P.C.P.D. Dec. 2016/Jan. 2017

Penn Charter Professional Development

December 2016 / January 2017

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


News to Know


Thought & Practice: Where Vision and Possibility Meet

Thanks to Megan Kafer, Imana Legette and Ed Marks for making this a robust month for Thought & Practice. Follow this link to read:

  • How can a diverse community can create a space for all to have a voice that is encouraged, respected and reflected?
  • Our rookie Ethics Bowl team competes about, among other topics, virtual and augmented reality. 
  • Eighth grade adds the new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture to the traditional Washington, D.C. field trip.



Judith Hill has been appointed to the board of directors for the Wissahickon Valley Public Library.

Rick Mellor was inducted into the Montgomery County Coaches Hall of Fame on Nov. 22. He was honored for his many hours and years coaching, mentoring, teaching, helping, worrying, disciplining, rejoicing and thoroughly engaging himself in the lessons of character building that sports bring to our lives.

On Nov. 11, Beth Menzie presented a workshop entitled "Making Geometric Proof Accessible to Students" at the 66th Annual AMTNYS (Association of Mathematics Teachers of New York State) Conference in Rye, N.Y.  

Lisa Reedich organized and attended a workshop entitled "A Child and Family Focused View of Online Sexual Victimization" held at Lankenau Hospital on Oct. 22. 

Steven Wade recently received a grant from ScienceBuddies.com to purchase 30 science kits for use in his class.

In December, Antonio Williams presented at the NAIS People of Color Conference in Atlanta. “Fulfilling the Dream: The History of Black Greek Leadership and the People of Color Conference" was a panel discussion focused on the history, growth and struggles of the conference. Jackie Hamilton was one of the panelists and Antonio presented with Shanelle Robinson, Director of Diversity and Inclusion at Friends Academy.

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: Sharon Ahram, Alice Bateman, Kevin Berkoff, David Brightbill, Tim Clarke, Wilson Felter, Julian Guindon, Tiffani Hill, Debbie Kaesshaefer, Corey Kilbane, Nora Landon, Imana Legette, Marianne Master, Beth Menzie, Rachel Malhotra, Beckie Miller, Eva Kay Noone, Lisa Reedich, Tom Rickards, Marcy Sosa, Brooke Stratton, Lisa Turner and Doug Uhlmann.


News and Notes

The website thenation.com recently published an article on the new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. The article highlighted a visit by Penn Charter’s eighth grade students.

Naveena Bembry attended the Friends Council on Education "Learning in the Light Workshop." As part of this workshop, Quaker educator Melinda Bradley led the two-day training on using the "Faith & Play" practice to connect curriculum to the Quaker Testimonies through story-sharing. Naveena plans to integrate "Faith & Play" story-sharing into a fifth grade social studies unit on First Nations/Native American People.

Kristen Ostendorf participated in the Race Institute for Educators at the Westtown School in October.

Marcy Sosa recently attended a workshop entitled “Computers, Tablets, Smartphones: The Writing Tools Have Changed – How Can My Teaching Change Too?” at Teachers College in New York.

Stephanie Vogel completed the Philadelphia Marathon in November.


Faculty and Staff Announcements

Marianna Allen, Jenny Baer and Aly Goodner would like to thank everyone for their participation and support of this year's Gift Drive. It will be a great success due to your efforts, and you will make many children very happy during this holiday season.


Green Corner
by Tom Rickards

Ink Cartridges: It has come to my attention that we are in need of a proper recycle partner for ink cartridges from our printers. We are now enrolled with a new partner named Cartridges for Kids (CFK), where we will receive free shipping labels and make a small amount of money for cartridges that we send. Currently there is a bin on the second floor of the main building under a table in the science wing and you can also drop off used cartridges in the school store. Let me know if you are in need of a bin in your division and/or if you have cartridges that you need to move on.

Writing Instruments: Don’t throw out those dried-up Expo markers! We are looking to “upcycle” all those markers, mechanical pencils, pens, dry erase markers, highlighters and all caps! There is a Terracycle bin for all writing instruments in the lobby of each division or you can drop them off on my desk in room 135.

Garden Meeting: A garden group met on Wednesday, Nov. 30. More information will be given, but please let me know if you are interested in making curriculum connections to not only garden work, but any environmental issues for 2017-18. A wider environmental meeting is being planned sometime this winter

Hikes: At the conclusion of the FOW’s All Trails Challenge, our school team PC Hikes raised $360 toward maintenance and preservation of the Wissahickon Park. Thanks to all of you who donated! We will schedule more hikes and outings this winter.

Reduce your plastics! Let’s set the example for the kids by trying to use reusable mugs, cups and plates over disposables. I have dishpans out in the Upper School hallways after lunch, so club meetings can place items in there, and I will run them to the dishroom. If you run a club that meets at lunch, tell your students to get reusables and place them in the dishpans. You might want to take a stand by refusing to allow single use plastics in your classroom! We are also exploring raising the price of those “to go” containers. More soon!

Professional Development: Maria-Odilia has recently completed a Green City Teachers workshop, so please ask her about it. There are more opportunities to be found here. There is also a Urban Watershed Workshop (location TBD) on March 9, please email Tom Rickards for details. Please keep me posted about other avenues of environmental education and professional development.



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. 21.  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. 


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:

  • Using Padlet, A VIrtual Bulletin Board for Collaboration
  • How to Use Airdrop
  • Garage Band Basics
  • Learn More about Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • The Magic of Apple’s Photos and Siri
  • Wait Time
  • How Does Quakerism Guide Our Teaching
  • Affinity Group to Discuss Creating Cultures of Thinking
  • Meaningful Portfolio Use
  • US Students Reflections on the ADL and the Student Diversity Leadership Conference
  • One-to-One Mac Help
  • Zumba
  • Holiday Workshop: Printmaking Workshop
  • Mindfulness Meditation
  • Rock Climbing
  • 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!


Professional Development News

MCRC@Advis will present Beyond the Binary: Exploring Gender Identity & Sexuality in Independent Schools on Jan. 17 at Springfield Country Club in Springfield, Pa.

Visit the MCRC@ADVIS website for information about more upcoming programs.

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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Whoever rightly advocates the cause of some, thereby promotes the good of the whole.

—John Woolman (1720-1722)









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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