Out of all the blogs I have written, this is the most difficult. I am ready to hand over the "crown" so another teacher can have this incredible experience as a TOY, but I think what I find difficult is how to put this year into words. As I reflect upon my year, it seems that the best way to describe it would be as an intense professional development. I was challenged to consider my philosophy of teaching and how it relates to larger issues, such as linking student performance to teacher evaluation and how to best measure that performance. I loved every minute of being the HCPS TOY, from throwing out the first pitch at an Ironbirds game to waving to the crowd in Bel Air's 4th of July parade. I had the opportunity to participate in discussions regarding the Race to the Top initiative, meet with the Governor and legislators in Annapolis, and serve as a mentor through the Teachers of Promise Institute. I was privileged to spend three days on an island in the Chesapeake Bay inhabited by only 50 people. Next month, I am delighted to be able to attend a White House tour and also to participate in a Celebration of Reading with George and Barbara Bush.However, I think what has been best about this year has been the opportunity to share ideas with people who love teaching and are passionate about making a difference in the lives of their students. I am so grateful for this past year that allowed me to learn how to be a better teacher. It has been a remarkable journey. Tonight, a new TOY will take his or her first step on the Teacher of the Year journey. Best wishes to our new TOY and to all of the outstanding Finalists!
Born in Chicago, I lived in Iowa, New Hampshire, Vermont, Germany, Alaska, Arizona, Texas, and Pennsylvania before settling here in Maryland to become a teacher. I’ve called Maryland my home for the past 22 years, and I love it here!
Most people guess that I moved so much because my father was in the military. Actually, my dad was a professor and author so we moved for his career or because he was conducting research for a novel. My mother was also a professor and a poet, so I guess you could say teaching is in my blood.
I have two sons, Cade and Griffin, who attend Harford County Public Schools and are in third and sixth grade, respectively. Cade wants to be a famous musician when he grows up, and Griffin wants to be an author (and maybe a teacher).
This year will mark my 18th wedding anniversary. I met my husband, Kevin, on a blind date and we've been together ever since. We enjoy gardening, swing dancing, and sometimes my husband can be found at local Open Mic Nights playing guitar and singing while I cheer him on.
5/24/2022 1:46 PM
4/28/2022 5:00 PM
4/26/2022 5:00 PM
Following the Board of Education’s decision to make masks optional in Harford County Public Schools, we want to provide additional information to students, staff, parents, and guardians.
If staff or students are sick, please stay home.
Bel Air High School: Monday from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.
Fallston High School: Tuesday from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.
North Harford High School: Wednesday from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.
Aberdeen High School: Thursday from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.
If you have already registered with MAKO for a prior COVID-19 screening clinic, you do not need to complete the registration again before attending a voluntary clinic.
If you have not registered with MAKO, please click here for registration information.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) say, “COVID-19 Community Levels are a new tool to help communities decide what prevention steps to take based on the latest data. Levels can be low, medium, or high and are determined by looking at hospital beds being used, hospital admissions, and the total number of new COVID-19 cases in an area. Take precautions to protect yourself and others from COVID-19 based on the COVID-19 Community Level in your area.”
Based on the CDC’s latest update, the COVID-19 Community Level in Harford County is “low.” When community levels are “low,” CDC guidance says:
Wear a mask based on your personal preference, informed by your personal level of risk.
Stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines.
Get tested if you have symptoms.
Click here for more information about CDC COVID-19 Community Levels.
Click here for a video message following the Board of Education’s decision to make masks optional in HCPS. A big “thank you” to Ms. Abbott’s 5th graders at Ring Factory Elementary School who star in the video! #HCPSuperStars
3/1/2022 1:45 PM
Tonight, February 28, 2022, at 6:51 p.m. during the Board Business meeting, the Board of Education of Harford County voted to lift the mask mandate in all Harford County Public Schools (HCPS) school buildings and facilities, making masks optional for students, staff, and visitors who wish to wear them. The change will take effect tomorrow, Tuesday, March 1, 2022. This comes after conversations with local health officials following the Maryland State Board of Education and the Administrative, Executive, and Legislative Review (AELR) vote to lift the state mask mandate for schools.
We want to be very clear: We support students and adults who choose to continue wearing masks in our school buildings and facilities. Now that the mask mandate has been lifted, this is a personal and family choice. Much like any other personal choice or difference of opinion, there will be no tolerance in our classrooms, schools, or offices, for anyone who wishes to intimidate, tease, or bully anyone else for their choice of whether to wear a mask or not. We ask all our adults to lead by example and all our families to have conversations with their students about this important issue. We must continue to exercise grace, patience, and flexibility with one another.
On February 25, 2022, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) amended its federal mask order to no longer require that people wear masks on buses operated by school systems when they are carrying out school-system related business. As a result, effective tomorrow, Tuesday, March 1, 2022, masks will also be optional on school buses, when those buses are carrying out school-related functions.
Following the current quarantine and isolation guidance set forth by the CDC, Maryland Department of Health (MDH), and the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE), students and staff who have completed their five-day isolation or quarantine period should continue to mask in all public settings, including schools, for five additional days. Additionally, all students utilizing health suite services will need to utilize a mask during their visit based on guidance from the CDC. Masks will be provided in health suites as needed.
Please click here for the HCPS Operational Status effective March 1, 2022. It is also available on hcps.org.
We have all been anxious to get to this point. Again, with masks now optional in schools, HCPS facilities, and on school buses for school related activities, we ask everyone to continue to exercise diligence, caution, and kindness, as we traverse the road ahead, HCPStogether.
2/28/2022 6:52 PM
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