HCPS 411 Update

December 5, 2019

2019-2020 Calendar Update: School System Closure December 23 - January 1

Superintendent Bulson has announced that schools and offices will be closed from Monday, December 23, 2019, through January 1, 2020. As in the past, the school system will see a measurable cost savings by implementing a full system closure from the Christmas holiday through the new year. The changes to note from previously published school calendars are the office closures on December 26, 27, and 30.

Questions should be directed to the appropriate supervisor.

We Are HCPS!

Check out Ms. Smith, science teacher at Edgewood Middle School and a 2019 Teacher of the Year finalist, who is impacting students every day! What teacher do you picture when you think about a teacher who had an impact on your life? Be sure to nominate him or her for the 2020 Teacher of the Year*! More information is available on www.hcps.org, or by clicking here.

*Don't delay in nominating that special teacher! Nominated teachers must submit their completed applications for Teacher of the Year by midnight on Thursday, January 2, 2020.

We Are HCPS- Ms. Smith

Top Health Newsletter - December Issue

Click below for this month's full issue of the Top Health wellness newsletter from CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield.

Managing Holiday Stress

The holiday season is near, and what better time than now to celebrate the holiday season than to focus on our well-being! December is a month full of holiday celebrations. However, these joyous celebrations can cause holiday stress. Did you know, 62% of adults in the U.S. say that money is a holiday stressor, second only to lack of time at 67%. To help encourage you to stay healthy, safe, and stress-free this holiday season, we have included supplemental information to spread the holiday spirit!

Click the links below for resources to help learn how to lower and manage stress throughout this holiday season:

KEPRO Employee Assistance Program: Creating Stronger Relationships - Examining Relationships: Healthy vs. Unhealthy

The December 2019 KEPRO Employee Assistance Program (EAP) communication resources are here! How are your relationships influencing your life? The theme this month is Creating Stronger Relationships. Please see the linked tip sheet and webinar information below entitled “Examining Relationships: Healthy vs. Unhealthy.”

Monthly Online Seminar Title: Creating Stronger Relationships - Examining Relationships: Healthy vs. Unhealthy

Description: Examine different types of relationships, from family and friendship to romantic and professional, while learning to recognize healthy and unhealthy relationships.

Date: Available on demand beginning December 17, 2019.

Broadcast Length: 50 minutes

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

Available any time, any day, the EAP is a free, confidential program to help you balance your work, family, and personal life. Call the EAP toll-free at 1-866-795-5701 or visit us online at www.EAPHelpLink.com.

December 1 – 7 is National Handwashing Awareness Week!

Between the rush of the holidays, the end-of-the-year excitement, and the turn in the weather, it’s easy to become run down and exhausted – perfect conditions for illness to hake hold. When your system is compromised, it’s extra important to stay healthy by avoiding germs, and the best way to do that is by washing your hands. By keeping up with these good habits, you can easily decrease your risk of flu, viruses, and the common cold.

Click the link to learn about the CDC’s recommendations on When and How to Wash Your Hands: https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/when-how-handwashing.html.

Universal Availability Notice 403(B)

In accordance with IRS regulations governing 403(b) deferred compensation plans, Harford County Public Schools must annually provide a notice to all eligible employees regarding the opportunity to make elective deferrals or change existing deferrals into the plan. Employees may access the plan’s Universal Availability Notice, as well as information on how to get started contributing to the Roth and/or tax-deferred investment program at http://www.hcps.org/departments/humanresources/benefits/retirement.aspx.

New Paraprofessional and Inclusion Helper Training – December 13, 2019

The Department of Special Education is holding another New Paraprofessional and Inclusion Helper Training on December 13, 2019, at the Towson University Northeast (TUNE) building at 510 Thomas Run Rd, Bel Air, MD 21015. Any new paraprofessional or inclusion helpers who were unable to attend the New Paraprofessional Inclusion Helper Training during the Paraprofessional and Inclusion Helper Mini-conference on November 4, 2019, with Director of Special Education Michael Thatcher need to plan to attend this session. This training is mandatory for new paraprofessionals and inclusion helpers. Questions regarding this information should be directed to Michael Thatcher or Pauline Timmons, in Special Education, at Mike.Thatcher@hcps.org or Pauline.Timmons@hcps.org or x5246.

Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) Technical Assistance Bulletins

The Special Education Department, in an effort to inform school leaders and faculty, will be highlighting each week one or more of the MSDE Division of Early Intervention and Special Education Services (DEI-SED) technical assistance bulletins.

This week, they are sharing the guidance on Gen. Ed - Student Behavior Interventions: Restraint & Seclusion and Student Behavior Interventions: Physical Restraint and Seclusion - Supplement on Students with Disabilities and Parental Consent Under Maryland Law.

A full list of available DEI-SED Technical Assistance Bulletins are available on the MSDE website, located here. Questions regarding this should be directed to any of the coordinators for Special Education at x5246.

Professional Development Opportunities

The Instructional Technology Team is excited to host its first webinar. Join this virtual meeting on Monday, December 9, 2019, to discover new ways to use Discovery Education content, now available through the itslearning library.
Morning webinar at 7:45 a.m.: use this link to join
Afternoon webinar at 3:00 p.m.: use this link to join

Unable to attend? Video from the meeting will be posted to the DigitalHarford Stream Channel.
Questions regarding this information can be directed to Laura Knapp, in Instructional Technology, at Laura.Knapp@hcps.org.


Seats Still Available for Spring CPD Courses: Seats are still available for the CPD courses listed below. Please see the course catalog for details: Spring Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Course Catalog. Registration for these MSDE credit courses is available on HECTOR.

Cooperative education and Outdoor Initiative (1 credit)

Engaging Students Through Novel Instruction (2 credits)

Teacher Leadership: Developing Skills for Success (1 credit)

Utilizing Office 365 for Educators (3 credits)

Questions should be directed to Lori Gohlinghorst at Lori.Gohlinghorst@hcps.org or x5621.


Spring MSDE Professional Learning Online Courses: Earn MSDE CPD credits through online courses offered by MSDE, eConnet, and Thinkport. The Spring 2020 Course Catalog is available. Registration closes January 30, 2020.


Harford Community College – Credits for Re-certification: Do you need credits for re-certification? Consider taking an online class at HCC this spring. A number of courses appropriate for current teachers are offered, including EDUC210 Children with Behavioral Challenges and EDUC219 Everyday Classroom Assessment. If you have questions or want more information, please contact Laura Hutton at lhutton@harford.edu or 443-412-2093.

Shout Out!

Congratulations to Andrew Cassilly for having been appointed to serve as the senior advisor to Governor Larry Hogan!

The governor’s senior advisor is a full-time position, so Mr. Cassilly will step down from his current positions in the House of Delegates and as HCPS manager of innovative partnerships. Mr. Cassilly has served HCPS for 28 years, working as a coach, teacher, school administrator, and central office official in the areas of student services and operations prior to his current role.

We wish Mr. Cassilly all the best as he moves on to serve our great state!

Spotlight On Customer Service

  • Led by the staff members on the Havre de Grace High School Transformation Team, Havre de Grace High School recognizes a student from each grade as a Warrior Student of the Month. Students are selected based on a different character trait each month. These students and their parents/guardians are then invited to a monthly faculty meeting where their staff nominator reads their nomination to the staff and presents them with a certificate. Each student is also highlighted with a picture on the Student of the Month bulletin board in the cafeteria. What an AWESOME recognition program!

  • Thank you to Havre de Grace Elementary School for hosting the most recent HCPS Customer Service Task Force meeting in their building. Assistant Principal Jennifer Gasdia welcomed the group and provided a tour, including visits in classrooms. Thank you to the staff for graciously inviting the guests into their rooms. The Customer Service Task Force members were very impressed with Havre de Grace Elementary's amazing staff and students, as well as the beautiful building, and were grateful for the school's hospitality!


We're So Glad You're Here!

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

  • Brigite Condori, Custodian I - Shift 2, Fallston Middle School
  • Lucy Grebe, Custodian I - Shift 2, Jarrettsville Elementary School
  • Jeffrey Hall, Custodian I - Shift 1, Edgewood High School
  • Melissa Karcher, Occupational Therapist, John Archer School
  • Wilma Kromah, Custodian I - Shift 2, Aberdeen High School
  • Rebecca Leighty, Inclusion Helper, John Archer School
  • Ashley Leonard, Paraeducator, Hall's Cross Roads Elementary School
  • Elizabeth Moore, Part-time/Sub School Nurse, John Archer School
  • Staci Reynolds, Inclusion Helper, Church Creek Elementary School
  • Ivelisse Torres-Rodriguez, Paraeducator, William S. James Elementary School
  • Kuei Yang, Custodian I - Shift 2, Hickory 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.