Big Change at Bethlehem Schools

Situation or Challenge

Our client noted that the school is constantly amid two conflicting cycles: the cycle of change that is never-ending and the cycle of complacency that is also never-ending. What is destructive about the cycle of complacency is that its presence is never directly felt but is so subtle and nuanced that it often goes unnoticed until slippage away from being at our highest functioning ideal is no longer the reality. Similarly, the cycle of change is one that most acknowledge is the only constant, but all also acknowledge that there is never a good time to make change. School staff have made progress in self-awareness about implicit bias, but it has yet to be as pervasive as needed.


As part of our plan, the school staff continues to meet as a small steering group to address small-scale change. But, we also identified that whole-scale intervention is necessary. Following 22 staff members’ work in a book group, all participants regard this work as beneficial and necessary.


Bethlehem Schools have continued pursuing small-scale interventions and experienced positive results with our book group intervention. Their goal is to infuse an ongoing critical mass of staff from this starting point to inform their values structure so that this work lives permanently among our staff regardless of turnover.


  • Departmental (English & Social Studies) staff being trained in an implicit bias workshop
  • Book group that worked with 22 of our staff to address implicit bias, instructional strategies that emphasize equitable practice and self-awareness, and that addressed personal self-awareness
  • The district’s new position of DEI coordinator for the 2022-23 School year evolved to a similar position for the 2023-24 school year
  • An outside consultant (Harriette Grosvenor) completed an equity walkthrough assessment on two occasions, both before and during the pandemic
  • ACE’s workshop for all staff regarding the impact of trauma on all students and, in particular, how it can have a cumulative impact on students within subgroup populations that goes above and beyond the effects on students from majority groups
  • Therapeutic Crisis Intervention Training (ongoing) for de-escalation techniques and relationship-building techniques for regular education classroom teachers
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