Motivate, Educate, Celebrate: Learning Together for a Better Future

Employee Handbook 

Updated 10-28-2011

About Harrisonburg City Public Schools


Career and Recertification


Compensation and Benefits




Enhancing Instruction with Technology




  • SOL Writing Test Schedule 

  • Request for Permission to Attend Meeting 


This employee handbook highlights HCPS policies, guidelines, and general information. Please refer to the policy manual for specific information and a comprehensive explanation of policies.  Copies of the policy manual are located in each school library, each principal’s office, the local public library, and on the HCPS website.

It is the policy of the Harrisonburg City Public School Board to comply with all applicable state and federal laws regarding non-discrimination in employment and educational programs and services. Harrisonburg City Schools will not discriminate illegally on the basis of sex, religion, national origin, disability, or age as to employment or educational programs and activities.

Vision Statement

Motivate, Educate, Celebrate:
Learning together for a better future.


Mission Statement 

Harrisonburg City Public Schools: A place where learning has no limits and together we work for the success of all.


Hiring and Mentoring

To be considered for employment by HCPS (or a transfer), an applicant must register and complete an online application, as well as submit official transcripts and required State Board of Education test(s).  The online application is reviewed by the Executive Director of Human Resources and the principal/supervisor.

The decision to select candidates for an interview and/or hiring will be based on the needs of the school, the applicant’s qualifications, educational experience, references, a writing sample, and the rating scale from the interview committee/team.  The final decision for hiring a teacher or assistant is the responsibility of the principal/supervisor.

All new teachers will be assigned a mentor.  Mentors will receive recertification points and monetary compensation provided by Department of Education grant funds. (Please refer to the P.E.E.R.S handbook, which is given to all mentors, for specific information.)



Since the purpose of evaluation is to improve performance to enhance the educational  program, every employee will be evaluated by his/her supervisor each year in the following manner:

  1. Teachers and administrative staff will set instructional objectives to be evaluated at the conclusion of each school year. (Please refer to Policies 638 and 668.)
  2. Classified employees and administrative staff will complete a self-evaluation form.
  3. Each employee will receive a year-end evaluation at the end of each year.

Please refer to the Models for Instructional Improvement, which are distributed to all new teachers.  Employees may view their previous evaluations; personnel files are available on site and at the central office.


Employee Expectations

Employee behaviors that are considered disciplinary offenses include but are not limited to:

  • Incompetency
  • Inefficiency
  • Dishonesty
  • Unprofessional behavior
  • Excessive absences
  • Insubordination
  • Failure to follow policies/rules/directions
  • Providing false or misleading information as related to the school or school division
Professional Staff: Expectations and Discipline - Policy #619
Support Staff - Expectations and Discipline - Policy #622

Professional Development

Staff Development
HCPS provides staff development programs to increase knowledge and performance.  These activities are made available to employees at the building and school division levels.  Recertification points can be earned through participation in staff development activities.

Professional Development Opportunities (website link for HCPS opportunities)

Tuition Reimbursement Program

  • The school division provides tuition reimbursement for Teachers and Administrators of up to $900 for college level course(s) per school calendar year.
  • The school division provides tuition reimbursement for Classified Staff of up to $900 for college level course(s) per school calendar year (must lead to a teaching license or will improve skills in the current responsibilities/assignment).
Required Forms
  • Class Registration  (This form must be submitted for approval of tuition reimbursement prior to the start date of the class/course. Reimbursement may not be available without prior approval.)

  • Request for Reimbursement (Submit this form no later than 10 days after completing your course.)
License Fees
The school division will pay the $25 license renewal fee for current employees. Initial licensure costs ($50 in-state and $75 out-of-state) are paid by the applicant.  The following license procedures require a fee of $25 that must be paid by the employee:
  • Name change
  • Addition of a Master’s or doctorate degree
  • Evaluation for an additional endorsement
  • Addition of an endorsement (unless a copy of a VA DOE evaluation is sent at the time of the request for the endorsement to be added)
There is a cap of $50 on a single request.  Personal checks are accepted and should be made payable to “Treasurer of Virginia.”

Supplementary Pay Plans
Supplemental pay for extracurricular activities (team leaders, coaching positions, sponsorships) is determined by the School Board.  The principal of each school is responsible for the selection of these employees on an annual basis.  Separate contracts are issued for employees receiving a monetary supplement for sponsoring extracurricular activities.

Professional Staff: Supplementary Pay Plans - Policy #610
  • Any full-time professional staff member who possesses a Master’s degree will receive $2,550 each year in addition to the established salary.  Full-time teachers enrolled in a graduate program will earn $510 when 9 hours of coursework are accumulated, $1,020 when 18 hours are accumulated and $1,530 when 27 hours are accumulated. 
  • Any full-time professional staff member who possesses an educational specialist degree will receive $1,000 in addition to the Master's stipend.
  • Any full-time professional staff member who possesses a doctorate degree in the education field will earn $1,000 in addition to the Master's and educational specialist stipend.
  • Prorated amounts provided based on contract percentage.

To receive the Master's, educational specialist or doctoral stipend, eligible employees should contact the Human Resources department.  An official transcript must be submitted to the central office by February 1 in order to secure funds during that school year.  The supplement will then be reflected in the employee’s March paycheck.

Staff Compensation - Policy #609
Staff Compensation - Form #609-F
Staff Compensation - Regulation #609-R

Learning is a continuous process not restricted to the classroom; instructional support at home plays a key role in the learning process.  Homework is the reinforcement and application of previously learned concepts, principles, and skills, and should be assigned only after thorough explanations of the skills necessary to complete the task.  Homework should also serve a valid purpose related to class activities, and be evaluated promptly and returned to the student.

Homework - Policy #735

Curriculum Process
The curriculum is a plan of action to facilitate lifelong learners through implementation of the Standards of Learning.  Each curriculum will establish student learning outcomes and will monitor students as they accomplish these proficiencies.  The curriculum development process includes:
  • Identification of division goals
  • Statement of philosophy
  • Identification of program goals and student learning outcomes
  • Curriculum resources, strategies, and assessment
Any teacher who is interested in starting a new course should present the idea to his/her immediate supervisor.  The instructional supervisor in the appropriate content area will then be contacted to discuss the concept and assist with development.  An outline of the course must then be drafted in order for the Director of Instruction to present the proposed course to the School Board.

Curriculum Development - Policy #705.
Textbook Adoption
HCPS adopts textbooks every six years, subject to regulations of the School Board of Education.  New textbook purchases are subject to the availability of funds.  The textbook adoption process involves:
  1. Local school committees, with assistance from the division’s instructional supervisors, review the textbooks and narrow the options.
  2. The top three selections are reviewed by the department or grade level and at least one parent.
  3. When a final decision has been made, the textbooks are displayed for public viewing and comment.
  4. After public input, the School Board must approve the recommendations for adoptions.
Grading Scales
Middle & High School
Grading Scale
Elementary Grading


Field Trips
A field trip form must be submitted to and approved by a teacher’s immediate supervisor prior to participating in the activity.  Field trip forms and procedures are located in each school’s office.  All field trips must comply with School Board policy and regulations. 
Enhancing Instruction with Technology

HCPS recognizes the key role that technology can take in supporting the educational process and thereby strives to provide teachers and students with resources, support and training to enable them to make effective use of these important tools and resources.  The HCPS Technology Plan outlines the goals and objectives of the instructional technology program and serves as a guide to meeting those goals.

A comprehensive guide to technology in HCPS, including additional information on the topics below, can be found online. 
Also, more information can be found by clicking the heading of each section below.

Technology Staff

The instructional technology resource teachers (ITRTs) are available to provide ideas, resources, training, and support to help teachers integrate technology.  Support staff keep the network and equipment running, and school technology staff answer questions, provide support, and generally help staff members use technology.  A Service Request Database is available for staff to enter service requests when they experience a problem with their technology.

Technology Standards

Computer/Technology Standards
The Computer/Technology Standards of Learning identify skills necessary for students to become technologically proficient.  These standards should be addressed within the curriculum at each grade level.  Benchmarks and projects have been identified to ensure that students become technologically literate by Grade 8.

Technology Standards for Instructional Personnel  (TSIP)
As mandated by the Virginia Department of Education, proficiency of the Technology Standards for Instructional Personnel is required for teaching certification and renewal.  Employees returning to teaching after a hiatus or those who have earned a teaching certificate from a college/university in another state will need to complete a TSIP portfolio in order to meet this requirement.  
Electronic Communication
Harrisonburg City Public Schools recognizes that technology provides great opportunities for increased communication and collaboration for both students and staff members.  As students and staff are connected to the global community, their use of new tools and systems brings new responsibilities as well as opportunities.  Any electronic or online communications by employees with students and parents must be professional in content and tone and follow the Guidelines for Electronic Communication

Class Websites
All HCPS teachers maintain class website to share information with students, parents, and the community.

Staff members are provided with district email accounts and are required to check email daily to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of communication both within the organization and with the broader community.  HCPS uses webmail for division email.  This allows users to check email wherever an internet connection is available.  All electronic communication must adhere to division policy and the Guidelines for Electronic Communication.

Staff Access to the Division Computer System - Policy #667
Staff Access to the Division Computer System - Acceptable Use Agreement - Regulation #667-R
Appropriate Use of Network and Technology Resources
Network Access and Use
Each school maintains a local area network for file and print sharing.  All teachers have access to a secure location on the school network, and files stored on the network are backed up regularly.  Staff Access to the Division Computer System (Policy #667) establishes important guidelines that teachers must follow when using division network and internet resources.  All staff members must read and sign the Acceptable Computer Use Agreement (Regulation #667-R). 

Use of Personal Computers and Devices
Faculty/staff wishing to access the school division computer network with personally-owned computers must sign the Personal Electronic Device Network User Agreement and have their computer/device certified by the network administrator or designee to meet the requirements of that agreement.  The division will not support nor maintain staff-owned equipment.

Acceptable Use Agreement for Students
Student Use of Division Computer System (Policy #752) and the student Acceptable Computer Use Agreement (Regulation #752-R) establish important guidelines that students must follow when using school network and internet resources.  Teachers and staff members must monitor student technology use to ensure that students are acting responsibly and within division guidelines when they are using technology resources.

Internet Safety
School divisions are required by Virginia law to implement a program of internet safety for students that is integrated within the instructional curriculum.  HCPS has developed and employed an internet safety program that focuses on providing training for staff, presentations for parents, and instruction for students.

To keep students safe, all teachers are expected to:
  • Monitor student use of the internet to ensure that they are complying with the Acceptable Use Agreement.
  • Provide guidance in selecting websites for students to use.
  • Provide expectations that student use of computers is for educational purposes.
  • Provide age-appropriate instruction on internet safety as part of regular curriculum.
Internet Filter
In accordance with the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA), HCPS makes every reasonable effort to filter access to internet content that is obscene, depicts pornography, or is harmful to or deemed inappropriate for minors.  Occasionally, legitimate educational sites may be inadvertently blocked by this filter.  If this happens, teachers can request a site review by clicking on the "Filter Change" screen that appears for a blocked site.

All staff members are expected to abide by copyright regulations as specified in Policy #739.  This includes both print and electronic resources.  Staff members should also model and teach appropriate use of copyrighted materials.
Instructional Resources
The ActiveDiscovery instructional database brings literacy, ESL, SOL, and other data together into one location to give users a comprehensive picture of student academic progress.  Elementary report cards are also available through ActiveDiscovery.

Professional Development for Technology
HCPS offers a variety of training opportunities both at the school and division level to help teachers effectively integrate technology.

TEACH Clearinghouse
The TEACH Clearinghouse is a collection of over 350 technology-enhanced lessons and activities created by HCPS teachers.  It is available for use by division faculty and can be accessed online inside the division network.  Teachers are encouraged to submit successful technology-enhanced lessons and activities, and those who do will become eligible for incentives offered through the annual Clearinghouse sweepstakes.

Technology Tools and Resources
Teachers and students have access to a variety of technology tools and resources to enrich the learning experience.

Distributing Information
Information is distributed throughout the division in various ways, including meetings, memos, and email distribution lists.  The Communication Committee meets monthly with a focus of fostering communication at all levels of the division.

The superintendent, principals, directors, supervisors, and coordinators meet monthly to discuss management and instructional issues.

In addition to faculty meetings, faculty will receive important instructional information from the Instructional Team Leaders (ITLs), who meet at least once a month with the principal and share information with their team, department, or grade level.

The Tech Update newsletter is distributed to faculty several times a year, and provides tips and ideas for implementing technology in the classroom.

In addition to individual schools providing newsletters to parents, HCPS also publishes "Reports to the Community" in The Daily News-Record twice a year.  A division newsletter is also distributed throughout the school year.  Brochures about HCPS are also available in the schools and at the Chamber of Commerce.
Inclement Weather
In the event of inclement weather, the superintendent or his designee will confer with the Harrisonburg Transit Authority to determine road conditions before making a decision regarding closure or delayed opening.  School closing announcements are listed on local radio and television stations, as well as the HCPS website.

School Closings - Policy #216


The School Board follows the mandatory grievance procedure adopted by the Virginia Board of Education.  A copy may be obtained from the principal or the Director of Human Resources. 

Grievance Procedures - Policy #639


HCPS recognizes excellent student and staff performance in many ways.  First, the individual school highlights achievements in its newsletter and at PTA or assembly programs.  Secondly, achievement is featured in the "Report to the Community" which is published in The Daily News-Record.  A recognition announcement is also published in the newspaper each June.  The School Board also recognizes accomplishments during the "Spotlight on Excellence" segment of their meeting.