April 2019

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


Marianna Allen was recently elected to the board of the Modern Language Association of Philadelphia and Vicinity (MLAPV).

Michael Moulton will present “LMS Rollout . . . Blackbaud onCampus 3 Years In,” for the ADVIS Innovates - Speed Innovating Sessions on April 30 at AIM Academy.

Christie Pearsall served on a council of teachers through Resources for Learning LLC, providing  feedback on a new middle school Language Arts/Theater curriculum they are developing with the Nantucket Comedy Festival. The curriculum is called "Stand Up and Learn," and it seeks to teach children communication, public speaking and confidence by taking them through the writing and rehearsal process of comedic storytelling, which eventually culminates in an original stand-up comedy performance.

La Sripanawongsa presented at the Pennsylvania State Modern Language Association (PSMLA) Immersion day on March 9. Her workshop was entitled, "From Zero to Literacy: Through Interaction, Personalization and Collaborative Writing."

The Penn Charter Technology Department was recognized for teaching computer science in a way that inspires, prepares and propels students of all backgrounds to pursue a computer science education in college. The recognition came with an Amazon Future Engineer grant that will enable us to use the powerful online learning tool in our two yearlong computer science classes. Students will also have access through the grant to real-world Cloud Computing Service tools for their coding projects.

Melanie Wills’ article,  "Applying Retrieval Practice Techniques in the Classroom," was published in the March issue of "Chemistry Solutions,” the online periodical for AACT (American Association of Chemistry Teachers).

Congratulations and special thanks to the many PC colleagues who shared their expertise by teaching TLC workshops and/or mentoring faculty during March: Ray Bailey, Ari Baker, Naveena Bembry, Kevin Berkoff, Eileen Bossone, John Estok, Jane Evans, Aly Goodner, Julian Guindon, Judith Hill, Shahidah Kalam Id-Din, Corey Kilbane, Lee Payton, Lisa Reedich, Tom Rickards, Pam Shannon, Dan Stahl, Brooke Stratton, Alec Tressler, Lisa Turner, Melanie Wills and Caroline Yang.


News & Notes

Marianna Allen, Indira Corales and Anabelle Montero-Hricz recently attended EdCamp for language teachers, at Germantown Friends School, and it was a great opportunity to share and exchange ideas with colleagues.

Margaret Lea was featured in the Winter 2018 issue of “The Magazine of Natural Lands.” Her work on the Old Tennis Farm Community Garden, which provides food to the Whosoever Gospel Mission, was highlighted on pages 20-21 of the publication.


New Teaching and Learning Center Website Unveiled

Ruth Aichenbaum is excited to announce that, with the help of Ray Bailey and others, the TLC website has been reimagined and is now part of the Penn Charter external school website.  Be sure to check out this new, improved and updated resource for all your professional development needs!


Summer Professional Reading

It’s time to begin thinking about faculty and staff summer reading! To peruse the book options and make your choice, visit the PC Professional Summer Reading page on the new TLC website. Click on the slideshow to review the selections and then click the blue Book Selection Form box. Book selections are due by Thursday, April 18.


Overseers Dinner

The annual Overseers Dinner will be on Tuesday, May 7, at 6 pm, in the tent outside Timmons. Click here for a list of faculty and staff who will be honored for their service to 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

Welcome to spring! As I write this during our spring break, I am anxiously awaiting the next few days of warmer temperatures. As we return to school in April, let’s celebrate Earth Month! We will have special programming for Earth Week (details below), but let’s share environmental reminders and eco-gratitudes for each day of the month!

Earth Week
This year we will celebrate Earth Week April 22-26. We will be adding more events in the next few weeks, but you can see a schedule for each division here as well as videos to share with students. A few cross divisional highlights include:

Our second annual E-waste Drive. Bins will be available in each divisional lobby starting on Monday the 23rd. We have a pick-up on Friday 27th and we can accept some of the following electronic products: PAR Recycle Works (please let me know if you have CRT monitors that you are bringing in).

Alex Wildman will be our Earth Week speaker in Middle and Upper Schools on Wednesday April 24. You can watch his film Hold Fast at the Academy of Natural Sciences on April 6, 6:00-9:00pm.

Bike Month
More details will be shared as we get closer, but May is Bike Month and we are kicking it off May 1 with two bike trains to school! Let me know if you want to get involved. In the meantime, is your bike road ready? We now have a fix-it bike station set-up in our IdeaLab and we are ready to help you out! Here is a quick ABC bike check, and let us know if you need a tune-up!

There are many ways to explore and live out the testimony of stewardship in our classrooms, playing fields and everyday lives. Please follow us on twitter: Penn Charter Green, Instagram: Penn Charter Green, and contact me if you would like to join our weekly email listserv: PC Eco Weekly News!


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, which you can sign up for using this SignUp Genius link. Offerings include sessions about: 


  • How to Use Mind Brain, Education (MBE) Research Informed Strategies in Your Class Tomorrow!

  • Mind, Brain, Education Research and Implications for Teaching

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

  • Discussion of Pooja Agarwal’s Archived Webinar Powerful Teaching: Unleash the Science of Learning

  • A Taste of American Studies

  • Effectively Supporting Independent Studies: A Gathering of Teachers and Students

  • Roundtable Discussion: Creating a Positive Classroom Environment

  • Meaningfully Using Homework to Promote Learning

  • Urban Teaching Fellow Café: Learn about the Urban Teaching Fellowship

  • Doing School vs. Learning for Learning’s Sake

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

  • Building Advocates: Cross-Cultural Conversations--a gathering of Teachers and Students

  • Girls Social/Emotional Needs and Educational Empowerment

  • Deconstructing Miss Saigon: What are the Controversies Surrounding this Popular Musical?

  • BARWE: Building Anti-Racist White Educators

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

  • Decoding Penn Charter Culture

  • What Flavor Quaker Is PC and Why?

  • PC Faculty/Staff Book Club: Discussion of the novel The Collector’s Apprentice by B. A. Shapiro


  • One-to-One Computer Help
  • IdeaLab Help


  • Circadian Eating: Time-Restricted Eating to Positively Impact Your Health

  • Spring Mindful Yoga

  • Morning Swim

  • Morning Fitness

  • Mindfulness

  • Balancing the Role of Being a PC Teacher and a PC Parent

  • Group for Moms and Dads of Kids Two Years and Younger

I also invite you to take advantage of the rich programming at Jefferson University. There is a Talking Teaching discussion each Wednesday from 12:00-1:00 PM, as well as other workshops that will be posted on the SignUp Genius.

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. And please do check out our new TLC website and special thanks to Ray Bailey for creating it!

Once again here is the SignUp Genius link to sign up 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.

109 Online
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We are not for Names, nor Men, nor Titles of Government, nor are we for this Party, nor against the other, because of its Name and Pretence; but we are for Justice and Mercy, and Truth and Peace, and true Freedom, that these may be exalted in our Nation.

— Edward Burrough,