The Office of Research and Program Evaluation provides information and analyses to support
continuous improvement in the academic and operational services at Harford County Public Schools
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The purpose of this needs assessment is to help school and district leaders develop interventions that support the specific and presenting needs of students and to effectively allocate mental health resources to schools based on their data.
The Harford County Public Schools (HCPS) division of Student Support Services is committed to addressing the wellness of its students and has collaborated with the Department of Research and Program Evaluation to conduct a Wellness Needs Assessment for Grades 1-12 during fall 2022-2023.
The 2022-2023 Wellness Needs Assessment received a total of 26,839 responses, which represents a significant response rate of 78%. Included in those responses were 2,710 open-ended comments from students in Grades 6-12. The assessment results will aid in planning support for students, families, and instructional staff at the school and district levels. The Department of Research and Program Evaluation has provided real-time responses and analysis of the closed-ended responses through the 2022-2023 Wellness Needs Assessment Data Dashboard.
The analysis of open-ended responses addressed the following research questions:
During the summer of 2021, a multidisciplinary workgroup developed this Wellness Needs Assessment to better identify the mental wellness of our students across the system in grades 1-12. It was also intended to provide system leaders and school-based teams with data that could be used to best deploy the appropriate resources for students based on their responses. This needs assessment underwent a series of revisions for the 2022-23 school year and a Dashboard was created to better capture the data for district and school-based staff. As HCPS continues to make refinements, the Wellness Needs Assessment will undergo more changes for the 2023-24 school year. The most notable changes include the addition of questions that assess the physical wellness of students, the decision to only administer the needs assessment to grades 3-12, and more varied response options for several of the questions.
Given the capabilities of the new Dashboard, HCPS Department of Student Support Services staff as well as administration have full access to their schoolwide data and can run a myriad of reports by grade level, gender, concerning issues, etc. Only the school counselor in each school has the capability to see data that is student specific. Leaders at the district level are able to see similar reports for the entire system as well as data disaggregated by school. District leaders are not able to access student specific data. These reports may also be shared by district leaders with stakeholders across the county who work and are invested in the area of physical and mental wellness.
The next step in this process is to develop a report that details the best ways to access data on the Dashboard and best practices for how to use this data at the district and school levels. Professional development is being planned to share this with school-based student support services staff as well as building administrators. Once this is complete, this training will be made available for new staff who are hired into these positions so that they are well equipped to access the Dashboard and use the data to guide the wellness interventions and programs in their buildings.
This Data Dashboard, designed by the HCPS Department of Research and Program Evaluation in collaboration with the Department of Student Support Services, presents the results of the 2022-2023 HCPS Wellness Needs Assessment. The intuitive visualizations and reports in the data dashboard is enabling teachers, principals and staff to support the presenting needs of students and to inform strategic planning efforts such as prioritization of targeted support for students, families, and teachers.
The Office of Strategic Initiatives conducted interviews with several staff members and stakeholders and collected data on the innovations. The goal was to analyze which ideas and adaptations are most important to stakeholders and which innovations meet the Board of Education Strategic Plan Goals. The analysis will be used as a tool to highlight innovations that stakeholders found to be effective during COVID-19 recovery and may play an important role in meeting future strategic goals, including those outlined in the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future. Results will be shared with staff and all stakeholders via the Continuity of Learning Plan, HCPS website, and any other venue where organizational change or strategic planning is being discussed.
This report details the results of that analysis.
According to interview participants:
Harford County Public Schools (HCPS) is engaging its stakeholders (students, parents, staff, and community members) in meaningful dialogue about safety and security in all schools and offices. As part of this evaluation, HCPS administered the HCPS Safety and Security Crisis Preparedness Survey and conducted a Threat Assessment Data Collection. The HCPS Office of Research and Program Evaluation worked with the Department of Safety and Security and others to analyze the results.
As defined in the HCPS Strategic Plan, Goal 4 for the Board of Education of Harford County is to "Provide safe, secure, and healthy learning environments conducive to effective teaching and learning, creativity, and innovation." In February and March 2022, the co-chairs of the HCPS Safety and Security Work Group, Dr. Stacey Gerringer and Mr. Donoven Brooks, hosted a series of focus groups/stakeholder meetings with internal and external partners to gather input for updating and improving HCPS safety and security procedures after the post-pandemic school reopening. Most of the focus group meetings were recorded for review and analysis. At the end of each meeting, a short survey was administered to collect participants' perceptions of the current state of safety and crisis preparedness in the district as well as suggestions for improvement. The purpose of the survey was to help formulate answers to the research questions listed below and to help establish clear recommendations to ensure HCPS will continue to provide safe and secure environments post COVID-19 lockdown.
The HCPS Office of Research and Program Evaluation partnered with internal and external researchers to analyze and synthesize the results of these efforts. HCPS will use the insights to update its safety and crisis preparedness policies and practices.
Through an analysis of open-ended responses, this report addresses the following research questions:
The Kirwan Commission was created to make recommendations on improving Maryland’s education system both fiscally and for performance. The Maryland General Assembly passed the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future in 2020, as an education reform bill based on Kirwan recommendations. In February 2021, the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future became law.
Harford County Public Schools (HCPS) is currently developing an implementation plan for the 2020 Blueprint for Maryland’s Future. In the fall and winter of 2021, HCPS brought together stakeholders from its Central Office, schools, and community to participate in small focus groups to discuss what implementation can look like. These discussions focused on the following areas: Early Childhood Education (ECE), College and Career Readiness (CCR), Career Ladder, Student Support, and Budget, as represented in the graphic below. The HCPS North Star initiative, which was introduced in the spring of 2019 to help ensure every student will graduate ready for success in college, career, and life, aligns well with the Blueprint focus areas.
In the Spring of 2019, the superintendent of Harford County Public Schools (HCPS), Dr. Sean Bulson, introduced the North Star initiative in collaboration with the leadership of Harford Community College (HCC).
The goal of the HCPS North Star initiative is to ensure all students have access to academic opportunities, social-emotional support, and real-world experiences tailored to meet the needs, abilities, and interests of the diverse learners.
Every student will graduate ready for success in college, career, and life.
HCPS leadership believes students can best demonstrate their preparation for success after high school through achievement in one of two areas:
The school district measures whether students are prepared for either college or a career by monitoring the following three graduate outcomes. Students must achieve success in one of the following three areas to meet the North Star standard:
This report answers the following research questions:
This study offers an economic analysis of the HCPS North Star initiative and explains the potential return on investment the initiative may yield.
The Business, Economic, and Community Outreach Network (BEACON), of the Franklin P. Perdue School of Business at Salisbury University, conducted a comprehensive study to determine the potential outcomes of the North Star initiative of the Harford County Public Schools (HCPS) in Harford County, Maryland. This study included economic impacts, and a Return on Investment (ROI) analysis of the North Star Initiative.
The BEACON team that performed this study focused on the following study questions:
In January 2021, HCPS conducted virtual focus groups about COVID-19 and the 2020-21 school year with the goal of understanding what went well with district operations during the pandemic, lessons learned, and priorities for planning for the return to in-person learning.
The Superintendent of Schools, Sean Bulson, and his leadership team used a focus group method to bring together virtually a demographically diverse group of stakeholders to participate in a guided discussion on the implementation of educational programs, services, or concepts. The HCPS facilitators or moderators led a 30-90-minute discussion within the groups to gather helpful information and feedback. The HCPS focus groups were administered separately to teachers, principals, central office staff, students, and parents. Members of these focus groups discussed topics related to virtual and hybrid instruction, special education, Learning Support Centers, and other key topics.
The HCPS Office of Research and Program Evaluation worked with focus group facilitators, HCPS staff and external researchers to review and synthesize the meeting minutes from the focus groups, summaries of survey results and follow-up surveys, and raw survey data for educators (teachers, principals), central office staff, students and parents. As part of this review and analysis, the researchers and the team identified key themes the District can use to evaluate and improve district operations, teaching and learning, and its Continuity of Learning Plan.
This report presents key findings and recommendations from the analyses of the data, and information received from the focus groups stakeholders
In the spring of 2021, Harford County Public Schools (HCPS) sought to understand the cognitive, emotional, and behavioral engagement of students in the virtual and/or hybrid learning environments necessitated by COVID-19. To this end, HCPS administered a survey to students in Grades 3-12, all teachers, as well as school and central office staff to identify engaging practices and to analyze responses to the survey’s closed- and open-ended questions.
This analysis will support HCPS in identifying best practices to engage future virtual learners and develop guidance for virtual and/or hybrid programs that may be developed at the county and/or state level.
This report answers the following research questions:
Harford County Public Schools (HCPS) is committed to providing superior customer service as measured by its TRACK-ing Excellence program, where TRACK represents Transparent, Responsive, Accessible, and Kind communication. To gauge satisfaction with the district’s customer service, HCPS offers a stakeholder survey on its website (Appendix B).
In this document, the HCPS Office of Research and Program Evaluation presents findings from an analysis of open-ended responses to HCPS’ Customer Satisfaction Survey. This analysis is for the responses received during the survey administration window of January 15, 2021, through June 30, 2021. During this period, HCPS received a total of 327 responses (Appendix A: Closed-Ended Results) including 164 open-ended responses (out of a total of 167) after data cleaning. Of the 164 open-ended responses, 10 included comments unrelated to customer service experiences within the district. To keep the findings as salient as possible for HCPS’ future decision-making, HCPS excluded these comments from this analysis, focusing on the content contained in the remaining 154 open-ended responses.
The Office of Research and Program Evaluation collaborated designed a mixed-methods evaluation framework HCPS will use to monitor the implementation and the impact of the Blended Virtual Learning Program at Swan Creek School. This collaboration entails leveraging multiple methodologies to ensure a comprehensive evaluation of the Swan Creek School’s Blended Virtual Learning Program, including survey research, qualitative research (e.g., stakeholder focus groups), and quantitative research (e.g., student data analyses), and a comprehensive capstone report.
The attached document is a checklist students and parents can use to determine their “fit” for a virtual learning program.
Students and families interested in enrolling in a Blended Virtual Learning Program (BVLP) at Swan Creek School (SCS) can use this Fit Assessment to learn about the characteristics of a successful BVLP student and determine if a BVLP is a good fit for their student and family.
In the following report, the Office of Research and Program Evaluation presents findings from two Pre-Surveys conducted by HCPS. The goal of these pre-surveys was to collect feedback from elementary, middle, and high school students, parents, and staff regarding their perceptions of the district’s online learning program, the Swan Creek School’s (SCS’) Blended Virtual Learning Program. To this end, Swan Creek School partnered with the Office of Research (Researchers) and other stakeholders to analyze responses to these surveys’ open-ended questions.
This analysis will support HCPS in evaluating the SCS program and answers the following research questions:
Harford Community College is holding several Financial Aid Workshops to assist families navigating the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, application process. Completing the FAFSA is a crucial step in securing financial assistance for your child's college education. We encourage you to attend one of the workshops to learn pertinent information from Harford Community College (HCC) Financial aid staff for the completion of the FAFSA.
Several sessions will be held in Harford County Public Schools:
1. Edgewood High on October 10, 2023
2. Patterson Mill High on October 17, 2023
3. Fallston High on November 8, 2023
4. Aberdeen High on November 9, 2023
5. North Harford High on November 14, 2023
Each of the above sessions will run from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and you are welcome to attend at any location.
HCC asks that, when possible, attendees register in advance to ensure appropriate materials are available for attendees.
The general HCC Financial Aid page is a great resource for additional information about financial aid.
9/28/2023 5:00 PM
For over 20 years, Harford County Public Schools (HCPS) school counselors have administered Wellness Needs Assessments. The results of the assessment are used to determine how HCPS staff can provide more direct and specific supports to our students. We hope you will encourage your child to share their true thoughts and feelings as we look to provide as supportive and nurturing a school environment as possible for all students.
Students do not have to participate in the Wellness Needs Assessment with the school counselor and can let their school counselor know if they do not want to participate. You may also send an email to your student’s school counselor to make them aware if you do not want your child to participate in the Wellness Needs Assessment.
9/21/2023 5:00 PM
The Board of Education of Harford County is seeking your feedback on the proposed 2024-2025 school calendar.
At the September 18 Board of Education business meeting, two proposed calendars were shared with the Board- one starting before Labor Day and the second, starting after Labor Day. You can watch the presentation on the Board Archive page. A survey has been created to collect your feedback on the proposed calendars. The survey also provides an opportunity for additional comments at the end of the survey.
Your input is vital to ensuring all perspectives are considered when creating the next HCPS calendar. This process is taking place now because it is Board policy to finalize the calendar at least 8 months prior to the first day of school.
We are asking parents and guardians, staff, and community members to provide input for the next 60 days before the Board votes on the final 2024-2025 HCPS calendar on December 18, 2023. Be sure to "refresh" your browser to see the most recent results for the survey!
9/19/2023 3:03 PM
The following message is being sent to parents and guardians of students in grade 12 via phone, email, and text message at 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, September 12, 2023. All HCPS app users will receive a push notification:
Since 1970, the Maryland Page Program provides an opportunity for high school seniors to serve alongside Maryland legislators during the annual session of the Maryland General Assembly. Each year, only 105 pages and 36 alternates are selected from across the State to represent their schools and counties in Annapolis. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have a front-row seat to see government in action and to impact legislation that impacts all of Maryland!
Click Here for the Application
Click Here to Hear from Past Student Pages
Selected pages serve two nonconsecutive weeks, during the thirteen weeks of session. During the 13 weeks of session, which runs from the second week in January to early April, each page serves one week during the first seven weeks and returns for a second week of service during the last six. The duties of the page revolve around the schedule of the chamber. Whenever the chamber is in session, pages must be present. Each page is paid a stipend of $55 per day worked to help defray expenses. Lodging and meals must be paid for by the page. Lodging is arranged by the Page Office for pages outside Anne Arundel County who request housing.
Students interested in being considered to serve as a Page should complete this application Form by no later than 5:00 p.m. on Friday, October 6, 2023.
9/12/2023 10:46 AM
Harford County Public Schools invites you to our Magnet and Technical Programs Information Nights.
These meetings have been scheduled from 6:30pm to 8:30pm on September 19th at North Harford High School, September 21st at Aberdeen High School, September 26th at Havre de Grace High School, September 28th at Harford Technical High School, October 3rd at Edgewood High School and October 9th at Joppatowne High School.
The programs that will be discussed are the Science and Mathematics Academy at Aberdeen High School; the Global Studies/International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme at Edgewood High School; the Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences Program at North Harford High School; Oracle Academy at Havre de Grace High School; Junior Reserve Training Corps or JROTC, Pathways in Technology Early College High School, or PTECH, at Joppatowne High School; Teacher Academy of Maryland, and Harford Technical High School.
Please visit https://www.hcps.org/schools/magnetprograms/ for information regarding HCPS Magnet programs, including Open house details. You can also contact your school of interest directly with questions or for more information.
9/7/2023 5:00 PM
Dear Parents and Guardians,
For the 2024-2025 school year, 8th grade students who are applying to the Teacher Academy of Maryland Magnet may be offered seats in either Edgewood High School or North Harford High School via an established lottery process.
Students currently enrolled in TAM at Harford Technical High School will continue the program at Harford Technical high School through their graduation.
9/5/2023 5:30 PM
Dear Parents and Guardians of fifth-grade students,
This school year, your student will take part in an amazing opportunity at Harford Glen Environmental Education Center. The Fifth Grade Residential Outdoor Education Program is an overnight program and part of your student’s Environmental Stewardship unit. The hands-on learning opportunities at Harford Glen cannot be replicated in the classroom.
Staff at Harford Glen will host eight Open Houses for you to bring your student, learn about the program and visit the facility.
The Open Houses should take approximately 30 minutes and are self-guided, allowing you to explore the grounds, and facilities, on your own. Harford Glen staff will be on hand to answer any questions you may have.
Open House dates:
- Thursday, September 7, 2023 from 4:00-7:00 p.m.
- Wednesday, September 13, 2023 from 4:00-7:00 p.m.
- Tuesday, September 26, 2023 from 4:00-7:00 p.m.
- Thursday, October 19, 2023 from 2:00-5:00 p.m.
- Wednesday, November 1, 2023 from 4:00-7:00 p.m.
- Tuesday, December 19, 2023 from 4:00-7:00 p.m.
- Friday, February 16, 2024 from 2:00-5:00 p.m.
- Thursday, March 21, 2024 from 4:00-7:00 p.m.
If Harford County Public Schools closes schools on any of the above dates, the Open House that day will be canceled.
For more information about the Harford Glen programs, click here.
Manager of Communications
8/29/2023 5:00 PM
8/21/2023 9:31 AM
Please be advised that we have been made aware of unauthorized web sites and smart phone apps that accept Harford County Public Schools (HCPS) student credentials, potentially stealing your students’ credentials and or misusing them.
Parents and guardians should check their student's personal devices for apps and web site access to prevent them from unknowingly giving access to their personal information. We use security measures on HCPS devices to ensure this doesn’t happen, but we can’t protect your personal devices. Only you can ensure your student isn’t using an app or visiting a site that may be collecting information in the background!
All HCPS approved apps and platforms are listed on hcps.org; if we haven’t endorsed it, don’t use it. If you want to ask about a specific app/platform, contact User.Support@hcps.org.
8/10/2023 11:27 AM
Dear Parents and Guardians,
Harford County Public Schools, with support from a generous grant from the Harford County Health Department, is pleased to offer Care Solace to all students, staff, and their family members. Care Solace helps individuals find mental health care providers and substance use treatment centers. Their care companion team is available 24 hours per day, seven days per week, and 365 days per year to quickly connect you to carefully verified providers in your community. They will connect you with providers accepting all medical insurances and even options for those without insurance. This referral process is at no cost to you or the school system.
For more information on Care Solace, how to connect someone, or how to utilize Care Solace yourself, please watch this Parent Academy Real Talk video.
Parents/guardians and staff may access Care Solace services by utilizing the Care Solace website or calling (888) 515-0595. Support is available in 200+ languages. Parents/guardians can also call their child’s school to have administration or student services staff complete a referral on their behalf.
Manager of Communications
Harford County Public Schools
6/13/2023 5:00 PM
The following communication was sent to families on Wednesday, May 31, 2023 at 5 p.m.:
During the most recent legislative session, the Maryland General Assembly moved the date of the primary election for the State of Maryland. As a result, the primary elections will be held on May 14, 2023, instead of April 23, 2024.
The Board of Education of Harford County (BOE) originally approved the 2023-2024 school year calendar at the Board of Education Business Meeting on December 19, 2022. As a result of the election date change, the BOE voted on Monday, May 22, 2023, to make the following adjustment to the 2023-2024 school year calendar:
HCPS schools and offices will be open on April 23, 2024, and schools and offices will be closed on May 14, 2024, to allow our schools to to function as polling places for the election.
Calendar information can be found here.
Manager of Communications
Harford County Public Schools
5/31/2023 5:00 PM
12/21/2022 12:09 PM
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