December 2018-January 2019

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


Shahidah Kalam Id-Din and Lee Payton presented a workshop at the People of Color Conference entitled "Experiential Anti-Bias Pedagogy: A Case Study."  

Antonio Williams presented two workshops at the People of Color Conference. They were entitled "Less Than Two Degrees: Using Our Networks for Personal and Professional Growth" and "Doing It for the Culture? Independent School Step Teams . . . Cultural Appropriation or Cultural Appreciation?"  

Melanie Wills was named the regional representative for the American Association of Chemistry Teachers (AACT) and was also selected as a peer reviewer for their online periodical "Chemistry Solutions.”

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: Eileen Bossone, Karen Campbell, John Estok, Debbie Foley, Aly Goodner, Julian Guindon, Shahidah Kalam Id-Din, Marianne Master, Katie Martin, Sara Moses,  Josh Oberfield, Kristen Ostendorf, Lee Payton, Lisa Reedich, Tom Rickards, Brooke Stratton, Alex Tressler, Lisa Turner, Doug Uhlmann, Antonio Williams and Melanie Wills.


News & Notes

Debbie Foley attended the November CHOP conference entitled "This Is Adolescence: Current Issues and Problems Affecting Adolescents." The workshop discussed utilizing a strength-based developmental approach to reaching teens on key issues.

In November, Kristen Ostendorf completed the online training, "Creating a Culture of Respect and Rapport" through the Pennsylvania State Department of Education. Kristen also recently completed a beginner's Spanish course through Temple Ambler's adult education program.

Lisa Reedich attended a workshop offered by Jefferson University and Design Philadelphia. This art therapy introduction was a hands-on opportunity to create while learning about the use of art in psychotherapy as a tool for physical and emotional release, personal development and growth, insight, trauma processing, skill-building and enhancing communication.

Several faculty and students recently attended the People of Color Conference (PoCC) in Nashville, including Naveena Bembry, Darryl Ford, Shahidah Kalam Id-Din, Joy Lai, Cory Moy, Julie Park, Lee Payton, La Sripanawongsa and Antonio Williams.


Faculty and Staff Announcements

Casting Call!
Attention male and female faculty and staff members: Eva Kay Noone is seeking more talented adults (particularly from the Lower School and Middle School faculty) to play the roles of the “Founding Fathers” in the winter all-school musical production of My Son Pinocchio: Geppetto’s Musical Tale. These non-singing roles appear in a brief scene in Act one with a few lines that will need to be memorized for three different performance dates (Feb. 22, 23 and 24). There will be sporadic rehearsals in January and February with the bulk of the rehearsal time in late February. Interested faculty and staff should contact Eva Kay Noone, Liz Jones or Holly Silberman to find out more about the roles and get a copy of the scene that will be used in auditions. Initial auditions will be held privately at your convenience. Looking forward to working with some talented colleagues!


PC Summer Book Swap

The Committee on Teaching and Learning would like to help make it easy for you to read other PC Professional Summer Reading Books that interest you. To this end, we’ve set up a shelf in the TLC where you can drop off your summer reading book and take another book of your choice.

Also, we’re already collecting suggestions for next summer’s reading. As you come upon books that you think would make a great PC summer read, please use the form on the front page of the TLC website to share them with us.



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. 19. 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.


The Eco Corner

by Tom Rickards

I have much to be thankful for as we enter the month of December. While there is certainly much more work to be done in improving our stewardship practices, I give gratitude for all the great colleagues and students in our community. I also am reminded of our founder William Penn’s simple quote about happiness and nature: "It were happy if we studied nature more in natural things; and acted according to nature, whose rules are few, plain and most reasonable."

  • Philacycle Green School Project
    We submitted our application at the end of November. Last year we raised money for three new water filling stations around campus. For now, the first step in helping us is to make sure you have a Philacycle account. Here are instructions on how to get started. Once our project is approved, you can donate points from your account to our Green School project from January 7 to March 19. All points will be translated into dollars at the end of the project. We are working on final details for this year, but we are thinking of a multi-prong approach that deals with Trees and Transportation!

    • Bicycling: encourage and support the use of bicycling as a means of transportation.

    • No Idling: encourage pick-up lines and bus lanes to turn off their engines while waiting for children.

    • Lessen Paper Towel Use: keep track and lessen the amount of paper towels we go through in drying our hands in the rest rooms.

    • Less Printing: lessen the paper waste that comes through our collective school printers.

PC Hikes
We have now completed the Friends of the Wissahickon (FOW) "All Trails Challenge!" It was our biggest year yet! We had a 19-member team that logged a collective 437 miles! We received donations from 38 friends and family members and our team raised $2,055.05 to help support the sustainability efforts of FOW. Awards will be announced soon, but thanks so much to everyone who donated, ran, hiked, biked and enjoyed the All Trails Challenge this fall.

E-Waste Drive
We will be collecting broken electronics during the week before winter break: Dec. 10th-14th. There will be bins in each divisional lobby starting Monday, Dec. 10, and ending Friday morning the 14th. See this link for items accepted as E-waste. We cannot accept large back (CRT) monitors and TVs, or old air conditioners or large appliances. Our e-waste recycler is PAR Recycle Works who both responsibility recycle metals and electronics as well as provides employment and support for returning citizens. Here is a brief video about their work and growth:  Our Community is Growing. Please contact Tom Rickards at with questions.


Notes from the TLC

by Ruth Aichenbaum 

In the coming months, the Teaching & Learning Center is offering both old favorites, new workshops and affinity groups with hopes of meeting your teaching and learning interests and goals. Offerings include:

  • A Step-by-Step Guide to Grading for Student Growth: Exploring Highlights of Jonathan Cornue’s Book Changing the Grade

  • Cultural Series Event--tickets to the musical Beautiful at the Academy of the Arts

  • Doing School vs. Learning for Learning's Sake Affinity Group

  • Discussion of Archived Webinar Powerful Teaching: "Unleash the Science of Learning"

  • Diverse Thinking: Influences of Language and Culture

  • Family Engagement and Student Support at the Community Partnership School with Beth Vaccaro, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, and Yamina Nasir, Family Life Coordinator

  • Get Your Knitting TLC

  • Girls Social/Emotional Needs and Educational Empowerment Affinity Group

  • Holiday Card Workshop led by Joy Lai

  • Journaling with Students: Come Share Strategies and Questions

  • Meaningfully Using Homework to Promote Learning Affinity Group

  • Mind, Brain, Education Research and Implications for Teaching Affinity Group

  • Mindful Yoga

  • One-to-One Computer Help

  • PC Faculty/Staff Book Club

  • Podcasts to Enrich Your Teaching

  • Roundtable Discussion: Creating Meaningful Creative Projects and How to Assess Them

  • VITAL Information and Project Development Session

  • Teaching in a Time of Uncertainty: An Affinity Group Focusing on Questions of Equity and Justice

  • "Test Wrappers" to Help Students Reflect on Assessment Performance

  • Your Mind on Diversity . . . And Not: Analyzing the Script Behind Virtually Every Difficult Conversation

  • What Are the Challenges Facing Girls in Rural Uganda?

  • 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 (, 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 Opportunities

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.

Upcoming Events at The Franklin Institute

Vikings: Beyond the Legend (Oct. 13, 2018 – March 3, 2019)
Explore hundreds of archaeological discoveries and rare treasures, plus dramatic reconstructions and immersive experiences designed to reveal who these legendary explorers were and why they have forever captured our imagination.

Marvel: Universe of Superheroes (April 13 – Sept. 2, 2019)
Experience an immersive exploration of the Marvel Universe through some of its best-loved and most groundbreaking characters—featuring rare original artifacts, costumes and props, and multimedia storytelling through video, audio and immersive set design.

Professional Development Funds

Penn Charter’s policy regarding the allocation of professional development monies is prioritized so that money will be awarded to those requests that present the greatest intersection of institutional, departmental and personal needs that focus on the professional growth of faculty members. Monies will be prioritized for projects that best meet the goals of the Strategic Vision, including excellence, innovation and collaboration. In general, requests for equipment (computer cords, iPads, charging cables, etc…) should be directed to department chairs. Such expenses are not eligible for professional development funds.

As in past years, each full-time faculty member is guaranteed (but not required to spend) $250 per year for professional development. If faculty find that they need funding beyond the annual $250, they may apply for additional monies. To apply for additional funding, faculty need to first obtain approval of their division head in the Lower School or their department chair in Middle and Upper School, and then contact the academic dean to see if funding is available. The academic dean must give final approval for additional funding. Please note that, starting in the 2018-2019 school year, the $250 annual amount allocated for each full-time faculty member can no longer be carried over to the next school year.

Please direct any questions regarding professional development to David Brightbill.

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