HCPS 411 Update

April 13, 2022

Evaluation of the Blended Virtual Learning Program at Swan Creek School

The Office of Research and Program Evaluation, in collaboration with the administration and staff at Swan Creek School (SCS), has designed a mixed-methods, multi-year evaluation framework that HCPS will use to monitor the implementation and the impact of the Blended Virtual Learning Program (BVLP) at SCS. This collaboration entails survey research, qualitative research (e.g., student, staff, and parent focus groups), quantitative research (e.g., student data analyses), and a comprehensive capstone report. See this one-page summary of the Evaluation Plan.

We are pleased to announce the release of the first report of this evaluation plan, which is SCS stakeholders’ perceptions regarding the BVLP:

  • Pre-Survey Report: The goal of these pre-surveys was to collect feedback from elementary, middle, and high school students, parents, and staff regarding their perceptions of the SCS BVLP.

We have also created a document that may be of use to students and families considering enrolling in a BVLP:

  • Checklist - Virtual Learning Program Fit Assessment: Students and families interested in enrolling in a BVLP at SCS may use this Fit Assessment to learn about the characteristics of a successful BVLP student and determine if a BVLP is a good fit for their student and family.

For more information on the evaluation of the BVLP at SCS, please visit the following webpage or contact Mr. Yakoubou Ousmanou, Manager of Research and Program Evaluation: https://www.hcps.org/superintendent/research.aspx#ProgramEvaluationReports.

April 19, 2022 Professional Development: Instructional Staff

All instructional staff, including education support professionals, will participate in systemwide professional development on April 19. The morning will include a three-hour Canvas asynchronous professional development experience, and the afternoon will include three hours of negotiated professional development time. A Shifting to Canvas newsletter will be distributed to all staff at 7:30 a.m. on April 19 with an introduction to the Canvas professional learning experience, as well as access details and virtual and in person support options.

Between April 20 and June 30, 2022, instructional staff will complete two additional required Canvas professional learning sessions. Instructional staff and education support professionals may choose to participate in additional optional sessions. Specific details are found within the April 19 Canvas professional development experience.

Instructional and clerical staff may opt to telework.

Questions regarding this information can be directed to HCPSProfessionalLearning@hcps.org or Instructional.Technology@hcps.org.

April 19, 2022 Professional Development: Clerical Staff

All clerical staff may participate in systemwide professional development on April 19. Blocks of one-hour choice sessions, including one on Canvas, are available.

A chart with session times, descriptions, and links is housed in the April 19th PD Choices for Clerical folder on SharePoint.

Instructional and clerical staff may opt to telework.

Questions about this information can be directed to: HCPSProfessionalLearning@hcps.org.

In-Service Training for Certificated School Personnel - Mental Health

Effective July 1, 2021, Section 6-122 of Chapter 36 of the Education Article, Annotated Code of Maryland was amended to require additional in-service training for all certificated school personnel who have direct contact with students on a regular basis on the topic of mental health. All certificated staff are required to view the linked presentation prior to the end of the 2021-22 school year.

Enhanced Mental Health Awareness.pptx

If you have any questions please contact Bernard Hennigan, Executive Director of Student Support Services, at 410-588-5334 or Bernard.Hennigan@hcps.org.

Save the Date! A Family Wellness Night

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Each year, millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental illness. While 1 in 5 people will experience a mental illness during their lifetime, everyone faces challenges in life that can impact their mental health. Over the past several years, our country has seen an increase in behavioral health conditions, including depression, anxiety, and substance misuse. The stigma which often times surrounds behavioral health, keeps many people from seeking the help they need, when they need it most. In fact, most people living with behavioral health challenges say the stigma they face causes shame and self-doubt, isolation, increased substance use, and loss of hope in the ability to recover (NAMI, 2016). The Harford County Local Behavioral Health Authority are passionate about paving the way to confront behavioral health stigma head-on.

Now, it is more important than ever before to raise awareness about mental health. Through the development of partnerships and collaboration between public and private sector businesses and agencies, we strive to make Harford County a stigma-free community.

How can you learn more?

We all play an important role in destigmatizing mental health. Please help us raise awareness and thank you for your support in this effort.

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Be on the Lookout: Open Enrollment is Coming!

Open enrollment for the 2022-2023 plan year will begin on Monday, May 9, and end at 11:59 p.m. on Monday, May 23, 2022.

The 2022-2023 Benefit Reference Guide will be posted to the website in early May to review to be ready to make changes to your elections beginning on Monday, May 9. Virtual Open Enrollment meetings will be hosted on Tuesday, May 10, and Wednesday, May 18.

More information about the open enrollment and the virtual meetings links will be posted closer to the start of Open Enrollment.

Questions? Contact the Benefits Office by email at benefits@hcps.org.

Professional Development Announcements

Harford Community College

Do you need courses for certification? Harford Community College is offering courses for teachers this summer, including: EDUC205 Instruction of Reading, EDUC209: Literacy in the Content Area Part II, EDUC211: Assessment for Reading Instruction, EDUC222: Assessment and Diagnosis of the Exceptional Child, and others. The schedule of classes is available at https://hccweb1.harford.edu/scheduleofclassescredit/.

If you have questions about any of HCC's course offerings or need any assistance, contact Laura Hutton at lhutton@harford.edu or 443-504-9639.

Towson University – Programs and Webinars

Click here to learn about Towson University (TU) programs specific to HCPS employees. TU is hosting several informational webinars throughout April.

ParaPro Assessment Opportunity

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 classroom 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 6, 2022. The test will be offered from 1:00 to 4:00 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 available on the Human Resources SharePoint site HERE.

End of Year Tuition Reimbursement Requests

Tuition reimbursement requests, including the Partial Reimbursement Request form that aligns with your union, an itemized receipt showing payment method(s) and amount(s), and an official transcript sent electronically from your university, must be submitted to the transcripts@hcps.org email address within 90 days of the course completion date. Please visit https://hcps365.sharepoint.com/sites/HumanResources/Benefits/tuition/default.aspx for additional tuition reimbursement information, including reimbursement request forms, sample receipts, eligibility, and more details about the reimbursement submission process.

All Spring 2022 semester reimbursement requests received on and after May 1, 2022, will be reimbursed after July 15, 2022, leading up to and including the new school year’s first and second pay dates. Employees will receive an email confirming the reimbursement date of their request once it is processed. This processing timeline will apply to all staff, including those not scheduled to work during the summer break. Employees taking coursework through a direct bill partner will have their coursework billed directly to HCPS. Therefore, no paperwork is needed from the employee for the reimbursement as the partner University/College will provide the required official transcript/grade report.

Courses completed before July 1, 2022, will count towards the July 1, 2021-June 30, 2022 fiscal year, while courses completed on or after July 1, 2022, will count towards the July 1, 2022-June 30, 2023 fiscal year.

Questions concerning reimbursement should be directed to Lisa Patterson at lisa.patterson@hcps.org. Questions concerning certification should be directed to certification@hcps.org.

Family Friendly School Award Voting Window Now Open!

The voting window to name the next Family Friendly School Award winner is NOW OPEN! There can only be one winning school each month… now is your time to weigh in!

Click here to vote once before 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, April 21, to let us know which nominated school should win the coveted title of “Family Friendly School” and a staff Chick-fil-A luncheon!

As a reminder, if “your” school isn’t in the running this month and you feel it should be, nominate it next month! One winning school will be named each month through May, and schools may win multiple times. Reminders about nominating and voting windows will be shared in the HCPS 411 Update and on the Parent Academy Facebook page throughout the school year.

We look forward to announcing the April winner later this month!

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Teacher Tour Stop 4: Student Relationships

“A good education can change anyone. A good teacher can change everything.” -Unknown

The importance of building positive and trusting relationships with students cannot be overstated. No matter the learning environment, the relationship between students and their teachers is critical. These positive relationships lead to improved academic results, motivate students, and boost positive behaviors. Do you know a teacher who is a master at building positive relationships with their students? Tell us about some of the amazing things they do to connect with their students. They could be the next stop on our teacher tour!

Please use this link to nominate an outstanding teacher on or before April 15, 2022. They may be the next stop on our teacher tour!

No Kid Hungry Maryland Recognizes HCPS Food and Nutrition Services

No Kid Hungry Maryland recently recognized the phenomenal work of the HCPS Food and Nutrition staff. Throughout the pandemic, our Food and Nutrition staff served as first responders in the community, ensuring students received meals despite supply chain issues, staffing shortages, and closures. Without their efforts, many children may have had a hard time accessing the food they needed. Their dedication, flexibility, and creativity truly made a difference in the lives of students and families during an uncertain and challenging time. During this time, Harford County Food and Nutrition Services served 3,432,589 meals through the Summer Food Service Program, which operated during the school year as well as summer.

A special shout out to Bel Air Middle School's Joe Baker for being chosen as this year's Maryland School Nutrition Association's Employee of the Year! The certificate of recognition from No Kid Hungry Maryland was presented at Bel Air Middle School this week.

Congratulations to all HCPS Food and Nutrition staff and to Joe Baker! We appreciate all that you did and continue to do to serve our students and community!

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Roye-Williams Elementary Celebrates Month of the Military Child

Roye-Williams Elementary School is located close to Aberdeen Proving Ground and much of its student body comes from military backgrounds. The school recognizes the sacrifices their military families make and works hard to honor them. For Month of the Military Child, they dedicated a wall to the families of their school. They also celebrated Purple Up! on Friday, April 8. Purple references the joint environment of the military, encompassing all service branches, Active Duty, Reserve, National Guard, and Veterans. Purple combines each branch’s colors into one: the Air Force, Navy, and Coast Guard all use shades of blue, the Army uses green, and the Marines use red. Roye-Williams staff worked in collaboration with APG Outreach Services, who sent staff out to cheer students on as they entered the building that day.

Kimberly Neal, Esq, General Counsel for HCPS, Earns Top Award

The Daily Record and the Maryland State Bar Association recently held the annual Leaders in Law awards, designed to celebrate outstanding lawyers and judges and pay tribute to all the ways in which legal professionals are serving businesses, clients, and individuals across Maryland and making communities stronger. Winners were selected by an outside panel of legal and business leaders.

Winners of this year's award were then asked to vote for a Top Winner who most exemplifies a leader in the law and who most exemplifies the combination of professional achievement, community involvement, and mentorship. The 2022 Top Winner was announced at an event on April 7, and went to Kimberly Neal, Esq, General Counsel for HCPS!

Congratulations, Ms. Neal, we are so proud of you! Winners were profiled in a special magazine insert in the April 8 issue of The Daily Record. Read more about Ms. Neal here.

Red Pump Elementary Gifted Sign Ahead of 10-Year Celebration

Mr. Ed Kulik presented Red Pump Elementary with this beautiful sign for the front of their school. Mr. Kulik’s granddaughter, Charlotte, participated in the official presentation of the sign during Monday morning’s on-air announcements before the entire school. This sign will be incorporated into Red Pump’s 10-year celebration in May. HCPS and the Red Pump Elementary community thank Mr. Kulik!
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The Gift of Failure Event

On Thursday, April 21, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., teacher, international speaker, and celebrated author and columnist Jessica Lahey will present “The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed” at Patterson Mill High School. The presentation is based on her New York Times best-selling book “The Gift of Failure,” which offers parents common-sense advice on how to let children learn from their mistakes.

A seasoned teacher, Ms. Lahey is internationally recognized as an expert on parenting styles and their impact on students’ motivation, learning and resilience. Ms. Lahey will answer questions and provide recommendations to help parents and educators reframe children’s temporary setbacks as beneficial steps toward lasting, long-term success.

Parents and caregivers are invited to attend this free presentation sponsored by the Harford County Department of Community Services’ Office of Drug Control Policy and held in partnership with Harford County Public Schools’ Parent Academy. Childcare is available for children ages 4-12 (pre-registration required). Please register for the event at www.harfordcountymd.gov/services.

Harford County Education Foundation - Summer Palooza Raffle!

Spring is here, and summer is right around the corner. Harford County Education Foundation is getting ready by hosting the Summer Palooza Raffle! The winner of the raffle will receive a Trailmate All Terrain Igloo Cooler filled to the brim with over $1,200 of great stuff to get your summer fun started! You can learn more about the Summer Palooza raffle and purchase raffle tickets online at https://harfordeducation.org/events/raffle/. Online sales of the raffle will end on April 22, 2022. The winner will be drawn during the annual Chip in Fore Kids Golf Classic and notified on May 3, 2022. The proceeds from the Summer Palooza raffle will fund programs that provide support to teachers and students of Harford County Public Schools. Contact deb@harfordeducation.org with any questions.

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Summer Academic Tutoring

The Academic Tutoring Program will be running from July 10 – August 6, 2022. Tutors will provide students with instructional support and remediation. Tutors are needed in the areas of reading and mathematics for students in grades k-12. Tutors are also needed in science and social studies at the high school level. Tutoring will be offered for the graduation required courses in these two areas. Teachers and paraeducators in any content area may serve as tutors and will be able to identify their desired content(s) and grade level(s). Tutors will also be able to determine the number of tutoring sessions that they would like to conduct each week. Elementary students will be supported in a virtual, one-on-one setting. Middle and high school students will be supported in a virtual, small group setting with three or fewer students. Tutors will be compensated at their true hourly rate when working with students and the negotiated rate for planning.

If you are interested in serving as a tutor, please complete this survey form:


For any questions, please contact Academic.Tutoring@hcps.org.

Summer Jobs in Maintenance Listed

Harford County Public Schools Facilities Management Department has a nine-week Summer Maintenance Program (June 20 – August 18, 2022) open to anyone who enjoys varying jobs such as painting and general maintenance tasks. Those selected will work at school buildings and annexes throughout the Harford County Public Schools system. Applicants must be at least 16 years of age and able to provide their own transportation to the various job sites.

The hours are 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday. There are two 15-minute breaks plus a 30-minute lunch. Starting pay for painting is $12.50.

Applications are located on the Harford County Public Schools website (hcps.org) under About Us > Current Vacancies > Other Career Opportunities/Substitutes. Only online applications will be accepted until positions have been filled.

If you have any questions regarding the program, please call the Hickory Annex at 410-638-4088.

EAP Webinar: Finding a Hobby: How it Impacts Your Life

Presented by KEPRO Employee Assistance Program

The April KEPRO EAP resources are here. Studies have shown that engaging in enjoyable leisure activities can reduce stress, replenish depleted reserves, and lead to overall positive mental and physical health benefits. This session will help you to understand the importance of having a hobby. Click here to learn more.

Date: Available on demand beginning April 19, 2022

Broadcast Length: 50 minutes
How to Access: Go to your EAP website: www.EAPHelpLink.com. Enter your code: HCPS and look for Online Seminars in the lower left-hand corner of this homepage, or you can search for them by title.

The Employee Assistance Program is available to employees and their families anytime, any day, and is a free, confidential program to help you balance your work, family, and personal life.

Employees and their family members can call KEPRO 24-hours per day, 7 days per week toll-free at (866) 795-5701 to visit their website online at www.EAPhelplink.com.

Quarterly EAP Employee Newsletter: Balance

Balance, the newsletter provided by KEPRO, our Employee Assistance Program provider, is specific to help employees maintain a healthy work-life balance. This quarter’s newsletter features information on the psychological impact of war, getting a work-life rhythm back, stress management, and other helpful tips. Click here to read more.

Employees and their family members can call KEPRO 24-hours per day, 7 days per week toll-free (866) 795-5701 to visit their website online at www.EAPhelplink.com.

Here’s A Little Treat Just For YOU

Presented by BurnAlong Virtual Wellness Portal

You are doing awesome, and the weekend is almost here! Enjoy some rejuvenation in under 10 minutes with the most popular classes others at Harford County Public Schools have enjoyed this month.

As a reminder, BurnAlong is our health and wellness partner who provides you and your family with access to 1,000’s of online classes from 1,000+ local instructors at no cost to you. To activate your complimentary account, get started by visiting https://fit.burnalong.com/hcps. If you have any trouble accessing your account, contact customercare@burnalong.com.

Find out more about BurnAlong in this brief video.

CareFirst Wellness Announcements: Stress Awareness Month

April is Stress Awareness Month

Feeling overwhelmed lately? You are not alone. Now more than ever, many of us face challenges that can be stressful, overwhelming, and exhausting. In addition to dealing with the regular stressors of our day-to-day lives, the pandemic has added an additional layer of stress and uncertainty. It is important to help yourself learn how to cope with stress in healthy ways. To learn more, click here to view CareFirst’s April Wellness Newsletter.

April Recipe of the Month: Vegetable Fried Rice: Click here to learn more and try this delicious dish.

CareFirst/ShareCare Monthly Challenge: April Live Mindfully Challenge

April 1 – April 30

Your behavioral health is important. Mindfulness has some significant health benefits like improved sleep and boosted brainpower. This month, challenge yourself to seek out moments to breathe a little deeper and work towards living in the green by staying “calm” or “productive” each day. To learn more about how to participate, click here.

Upcoming Webinar Workshop Series: Retirewise

Get your finances on track with the Retirewise workshop series presented by MetLife.

With Retirewise, you’ll be on your way to making smarter financial decisions and creating an action plan that works for you. From budgeting and building an emergency fund to determining your investment options and creating a will, there’s something for everyone to learn.

Each Retirewise session has different topics that build on each other:

  • Building the Foundation
  • Creating & Managing Wealth
  • Establishing Your Retirement Income Stream
  • Making the Most of What You Have

Workshop Details:

Session 1: Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Session 2: Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Session 3: Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Session 4: Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Time: 5:00 – 6:00 p.m. EST

If asked for the company name, enter Harford County Public Schools.

Click here to reserve your spot! Register online now. Space may be limited.

On the fence? Here’s a sneak peek of what to expect. Spouses and partners are welcome! For more information, click here.

Shout Outs!

"Thank you to Anita Taylor, Kat Johnston, Dave Kelley, Lynn Masterson, Emily Regert, Cori Nocar, Angela Pawlicki, Michele Martin, and the many other faculty and staff members at Fallston Middle for helping with the SGA Smencil Sales. We were able to raise $1,650 to donate to the Leukemia Society. FMS is #bettertogether."

-Gina Abel, Social Studies Teacher, Fallston Middle School

"Thanks to Ms. Laural Locke, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, for allowing me the opportunity to view her classes on Thursday, April 7, at Aberdeen High School! So nice to see another Culinary Arts teacher doing what we do on a regular basis - teaching, learning, and leading. Wonderful interactive discussion and engagement strategies were used in her lessons! Also, thank you to Mr. Ron Burke, Instructional Coach at Havre de Grace Middle/High School and Ms. Katie Campbell, Curriculum Specialist, Office of CTE, for coordinating this visit and for leading the discussion and reflection sessions before, during, and after the visit."

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

"Roye-Williams Elementary would like to give a HUGE SHOUT-OUT to Ms. Evetta Richardson, Ms. Mindy Rollyson, and Mr. Harvey Cage. You graciously came to our school on a Saturday to shine up our school a bit. Your dedication and hard work is greatly appreciated!!"

-Rose Martino, Principal, Roye-Williams Elementary School

"We would like to shout out Karen Meekins, a Curriculum Specialist for Science. One of our new teachers really wanted their students to experience a frog dissection. Since this is not something that we have done before, we reached out to Karen for some help. Karen came through amazingly! Karen was able to help guide all of us through the process, helped locate materials and spent the entire day at Magnolia Middle to help facilitate the dissection. We were able to see firsthand the wealth of knowledge that Karen has to offer, but we were also able to see her love of teaching and her love of science as she helped out our teacher and students. The students that Karen worked with today were able to have an experience that they will never forget! Thank you so much, Karen!"

-Liz Beser and Bob Grieser, Instructional Coaches, Magnolia Middle School

"A special shout out to Aretha Young in Human Resources. I recently had quite a few questions about certification and obtaining my 30 Beyond. Aretha was prompt and thorough with all of her responses. Even when her email auto response said that she was out of the office and may be delayed in responding, she still responded promptly with everything that I needed to know. That is above and beyond customer service! Thank you, Aretha!"

-Melanie Kane, Harford Glen Outdoor Educator

"A huge shout out to Kristine Frank of Darlington Elementary School and the SGA. Havre de Grace Middle/High School was blown away by the efforts of Ms. Frank and her students. Ms. Frank and her students held a food drive and raised boxes and boxes of food for our Community Pantry. Thank you so much emailing and organizing boxing up and loading all of the items! You are amazing!"

-Laura Hahn, Social Studies Teacher, Havre de Grace Middle School

"A huge shout out to Deanna Burch and Amy Cassilly of Havre de Grace Middle/High School. You have done an awesome job in getting the Green House up and running. Thank you for completing grants, planning, figuring out the watering/heating system, going shopping to pick up items etc. This is an amazing project that so many students and families will benefit from. Thank you for letting the Volunteer Club come out and help plant, we had an amazing time. Thank you!! You are awesome!"

-Laura Hahn, Social Studies Teacher, Havre de Grace Middle School

Welcome to HCPS!

Please join us in welcoming the following new hires to the HCPS family:

  • Deryan Dennis, Custodian I - Shift 2, Edgewood Middle School
  • Andrew Wise, Distribution Center Associate I, Business Services
  • Jeffrey Blevins, Custodian II - Shift 2, Aberdeen Middle School
  • Rachel Nicholas, Inclusion Helper, Meadowvale Elementary School
  • Brad Baker, EndPoint Technician, Technology Office
  • Meghan Fell, Paraeducator, John Archer School
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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.