October 11, 2022 – The Air Products Salute to Diversity in Education Awards recognize teachers in the Bethlehem Area School District who celebrate diversity, equity, and inclusion by sincerely demonstrating a commitment to create a safe and supportive community within their classroom. Among the many nominations that were received for the award, Laurie Gostley Hackett from Air Products along with a BASD committee including Dr. Roy selected three recipients to include one at the elementary level, middle school level, and high school level.
Each winner was surprised with the award at their school. We are excited to share the winners with you.
Our elementary school recipient is Katia Rodriguez, a teacher at Calypso Elementary School. She was nominated for this award by her principal, Kathleen Bast. Mrs. Rodriguez is willing to have the hard conversations in her classroom around race, gender, ethnicity, and religion. Originally from Peru, Mrs. Rodriguez uses every opportunity to add value to her lessons by being inclusive of cultural differences. In addition, Mrs. Rodriguez makes sure her students know how much she cares for them, how much she wants them to be successful, and puts in the effort to call out and address any anti-inclusive behavior.
Our middle school recipient is Adam Carpenter, a teacher at East Hills Middle School. He was nominated for this award by the administration at East Hills Middle School, principal, David Horvath and Assistant Principals Regina Braun and Patrick Tannous. Mr. Carpenter is dedicated and committed to modeling and sharing his work in restorative practices throughout the building. This work allows him to utilize circles in his daily routine(s) to give all students a voice. Additionally, Mr. Carpenter is an integral member of the East Hills school improvement task force. He often helps to
lead meetings attended by school stakeholders as we work to develop plans and identify needs around the work of diversity, equity, and inclusion. In addition, his work has contributed to the success of the East Hills Charger PRIDE program, student-led conferences, Lynfield collaborations, and being a trauma informed school. Mr. Carpenter is an excellent advocate for the students who observe and identifies obstacles that get in the way of students’ performance in the learning environment. He provides possible solutions and includes students in the process. Lastly, he has a welcoming classroom environment where all students feel included and valued.
Our high school recipient is Nicole Hart a special education teacher at Freedom High School. Ms. Hart was nominated by her principal, Laurie Sage. Ms. Hart teaches the STEPs (Site Training and Employment Program) Expansion course at Freedom High school. Students enrolled in this course often exhibit negative behavior, poor attendance, and lagging academic skills, and they are in need of social skills, are at risk of dropping out of school, and require support in their transition to employment. Ms.
Hart’s patience and belief in her students is unwavering. She tirelessly makes community connections to empower her students to gain valuable skills via service learning. She opens the students’ eyes to the support and love of the community via organizations like New Bethany Ministries and builds their belief and confidence in themselves, while empowering them with the capacity to become a powerful source of self-support. Ms. Hart does all this quietly and without fanfare. In addition, a core component of Ms. Hart’s course is service learning, in which she teaches her students that one of the ways to cultivate happiness is to serve others. Ms. Hart’s greatest strength is forming meaningful and dynamic relationships with her students.
Dr. Roy stated, “I am proud of all three of the recipients. Each recipient, in their own way, serves our BASD students through the lens of equity and anti-racism. We are thankful to Laurie Gostley Hackett and Air Products for making this possible.”
About the Bethlehem Area School District
The Bethlehem Area School District is the 6th largest school district in Pennsylvania serving nearly 14,000 culturally and economically diverse students in 22 community-based schools. The district serves five municipalities: City of Bethlehem, Bethlehem Township, Hanover Township, Freemansburg, and Fountain Hill. The district enjoys numerous community partnerships with universities, businesses, and arts providers that extend the schools’ rich curricular and co-curricular offerings.
Information provided to TVL by:
Bethlehem Area School District
1516 Sycamore Street
Bethlehem, PA 18017