March 2019

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


Ruth Aichenbaum and David Brightbill presented at the NAIS annual conference in Long Beach, Calif., on March 1. Their presentation was entitled “Our Teaching & Learning Center: Five-Plus Years of Innovation, Learning and Community Building.”

Dan Evans, Director of College Counseling, recently contributed to two articles about the college admission process. One article, “More Ways to Improve College Admission,” appeared in Forbes on Jan. 21.  The other, entitled, “You Don’t Have Time for It—why Penn Admissions doesn’t fact-check most applications,” appeared in The Daily Pennsylvanian on Jan. 31.

Tiffani Harris, Julia Judson-Rea, Nicole Martz and Emma Rowan presented a session titled "Collaborative Giving Days: How to Create the Why" at the 2019 CASE-NAIS Independent Schools Conference in January. The national conference drew schools from around the country and, in the weeks since the presentation, several schools have been in touch seeking Penn Charter's advice and support for their own versions of Great Day to Be a Quaker.

Judith Hill and Doug Uhlmann hosted the Feb. 26 meeting of PREP, a consortium of local independent school librarians teaching in middle and upper school.

Lisa Reedich helped organize and host an educational conference on Dec. 1, 2018, for the Pennsylvania Society of Clinical Social Workers. The conference, at Lankenau Hospital, was entitled "Providing Culturally Competent Trauma-Based Care with Dr. Kenneth Hardy, PhD."  Dr. Hardy has provided Diversity and Racial Sensitivity training and consultations to an extensive list of health and human services agencies as well as a host of educational institutions. The interactive workshop provided a comprehensive overview of culturally competent trauma-based care. Strategies that practitioners can employ to effectively address the intersections of culture and trauma were provided. Special attention was devoted to exploring relevant Self-of-the-Practitioner issues that may impede and/or facilitate effective treatment.

Congratulations and special thanks to the many PC colleagues who shared their expertise by teaching workshops and/or mentoring faculty during February: Ray Bailey, Ari Baker, Sarah Black, Kevin Berkoff, Eileen Bossone, Karen Campbell, John Estok, Jane Evans, Doug Gorham, Julian Guindon, Shahidah Kalam Id-Din, Joy Lai, Michael Moulton, Cory Moy, Tom Rickards, Pam Shannon, Alec Tressler, Lisa Turner and Melanie Wills.


News & Notes

Leticia Carter, Judith Hill, Linda O'Malley and Doug Uhlmann attended the Friends Council on Education Peer Network workshop on “Growing a Future-Ready Library” at Greene Street Friends School.

Kathy MacMurray recently attended a "Breakfast for Auxiliary Programming Professionals" at Germantown Friends School.


Faculty and Staff Changes

Catherine Ezzo has accepted the position of Upper School Director at Charles Wright Academy in Tacoma, Wash.

After a national search, Erin Hughes has been named the Director of Upper School.

After 22 years of service to Penn Charter, Tim Lynch has stepped down from his position as Upper School biology teacher. He will continue to tutor and and work on research.

Peggie Murphy is retiring at the end of this school year.

Parveen Roberts is leaving Penn Charter at the end of this year to join her husband in Budapest, Hungary.

Click here to see more information about positions currently open at Penn Charter.


Sabbaticals, 20-Year Grants and Summer Work

Faculty members who have been at Penn Charter for at least 10 years may apply for a sabbatical to explore an area in the faculty member's field of interest. The Personnel Committee of the Overseers reviews the applications and makes the final decisions. A three-month sabbatical comes with full pay, a yearlong sabbatical half pay. Click here to access the sabbatical proposal form. The due date is Friday, May 3, 2019.

20-Year Grants
Two $2,000 grants annually are available for faculty members who have worked at Penn Charter for 20 or more years. Traditionally, faculty members have used these funds for travel and/or other professional development activities related to their discipline. If you are interested in applying for a 20-year grant for next year, 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 grant proposals is Friday, May 3, 2019.

Summer Work
It is customary for faculty to do some curriculum maintenance during the summer months. Summer work proposals are for work that is directly related to enhancing existing curriculum, usually on a broader scale. Normally, projects last one or two days. The per diem rate is $125. Click here to access the proposal form. The due date for summer work proposals is Friday, May 3, 2019.

Additional information about sabbaticals, 20-year grants, and summer work can be found on the TLC website. You can also contact David Brightbill with questions.


The Eco Corner

by Tom Rickards

As we close out February, there are many exciting things coming up for this spring! Here are a couple quick updates and, as always, let me know if you want to get involved. Did you know you can also get weekly email updates called PC Eco News?!? (Why wait on pins and needles for the monthly updates?) Just let me know if you want in on the listserv:

Terracycle Update:  Just a quick note to say, so far, we have packaged up 282 lbs. of waste! These are items that are diverted from landfills (and are not accepted by our recycling company). Please remind community members that chip bags, energy bar wrappers, writing instruments and dental products can be brought to each divisional lobby, among other locations. Also if you have a Keurig coffee machine in your office, please let us know as we collect those pesky K cups too!

School Strike 4 Climate:  There is a global school strike against the inaction of adults in combating climate change that is scheduled for March 15. This student-led movement is motivated from Greta Thunberg — please check out her TED Talk if you have not seen it. I want to thank my many colleagues for sharing these resources with me. We are exploring our own involvement and let’s continue to discern our next steps together.

Philadelphia Environmental Film Festival will be happening the weekend of April 5-7. A group of us are exploring going together, so please let me or Orit Netter know if you would like to join us.

Outdoor Adventures:  There is some interest in forming a biking, climbing, paddling series of outings starting as early as this summer. If you would like to be a part of this and help us organize these experiences for our students as well, please know all are welcome!


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:

  • Effectively Supporting Penn Charter Independent Studies

  • Roundtable Discussion: Creating a Positive Classroom Environment

  • Introduction to Rocketbook Reusable Notebook

  • “Test Wrappers” to Help Students Reflect on Assessment Performance

  • Urban Teaching Café: Learn about the Urban Teaching Fellowship at PC and Community Partnership School

  • Discussion of Teaching Tolerance’s Webinar: "What Is White Privilege, Really?"

  • Discussion of Webinar: "Unleash the Science of Learning" with Pooja Agarwal

  • Doing School vs. Learning for Learning’s Sake group

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

  • Meaningfully Using Homework to Promote Learning Group

  • Using Metacognition and Digital Portfolios to Promote Deep Learning Group

  • BARWE: Building Anti-Racist White Educators

  • Full-day Livestreaming of the March 11 AIM Research to Practice Symposium about Reading, Math and the Brain

  • One-to-One Computer Help

  • Mindfulness

  • Morning Swim

  • PC Cultural Series: "Miss Saigon" at the Academy of Music

  • And more!

Jefferson University Programming. I also invite you to take advantage of the rich programming at Jefferson University. There is a Talking Teaching discussion each Wednesday from noon-1 pm, and various workshops, including:  

  • Does Technology-Aided Note Taking Enhance Information Retention across Disciplines?

Catch Up on What You Missed. Did you hope to get to a session last month, but missed it? Below are some of the resources from February workshops that you can take a look at your convenience.

Once again, here is the SignUp Genius link to register for a TLC and Jefferson University workshop. If there’s a TLC 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.

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.

ISTE Ed Tech Conference 2019
Check out this link to learn more about the conference, which is scheduled for June 23-29 in Philadelphia. Talk to David Brightbill or Michael Moulton if you’re interested in attending.

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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I choose to call myself a Quaker because I want to identify with this tribe.  I want to identify with this living community that is doing its best to simultaneously honor the past, be fully present now, and radically change the world going forward in the future . . . 

—  Tom Hoopes