Second OPCs in Education Event Inspires

The second annual OPCs in Education event on Jan. 3 brought alumni in the education field together to discuss the challenges and triumphs of education, while celebrating those who are committed to improving education in our country.  The attendees of this event spanned from the class of 1953 to the class of 2010.

“There was a great feel at this second OPCs in Education event,” said PC veteran teacher Bruce MacCullough, creater of the event. “The program was a little shorter and more relaxed than last year’s, but that allowed there to be more small group and personal sharing of experiences.  I hope and believe that a strong and growing network of OPCs has been created, with great potential for the future.”

The day began with a catered lunch that gave attendees time to reconnect with PC classmates and teachers, while also making new connections in the education field. Lunch was followed by a short program led by MacCullough. The program included a discussion on how the Penn Charter experience has shaped each of these educators in the work that they do, and how the members of the group can lean on each other for guidance and support in the future. Jim Ballengee, founder of Penn Charter’s Center for Public Purpose, and Corey Kilbane, Upper School chemistry teacher, also gave short presentations about the center and exciting new educational outreach efforts.

A highlight from the day was Debra Gordon-Goodrich OPC ‘94 sharing a new initiative with math word problems that was born after attending last year’s event. Feeling inspired by her fellow OPC teachers, Debra decided to tackle the issue of outdated math word problems that 21st century students don’t find relevant. In a collaborative effort with a fellow teacher at her school, Debra was issued a grant to help design a catalogue of math word problems that deal with social issues, environmental challenges and healthy lifestyle choices. She is currently using these word problems in her classroom and has made them available to teachers from many different schools.

Another highlight of the day came from Edward Veit OPC ’53, a retired teacher who also had worked in law enforcement early in his career, and who also has developed an educational seminar that focuses on the children of the civil rights movement.  Having lived through the height of the civil rights movement, Ed developed a tremendous interest in the movement, read extensively, and created a workshop which he eagerly shares with others.

There was a wealth of interesting experiences and insights shared by all, as former classmates reconnected and new friendships were formed.