Goal 2: Program

Advance our educational program to provide students with the knowledge and skills they need to thrive in a complex and changing world


Will we teach Shakespeare? Yes. But how we teach Shakespeare will change.

Our curriculum will continue to prepare students for admission to their top-choice colleges, but it also will evolve to position them for success after college by expanding beyond the walls of the school and connecting them with the world.


Utilize current brain research about how children learn best to develop more strategies for individualizing learning within the curriculum and through learning support services.

Develop a distinctive identity for each division that is built around an age-appropriate experience.

Collaborate locally, nationally and internationally to enhance learning and leadership opportunities for Penn Charter students.

Educate students for global competency through classroom experience, service, student exchanges and travel.

Teach environmental awareness and develop advocacy for environmental sustainability.

Implementation Examples

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Meaningful Content and New Assessments

In an effort to provide our Upper School students with a more balanced and academically fulfilling high school experience, students in grades 9-12 took the Challenge Success Survey.

They responded to questions about time management, homework, study skills, sleep habits and other school-related topics. The results of this study have been carefully considered by faculty and divisional leadership.

As a result, alterations to our academic program and assessment and homework policies are currently under review.

In addition, we invited Frances Jensen, chair of the Neurology Department at the University of Pennsylvania and author of The Teenage Brain, to campus to share with parent and faculty her research around adolescent brain development and the importance of sleep.



The IdeaLab is a large and broadly equipped space, located in the lower level of the Middle School, designed to support both current curricula and ongoing innovation for Penn Charter students. 

More than a makerspace, the IdeaLab is designed to develop three core competencies -- creation, communication and collaboration. Each of these competencies will have a dedicated area in the IdeaLab: a maker lab, a media lab, and a creative lab
Students can work with both traditional tools and materials and new technologies, including 3D printers, laser cutters and electronics. The MediaLab section is a studio for students to create and document their projects with digital and analog storytelling and portfolios. The CreativeLab section connects these two work areas with communal tables for discussion, problem solving, and critique.  
An IdeaLab for Lower School students will open in the Lower School building in Fall 2016.

Pop Lunch

Since 2014, English teachers have offered a series of Pop Lunches, optional faculty-led lunchtime lectures and discussions that allow students to explore topics related to popular culture, including race, sexuality and gender. More recently, educators from other departments and local universities have also taken part. Since their inception, interest in these events has grown and it is not uncommon to have more than 50 community members in attendance. 

Integrated Performance Assessments for Foreign Language

Foreign language instruction at Penn Charter is no longer solely about grammar and vocabulary. The Foreign Language Department is at the forefront of modern language instruction locally and nationally. Students in French and Spanish classrooms now take part in Integrated Performance Assessments, a performance-based approach to teaching, learning and assessing second language. Students engage with authentic resources and take part in level-appropriate communicative activities that focus on developing proficiency. 

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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