Communicating effectively between home and school is a vital ingredient in successful Lower School education. We use a mix of online and print tools to communicate between the school and parents. Classroom teachers sometimes use hard copies of notices and student paperwork, but this is less the norm.
The following communications are divided into two categories:
- communications between parents and classroom teachers
- communications between the school and parents.
If you have questions and/or concerns, you are asked to first contact the classroom teacher or teachers. In order to arrange an appointment, please contact the teacher via email, voice mail, a note, or by leaving a message with the Lower School office (ext. 118) or the pre-K office (215-849-1983). Teachers will respond within 48 hours of receiving the message.
Progress Reporting and Conferences
Student progress and conferences, an important component of communication to parents, are more fully explained here.
The Lower School classroom pages, found on the PC Hub, are a key communication tool and should be viewed by parents on a regular basis. Classroom pages, maintained by Lower School classroom teachers and Specials teachers, contain information about curriculum, field trips, class celebrations, and homework (in grades where this applies), as well as photographs and videos. The classroom pages also contain a bulletin board maintained by the Parent Community representative for that particular grade. In addition, classroom teachers can email families directly about important news or events. The Parent Community also maintains a page for grade in LS where parents can find grade-specific information and reminders.
At a time when more and more curriculum resources are available online, the classroom pages provide a portal to such resources. This is particularly so for the Lower School math program, Math in Focus, which offers important online resources through the classroom pages and through the Lower School Math in Focus webpage found on the Penn Charter website.
Listed below are the communications that are important for Lower School life. We encourage each family to build a habit of looking at these publications and staying closely connected to the Lower School.
A paper copy of the All-School Calendar is mailed to families in July. The calendar is also available online at www.penncharter.com/calendar. The online version of the calendar is updated throughout the year as dates or times change, or as events are added; PC parents may also sign up online for electronic alerts for events of particular interest.
In early September, every family receives a printed copy of the Community Directory, a comprehensive reference of the Overseers (the school’s governing body), school administrative officers, faculty and staff, and the Alumni Society. The directory also lists Parent Community officers, class parents and standing committees, and it contains an alphabetical student and family listing, class lists and zip code lists. The directory is available online and, unlike the printed directory, the online version is updated throughout the year as email, phone or address information changes.
Lower School Life
Each month during the school year, Director of Lower School Kate McCallum publishes LS Life, an online newsletter with content about Lower School curriculum, initiatives and events. The newsletter is emailed directly to your inbox during the first week of the month. The newsletter is an insight into the classroom and a source of practical information about Lower School activities and protocols.
Parent Post, an electronic mailbag for families, is the primary source of school information for families, and we encourage parents to read it regularly. Parent Post contains important announcements and reminders about events, deadlines and news. In addition, Parent Post contains links to webpages maintained by the Parent Community class chairs for each grade; when the chairs want to communicate grade-specific information, reminders or news, they post that information on their webpage, with links from the Parent Post. Parent Post publishes each Friday during the academic year (the schedule is modified for winter and spring break) and the school emails families each new issue; the Parent Post is also published on the school website.
Penn Charter Magazine
Penn Charter, the school magazine, publishes twice each year and is mailed directly to alumni, parents and friends. Issues are achived on the website.
The school website at www.penncharter.com is a comprehensive source of information about daily life at Penn Charter. It contains more than a thousand pages of content about academics, arts, athletics, service and PC History – plus the school calendar, daily menu, faculty and staff directory, and news releases about PC. The Parent Portal of the website provides quick links to Lower School teacher pages, the Community Directory, this handbook and other key resources.
Video and Photo Sharing
As it has become easier, sharing videos and photographs has become an increasingly important part of our community, both in school and with families. While we have guidelines for faculty/staff/students regarding web publishing, including videos and photographs, we recognize we have to be sensitive to the varying degrees of comfort families may have posting videos/photos of their children online. The following guidelines are meant to help us with this process. We ask that these guidelines be followed when parents are taking and sharing videos/photos of Penn Charter students other than their own children:
- Ask for parental permission to take and share pictures of a student before you take videos or photos.
- If you post the photos to an online photo sharing site, please use password protection.
- If you write captions about individual students, use only first names with a last initial; do not use a caption with names if it will be easy to identify the students in the photo (i.e. three boys and a girl).
- Do not tag your photos with student names.