HCPS 411 Update

December 10, 2020

Holiday Message From the QuaranTeam 5

Please watch this holiday message from the QuaranTeam 5 for a chance to win a holiday gift basket!

To enter, visit: https://tinyurl.com/y6zbtmx2.

HCPS's Monthly Minute - Holiday Edition!

Announcing a Promotion and Welcoming Others to Central Office

Benjamin D. Richardson was appointed as the new Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources effective January 1, 2021.

Mr. Richardson has served HCPS for the past twenty years in multiple capacities. His passion for Human Resources can be traced back to what drew him to Harford County Public Schools. Mr. Richardson, a new graduate from Fairmont State College in West Virginia, attended a job fair where he was recruited by the HCPS Human Resources Recruitment Team. Upon arriving in Maryland, he taught at Church Creek and Dublin Elementary Schools. Teaching in the county allowed him to see firsthand how each and every HCPS staff member inspires and prepares our students to achieve success.

Driven by his passion to lead, Mr. Richardson took on leadership roles within the school and then became an assistant principal at William Paca/Old Post Road Elementary. After serving in this role for over four years, he became the proud principal of William S. James Elementary and Prospect Mill Elementary. While serving in these roles, Mr. Richardson was an active member of the HCPS Recruitment Team where he encouraged others to come shine with HCPS.

His love for students and the staff that serves them led him to the position of Senior Manager of Human Resources and now Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources. Mr. Richardson looks forward to serving the HCPS school community in this new role for many years to come.

In addition to Mr. Richardson's promotion, HCPS welcomes Yvonne Rallo, who has accepted the Administrative Support Coordinator position for the Members of the Board of Education. Mrs. Rallo's office is located in the Superintendent’s suite. Mrs. Rallo is joining us from the hotel hospitality field where she has 14+ years experience as an executive assistant. She is eager to start in her new role and contribute to the success of HCPS. Mrs. Rallo has a seven-year-old son who attends Bel Air Elementary School, so she is also excited to play a small role in her own son’s education.

Judy Simon has accepted the Administrative Support Specialist - Customer Service position. Ms. Simon's office is also located in the Superintendent’s suite. Ms. Simon has 11 years of experience with a public school district in Pennsylvania where she specialized in customer service for multiple departments, including but not limited to, Buildings & Grounds, Human Resources, and Administration. Other prior professional experiences include three years as Benefits Coordinator in a corporate office of 1,600+ employees and 15 years as a client customer service representative for an accounting firm. In her new position with HCPS, Ms. Simon will be dedicated to all things customer service related at HCPS.

CareFirst Covers COVID-19 Testing

While our entire nation works to address the COVID-19 health crisis, there is no immediate resolution in sight. Therefore, CareFirst will continue to minimize potential barriers to care for members by extending COVID-19-related benefit enhancements for the foreseeable future. Those who are enrolled in a medical plan through Harford County Public Schools can receive this test at no cost, whether the need is due to exposure or due to an onset of symptoms.

Be sure to present your medical ID card at the time of service to have your test paid for 100% by your HCPS medical insurance plan.

211 Resources During School System Winter Break Closure

The Food Access Workgroup Community Partners recently met to discuss ways to ensure families in need have access to vital community resources during the time the school system will be closed for winter break this year, December 23, 2020, through January 2, 2021. Linked here are 211 resource fliers: English / Spanish. Please encourage families to call 2-1-1 for resources if they need help when schools are closed. Also, continue to promote the food access resources available on the Healthy Harford website, healthyharford.org.

2020 Maryland Earned Income Tax Credit

Maryland’s Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a credit for certain taxpayers who have earned income. Most taxpayers who are eligible and file for a Federal EITC can receive the Maryland state and local EITC. The allowable Maryland credit is up to one-half of the Federal credit.

To be eligible for the Federal and Maryland EITC, Earned Income (EI) and Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) must be less than:

  • $50,954 ($56,844 married filing jointly) with three or more qualifying children
  • $47,440 ($53,330 married filing jointly) with two qualifying children
  • $41,756 ($47,646 married filing jointly) with one qualifying child
  • $15,820 ($21,710 married filing jointly) with no qualifying children

If your income is less than the amounts shown above, visit the Internal Revenue Service website at www.irs.gov, visit Maryland’s website at www.marylandtaxes.gov, or contact your tax advisor to learn if you meet the other requirements.

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

2021 HCPS Teacher of the Year - Nominate Someone Today!

This year will mark the 27th anniversary of the Harford County Public Schools’ Teacher of the Year banquet program. Harford County’s Teacher of the Year holds a prominent position as the county’s education spokesperson and is the county’s candidate for Maryland Teacher of the Year. Nominations may be self-submitted or submitted by administrators, colleagues, students, parents, or others.

Please take the time to nominate that special teacher in your life who is truly a shining star with HCPS and worthy of this honor. This award is not only an amazing experience for the winning teacher, but for his/her students and the entire school community.


If you or your teacher have any questions about the nomination process, completing the online application, or the Teacher of the Year program, please contact Christina Paquette in the Office of Communications and Family Outreach at Christina.Paquette@hcps.org.

HCPS 2021 Teacher of the Year Applications

Professional Developement Announcements

Goucher College – HCPS Information Meeting

Goucher’s Graduate Program in Education offers a wide range of opportunities for professional development, educational advancement, and teacher preparation. Goucher College will hold weekly information sessions for their graduate cohort program with HCPS. Please see the flier for more details. For more information, please contact Kim Leonard at kleonard@exploregoucher.com.


Continuing Professional Development experience for implementing Continuity of Learning Plan

MSDE has approved a Continuing Professional Development (CPD) experience to award educators credits for implementing the Local School System (LSS) Continuity of Learning Plan for the 20-21 school year, available only to educators required to hold a certificate per COMAR 13A.12.01.03B for renewal of a certificate. The identified staff include classroom and special area teachers, specialists, administrators, and supervisors currently employed in a position in which they are required to hold a MSDE certificate. There is no additional work to complete – this is not a course. Principals and assistant principals are eligible for the credit. Once the registration window closes, the PD Office will reach out to the principal to verify the list of names on the registration, similar to SPA credit.

Please register through HECTOR by Saturday, January 30, 2021. There will be no registration extensions. Registration does not guarantee credit. Please see here for registration instructions.

Participants will receive confirmation of credit(s) approved once course requirements have been reviewed and confirmed for approval.

Question or concerns please email HCPSProfessionallearning@hcps.org.


The University of Maryland, Baltimore County Master of Arts in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages and Postbaccalaureate Certificate

The University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) offers its Master of Arts in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (MA TESOL) and Postbaccalaureate Certificate (ESOL PBC) at a discounted tuition rate for Maryland educators. Click here to view the flier.

Program Options

ESOL PBC (12 credits)

The post-baccalaureate certificate is for any teacher, whether in ESOL or other content areas, who has students who are learners of English. The PBC provides foundational professional development in areas such as teaching methodology for second language learners, intercultural communication, second language literacy, and language assessment, among other areas. Teachers may select from a wide range of specialized courses to tailor the certificate to their own specific needs.


The MA TESOL is for educators who seek in-depth knowledge of effective principles and practices for working extensively with English learners. Holders of the MA TESOL work as ESOL teachers as well as educational leaders. The MA TESOL General Option (36 credits) is for teachers who already hold initial certification in any subject area. The MA TESOL with P-12 ESOL Certification (42 credits) is a Maryland Approved Program that leads to initial certification. The MA TESOL with Thesis (39 credits) is ideal for teachers interested in practitioner research or who plan to continue in a doctoral program in applied linguistics, TESOL, curriculum and instruction, or literacy, among others. There is also an option to combine P-12 certification with a thesis.

Flexible Online Study

Courses are taught online in an asynchronous format that allows professionals to balance their studies with work and family.


Maryland public school teachers, paraeducators, and administrators are eligible to apply. For more information about admissions requirements, visit https://tesol.umbc.edu/requirements.

Discounted Tuition

Qualified Maryland educators receive a 20% discount on UMBC tuition rates and waiver of most course fees.

Certification and Endorsements

Certified teachers may add an ESOL endorsement to their Maryland teaching license by either passing the state-mandated Praxis exams or completing 30 credits of TESOL coursework. Paraeducators and conditionally certified ESOL teachers may earn Maryland teaching licensure through the MA TESOL with P-12 ESOL Certification.


Contact cohort coordinator Mary Tabaa at tabaa@umbc.edu or 443-278-3096

Maryland State Retirement and Pension System Pre-Retirement Webinar

If you were not able to attend a previous HCPS pre-retirement webinar, the Maryland State Retirement and Pension System, through the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC), is holding webinars for members who are within eight (8) years of retirement.

These webinars will cover the following topics:

  • The Maryland State Retirement and Pension System,
  • Legal Issues,
  • Social Security and Benefits, and
  • Financial Planning.

A webinar is scheduled for Thursday, December 17, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

To register:

1. Visit the website http://www.ccbcmd.edu/ceed-preretirement-county

2. Under the headline, How to Register, click the Register Online link.

3. Click the Select button next to the course titled "Pre-Retirement Webinar," towards the bottom of the screen.

4. Scroll back to the top of the screen to click on the button, Register for Selected Courses.

5. If you are not already logged in, you will be redirected to the login page.

a. 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? You can call CCBC at (443) 840-5059.

b. If this is your first Pre-Retirement Seminar, choose "New Account" on the right-hand side of the screen. Fill out your information (anything in red is required information) and choose Submit.

6. After you have registered for your seminar, choose "Finalize Selection" and print your confirmation. You should receive an email confirmation of your registration within three (3) business days.

As the Maryland State Retirement and Pension System, through CCBC, schedules more webinar dates, those dates will also be posted in the weekly HCPS 411 Update for interested individuals. If you are unable to attend an event but are interested in learning more, a shorter presentation about the Maryland State Retirement and Pension System is available on the Maryland State Retirement Agency website.

If you have any questions, please contact Elizabeth Miller, Coordinator of Benefits, at Elizabeth.Miller@hcps.org.

Shout Outs!

"Huge shout-out to Jackie Rosenkrans for designing virtual task boxes to teach our students vocational skills during this time. Such a great idea and the virtual boxes are awesome!!!"

-Rachel Otremba, Special Education Teacher, John Archer School

"Sarah Seidl, guidance secretary at Magnolia Middle School, exceeds expectations with exceptional customer service for each student, family, and our staff! She works with families to support them through registration, scheduling, and to orient them with their new devices, itsLearning, Teams, our school, and anything else needed or requested!!!!! Her kindness and love align directly with our Magnolia Middle School Mission – Love.Learn.Lead. Our principal, Laurie Namey, says Love is first in the mission purposefully because it has to come first. Sarah embodies spreading love in everything she does. We are very fortunate that she is part of our Magnolia Middle School staff!!!"

-April Kenney, School Performance and Achievement Teacher Specialist, Magnolia Middle School

"I would like to give a shout out to Ms. Jennifer Kline, media specialist at Aberdeen High School (AHS). She stepped into this job this year and is doing an awesome job! This is her first year at AHS and she is so helpful and knowledgeable. She offers her skills to everyone and has an amazing attitude to top it all off. I'm so glad she's part of the AHS team and especially grateful for her help on the school website and social media accounts!"

-Kara DeFord, BSN, RN, NCSN, Nationally Certified School Nurse, Aberdeen 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.