HCPS 411 Update

May 13, 2021

Open Enrollment Has Begun!


*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 a second virtual Q&A session with representatives from CareFirst, Delta Dental, Flexible Benefit Administrators, MetLife, and KEPRO on Wednesday, May 19 at 4:00 p.m. Click Here to Participate.

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 next benefit plan year, you will need to complete an active enrollment through your account at https://hcps.benelogic.com/ before 11:59 p.m. on Monday, May 24.

If you add any new dependents to your health or dental coverage for the 2021 - 2022 plan year, you will need to submit the Dependent Verification Form and required documentation to the Benefits Office by June 15. Failure to provide proper documentation will result in your dependent not being added to the coverage.

To log into your account through Benelogic to enroll in, waive, or make changes to your elections:

1. Using a computer with the internet, visit https://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.

Don’t have access to a computer? Call the Benelogic at 844-796-4086 to complete your enrollment over the phone.

Four-Day Work Week Summer 2021 Schedule Approved

The Summer 2021 four-day work week schedule has been finalized. The ten (10) week period will commence the week of June 14 and terminate at the end of the week of August 16. The linked document PROCEDURAL GUIDELINES Summer Hours 2021 details the work schedule options and provides guidance regarding plans and exceptions to the schedule. Please note that this document is updated from the version provided in the Superintendent’s Bulletin dated 5/12/21. Questions regarding this information should be directed to Ben Richardson, Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources, at Benjamin.Richardson2@hcps.org or x5226.

June Professional Learning Days

As published in the calendar for the 2021-2022 school year, 10-month instructional staff have an additional two days of professional development after the last day for students. At this time, those professional development days are scheduled for Tuesday, June 15 and Wednesday, June 16. Per the HCEA negotiated agreement, three (3) hours of each day will be designated for “teachers to work at their assigned work sites, performing professional educational tasks as they deem appropriate” (HCEA Negotiated Agreement, page 11). Neither of these days is a workday for Inclusion Helpers. Questions regarding this information may be directed to Jacqueline Tarbert or Heather Kutcher in the Office of Organizational Development, at Jacqueline.Tarbert@hcps.org or Heather.Kutcher@hcps.org, respectively.

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.

HCEA Sick Leave Bank Open Enrollment/Cancellation

The open enrollment period for the Harford County Education Association (HCEA) Certificated Unit Sick Leave Bank (SLB) will be from May 1 – 31. Certificated employees represented by the HCEA who wish to enroll in the Sick Leave Bank or those who wish to cancel their membership in the Sick Leave Bank may access the linked Enrollment/Cancellation form. Please see the form for specific details and timelines regarding the application/cancellation process. Note: Current members will be AUTOMATICALLY RENEWED.

The open enrollment period for the Harford County Education Association (HCEA) Non-Certificated Instructional Support Personnel Sick Leave Bank (SLB) will be from May 1 – 28. Non-certificated employees represented by the HCEA who wish to enroll in the Sick Leave Bank or those who wish to cancel their membership in the Sick Leave Bank may access the linked Enrollment/Cancellation form. Please see the form for specific details and timelines regarding the application/cancellation process. Note: Current members will be AUTOMATICALLY RENEWED.

Questions regarding the SLB should be directed to HCEA at 410-838-0800 or HarfordSLB@mseanea.org.

Virtual Pre-Retirement Planning Seminars

The Community College of Baltimore County is offering members of the Maryland State Pension System the opportunity to attend virtual pre-retirement planning seminars. Topics include:

  • Maryland State Pension System
  • Legal Issues to Consider in Retirement
  • Social Security Benefits
  • Financial Planning

Sessions will be held from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on the following dates:

  • June 3 (CRN 38616)
  • June 22 (CRN 38619)

To register for one of the sessions, click here and follow the on-screen prompts. If you experience issues with registering online, call 443-840-5059.

Please note these sessions are not hosted through HCPS, and therefore, will not include information about our benefit plans. That session will be held will be in Fall 2021. More information will be shared in the HCPS 411 Update newsletter at a future date.

Educator Feedback on Student Engagement Requested

Instructional staff, support staff, and administrators are asked to participate in a brief (3-5 minutes) survey about student engagement. The purpose of this survey is to collect data and feedback related to the cognitive, emotional, and behavioral engagement of HCPS students in a virtual and/or hybrid learning setting. Our school district is interested in hearing directly from you about strategies and best practices for assessing, maintaining, and increasing student engagement. Our goal is to use the information/best practices captured in survey responses to influence any future guidance around virtual and/or hybrid learning that may be developed at the county and/or state level.

The survey is open now and closes at 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, May 25, 2021. To take the survey now, click here.

(Direct Survey Link: https://harfordcps.surveytrackersurveys.com/educatorfeedbackstudentengagement.htm.)

If you have any question or need additional information regarding this survey, please contact any of the following staff members:

  • Yakoubou Ousmanou, Manager of Research and Program Evaluation • North Star Initiative
  • Martha Barwick, Supervisor of Instructional Technology • Curriculum
  • Rebecca Pensero, Coordinator of eLearning • Curriculum

Keeping PACE: Ring Factory Elementary School’s Monthly Family Events

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 Ring Factory Elementary School Principal Meredith Dunlap, Instrumental Music Teacher and PACE Liaison Dawn Zipay, and PTA President Debbie Welch share about their school’s monthly virtual family events, specifically their recent Mystery Reader event. This school-community event, as well as their other themed family events such as Art Night, STEAM Night, and the annual Talent Show, is an excellent example of PTA Standard 3: Supporting Student Success. Take a moment to watch and hear more about how Ring Factory is working to “Create a School They Love.”

Keeping PACE: Ring Factory Elementary School's Monthly Family Events

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.
ERT Video

Littles University

Each month, join Jillian Lader, manager of Communications for HCPS, to read a story and explore ways we can get our littles ready for school! This month, Ms. Lader read "Press Here" by Herve Tullet. If you missed it, click below to watch with your little!
HCPS Littles University

Professional Development Announcements

MSDE's 2021Virtual Summer Workshop Series

Registration for MSDE's 2021 Virtual Summer Workshop Series is now open. The Workshop Series will take place from Monday, June 28 through Friday, August 20. There will be relevant content for educators of all grade levels and content areas, including coaches and administrators.

This year’s offerings will include sessions on the following topics: computer science; instructional coaching; family engagement; English language arts; career and technical education; equity and cultural proficiency; fine arts; gifted and talented; formative assessment; health and physical education; school leadership and improvement; instructional technology and library media; mathematics; science, social-emotional learning; social studies; and world languages. Eligible participants can earn Continuing Professional Development (CPD) credits upon successful completion of their professional learning experience.

For more information, including session descriptions and registration links, see the program.

Towson University Cohort Opportunities

Towson University will be offering an information session on Thursday, May 20, at 5:00 p.m. about the following programs:

  • MS Transformational Ed Leadership
  • PBC Educational Administrator 1
  • PBC Community Engagement & Leading School Change
  • PBC School Improvement/Teacher Leadership track

Please see flier for additional details and virtual meeting link.

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.

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 last session, click on the event title below.

Improving Mental Health through Nutrition with Sylvia Doss

May 18 at 11:00 a.m.

BurnAlong Summer Camp 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:

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.

Shout Outs!

"A huge shout out to Angie Tilley, the media technician at Magnolia Middle and Joppatowne High schools, who goes above and beyond every day! Angie is always going out of her way to help students, staff, and families. Anytime there is a need, she is quick to troubleshoot, problem solve, and create helpful directions and tutorials for others. She is absolutely amazing!"

-Linda Bugliosi, Media Specialist, Magnolia Middle School

"Although the pandemic brought numerous challenges to every student, staff, and school, it was also noted to bring about some positives as well. Since the closure and HCPS progressing all students to 1:1 technology devices, the Hearing Department noted that their students now the appropriate medium to connect with one another. Through the sincere advocacy of the team, Dr. Catherine Durborow, Audiologist, Carrie Clark and Stephanie Weiner, Teachers of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing; they created a high school “Hearing Loss” Chat group that could connect virtually. They started this group in January 2021 and continue to meet monthly, allowing the students the ability to guide their discussion topics and talking about how they are impacted by their hearing impairment. They have discussed considerations they face during their school environments or their working environments and have all started to support one another on how to advocate for themselves. They have chatted about famous people with hearing impairments and social media platforms that don’t always have accessible features to accommodate their needs. I just want to take a brief moment celebrate the creativity and positivity that was a result of a challenging year; the Hearing team took advantage of a situation and created opportunity for the benefit of our student’s academic and social well-being. Thank you for your ongoing commitment and thinking outside of the box."

-Carey Reise, Coordinator of Special Education – Related Services

"I have a huge shout out to all of my Media Techs: Catherine Wehland, Megan Yarbrough, and Meghan Marx (CCES); Ashley Thrasher (HXES); Kori Templeton (RWES); and Hanna Schneidler (GLES), along with all of my secretaries: Nicole Wachter and Loura Rodney (CCES); Betsy Tabor and Kristy Dougherty (GLES); Gail Moody and Kathy Moyer (HXES); and Honey Jenkins and Kristi Gorsuch (RWES). Without all of you, my job would be impossible. Everyone has stepped up in the past year to deal with the change in Technology and fully going 1 to 1 for teacher and student laptops. I would just like to take a moment and say THANK YOU for everything you do every day!!"

-Ben Sloboda, Computer Support Technician, Office of Technology

Welcome to HCPS!

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

  • Kimberly Kramer, Food and Nutrition Services Worker, Harford Technical High 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.