P.C.P.D. march 2017

Penn Charter Professional Development

March 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

Follow this link to read the latest posts on Penn Charter's education blog. 



Sarah Aguilar-Francis and David Brightbill presented at NECTFL (Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages) on "Achieving Proficiency through the Three Modes of Communication" in New York in February. 

Ruth Aichenbaum, David Brightbill and Marianne Master presented at the NAIS annual conference in Baltimore. The title of the workshop was “The Teaching and Learning Center: An Innovative Model for Professional Development.”

In January, Stephanie Ball presented at the CASE/NAIS Annual Fundraising Conference in Austin, Texas. She presented with Penn Charter’s consultant Jim McKey from GG&A and Helen Snyder from the Bryn Mawr School in Baltimore. The title of the presentation was “The Growing Role of a Major Gifts Officer in Independent Schools.”

In February, Stephanie Ball and Nicole Martz presented at the ADVIS Director of Development Conference on “How Events Enhance Fundraising: Using Events to Move Donor Relations Forward.”

Judith Hill co-clerked the Friends Council Peer Network Librarians meeting held on Feb. 3, the theme of which was “Media Literacy in the Age of Fake News.”

As a part of a group from the NAIS Aspiring Heads Fellowship, Antonio Williams presented at the NAIS annual conference in Baltimore. The presentation was entitled “Future Foundations: Retaining Millennial Faculty.”

Melanie Wills was selected to participate in the Delaware Valley AACT-Dow Teacher Summit. Participants will collaboratively create resources for the AACT (American Association of Chemistry Teachers) website over the next few months as well as attend a three-day professional development summit this summer.

Congratulations and special thanks to the many PC colleagues who shared their expertise by teaching workshops and/or mentoring faculty during February: Kevin Berkoff, Christy Brennan, Julian Guindon, Corey Kilbane, Michael Moulton, Orit Netter, Lisa Reedich, Tom Rickards, Sharon Sexton, Sarah Sharp, Brooke Stratton, and Kristin Swoszowski-Tran.


Holly Silberman married Ricardo Jiménez on Nov. 25 in Jamaica. Holly is now the stepmother of two boys, Micah (age 14) and Massimo (age 11).


News and Notes

Gillian Diffenderfer and Aude Simon attended NECTFL (Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages) in February.  Gillian was also awarded the NECTFL Scholarship to attend the conference.

Holly (Silberman) Jiménez, Ruth McGee and Sara Moses attended the Race Institute in January.

Sara Perine and Doug Uhlmann attended the Friends Council Peer Network Librarians meeting in February.


Faculty and Staff Changes

Christy Brennan, our Lower School technology coordinator, has decided to pursue other employment opportunities for next school year.

Dan Hajjar has decided to leave Penn Charter at the end of the school year in order to be closer to family in the Boston area. He recently accepted a math position at the Fessenden School in Newton, Massachusetts.

Heather Hillas OPC ’06, one of our current pre-K assistant teachers, has decided to pursue new opportunities for next year and to spend time with family.

Katherine Kim, our first grade assistant teacher, recently resigned from her position to accept a full-time teaching job in the Phoenixville School District.

Michelle Lutter will serve as a new teacher’s aide in both the kindergarten and music classrooms.

Kathryn McCallum has been appointed as our new director of Lower School.

Emily Somogyi will now serve as our first grade assistant teacher.

Penn Charter will post all current available positions on this page on the school website.


Green Corner
by Tom Rickards

As we thaw out and wait for the full arrival of spring, this month’s update will be dedicated to outdoor engagement, activities and political action. However, please keep me posted on questions and concerns about our ongoing efforts to properly recycle, Terracycle (Upcycle) and compost here at school.

Garden Beds
We will be placing some new raised bed gardens around campus in the next few weeks and all garden activity will now be coordinated through a Hub page which will be monitored by Lisa Turner (our Campus Garden Constable!). We have some Green Club and class connections to some of these new garden spaces, but please keep me posted if you want more information and participation in our campus garden program.

Hikes, Climbs and More!
If you recall, we had a PC Hikes team this past fall as well as some guided hikes on the calendar. We also have Rock Climbing classes offered on our climbing wall on Wednesday mornings 7:00-8:00am (see TLC sign up for details). As we enter spring, I want to come back to sharing more of these events in my weekly emails (let me know if you want on that listserv). I would also love to hear from folks who are interested in guiding outdoor activities. These activities can be for faculty and staff, but I also welcome ideas about how we can become more intentional around outdoor student programming in the 2017-18 school year.

Political Actions and Stewardship
There is strong faculty and staff interest in attending the People’s Climate March in Washington DC on April 29. More details will be shared soon. Many of us are also involved in more local concerns that include the Septa’s proposed Natural Gas Plant in Nicetown as well as other local initiatives. Let’s support each other in this work, but know that the stewardship testimony should lead us to reflection and action as a Friends school community as well.  


20-Year Grants and Summer Work Proposals

20-Year Grants
If you are interested in applying for a 20-year grant for next year, please submit a letter with a description of how you plan to spend your time and a timeline for your work. Copies of your letter should be sent to Darryl Ford, Beth Glascott and David Brightbill. The Personnel Committee of the Overseers will make the final decision. The due date for 20-year grants is Monday, March 6. Additional information can be found on the TLC website.

Summer Work
Summer work proposals are for work that will take a day or two and that is directly related to enhancing existing curriculum. Per diem rate is $125. The proposal form can be found online at the TLC website. The due date for summer work proposals is April 7.


Summer Reading

Please let the CTL know if you are interested in organizing or being involved in any of the following summer reading options this summer:

  1. Forming an affinity group of people reading different books on same subject. This group could even begin meeting before the summer.

  2. Forming an affinity group of people reading the same book that would meet in an ongoing fashion during the following school year.

  3. Suggesting a book that you personally would like to lead a discussion about.

If you are interested in pursuing any of these options, please email Ruth Aichenbaum or Marianne Master to get the conversation started.


Notes from the TLC

by Ruth Aichenbaum

What type of workshops, class visits, webinars, reading groups, one-to-one mentoring session, and/or Critical Friends Group would best support your teaching and learning? The TLC is here to meet your needs! Please send me an email or schedule an appointment on the front page of our TLC website to let me know how the Teaching & Learning Center can best serve you.

Some of March’s learning opportunities include:

  • What’s Going On??? Meaningful Discussions with US Students to Help Them Be Informed Citizens and Activists
  • Affinity Group to Discuss Creating Cultures of Thinking
  • New group to focus on Meaningful Use of Homework while reading Bringing Homework into Focus
  • Learn More about the Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Executive Function: Metacognition: Learn about Helping Your Students Develop their Metacognitive Skills
  • Intro to Podcasts
  • Continuation of Interdisciplinary Discussion of Fostering Metacognition and Deep Learning through Meaningful Portfolio Use
  • Updates re: Philadelphia’s World Heritage Status and Learn about an Exciting Trip to Nepal and India
  • Mindfulness Meditation – every Tuesday morning at 7:30 am
  • One-to-One Mac Help
  • Morning Swim – every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 6:30-7:30 am
  • Learn to Climb or Belay – Wednesdays at 7:00-8:00 am
  • TEDx Type Talks
  • Penn Charter Book Club
  • And more!

I also invite you to take advantage of the rich programming at Philadelphia University. There is a Talking Teaching discussion each Wednesday and Friday, and various workshops including:

  • Virtual Experiments: Concept Learning through Discovery
  • Making Science Sensible by Avoiding Spherical Cows  
  • Experiences of the New to Online Teaching

It’s exciting that our parent community has been inspired by our TLC workshops and has started offering parent-led workshops and field trips, which they are opening up to us! I’m listing these opportunities on our TLC site, but am asking faculty to sign-up using this Parent Workshop Signup Genius link so that we don’t sign-up more people than slots available.

Here is the SignUp Genius link to sign up for a TLC and Philadelphia University workshop. If there’s a TLC 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.

Hope to see you at the TLC!


Professional Development News

The Global Exploration for Educators Organization is offering a World Heritage Sites and Cities Tour of India and Nepal in August. Click here for more information.

MCRC@ADVIS presents a screening and discussion of André Lee's film I'm Not Racist...Am I? on April 28 at the Penn State Great Valley Conference Center in Malvern. Click here for more information. Visit the MCRC@ADVIS website for information about other 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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