Welcome to DEI News!
The goal of the DEI News page is to share the many newsworthy stories that occur throughout the Avonworth School District related to diversity, equity, and inclusion. We are extremely proud of our amazing school community and happy to share these wonderful stories with you.
An Evening with Candi Castleberry Singleton: How Dignity & Respect Create a Community of Belonging for Everyone - March 18, 2021
Hosted by the Avonworth School District's Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Committee, Dr. Tom Ralston, Superintendent of the Avonworth School District, and Mrs. Yu-Ling Cheng, parent and school board member in the Avonworth School District sat down with Candi Castleberry Singleton for a conversation about how dignity & respect help to create a community of belonging for everyone.
Candi is the Vice President of Diversity Partnership Strategy & Engagement at Twitter. She is also the founder of the award-winning Dignity & Respect Campaign, which has helped organizations create more inclusive work environments. As an experienced diversity and inclusion leader, she created The Bolt-On to Built-In Model™ featured in her chapter of Crossing the Divide: Intergroup Leadership in a World of Difference. She has developed successful strategies and initiatives in technology, telecommunications, and healthcare at organizations such as Xerox, Sun Microsystems, Motorola, and UPMC.
Candi has served as an adjunct professor at Carnegie Mellon University. She received an MBA from Pepperdine, a bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley, and also completed the Stanford Executive Human Resources program.
Chintha Katherisan Chosen to Participate in I Look Like a Cardiologist
We are thrilled to recognize Avonworth High School student Chintha Katherisan who was chosen to participate in I Look Like a Cardiologist, which aims to close gender and racial gaps in medicine. Chintha was chosen to participate in the 2020-2021 school year.
Chintha stated the following regarding her participation in I Look Like a Cardiologist.
"I am most eager to learn from my assigned mentor and other physicians about the journey it takes to become a cardiologist or any medical profession for that matter. I am excited to learn the basics of cardiology, work through case studies, and make meaningful connections with the professionals I encounter. Since I am very interested in medicine and have been since I was little, I think this program will provide me with more knowledge surrounding the healthcare field and allow me to make connections with my mentor that will help me as I pursue medicine."
Learn more about the I Look Like a Cardiologist program by clicking on the following link.
Avonworth Caravan for Change
During the 2019-2020 school year, the Avonworth School District Board of Directors approved the establishment of a Social Justice Club at Avonworth High School. Led by Avonworth students Hannah Palmer, Jada Guiste, and Macey Schriefer the club organized their first event. The event, Avonworth Caravan for Change, took place at Avonworth Primary Center on July 31, 2020. With restrictions in place due to COVID-19, the event was organized to take place in the parking lot of the primary center so that people could remain at their cars and properly distanced.
The event featured a variety of speakers which included students, parents, a Board member, a graduate, high school principal, Mrs. Dwulit, and our Avonworth Superintendent, Dr. Ralston. Those that spoke shared experiences on the topics of racism, allyship, community, and unity. In addition to the speakers, songs emphasizing unity were sung. To ensure proper social distancing was possible, registration was cut off and the event was live-streamed on Facebook for anyone that couldn't attend in person.
The Social Justice Club created this event with the goal of bringing the community together for a common good. The event was a huge success with almost 100 in attendance and 3,400 views on Facebook.
Mrs. Kathy Galecki Named The Holocaust Educator of the Year
Avonworth Middle School Teacher, Mrs. Kathy Galeciki, was selected as the 2019-2020 Holocaust Educator of the Year by the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh! This award was created to recognize the importance of Holocaust education and is given to a Holocaust educator that inspires critical thought and personal growth through the lessons of the Holocaust. Applications for this award are received from teachers in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia.
Avonworth Board Member, Yu-Ling Cheng Behr, Interviewed on Pittsburgh Today Live
Kidsburgh Director of Marketing and Avonworth School Board Director, Mrs. Yu-Ling Behr, conducted an interview on Pittsburgh Today Live on July 2, 2020. The focus of the interview was on books that families can read together about race and racism. These books would be a wonderful summer reading for our Avonworth School District families. We encourage you to watch the interview and also access the link of books on race and racism as recommended by the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. The list is broken down by age to assist parents in identifying the books that would be appropriate for them to share with and read with their children. Access this list of books HERE.
Avonworth Student Recognized
Avonworth Senior (Class of 2020) Toni Keller was selected by members of Carnegie Mellon University's Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion, Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences and English Department to represent Avonworth High School at their Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Writing Awards. Toni was selected after submitting her essay, If I Need A Label, and attended a banquet on campus held on Dr. King's national holiday, January 20th.
LIGHT Education Initiative Grant
During the 2019-2020 school year, the high school received a grant from the LIGHT Education Initiative, which is an incentive-based education initiative designed to inspire, prepare, and empower students for leadership roles in Holocaust, genocide, and human rights education, remembrance, and advocacy. This grant is being used to create a LIGHT Center in high school, which is a collaborative humanities maker space.
Good Citizenship Guidebook
Eighth Grade students created a Good Citizenship Guidebook in their English Language Arts/Civics class. The book was intended for immigrants, refugees, or new residents to the United States. The guidebook included many of the important topics that a new citizen to the United States might need to know as well as information to help them become informed, productive, and influential citizens. During this project, students listen to opposing points of view while studying the history of our country. In September of 2019, a representative group of students attended the official US Naturalization Ceremony at the City-County Buiding and distributed the book to newly-naturalized American Citizens. The students' hope is to make our new citizens feel welcomed into the community and help them to exhibit the qualities of good citizens.
Avonworth Middle School Students Honor Tree of Life Victims
In October of 2019, the Pittsburgh community remembered the victims of the Tree of Life tragedy. Some of our 8th-grade students not only remembered the victims, but they also took action to honor the Tree of Life victims and the Jewish community. The students decided to make an addition to the #bethekindkid shirt by adding the #bethekindkid to the shirts written in Hebrew. Students sold the shirts and the money raised was donated to Classrooms Without Borders. Approximately 200 shirts were sold. Avonworth staff and students wore their shirts Wednesday, October 30 to honor the victims of the Tree of Life tragedy.
This story was featured on WPXI. Click HERE to view this story.
Not In Our Town
Eighth-grad students at Avonworth Middle School engage in a unit to study Holocaust literature themes and how they connect to the world today. Recognized for this rigorous and meaningful unit, Avonworth's middle school classrooms were chosen to be filmed by Not In Our Town, a national non-profit organization working to stop hate, counter. bullying, and build safe, inclusive communities. This film project was aimed at documenting the Pittsburgh community's response to the Tree of Life Synagogue attack.
RARE Disease Week
In support of one of their classmates living with a rare disease, Friedreich's Ataxia, Avonworth High School students rallied to show their support for their classmate, Jay Foster, by organizing a variety of fundraising activities during RARE Disease Week. Over $5000 was raised for The Friedreich's Ataxia Research Alliance while students learned about this rare disease and developed compassion and empathy for those facing rare diseases like the one this classmate battles.