HCPS 411 Update

January 28, 2021

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HCPS Return to In-Person Learning: Staff Members With Elementary School-Aged Children

HCPS staff members identified as essential in-person employees who need their elementary school-aged children to return to school up to five (5) days a week beginning March 1, 2021, can plan to do so if the child is a current HCPS elementary student. Please contact your child’s school administrator(s) by January 29, 2021, to inform them of your student's name and grade level so they may plan accordingly.

Please know that the purpose of this offer is to provide our employees with coverage for their elementary school aged children while the HCPS employee works in person. Employees with the option to work from home on Fridays are exempt from a five-day option. If the request is made for your child to attend more than one day a week in person, it is the expectation that you are working in person on those additional days.

United Way Campaign Ends TOMORROW!

Your gift to United Way can make a difference in the life of a child, a veteran, a struggling family, or even someone you may know. Your support will help people in our county recover and rebuild their lives. The Harford County Impact Report shows how United Way has helped our community during this unprecedented time. If every employee contributed just $1 each paycheck, HCPS could collect $55,000 for United Way. It’s not too late- donate today!

Special Education Compliance/Recovery Services Training

The Office of Special Education is conducting mandatory training for all Special Education Teachers, Related Service Providers, Special Education Evaluators, and School Psychologists. The content of this training will focus on Recovery Services for students with disabilities. Building administrators who serve in the role of IEP Chair are invited to attend any session with members of their school-based team. Additional sessions will be provided for building administrators during upcoming Leadership activities.

Before registering for a session on Hector, participants should refer to the schedule of sessions, which is located on SharePoint and can be accessed here. Sessions are limited to 80 participants. A link to the virtual Teams meeting will be sent out to all registered staff prior to each session.

Questions should be directed to Colleen Sasdelli, Special Education Coordinator, at x5359.

HCPS Secondary Librarians Present: Tinkering Together

Sliding into the winter doldrums? Looking for an opportunity to have fun and meet some new friends across the county? Then Tinkering Together may be for your student!

Tinkering Together is for middle and high school students and is designed to promote fun and community through creative problem solving skills and networking with one another across the county. Interested in learning more? Click here to access a flier for more details and for a link for students to sign up.

Teachers…we’d love for you to encourage your students to join! If you have any questions, please ask your school's librarian.

Monthly Mental Health Minute With Karen Gonzalez

This year, the 2020 HCPS Teacher of the Year Finalists, dubbed the "QuaranTEAM 5," are shining a light on mental health issues and maintaining mental well-being. Our finalists researched ideas and consulted 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 January's Mental Health Minute.

January Mental Health Minute Presented by Karen Gonzalez

Infusing Agriculture in the Elementary Classroom

The Maryland Agriculture Education Foundation's (MAEF's) popular professional learning opportunity, Infusing Agriculture in the Elementary Classroom, is back for the Spring 2021 semester!

Join MAEF for seven (7) active weeks of asynchronous, online learning paired with two (2) virtual workshop sessions featuring the great, wide world of agriculture!

Hear from field experts, gather online resources for your classroom, and collaborate with teachers from across the state as you learn ways in which agriculture can fit into your lessons.

Participants receive a box full of engaging resources and classroom materials!

Cost is $135 and teachers receive three (3) Maryland State Department of Education Continuing Professional Development (CPD) credits (CPD# 19-68-14).

For more information, please see the flier.

Announcements From the Professional Development Office

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) course - Spanish for Communication I - Seats Still Available

Seats are still available for Spanish for Communication I. This course, asynchronous, will introduce the fundamentals of the Spanish language necessary for practical situations to assist Spanish-speaking students and parents/guardians in schools. Participants will be able to: demonstrate a basic knowledge of Spanish language; apply knowledge gained to real world situations when interacting with Spanish-speaking parents and students; assist Hispanic students and parents with school registration and other paperwork; and tend to basic communication needs of Hispanic students regarding school and health issues.

Additional details can be found in the Spring 2021 Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Course catalog. Register by February 4 on HECTOR.

Questions should be directed to Lori Gohlinghorst via email at lori.gohlinghorst@hcps.org or by calling 410-273-5621

University of Phoenix

The University of Phoenix offers Accounting courses that individuals need to sit for the exam or re-certify. Many times multiple courses are needed, so University of Phoenix offers a BUNDLE MORE/SAVE MORE discount on its Accounting courses now through March 15, 2021. Save hundreds off your tuition when you buy two (2) or more Accounting courses!

They also have Business degree programs in the following areas: Accounting, Business Administration, Business Analytics, Business Management, Entrepreneurship, Financial Planning, Human Resources, Marketing, Operations Management, and Project Management.

For more information about Accounting courses or programs and to take advantage of the Tuition Discount, please contact University of Phoenix directly at nicole.berkebile@phoenix.edu or call/text (480)290-4328.

Towson University - Cohort Opportunities in Educational Leadership, Fall 2021

Towson University's Department of Instructional Leadership and Professional Development is offering graduate programs to support the leadership development and continued learning of K-12 educators.

Programs offered:

  • Master’s Degree in Transformational Education Leadership
  • Educational Administrator 1 Certificate
  • Teacher Leadership: Action Research for School Improvement Certificate
  • Community Engagement and Leading School Change Certificate

Please click here for more information.

PARAPRO Assessment Opportunity – February 12, 2021

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 classrooms 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 February 12, 2021. The test will be from 1:00 to 3:30 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 also available on the HR site: HERE.

Questions regarding this information should be directed to Pauline Timmons, in Special Education, at Pauline.Timmons@hcps.org or 410-588-5246.

Academic Tutoring

The Academic Tutoring program will continue to provide students with academic and instructional supports throughout the third quarter. The Academic Tutoring Coordinators, Catherine Jones and Kelly Mattingly, are working with the Office of Accountability to target our students most in need, using an equity lens. Students will receive tutoring services in a virtual, small group setting with HCPS teachers and paraeducators. If you are interested in employment as a tutor, please email academic.tutoring@hcps.org to register for orientation. Teachers will be compensated for tutoring at the 75% rate for time worked outside of the duty day. Paraeducators will be compensated at their hourly rate. With questions or concerns, please contact Academic.Tutoring@hcps.org.

Financial Education Seminar Opportunity: Money Matters, Moving Forward in a Changing World

Because your money matters – three steps to take right now.

Hosted by MetLife

It is incredible how quickly our lives change. The global pandemic has altered our economy, lifestyle, the way we use technology, and how we interact with one another. Another different thing may be the way we may think about our finances.

By attending Money Matters: Moving Forward in a Changing World you will learn the three steps to take right now to help you deal with today's uncertainty and future unexpected events. From creating an emergency fund to evaluating your risk tolerance and maximizing your employee benefits – develop a plan that works for you.

Join your colleagues for the complimentary workshop. Spouses and partners are welcome!


Workshop begins:

Thursday, February 11, 2021

5:00 – 6:00 p.m.

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

Can't attend but still need help with financial questions? You can still sign up for a free, no pressure, no obligation personal consultation. For more information, click here.

Pre-Retirement Planning Webinar February 17, 2021

The Retirement Coordinators of Harford County Public Schools (HCPS) will host a free pre-retirement webinar for HCPS employees with assistance from the Maryland State Retirement Agency. This webinar is a condensed version of our fall pre-retirement informational session and will occur at 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 17, 2021.

Please complete the registration form to register, which can be accessed by clicking here. The deadline to register is Friday, February 12, 2021.

This webinar will provide vital information to all members approaching retirement, whether it is normal service or early retirement. Discussion topics include:

  • Planning for Retirement
  • State Retirement Pension Benefits
  • HCPS Retiree Healthcare

If you are within two years of being eligible to retire, this seminar is for you! As this year’s event will be hosted virtually, your spouses and or pertinent beneficiaries may sit with you to listen. We will host a Q&A session following the presentations. If you attended this year’s event recently, you may still attend due to the virtual format.

Date: February 17, 2021

Time: 4:00 – 7:00 p.m.

Event Link: Will be emailed to those who complete and submit the registration form closer to the event date.

If you have any questions, please email benefits@hcps.org.

2020 W-2 Forms Information

W-2 forms will be mailed via USPS to your current mailing address in Lawson on or before January 31, 2021, for calendar year 2020 wages.

Annually, the Finance Office provides an explanatory memo assisting employees to reconcile their final pay stubs for the year to the W-2 form and to answer frequently asked questions over the years. Please click here to view the memo online or to print a hard copy of the memo if desired. Please print and share the memo with non-networked colleagues at your location.

W-2 forms will also be posted on Employee Self Service (ESS) on or before January 31, 2021. For detailed instructions on using ESS, please click here.

Any questions should be directed to Jay Staab, Director of Finance, at jay.staab@hcps.org or at ext. 5237.

Shout Outs!

"Thank you to Robyn Graham and Missy Romano from the Special Education Office, as well as Tanya James from North Bend Elementary School, for supporting the Homestead-Wakefield Learning Together Program. Your dedication and devotion during a time of need was amazing. On behalf of the children, many thanks!"

-Chris Cook, Principal, Homestead-Wakefield Elementary School

"I would like to give a very deserving shout out to CMW school counselor Jeanie Neuman. Ms. Neuman has gone above and beyond to serve our English language learners, providing these students with a safe harbor, an academic resource, and an overall lifeline. She has led classes, held conferences, and been an active liaison for these new students. She didn’t have to do these things - she saw a need and took action. We are eternally grateful for the hard work and heart she is pouring into our students. I do not know what this year would have looked like without her efforts in this regard. She deserves a shout out and so much more!"

- C. Brooke Harrell, Assistant Principal, C. Milton Wright High School

Welcome to HCPS!

Please help us welcome the following new employee to our HCPS family:

  • Sara Rosen, 11-month School Psychologist, Red Pump Elementary 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.