Summer Courses

This summer, six courses are being offered to Upper School students. These six courses fulfill Penn Charter graduation requirements, and most (but not all) receive full academic credit. Course grades will be included on a student’s transcript and calculated into the GPA of Semester 1 in the 2019-2020 school year. Courses will not run if we do not reach a certain minimum number of participants.

Enrollment for these courses is separate from the 2019-2020 course planning process. Please contact the respective department chair for more information about a specific course. To enroll in a course, print and complete the registration form listed below and return it to Rose Mary Cavalcante in the Upper School office.



This course will focus on strengthening students’ algebraic skills in order to give students a solid foundation for Geometry. It is intended to deepen student understanding of those topics taught in a traditional Algebra 1 course, focusing specifically on the algebraic concepts necessary to the study of Geometry. It is an appropriate course for students whose Algebra 1 course coverage was not as extensive as a traditional Algebra course or for students who could benefit from confidence-building and greater exposure and practice with the Algebra 1 topics. Registration form.

Cost:  $300
Meeting time: Monday, July 8 - Thursday, August 1, 2019  (no classes on Fridays)
1:00 - 3:00 p.m.


This course, which focuses on Euclidean geometry, emphasizes, encourages and challenges students to discover geometric ideas through investigative activities. Topics include the foundations of geometry definitions, inductive and deductive reasoning, axioms, proof and theorems, the close study of a wide variety of geometric figures, right triangle geometry, basic isometries, area and volume. The algebraic skills needed for Algebra 2 are emphasized.

This course is only open to Penn Charter students entering grade 10 who have earned credit for Algebra 1. The course is rigorous, as it covers an entire year of Geometry, and is therefore not appropriate for all students. Approval of the Math Department chair is required. Registration form.

Cost: $1000
Meeting time: Wednesday, June 12, through Thursday, July 11, 2019
Face-to-face classes, Mondays through Thursdays, 8 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Four hours of online work on weekends.
No classes Thursday, July 4, and Friday, July 5.


In this course we will explore Philadelphia through urban sketching, street photography, mapmaking and bookbinding.  We will learn how to work out ideas in our sketchbooks in various media (watercolor, gouache, pen and ink) in order to document and share our explorations of the city. There will be opportunities to visit public art projects and local art institutions such as the Philadelphia Art Museum, PAFA, Soapbox Community Print Shop and Library, and the Free Library of Philadelphia. These field trips will provide inspiration for artwork and reflection, which will culminate in a hand-bound book of sketches, photographs and writings. Registration form.

Cost:  $500
Meeting time: Weekdays, Wednesday, June 12 - Friday, June 28
8:30 a m. -  12:30 p.m.


This course is for students interested in the art, history and practice of costume design. Line, form, color, scale, texture, pattern, period costumes, functionality on stage, and the effects of stage lighting on fabric will be explored. Students will learn basic hand and machine sewing stitches and techniques, which can be applied to their daily lives. Students will research, design and build a costume for a character of her or his choice. No prior experience with fashion design, sewing or figure drawing is necessary – just a love of fashion and clothes from different periods and cultures with a passion to create art that is worn on stage. This course requires five students and is limited to 10 students. (Rising 10th, 11th and 12th grades). Registration form.

Cost:  $500
Meeting time:  Weekdays, Wednesday, June 12, through Friday, June 28
8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.


This studio course will introduce participants to the fundamental techniques and practices of drawing from observation. Three-dimensional forms in space will serve as subjects to be translated onto the two-dimensional page. Line quality, figure-field relationships, composition, perspective and visual language comprise the core concepts that will be addressed daily in the production part of class. Participants will develop and refine competencies with the perceptual skills necessary for creating effective observational drawings and the design skills necessary for the thoughtful investigation and expression of ideas. Visual language communication skills will be integrated and honed via studio participation, field work, class discussions and critiques. Portfolios will be maintained by all students. This course requires five students and is limited to ten students. (Rising 10th, 11th, 12th grades). Registration form.

Cost: $500
Meeting time: Weekdays, Monday, July 8, through Friday, July 26
8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.


This course examines the nature and extent of poverty primarily in Philadelphia but will also compare other major cities in the United States. We will focus on how poverty is defined and measured, exploring how conceptions of poverty are socially constructed and historically bounded.  Throughout the class, we will examine what the causes and effects of poverty are and discuss how these are complex and interwoven; showing how people can experience poverty at different points in their life—some groups experiencing poverty more than others. This course will discuss the role of labor markets, family structure and social organization in shaping poverty. And finally, it will explore how social policies seek to ameliorate poverty in our city. Students will engage with the course material through a combination of different mediums (readings, films, images, class discussions, lectures, guest speakers, field trips and service). Course materials will also draw from a variety of disciplines that may include economics, education, political science, psychology, philosophical and religious ethics, public policy analysis and social work. (Rising 10th, 11th, 12th grades.) Prerequisite: Quaker Principles and Practice in 9th or 10th grade. Registration Form.

Meeting time: Weekdays, Monday, July 8, through Wednesday, July 24,
8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. 
The course includes an overnight field trip to Buffalo, N.Y., during the week to meet with John Somers OPC '78. 
COST: $500, with an extra fee for the field trip