P.C.P.D. December 2017/January 2018

Penn Charter Professional Development

December 2017/January 2018

Published monthly by William Penn Charter School in the interest of our faculty and staff.


News to Know




La Sripanawongsa recently hosted and participated in a two-day world language workshop, "Cultivating Joy and Success in Teaching and Learning Language." Over 40 world language teachers attended the event, which was held at Penn Charter.

Antonio Williams recently presented a workshop entitled “Of Our Spiritual Strivings: Reconsidering Du Bois, the Talented Tenth and the Divine Nine” at the People of Color Conference (PoCC) in Anaheim, Ca. He was also involved in developing a documentary commemorating the 30th anniversary of the PoCC. The film project is a collaborative partnership with and between NAIS, André Robert-Lee (Many Things Management), Antonio and Shanelle Henry Robinson from Friends Academy.

On January 26, Antonio Williams will offer a workshop entitled “In the Midst of History: Embracing the Tension in Uncertain Times” for the Friends Council on Education Diversity Peer Network

Congratulations and special thanks to the many PC colleagues who shared their expertise by leading November TLC workshops and offering one-to-one mentor help: Sarah Aguilar-Francis, Kevin Berkoff, David Brightbill, Karen Campbell, Julian Guindon, Jackie Hamilton, Elizabeth Hitschler, Jeff Humble, Imana Legette, Michael Moulton, Eva Kay Noone, Lee Payton, Kristin Swoszowski-Tran and Doug Uhlmann.

Shannon Fiedler and Rich Ludwig welcomed a daughter, Kyla, on November 10.


News and Notes

Imana Legette is consulting with Our Mother of Consolation School to develop a strategic plan for diversity. They have followed our programming and work at Penn Charter, and they have asked for assistance expanding their own program.

At the end of November, a group of faculty and students traveled to Anaheim, Ca., to participate in the People of Color Conference and the Student Diversity Leadership Conference. In addition to Antonio Williams, mentioned above, faculty and staff attendees included Jackie Hamilton, Tiffani Harris, Imana Legette, Bryan Skelly, and Allen Vandergrift. The students who participated in the SDLC will host workshops for LS, MS and US faculty.

In November, Christie Pearsall attended the Girl Meets World conference offered by the Girls Leadership Foundation. The conference took place at Smith College.


Finding God When There Is No Good: Connecting English and Quakerism

by Aly Goodner and Liz Jones

During the first month of classes this school year, students in Aly Goodner's Quakerism class were often making connections to themes and essential questions they previously had explored in their English and history classes. In an effort to build on students’ cross-curricular inquiry, Aly reached out to teachers to learn more about the other content areas. This led to a conversation with Liz Jones about topics that had arisen while ninth graders were reading Larry Watson’s novel Montana 1948, a text that allowed readers to grapple with the testimonies of integrity, equality and community.

Both teachers noted that a natural merge of Quaker testimonies was present in much of the literature Penn Charter students read. Current events that cause students to lose faith in justice and integrity arose in the daily conversations where students clearly saw the connection between fictitious drama and our challenging—and often dismal—reality. Aly’s tenth grade Quakerism class engaged in conversations similar to those in going on in Liz’s ninth grade English class. As a result, Aly and Liz searched for an opportunity to combine and enrich the learning experience between the two grades. That cross-curricular opportunity was provided by a visit from Corporal G. Michael Jones, who eagerly joined the conversation.

As a Philadelphia police officer and instructor at the Police Academy, Jones was able to apply his lens to our conversations. When presented with this question—Quakers believe "there is that of God in every person," does this belief prove relevant in police work? And, how might it impact the way you carry out your duties?—he provided an answer that challenged us all: “I look for God when I can’t easily see any good.”

His response resonated powerfully; students began to explore the difference between God and good in the class. Liz’s students’ entries in their online journals were very candid and insightful as they reflected on Jones’ visit and their ideas of “God” and “good.” Aly’s students also dove deep into this concept in their personal reflections and group discussions. This led to further conversations about challenging certain sources of information and stressing the significance of finding time and space to let others speak their truth and to share personal experiences and stories.

We heard in the Hubben lecture the following quote from William Hubben: “Lack of understanding and tenderness will always take a frightful toll on human happiness.” When we are able to learn together, question together and explore together, we develop a stronger understanding and pave the way for the potential to be happy together. If we are willing to look for the Light of God in each one, we can find the hope so easily lost when good is absent.


Ditch That Textbook Digital Summit

Looking for free professional development that you can do from the comfort of your couch over winter break? Then check out online presentations from awesome educators during the "Ditch That Textbook" Digital Summit from December 15 to December 23. The nine-day online summit features nine videos on topics related to both technology and solid teaching and learning that you can watch anywhere, anytime during the dates of the summit. Learn more and get your free ticket at DitchSummit.com.


Call for Summer Reading Suggestions

Have you read (or heard about) a book that you would like to recommend for faculty and staff summer reading? If so, the Committee on Teaching & Learning would love to hear about it. Click on this link to go to the summer reading suggestion form.  Thanks from the CTL! 


The Eco Corner
by Tom Rickards

Electronics and E-Waste
If are you thinking about purchasing new electronics for the holidays, 
here is a helpful report card on tech companies. Thanks to Doug Uhlmann for this resource, and check out their grades based on the following criteria: energy use, resource consumption and chemicals.

On the other side of the production line, please note that we are adding a second E-waste drive prior to winter break. Please bring in broken electronics during the week of December 11-15. There will be large bins in the lobby of each division. PAR recycling will be doing a pick up on Friday, Dec. 15, of any of the following items: telephone systems, cellular phones, PCs (personal computers), laptops/notebooks, desktop computers/CPUs, CRT monitors (no bare CRT tubes), scanners, printers, fax machines, back-up power supplies systems, CDs/DVDs/Blue Rays, floppy disks/thumb drives, electronic motors, Integrated Circuits (IC), computer mice, computer keyboards, VCR/DVD/CD players, games systems (Xbox, Nintendo, Playstation, etc.), power supplies, surge protectors and computer boards.

Terracycle News
We are not the only ones who love the good work that Terracycle does for the environment and others! The United Nations has recognized this Trenton-based company for creating a shampoo bottle that is made from plastics collected from beaches and waterfronts. In addition, our first graders used Quaker decision-making process to donate our Terracycle points toward two good causes. We had collected 63,238 points from all our upcycling efforts over the years. These points were then translated into $634. Half went to All Hands Volunteers, which have helped with relief efforts in Puerto Rico, and the other $317 went to Earth Island Institute, which supports programing that responds to our environmental crisis. We are very proud to be a part of all the good work that Terracycle does for our planet and her inhabitants!


Notes from the TLC

by Ruth Aichenbaum 

The Teaching & Learning Center is offering both old favorites and new workshops in the coming months with hopes of meeting your teaching and learning interests and goals. Offerings include:

  • Creating Lifelong Learners
  • Cultural Series Event—tickets to The Color Purple at the Forrest Theatre
  • Emotions and Learning
  • Intro to Executive Function
  • Friends of the Wissahickon Hikes
  • How Trauma, Our Brains and Trust Impact Students’ Learning and How to Help
  • Math Apps for Lower School
  • Meaningful Cross-Curricular Project-Based Learning Driven by Student Interests
  • Mindful Yoga
  • Mitigating Solo Status and Stereotype Threat through Curriculum Interventions
  • Morning Swim is back! (Mondays and Fridays 6:15-7:30 AM)
  • One-to-One Computer Help
  • Online Quiz Survey: Kahoot, Quizziz, Quizlet Live
  • PC Faculty/Staff Book Club
  • Planbook.com
  • Standards-Based Grading: Focus on Learning
  • Students as Curriculum Makers
  • Talk Moves
  • Thanks for the Feedback
  • US Students Reflections on the Student Diversity Leadership Conference
  • VITAL Information and Project Development Session
  • and more!

Here is the link to sign up for a workshop. If there’s a session you’d like to attend, but the timing doesn’t work, please email me (raichenbaum@penncharter.com), and I can set up a one-to-one session.

As always, I am happy to meet with you to discuss specific workshops you’d like to attend or teach. I’m also available to facilitate a Critical Friends Group, to arrange a classroom visit and/ or arrange a one-to-one session with a mentor on a topic of your choice. You can schedule an appointment on the front page of our TLC website. While you’re on the TLC website, I invite you to explore its many online resources.  Hope to see you at the TLC!



What’s on your professional development bucket list? VITAL might just be the opportunity you need to make it happen! VITAL proposals are due on Tuesday, Feb. 20. Take a look at our VITAL TLC page to read about past VITAL projects and view a short movie about VITAL. On this page you’ll also find a link to the application and the criteria the VITAL Selection committee uses to evaluate proposals. Feel free to direct any questions to the VITAL selection committee co-clerks, Ruth Aichenbaum and David Brightbill. 


Professional Development News

Professional Development Funds
Penn Charter’s policy regarding the allocation of professional development monies is prioritized so that money will be awarded to those requests that present the greatest intersection of institutional, departmental and personal needs that focus on the professional growth of faculty members. Monies will be prioritized for projects that best meet the goals of the Strategic Vision, including excellence, innovation and collaboration. In general, requests for equipment (computer cords, iPads, charging cables, etc…) should be directed to department chairs. Such expenses are not eligible for professional development funds.

As in past years, each full-time faculty member is guaranteed (but not required to spend) $250 per year for professional development. If faculty find that they need funding beyond the annual $250, they may apply for additional monies. To apply for additional funding, faculty need to first obtain approval of their division head in the Lower School or their department chair in Middle and Upper School, and then contact the academic dean to see if funding is available. The academic dean must give final approval for additional funding. Please note that, starting in the 2017-2018 school year, the $250 annual amount allocated for each full-time faculty member cannot be carried over to the next school year.

Please direct any questions regarding professional development to David Brightbill.

Professional Development Opportunities

Registration is open for Friends Council on Education’s 2017-2018 programming. Check out the FCE website for more details.

Click here for more information on upcoming professional development opportunities. Please remember to fill out the Request for Professional Development Funds Form and attach it to your registration.

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By using the power of mature, redemptive love we can show each individual that we need his or her uniqueness to make us whole. We will then see that we have something to give others and that others have something to give us.

—Rachel Davis DuBois









Penn Charter

A Friends School for Girls and Boys, Pre-K to 12

3000 West School House Lane Philadelphia, PA 19144 215.844.3460
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