HCPS 411 Update

March 18, 2021

Monthly Minute Teams LIVE Link

Join Dr. Bulson next Thursday, March 25, at 12:15 p.m. by clicking here.

Report COVID-19 PPE/Protocol Concerns Tool

With the district’s return to in-person learning, 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.

Four-Day Work Week Summer 2021

We have completed agreements 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 no later than Monday, June 14, 2021, and end Friday, August 20, 2021. Operation days will be Monday through Thursday. Additional details will be published at a later date, as the use of inclement weather make-up dates will determine the final schedule.

Independence Day Observation

HCPS will observe Independence Day on Monday, July 5, 2021.

261st Duty Day for 12-Month Employees

To maintain the negotiated 260-day work year, December 31, 2021, will be a non-work day for 12-month employees.

Carry Over of Excess Accumulated Annual Leave

As we navigate through the everchanging challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, we understand that many staff members have annual leave balances that exceed the amount permitted to be carried over into the next fiscal year. Taking annual leave provides an opportunity for staff to get much needed and uninterrupted down time in order to decompress from the stress of the work environment. Given that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused many staff members to cancel annual leave plans or reschedule to a time in the future when travel restrictions have relaxed, the Superintendent has authorized any remaining balance of annual leave that exceeds the amount permitted to be carried over to be converted to sick leave effective July 1, 2021. Please note that there is no limitation on the number of sick leave days a staff member may accumulate. This is a one-time, non-precedent setting action in response to the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Take the time that is available to you to ensure a healthy work/life balance.

April 2, 2021 Pay Date

Although HCPS offices close early Thursday, April 1, 2021, and are closed Friday, April 2, 2021, banks will be open Friday, April 2, 2021. Therefore, the actual pay date remains April 2, 2021.

Checks (for employees who are not on direct deposit) will be mailed to the employee’s home address (per LAWSON Employee Self Service, ESS) on Thursday, April 1, 2021. Please verify the address shown on your 03/19/21 pay stub is your current address. If the address is incorrect, log into ESS and update your address (click on Life Events and then Move). Please note, to access Employee Self Service, you must be logged onto an HCPS computer/HCPS network. Also, the format for username is your network username followed by “@hcps.org,” for example, johsmith@hcps.org. See the DSS and ESS Instructions for all you can do in DSS/ESS.

For questions regarding this information, please contact Mary Folus at mary.folus@hcps.org or 410-588-5241.

April 6, 2021 Professional Learning Day

Tuesday, April 6, is the next systemwide professional learning day. April 6 is a work day for all staff with the exception of Inclusion Helpers. Administrative Assistants, Administrators, Educational Support Personnel, Counselors, Teachers, Psychologists, Related Service Providers, and Social Workers will have the opportunity to build a personalized day of learning by selecting from a wide variety of synchronous and asynchronous workshops on Digital Teaching and Learning, Equity, Wellness, and topics specific to Content Area or Job Duties. Buildings will be closed to visitors on April 6 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. More details are included in our April 6th Professional Day Overview Video:
April 6, 2021 Professional Learning Day Overview Video 1

Blended Virtual Program Teacher Informational Session

Are you interested in teaching in a Blended Virtual Environment next school year?

If so, please join us on Tuesday, March 23, 2021, from 4:30-5:30 p.m. in a LIVE Teams event. Mr. DeLeva, principal of Alternative Education, and Rebecca Pensero, Coordinator of eLearning, will be providing a program overview to include teacher responsibilities in a blended virtual environment, an example of a typical school day, and what steps you would need to follow if you are interested in applying. An opportunity to address your questions will be provided at the end of the session.

Please use this LINK to join the live informational session.

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.

March Celebrations of Diversity

During the month of March, we are celebrating Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, Women's History Month, and Irish American Heritage Month. We want to hear about the ways that you are celebrating in your schools, classrooms, and offices, so please send pictures, video clips, artwork, etc. to Kimberly Sullivan at Kimberly.Sullivan@hcps.org by March 30, 2021. We would like to compile them and publish a video showing the wonderful ways that we honor the diversity of our students and staff.

Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

In the month of March, HCPS recognizes Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. The National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD) highlights conversations around the contributions and barriers for those living with developmental disabilities. Such disabilities encompass many areas in the educational arena. There are countless famous people who made great strides while managing their disabilities, such as Whoopi Goldberg, Walt Disney, and Albert Einstein. Please take time this month to visit these websites for more information: https://www.nacdd.org/ddam1/ and https://www.dodea.edu/dodeaCelebrates/DisabilitiesAwareness.cfm.

Women's History Month

Throughout history, women have made extraordinary impacts on society. We celebrate the milestones of women with historical figures such as Sojourner Truth, Abigail Adams, Sonia Sotomayor, and Patsy Takemoto Mink, to name a few. These celebrations invite us to reflect on history and talk about what we are doing to hear the voices of women who are underrepresented. Please join us this month by engaging in discussions to strengthen our young women and to pave the way for a brighter tomorrow. The National Women's History Alliance is extending the annual theme for 2021 to "Valiant Women of the Vote: Refusing to Be Silenced. For more information check out https://womenshistorymonth.gov/ and https://national women's nationalwomenshistoryalliance.org/

Irish Heritage Month

On the 17th day of March each year, those of Irish Heritage (and those who are not) turn out wearing their green to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. St. Patrick's Day was originally a religious holiday to honor St. Patrick, and has evolved to be a time to celebrate all things Irish. In 1991, President George H.W. Bush issued the first proclamation designating March as Irish-American Heritage Month, calling for all Americans to learn more about the contributions of Irish Americans to our nation. For more information and statistics about Irish Americans, please visit https://www.census.gov/newsroom/facts-for-features/2021/irish-american-heritage.html and https://www.archives.gov/news/topics/irish-american-heritage.

Questions regarding this information can be directed to Paula Stanton, Supervisor of Equity & Cultural Proficiency, at paula.stanton@hcps.org or x6065.

Keeping PACE - Chat and Chew Events by Havre de Grace Elementary 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 Assistant Principal of Havre de Grace Elementary School Jenn Gasdia share about their school’s Chat and Chew - a great example of PTA Standard 3: Supporting Students Success.

"Chat and Chew" Events Hosted by Havre de Grace Elementary School

U.S. School Staff Vaccination Program

The CDC has launched a new website with the latest information about how K-12 educators and school staff and childcare workers can get vaccinated and they issued a fact sheet that includes answers to questions about the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program. Please share this information with your colleagues as appropriate.

Harford Glen to Reopen to the Public on Weekends

We are looking forward to a wonderful springtime at Harford Glen. We are happy to announce that Harford Glen will reopen to the public, on weekends, from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., beginning April 3, 2021.

Social Emotional Foundations for Early Learning, Ages Birth to Five

Parent Academy and Early Childhood Programs are proud to bring families with young children a series of workshops promoting social and emotional wellness.

The workshops will be offered from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. on select dates beginning March 23 and are designed specifically for parents/guardians of children ages birth to five.

Please register by Friday, March 19, 2021, using the link below.

The link to access the workshops will be emailed to the email address provided at registration. (Note: The same link will be used for each workshop offered.)

Register now!

To view/print the flier, click here.

Littles University - Next Episode: April 8

We are so excited to announce our next Littles University book! "Grace and Box," written by Kim Howard, is a fun story about all the things we can do with our imagination. Join Mrs. Jillian Lader on April 8 for a special reading and a glimpse into some of the adventures she's been on with her Little and their own Box... castles and towers are their specialty, but Grace has inspired them to try something new! Tune in on April 8 to hear how Box takes Grace on all kinds of adventures. Don't have the book? Our partners at the Harford County Education Foundation will have approximately 150 copies to send to your doorstep! Be sure to visit their website today to secure your copy before April 8: http://harfordeducation.org/littlesuniversity/.

Hybrid Learning Strategies Webinars

Various sessions with an elementary focus on hybrid learning strategies will be offered to teachers on March 19. 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. Additional details and registration is available in HECTOR.

  • Who: All Teachers and Instructional Staff
  • What: Hybrid Learning Strategies Webinar
  • When: Friday, March 19, 2021 – Elementary Focus

Register in Hector for your sessions.

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

Walden University – Celebrate the Good

Win a Teacher Care Crate subscription and honor a colleague.

So much has been asked of educators and school district personnel in the past year. From transitioning to teaching remotely to building stronger communities in the face of adversity – we are in awe of how you have risen to the occasion. To thank you and celebrate all the good you do, we are inviting Harford County Public Schools employees to enter to win a Teacher Care Crate subscription. See flier for more information.


Teacher Care Crate is a monthly reminder to take care of YOU. During your three-month subscription, you'll receive an exquisitely curated crate full of health and wellness items; inspiring art; fun desk accessories; decorative wearable items; treats to eat, drink, and share; and more!


We know that many of you have found motivation and support in your community of fellow educators and support staff. So, when you enter, you can also nominate a colleague for the chance to win. By choosing to nominate a colleague, your name will be entered into the raffle twice.

Celebrate the Good – Enter today!

To learn about Walden’s degree and certificate programs, visit WaldenU.edu/harford or call 1-855-628-3427.

*No purchase necessary. Terms and conditions apply. Please visit WaldenU.formstack.com/forms/celebrate_the_good_contest_rules_2021 to review the complete rules.

McDaniel College – Virtual Open House March 18th

McDaniel College is partnering with the Community Foundation of Frederick County to offer the Carolyn McGolerick Scholarship for those interested in pursuing a Master of Science in School Librarianship.

The scholarship can cover from $1,000 up to full tuition and fees after tuition benefits are applied. While preference is given to residents of Frederick County, graduates of a Frederick County high school, and individuals who work in Frederick County, candidates from all geographic areas are encouraged to apply. See flier for more information.

For more information about the Online Master of Science in School Librarianship program at McDaniel College and this scholarship join our Virtual Open House on Thursday, March 18, at 7:00 p.m. Register here.

The Open House will also feature McDaniel's Online Master's and Certificate programs in Education. Please note this Open House is to promote all of McDaniel’s graduate programs in education, not specific to cohort programs. Join us to learn more!



















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.

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.

BurnAlong Challenge: Make March A Slam Dunk!

BurnAlong is hosting their 3rd annual March Mania Challenge beginning on March 15. The challenge will run for four weeks (March 15 – April 9) and will be LOADED with prizes directly from BurnAlong. Not only will you be competing against your coworkers, but with ALL BurnAlong users across the globe.

March Mania consists of four weekly challenges. To be entered to win, you must complete a certain number of classes each week. Here’s how to enter:

1. Week 1: Take 1 BurnAlong class

2. Week 2: Take 2 BurnAlong classes

3. Week 3: Take 3 BurnAlong classes

4. Week 4: Take 4 BurnAlong classes

Did somebody say prizes? YES! Each week all participants who complete their classes will be entered into a raffle where five winners will be chosen to receive a BurnAlong swag box. At the end of the contest, three winners who completed all four weeks will receive a $50 gift card. To read the full sweepsteaks terms and conditions visit: burnalong.com/sweepstakes-terms.

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.

You can take classes alone or invite up to three friends or family members to join you. You can add up to four friends or family members under your account to access this benefit at no cost to them or you.

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.

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.

Shout Outs!

"I would like to send a shout out to Kim Noll. Kim is always willing to lend a hand and help anyone in need. She is resourceful, very efficient, and always goes above and beyond. Thank you, Kim!"

-Trish Schoen, Health Services, Central Office

"Shout outs to my teammates in the QuaranTeam 5: Melissa Van Ruiten, Erinn Ragan, Karen Gonzalez, and Jennifer Knoll. These four women are not only incredible teachers, but incredible friends! As top five Teacher of the Year finalists, they have gone above and beyond to be spokespeople for HCPS. They are treasures to our school system, and there is no way I could have made it through the last year without their guidance, support, and humor! I can only hope that my own children have teachers like them one day! Also, a special shout out to Eric Davis, who supports the five of us, challenges us to be better versions of ourselves, and always has our back! Thank you all for everything that you do!"

-Beth White, Social Studies Teacher, 2020-2021 HCPS Teacher of the Year, Harford Technical High School

"Two much-needed shout outs go to April Kurth and Lynn Jennings for their time and efforts to support all special education case managers. Both April and Lynn have offered hours of assistance and support to help me meet deadlines and ensure compliance while "learning the ropes" this year. Every time we meet, I learn new tricks and tips that make my job easier and save time so I can enjoy the time I have with my students. Thank you both A LOT!

-Matt Hurd, Special Education Teacher, Edgewood Middle

"Shout Out to Deb Merlock and the Harford County Education Foundation. She and the organization helped so much with gaining internet access for many of our students throughout the county. They continue to donate supplies and books right now during these tough times. They are an asset to our system!"

-Gregory Lane, Principal, Deerfield Elementary

Big picture

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.