Keeping PACE

April 27, 2021

Engaging Families in Re-Entry Planning

The National Association for Family, School and Community Engagement (NAFSCE) recently offered an excellent webinar providing an overview of how we can engage families in re-entry planning. Please take a moment to watch the presentation below.

For additional resources, including the presentation slides in pdf format, a link to the Q&A, and examples from other counties, please click here.

Engaging Families in Re-Entry Planning

Keeping PACE Video Series

Each week in the HCPS 411 Update, the Parent Academy releases 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 for reference. This series serves 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 Bel Air High School Principal Greg Komondor and mathematics educators and PACE Liaisons Andrew Kassouf and Allison Benfield share about their school’s successful family engagement activities that demonstrate PTA Standard 3: Supporting Student Success.

Keeping PACE: Bel Air High School's Parent Engagement Activities

Parent Academy Real Talk: Getting to Know Our Board of Education Members

The HCPS Parent Academy Real Talk show runs a series, Getting to Know our Board Members. Each month, we invite one or more members of the Board of Education of Harford County to sit down with Parent Academy's Mary Beth Stapleton to share their story - a little bit of their background and ties to the community, why they sought a position on the Board of Education, and what serving the students of Harford County means to them. Then, the featured Board member(s) answer a few questions submitted directly from our community. Questions will be gathered ahead of each month's Board episode - be sure to follow the HCPS Parent Academy Facebook page so you don't miss an opportunity to submit your burning questions!

The link to submit questions for May's episodewill be shared soon on the Parent Academy Facebook page. Please share this information with your school communities and encourage them to submit questions when the link goes live.

Coming Soon -- Small Group PACE Meetings

Mary Beth Stapleton will be scheduling small group, area school meetings with PACE liaisons as a end of year check-in. Please watch for those meeting invitations in your email.

Family Friendly School Award Program to Launch this Fall

The HCPS Parent Academy, in partnership with Chick-fil-A of Harford County, is excited to introduce the Family Friendly School award program. HCPS recognizes that building meaningful relationships between schools, families, and communities is imperative to student achievement. When families are involved in their children’s learning -- both at home and at school -- their children are likely to do better in school. Parents, guardians, and family members are more likely to be involved and engage with their child’s school if they feel welcomed and valued.

This new program is an initiative by the HCPS Customer Service Task Force to tie together all the work happening to strengthen home-school-community connections. We are looking to celebrate schools that best engage all families with inclusive practices. HCPS uses the National PTA Standards for Family-School Partnerships as an indicator of a Family Friendly School. With this new program, schools consistently demonstrating these standards have the opportunity to earn the coveted Family Friendly School Award and special recognition that accompanies that title, including:

  • Public recognition on the school’s website and the school system's social media pages;
  • Local news recognition;
  • Certificate and banner presentation from the Superintendent and a team of leaders/representatives;
  • Luncheon provided for the school’s staff by Chick-fil-A of Harford County;
  • And more!

More information, including when the program will launch and how to nominate a school, will be forthcoming.

Community Schools Toolkit

Community schools are schools that develop and utilize partnerships to connect the school, students, families, and surrounding community to the resources needed in order to thrive. At its core, the community school strategy is deeply rooted in equity; it highlights the assets in traditionally underserved communities and leverages additional partnerships, ultimately providing students, families, and communities with essential services.

Maryland is home to more than 260 community schools throughout the State, serving students and families from birth to adulthood. Through strategic partnerships, community schools work to provide access to health services, mental health support, academic enrichment, out-of-school time programming, crisis support, adult education classes, leadership development, and more.

MSDE has resources available for all schools in the state, not just Community Schools, working to support families and community partnerships:

Community Schools Toolkit (

Office of Communications and Family Outreach

Keeping PACE editors:

Mary Beth Stapleton

Manager of Family and Community Partnerships

Lindsay Bilodeau

Communications Specialist