P.C.P.D. april 2017

Penn Charter Professional Development

April 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

VITAL is celebrating its fifth anniversary. Follow this link to read the latest posts on Penn Charter's education blog. 



Elizabeth Coombs served on a panel discussion at a workshop presented by ADVIS entitled “Beyond the Binary – Exploring Gender Identity and Sexuality in Independent Schools.” The panel discussed supporting transgender students in independent schools. Ruth McGee also attended the workshop.

Dan Evans, director of College Counseling, was featured in an article in The Chronicle of Higher Education entitled, “Working Smarter, Not Harder, in Admissions.” The article describes a new application review process that several highly selective colleges and universities are now using.

Tony Farrell presented a session entitled "Small Steps Ensure Student Success" at the 2017 International Conference of Teachers Teaching with Technology.

In February, Lisa Reedich organized and attended a workshop for the Pennsylvania Society of Clinical Social Work entitled "Understanding Brain Mechanisms and their Relationships to Psychotherapeutic Interventions.” The workshop was presented by Robert Youdin, gerontologist, clinician, author and former social work professor at Fordham University.

Congratulations and special thanks to the many PC colleagues who shared their expertise by teaching workshops and/or mentoring faculty during March: Sharon Ahram, Kevin Berkoff, Judith Hill, Julian Guindon, Corey Kilbane, Ruth McGee, Brooke Stratton, Lisa Reedich, Tom Rickards and Kristin Swoszowski-Tran.


News and Notes

Elizabeth Coombs, Debbie Foley, Ruth McGee and Lisa Reedich participated in an NAIS Webinar entitled “Supporting Children Who Live Outside Gender Boxes.”

Elizabeth Coombs and Debbie Foley attended a workshop presented by the Children's Center for OCD and Anxiety entitled “What Every Teacher Would Like to Know about Child Anxiety: Recognizing and Helping Children with Anxiety in the School Setting.”

Kristin Swoszowski-Tran completed two professional development courses through the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association (ASHA). The courses were entitled “Success for Students with High-Functioning Autism” and “Executive Function Skills in Children and Adolescents: Assessment and Treatment.” Kristin is planning TLC workshops featuring some of this content to share with the community.


Faculty and Staff Changes

Maria-Odilia Romeu will be on sabbatical for the remainder of the school year. Susan Ahrenhold will be teaching her class. 

David Tidey has replaced Christy Brennan as the Lower School Technology Coordinator for the remainder of the school year. Please be sure to welcome him in this temporary assignment to the Lower School team. 

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


Green Corner
by Tom Rickards

Welcome Spring!

Earth Week
Our planet deserves much more than one day, in fact she needs us all day, every day! At least, at Penn Charter, we will celebrate Earth Week April 24-28. We will be having daily eco-challenges as we have done in the past, but this year we plan to offer points and prizes! Activities can be as short as watching a TED Talk and responding to some review questions (15 points), to more involvement such as signing up for a two-hour guided hike through Friends of the Wissahickon (25 points). If you would like to add challenges or offer particular activities that work best for your students, please get in touch with me in the next week or so. We plan to make these activities live on April 17. Please encourage students and family participation. All challenges can be found in the Google Classroom: Earth Week (class code: pbpy1la).

We are very excited to be partnering with PAR- Recycle Worksa local e-waste recycling program that provides employment and community for individuals returning to the workforce after incarceration. We are going to kick off our new partnership with our traditional e-waste drive during Earth Week (April 24-28). There will be large bins in the lobbies of all three divisions and the following items can be recycled: computer towers, laptop computers, tablets, servers, printers, flat screen monitors, phone systems, game consoles, flatscreen TVs, stereos/radios, small appliances, cell phones and calculators. We will NOT be able to accept the following: CRT monitors, conventional TVs, air conditioners and large appliances. Let me know if you would like to be involved.

Regular Reminders
As we welcome more sun and gear up for Earth Week, here are some regular reminders and links from previous posts:

  • PC Learning Gardens
  • PC Hikes
  • Climbing Wall will be available on the following Friday afternoons from 2:30-4:30: April 21, May 12, May 19 (see TLC sign ups)
  • Finally I welcome conversations in the next two months about environmental programming and stewardship ideas for next year as well!


Overseers Dinner

The annual Overseers Dinner will be on Tuesday, May 9, at 6:00 pm in the tent outside Timmons. Click here for a list of faculty and staff who were honored for their service to Penn Charter.


Notes from the TLC

by Ruth Aichenbaum

Welcome back! I hope you had a lovely spring break and are refreshed and ready to learn at the TLC! We have exciting workshops planned, including a number in honor of Earth Week, which you can sign up for using this SignUp Genius link. Offerings include sessions about:


  • Brain Rules in Action!
  • Differentiated Instruction
  • The Balance of Facilitation and Student Agency When Implementing Participatory Action Research (Megan Fuller is back at PC from Philly U for an update about her participatory student action project)
  • You Asked Me to Take Notes But I Don’t Know How – Note-taking in the Digital Age
  • Group focusing on Meaningful Use of Homework
  • Discussion about Fostering Metacognition and Deep Learning through Meaningful Interdisciplinary Portfolio Use
  • Affinity Group to Discuss Creating Cultures of Thinking
  • Come Develop New Project Ideas

Understanding Students ... Our School... Ourselves... and the World

  • Representation Matters: Mitigating Solo Status and Stereotype Threat Through Curricular Interventions
  • Deconstructing the Recent Immigration Order 
  • Positive Teacher and Student Conversations from Both Perspectives
  • Pop Lunch Lecture – Greek Life (Part 1): Traditional Fraternities and Sororities; Greek Life (Part 2): Black Fraternities and Sororities  
  • Parent-led Field Trip to African American Museum
  • Discussion about Teaching Tolerance Webinar – Gender Savvy

Technology and Art & Design

  • Video Recording Equipment Showcase – MemoryLAB
  • Intro to Podcasts
  • Using Your iPhone Video
  • Open Laser Cutting
  • Securing Your Google Email
  • One-to-One Mac Help

Wellness / Stewardship / Enrichment

  • REscueCYCLE @ PC
  • Composting @ Home
  • Mindfulness Meditation
  • Morning Swim
  • Free Climb Fridays
  • Mindful Yoga
  • Café y Español

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

  • The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Drawing for Non-Drawing Courses

  • Teaching On-Line Design Studios

Please know the TLC is here to meet your needs, whether you’re looking for a specific type of workshop, class visit, webinar, reading group, one-to-one mentoring session and/or Critical Friends Group. 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.

Once again, here is the SignUp Genius link to sign up for TLC and Philadelphia University workshops. 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. If you're interested in attending, contact David Brightbill by Friday, April 14. 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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