HCPS 411 Update

October 28, 2021

COVID-19 Status and Updates

The current COVID-19 transmission status for Harford County, as determined by the CDC, is “High.” To view the CDC Data Tracker, please visit: https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#county-view. The new Operational Status document reflecting consistent “high transmission” may be found on SharePoint here. It went into effect on Monday, October 25, 2021.

As a reminder, answers to frequently asked questions (FAQ) related to COVID-19 protocols may be found here: Parents/Guardians, School-Based Employees, and Non-School Based Employees.

Other resources regarding HCPS COVID-19 safety protocols can be found both on hcps.org under COVID Resources and on SharePoint here.

Parent Academy Real Talk: Quarantine Support for Parents

Please take a moment to watch this new video (below) on Quarantine Support. In addition, the accompanying Quarantine Support for Parents/Caregivers (right) is also available on the COVID-19 Resources page.
Quarantine Support for Parents/Guardians

Director of Organizational Development Jackie Tarbert Announces her Intention to Retire Effective January 1, 2022

Jackie began her work in HCPS in 1985 as a fourth-grade teacher at Dublin Elementary School. Over the course of the past 37 years, Jackie has been a classroom teacher, a teacher specialist working in 10 elementary schools, a Title I teacher specialist at George D Lisby Elementary @ Hillsdale, Coordinator of Leadership and Professional Development, and most recently, Director of Organizational Development and Continuous Learning.

Career highlights include presenting at national, state, and local professional conferences, 1994 HCPS Teacher of the Year finalist, State President of Learning Forward Maryland, collaborating with wonderful HCPS teachers, administrators, and community members, and faithfully serving students across this school system.

Jackie has been instrumental in many system initiatives, including training all 5000 employees in ACRT, coordinating the system kickoff at the HCC Arena, and elevating professional learning for all employees.

Eric Davis, Chief of Administration, commented, “Jackie is the glue that holds a lot of people and projects together for HCPS. She will be missed.”

Jackie has been an important member of the HCPS Senior Leadership Team, and Dr. Bulson offered her congratulations on her decision.

Jackie looks forward to spending time with her husband, Steve, who retired from HCPS in 2018, her family, and especially her new grandson, Kevin.

We wish her well in retirement!

Blueprint for our Students’ Future

This summer, Katie Ridgway, Director of Strategic Initiatives, led over thirty central office employees in focus groups about the impact on HCPS of the education reform bill known as, “The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future” (Blueprint). This November, new focus group sessions will be held to reach out to school-based leaders and community stakeholders. Four groups will convene for school-based leaders to discuss college and career preparation, a career ladder for teachers, expansion of supports for at-risk students, and early childhood education growth. Three groups for members of the Parent Advisory Council will cover college and career, supports for at-risk students, and early childhood education. These discussions will provide data to inform our communication, challenges, celebrations, and more as we work to implement the Blueprint here at HCPS.

As an introduction or reminder about the Blueprint, please view this 3-minute kick-off video produced this summer: https://youtu.be/-Pd5DrKIosI.

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Learning Management System Presentations

All instructional staff are invited to a Live event on Tuesday, November 2, 2021, from 4:15 to 6:30 p.m. to preview the two Learning Management Systems that are being evaluated as a replacement for itslearning. Representatives from Canvas and Schoology will each provide a one-hour presentation. The event will be recorded so the presentations will be available for those unable to attend the live session. At the conclusion of participating in the live event or reviewing the recording, instructional staff will have an opportunity to provide input until November 5, 2021, at 12:00 p.m. This input will be used along with other evaluation measures to determine the Learning Management System that will be implemented in Harford County Public Schools as of July 1, 2022. An email will be distributed via your work email address in Outlook on the morning of November 2, 2021, that will include the link to the Live Meeting as well as the location of the recordings. Questions regarding this information should be directed to Martha Barwick, Supervisor of Instructional Technology, at Martha.Barwick@hcps.org.

Changes to itslearning Course Enrollment

During the 2020-21 school year, as a response to virtual learning, teachers were able to self-enroll in another teacher’s itslearning courses across schools in the district. Effective November 1, teachers will only have the capability to self-enroll at the school level. After November 1, if a teacher wants another teacher to have access to their course and they do not teach at the same school, the request for that teacher to be added can be sent to instructionaltech@hcps.org.

Final Research Report: Analysis of the North Star Graduate Outcomes in Harford County Public Schools

We are pleased to share with all of HCPS the final research report, Analysis of the North Star Graduate Outcomes in Harford County Public Schools.

Our school district measures whether our graduates are prepared for either college or a career by monitoring the following three North Star Graduate Outcomes. HCPS students must achieve success in one of the following three areas to meet the North Star standard:

  • Met the criteria for potential college credit via Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), or Career and Technology Education (CTE) - North Star Graduate Outcome 1

  • Earned college credit through a dual enrollment course - North Star Graduate Outcome 2

  • Earned a career licensure, certification, or met the TSA requirements in a CTE program - North Star Graduate Outcome 3

You will find in the linked report that HCPS graduates in the classes of 2018, 2019, and 2020 who met the North Star Graduate Outcomes enrolled in college at a higher rate than all other HCPS students and persisted in college at higher rates than the average HCPS student. Additional information regarding career outcomes is also included in the attached report.

You can access this report from the HCPS Research and Program Evaluation webpage. Click on Research Reports in the left menu to access the report.

If you have any questions regarding this report, please contact Yakoubou Ousmanou (Ousman) via Yakoubou.Ousmanou@hcps.org

BEACON Study: The Potential Outcomes of Harford County Schools North Star Initiative

This study offers an economic analysis of the HCPS North Star initiative and explains the potential return on investment the initiative may yield.

The Business, Economic, and Community Outreach Network (BEACON), of the Franklin P. Perdue School of Business at Salisbury University, conducted a comprehensive study to determine the potential outcomes of the North Star initiative of the Harford County Public Schools (HCPS) in Harford County, Maryland. This study included economic impacts, and a Return on Investment (ROI) analysis of the North Star Initiative.

You can access the report from the HCPS Research and Program Evaluation webpage. Click on Research Reports in the left menu to access the Beacon report.

Bel Air Middle School Named October Family Friendly School!

HCPS Parent Academy, in partnership with Chick-fil-A of Harford County, is excited to announce that Bel Air Middle School is the October winner for the school system’s Family Friendly School Award program!! Way to go, Panthers!

This month, a total of 22 schools were nominated and nearly 2,500 unique votes were cast by the community among the nominated schools, naming Bel Air Middle the winner with 590 votes!!

Not only does the school earn the coveted title of Family Friendly School for the month of October, but the entire school staff will be treated to a luncheon by the program’s partner, Chick-fil-A of Harford County.

We want to give a special shout out to this month's runner up schools, that narrowly missed the title by a few votes:

  • Harford Technical High School
  • Patterson Mill Middle School
  • Bel Air Elementary School

Keep up the great work!

The school system will continue to celebrate its schools that best engage all families by consistently demonstrating the National PTA Standards for Family-School Partnerships. One school will be named a family friendly school each month through May.

November is up for grabs! Want to see your school highlighted for this award on the website and social media, plus treated to a Chick-fil-A lunch??

Continue to encourage parents/guardians, students, staff and community members to nominate your school for the Family Friendly School Award! The nomination window will be open again November 1-8, 2021, on the Parent Academy page of hcps.org. If your school is nominated, our community can show how welcoming your school is by casting their vote November 10-17, 2021.

More information may be found on https://www.hcps.org/parents/parentacademy/familyfriendlyschools.aspx.

HCPS is deeply grateful for its generous Chick-fil-A partners at the Aberdeen, Bel Air, Constant Friendship, and Forest Hill locations for their tremendous support of this program.


Keeping PACE: Bakerfield Elementary School Highlighted

Take a moment to hear how Bakerfield Elementary School is working to engage every family, every day using the Five Simple Principles of Dr. Steve Constantino, with a special focus on creating a school culture that engages every family. This video highlights Principle #1 A Culture That Engages Every Family and Principle #2 Communicating Effectively.


Let’s Get In Gear: National School Psychology Week 2021

During the week of November 8–12, 2021, schools throughout the country will celebrate National School Psychology Week to highlight the important work school psychologists do to help students thrive.

This year's theme is "Let’s Get in GEAR." (Grow, Engage, Advocate, Rise). The theme’s acronym provides a challenge to grow both personally and professionally. It encourages us to engage in best practices and advocate for children’s access to mental health and learning supports. To rise implies resilience and renewal despite the challenges of the past. This has a particular resonance this year as we work to help students, families, and school staff emerge from the challenges of the past year and a half. When we get in gear, we move together. When one gear moves, the gears connected to it move as well. When we move together there is a positive synergy that builds and becomes greater than any single effort. We grow together, we engage critical systems, and we advocate and rise together.

Our hope as HCPS School Psychologists is to connect with students and staff to highlight how getting in GEAR. can help lead us all to positive growth. Just as we continue to grow and develop as people and with our skills, sometimes with support from others, we can develop resilience beyond stressful circumstances. HCPS School psychologists are particularly skilled at assisting students and staff in growing and working together while shifting into different gears to meet the demands of school and life.

Getting in GEAR together can help us all set goals for growth, engage in action steps, advocate for needs, and raise our voices in discussions to create the connections necessary for students to develop critical academic and social emotional skills. Check out our virtual classroom to learn more about what school psychologists do day-to-day.

November 'Get Psyched' Newsletter Now Available

Daylight Savings Time (DST) in 2021 ends at 2:00 a.m. on Sunday, November 7. We "fall back" by turning our clocks back one hour the night before. All states but Hawaii and Arizona (except the Navajo Nation) observe DST. The territories of American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands also do not observe DST.

The November “Get Psyched” newsletter is now available. Click here to read about the importance of sleep.

Professional Development Announcements

Education Support Professionals (ESP)

During a recent professional learning session with ESP staff, the book Connecting with Students by Allen N. Mendler was shared. The book is no longer in print format, but we have been able to get electronic copies to HCPS e-library that every staff member can access. Please see directions.

McDaniel College – Unleash Your Inner Author

Please see the flier about a special event featuring graduates of the McDaniel College Writing for Children and Young Adults program. It might be of interest to those interested in getting published.

October's Bowtie Breakfast Honorees

Similar to the HCPS Limelight recognition program that honors school-based staff for superior customer service, the Bowtie Breakfast is an employee recognition program for Superintendent Bulson to recognize Central Office staff who are going above and beyond to serve our school system. Please join us in congratulation this month's honorees!

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Patterson Mill Middle Students Respond to the Caw to Action

Mrs. Fairley's and Mrs. Macatee's co-taught class of 6th grade students recently participated in the Caw to Action opportunity that was shared in a previous issue of the HCPS 411 Update. The students wrote letters to doctors and nurses at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. #HCPSproud #HCPStogether

The Season of Giving - Central Office Food and Coat Drives

The holiday season is a time of year many families are unable to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal and gift giving due to financial hardship. From now through November 19, the HCPS Office of Title I will collect nonperishable food items and monetary donations. Nonperishables may be dropped off in the A. A. Roberty Building lobby Monday through Thursday from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monetary donations may be made at the A. A. Roberty Building in cash or check made out to Harford County Public Schools. Monetary donations can be made Mondays and Wednesdays from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Please ask for Pam Smith, HCPS Homeless Liaison, to deliver your monetary donation. All funds will be used to purchase food items for families in Harford County.

A winter coat and toy drive will run from November 1 through December 17, 2021. Coats and toys will be delivered to Harford County families for the holiday season. All coat sizes will be accepted. Toys should be unwrapped and can be for all ages. A box will be in the lobby of the A. A. Roberty Building for donations.

Upcoming Webinar: Understanding Social Security

In partnership with MetLife, HCPS is offering employees the opportunity to participate in a webinar to help better understand the nuances of Social Security. The more you know about Social Security, the better change you have of getting the most out of it. In this webinar, you will learn how it can pay to delay your benefits, the effective of earned income and how benefits are taxed, and the next steps you can take to create an income strategy.

Date: Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Time: 5:00 – 6:00 p.m.

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

Registration Now Open: Annual Fall Pre-Retirement Webinar

Through the Maryland State Retirement Agency and the Community College of Baltimore County, Harford County Public Schools announces a pre-retirement webinar for HCPS employees and their spouses. This webinar provides vital retirement information to all members who are within eight (8) years of retirement, whether it is normal service or early retirement. Discussion topics include:

  • HCPS Retiree Benefits
  • State Retirement Pension Benefits
  • Legal Consideration
  • Social Security Benefits
  • Financial Planning

This year’s pre-retirement session will be held virtually on November 6, 2021, from 9:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. To register:

  • Click here to go to the Pre-Retirement Webinar Pre-Retirement Planning Registration portal.
  • Click the “Select” button.
  • Click "Register for Selected Courses."
  • You will be redirected to the login page. If you have previously attended a Pre-Retirement Seminar or other class at CCBC, log in using your current username and password. Not sure what your username and password are? No problem, call at 443.840.5059 and let our call center register you for course number/CRN 73804.
    If this is your first Pre-Retirement Seminar, click the "New Account" button on the right-hand side of the screen. Fill out your information (anything in red is required information) and choose Submit.
  • After you have registered for the seminar, choose "Finalize Selection" and print your confirmation.
  • You will receive an email confirmation of your registration within three business days. You will receive instructions on how to join the webinar two days prior to the event.

If you are unable to register online or by phone at 443.840.5059, please complete the highlighted sections on this form and email it to Sarah Moore at scullip@ccbcmd.edu.

Get Started with BurnAlong

BurnAlong is right by your side with a ton of great programming to keep you healthy, well, and fit. First off, a brand new BurnAlong partner, LivFitCo, is now offering upbeat cycling, HIIT, Barre, and breathing practice classes on the platform. Check them out!

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 complementary 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.

CLICK HERE to watch this quick two-minute video to help get started with your online member portal.

Shout Outs!

"I would like to give a “Shoutout” to Todd Floros, Nick Zarbos and Phil Donahue in the Print Shop! They went above and beyond to make sure that the Federal Impact Aid forms were processed before the designated timeline. I know that the print shop is very busy, especially this time of year and I really appreciate their dedication to HCPS. Way to go guys!!"

-Karen S. Jirsa, Administrative Support Specialist - Finance, Business Services Office

"I would like to shout out Monisha Thomas. Monisha has been attentive to all the needs of Havre de Grace Middle School this year. She was in charge of testing, but continued to support teachers and students throughout this process. She is visible in the hallways and cafeteria, and is always an email away to provide us with the support we need to be successful in the classroom. Thank you, Mo, for going above and beyond to make this a great start to the year!"

-Liz Nemeth, 7th grade Social Studies, Havre de Grace Middle School

"Shout outs go to Beth Newby, Ashley Heckman and Jen Branson at Havre de Grace Middle School! Three of the most amazing and caring 8th grade ILA teachers I have had the pleasure of working with. They always put their students first and have gone above and beyond to co-plan lessons to meet the needs of all of their students. Ladies, I couldn’t ask for better co-teachers. Thanks for making me laugh, even when things get tough!"

-Sarah Scholl, School Librarian, Havre de Grace Middle High School

"I would like to congratulate Joe Baker who has been Bel Air Middle School’s long time Production Center Assistance in our school cafeteria and has been nominated for the HCPS Food Services Employee of the Year Award. He takes pride in preparing breakfast and lunch for our 1350 students each and every day. Our students and staff look forward to coming to the cafeteria each day to see what is being served. Thank you Mr. Baker for your dedication to the students and staff of Bel Air Middle School!"

-Mrs. Natalie Holloway, Principal, Bel Air Middle School

Welcome to the HCPS Family!

Please help us welcome the following new HCPS employees:

  • Christine Brown, School Bus Attendant, Transportation Department

  • Michelle Daniels, School Bus Attendant, Transportation Department

  • Caroline Piotrowski, Paraeducator, Prospect Mill Elementary School

  • Paris Quickley, Inclusion Helper, Havre de Grace 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.