https://start.hcps.org will continue to be updated as information is available.

The Office of Organizational Development encourages teachers to use the following resources if they need to download or transition instructional materials from Padlet into itslearning:

Questions about this information should be directed to Martha Barwick at martha.barwick@hcps.org.

Hybrid Learning Strategies Webinars

Various sessions with a specific elementary and secondary focus on hybrid learning strategies will be offered to teachers throughout Friday mornings on February 26, March 5 and March 12. Sessions will support educators as they prepare for learning and teaching in a hybrid environment. These sessions will incorporate strategies that highlight collaboration, communication, assessment, and engagement.

  • Who: All Teachers and Instructional Staff
  • What: Hybrid Learning Strategies Webinars
  • When: Fridays Until March 12
    Friday, February 26, 2021
    Friday, March 5, 2021
    Friday, March 12, 2021

Register in Hector for your session.

March 5 Professional Learning Reminder

March 5, 2021, is a 3-hour early dismissal day for students. Just as a reminder, each Content or Related Service office will offer a one-hour, optional, synchronous Office Hour to their teachers, counselors, educational support personnel, social workers, psychologists, and/or related service providers. Instructional staff may join the Office Hour for informal networking, support, and Q&A. The comprehensive list of times and links are here: Chart for March 5 Office Hours.pdf The remaining professional learning time may be directed by your school(s). Modules 5 and 6 of the Digital Teaching and Learning course in itslearning remain open and available for review.

Questions about this information should be directed to Jacqueline Tarbert, in the Office of Organizational Development, at Jacqueline.tarbert@hcps.org or to Heather Kutcher, also in the Office of Organizational Development, at heather.kutcher@hcps.org.

PARAPRO Assessment Opportunities – March 5, 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 March 5, 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.

Limited Seats Still Available for the University of Maryland Innovative Virtual Teaching Network Academy

HCPS has a very limited number of seats still available for teachers, educational support personnel, and teacher specialists to join the University of Maryland’s Innovative Virtual Teaching Network Academy. The Academy provides access to monthly webinars on topics related to virtual and hybrid teaching as well as opportunities to network with educators across the state.

Instructional staff may indicate interest via the University of Maryland Academy Interest Form by March 1, 2021.

More detailed information can be accessed on the HCPS Professional Learning SharePoint Site.

Questions can be directed to Heather Kutcher, Office of Organizational Development, at heather.kutcher@hcps.org.

Governor’s Office on Service & Volunteerism Honors Joppatowne High School Principal Pamela Zeigler

Congratulations to Principal Pam Zeigler of Joppatowne High School for being recognized by the Maryland Governor's Office on Service and Volunteerism for being a remarkable educator and champion for children for more than 30 years. The Maryland Governor’s Office on Service and Volunteerism notes that Ms. Zeigler empowers her students at Joppatowne High by rising up however they need. You can watch a special message from Ms. Zeigler herself that has been shared by the Governor’s office on their Facebook and Twitter feeds; we’ve also shared them on HCPS social media platforms and encourage you to join us in giving Ms. Zeigler our heartfelt congratulations and thanks!

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AVAILABLE NOW: BurnAlong Virtual Fitness Platform

Employees can sign-up for a *free* account through BurnAlong, an online on-demand fitness platform. 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 100's 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.

Learn more by clicking here for the member enrollment flyer.

Have Questions? Check out this F.A.Q.

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 provide health improvement management services to HCPS employees.

Your Employee Assistance Program

More Than Therapy

Did you know your Employee Assistance Program (EAP), powered through KEPRO, provides 24 hour a day access seven (7) days a week to a variety of services?

Employees of HCPS have access to a variety of services through the EAP at no cost to them:

  • Family Caregiving Services: Referrals and information on a variety of related matters
  • Legal Services: 30-minute phone or in-person consultation to answer basic legal questions and simply the process of obtaining legal help.
  • Financial Services: Telephonic consultation with a qualified financial consultant.
  • Convenience Services: Complimentary referrals to convenience services to help members make the most of their money and free time. Let KEPRO help do the planning and research for you giving you more time to do other things like spending time with your family.

A full list of a summary of services can be found by clicking here.

For more information about your EAP through KEPRO, please contact them by phone at (866) 795-5701, or online at www.EAPhelplink.com – company code: HCPS.

Welcome to HCPS!

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

  • Clinton Cottrell, Plumbing/Heating, Facilities
  • Jessica Knopp, Grounds/Building Maintenance, Facilities
  • Charlotte Florentine, School Nurse, Youth's Benefit Elementary School
  • Colleen Burkhouse, Inclusion Helper, Edgewood Middle School
  • Trisha Grubb, Paraeducator, North Bend Elementary School
  • Matthew Peterson, Computer Support Technician, Central Office

Harford County's New Discovery Center

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Supporting our Elderly Community with Registering for the COVID-19 Vaccine

Do you have a friend or family member who is 65 years of age or older? Do you have a few minutes to reach out and see if he/she needs assistance in the COVID-19 vaccine process? Please see the linked document from the Harford County Health Department that outlines all vaccine locations, contact information, and details for registering by site in the county. Please note: All locations require an appointment; no walk-ins will be accepted.
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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.