HCPS 411 Update

September 3, 2020

HCPS 2020-2021 School Year Virtual Kick Off

Kick off event

HCPS Staff and Family First Day Photo and Video Request

How will your “first day” photo session look different this year? Will you make a sign that commemorates the years you’ve been teaching… and that this is year one of virtual teaching? Will you take a picture of your own children in their first day outfits… that might include pajama pants? Will you capture the look on your own child’s face as they hear that first “Welcome to Class!” from their virtual classroom?

Staff are encouraged to share photos and videos (horizontal/landscape mode, please!) of their first day that will be compiled into a special “First Day” video for our community. We’ll share the video on HCPS social media and with staff in the HCPS 411 Update. Submit your first day photo or video to Back to School Media by 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, September 8 for a chance to be included!

Be sure to verify that any students in photos at a Learning Support Center have photo permissions on file before submitting them for inclusion in the video compilation.

Parent Academy Real Talk: Asynchronous Learning

During this Parent Academy Real Talk on Asynchronous Learning, Mr. Rob Deleva, principal of the Alternative Education Program at the Center for Educational Opportunity, and Mrs. Becky Pensero, coordinator of eLearning, provide parents an overview of how some HCPS students will participate in blended asynchronous learning during the fall semester.
Parent Academy Virtual Real Talk: Asynchronous Learning

Digital Teaching and Learning Newsletter

On September 1, a special edition of the HCPS 411 Update on Digital Teaching and Learning was sent to all HCPS employees. If you missed it, please click here to access important information and resources.

“Wait … How Do I Do That?”

This year, Assistant Principal of Havre de Grace High School Brad Spence will share a series of videos for parents and students to help them navigate online learning. Take a look at the first video for some basic tips and tricks to get started!

Stay tuned for more “Wait … How Do I Do That?” videos as the school year gets underway.

For additional resources on virtual learning from the Instructional Technology office, see www.hcps.org/hcpstogether!

How To Get Started with Virtual Learning

Important: Paystub Review Requested

All participants of Harford County Public Schools' health, dental, life, or flexible spending program should review their paystub in Employee Self Service (ESS) to verify deductions match your requested plan and coverage level. Review the "Current amt" column on your paystub. Employees may review their benefit elections in Benelogic at https://hcps.benelogic.com.

All employees should see a deduction for "Retirement/Pension" in the "Current amt" column on their paystub. The only exception is for rehired retirees.

Any employee missing a deduction or with an incorrect deduction amount should contact the Benefits Office at benefits@hcps.org no later than Tuesday, September 22, 2020.

For your reference:

1. Retirement/Pension and 403B/457 plan deductions are taken every pay period (26 pays for 12-month employees, and 22 pays for 10-month employees).

2. Health, dental, life, and flexible spending plan deductions are taken the first and second pay period of the month (24 pays for 12-month employees and 20 pays for 10-month employees).

3. For Fiscal Year 2021, the months of October and April have a third pay in which deductions will not be taken for health, dental, life, or flexible spending.

For a copy of the current Insurance Rate Chart, please refer to your HCPS Benefits Enrollment Guide (pages 5 and 6). This guide is available on SharePoint/Human Resources/Benefits/Forms & Information or at https://www.hcps.org/departments/HumanResources/default.aspx?tab=4.

Monthly Mental Health Minute Presented by Beth White

This year, the 2020 HCPS Teacher of the Year Finalists, dubbed the "QuaranTEAM 5," would like to shine a light on mental health issues and maintaining mental well-being. Our finalists will research ideas and consult 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 the September issue of Mental Health Minute.

Monthly Minute with Beth White

Make the Most of Your Online Retirement Account

Click here for a link on SharePoint to an article from Lincoln Financial about why it is so important to register your retirement account online. Register your account today!

Maryland State Retirement and Pension System Quarterly Newsletter: The Mentor

The The Mentor, Summer 2020 has been posted to the Maryland State Retirement Agency website. The The Mentor, Summer 2020 provides valuable information to our members about how to access their Personal Statement of Benefits, register for mySRPS and much more.


…and you’re invited!

Get Your Flu Shot Without Leaving Your Car!

HCPS, in partnership with CVS, will be hosting a drive-thru flu shot clinic. Events will be held on various days in school parking lots throughout the county. Employees and their families (ages 9+) are welcome to attend an event to receive their flu shot.

Pre-registration is preferred, but not required. To register, click on the school location and date you wish to attend:

CVS representatives will be wearing masks and proper PPE. Please be sure to bring your insurance card and identification with you. Flu shots will be billed to your insurance*.

Questions? Email the Benefits Office at benefits@hcps.org.

*HCPS medical plans cover flu shots at 100% with no member liability.

CPD Course - Making Everyday Curriculum Materials Accessible

There are a few seats left in the Making Everyday Curriculum Materials Accessible course. If interested, please register.

The purpose of this course is to provide educators with the knowledge and skills needed to ensure that the materials used in their classroom are accessible to all their students. The outcome for the professional development is that participants will improve their struggling students' access to the same curriculum materials as their classmates, thereby improving the quality of curriculum for all learners.

Topic covered include:

  • introduction to accessible materials and technologies
  • how to use everyday technology to create accessible classroom materials
  • how to locate captioned videos and make your own
  • how to find specialized formats of print materials
  • how to select accessible digital materials

This course is online and runs from September 29 through November 2, 2020. Please click here to register. Questions about this course may be emailed to hcpsprofessionallearning@hcps.org.

Shout Outs!

"I'd love to send a Shout Out! to our print shop crew- They've been working extra to get us ready for this new adventure! Thanks for your hard work!"

-Brenda Walenczyk, School Librarian/Media Specialist, Abingdon Elementary School

"I’d love to give a shoutout to Hayley Western, mathematics teacher at Magnolia Middle. I just started as the counseling secretary here last month, so I’m slowly getting to know people. I met Hayley when she came to use one of the counselors offices to make calls to our middle school parents. She was reaching out to make sure they were up to date on things before the school year started. Things like information about a packet being mailed home, material pickup (chromebooks, textbooks, etc), and school supplies. She had such a kind demeanor when she talked to parents, was very generous in her time and eagerness to really see how things were going for the families and if they needed any additional help. It made me proud to be part of this Magnolia family and excited to get to know everyone here."

-Sarah Seidl, Administrative Support Technician, Magnolia Middle School

"I would like to give a shout out to Christy Renzuli for her amazing support as a Level Leader for the elementary School Counselors since March!"

-Helen Ellenby

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.