Media Aide Patricia “Tricia” Heidkamp didn’t have a clue that she was the reason behind today’s (Thursday, April 28, 2016) school assembly. Bittersweet Principal Mr. Bob Thompson kicked off the assembly and then handed it off to Superintendent Dr. Jerry Thacker. Tricia was completely surprised when Dr. Thacker announced she had been named P-H-M 2016 Classified Employee of the Year! Click here to watch a video of the surprise announcement.
“It was evident from the numerous nominations we received that Ms. Heidkamp is very well loved and admired by students, teachers and Bittersweet staff,” said Dr. Thacker. “Her passion to go above and beyond to help students exemplifies the P-H-M spirit.”
Tricia was nominated for the honor by several of her peers praising her instrumental role in implementing schoolwide reading programs, such as Accelerated Reader and RAZ. Tricia has created a reward system to give the students the extra encouragement and incentives they need to be successful. She set up a “Rewards Store” where students can use their Reading Rewards Points to make purchases.
Teachers commend Tricia for her focused reorganization of Bittersweet’s library. To make the I-M-C more user friendly for students, Tricia organized books according to Lexile band so that students could quickly find a book on their level. Her creation of the “Leap into Lexile” program rewards students who read at least one book in their Lexile band per grading period. Tricia was also awarded a P-H-M Education Foundation grant to purchase higher level Lexile books for the library.
Principal Thompson credits Tricia’s contributions as a major reason why Bittersweet was the only elementary school whose high ability students met their SRI growth for the 2014-2015 school year! Tricia goes above and beyond helping students any way she can. She even started a lunch reading group, tutoring students as they eat lunch together.
Tricia is not just known at Bittersweet; she’s also a dedicated Penn Band Booster serving as “Head Uniform Mom” for Marching, Concert and Jazz Bands for the last three years. And if that’s not enough … Tricia also volunteers many hours with the Madison Township 4-H!
Tricia will be recognized, as will Penn Biology teacher John Gensic who was named P-H-M Teacher of the Year on Tuesday, April 26, at the Employee Recognition Dinner taking place Wednesday, May 11, along with P-H-M’s 2016 retirees and all the District’s service award winners (10-40 years).