February 2019

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


Melanie Wills was featured in the American Association of Chemistry Teachers (AACT) member spotlight in January.

Congratulations and special thanks to the many PC colleagues who shared their expertise by offering December and January TLC workshops: Maria Adamson, Ari Baker, Sarah Black, Eileen Bossone, Karen Campbell, Sonia Duprez, John Estok, Jane Evans, Aly Goodner, Julian Guindon, Judith Hill, Shahidah Kalam Id-Din, Joy Lai, Sara Moses, Cory Moy, Lee Payton, Kristen Ostendorf, Christie Pearsall, Tom Rickards, Pam Shannon, Eve Schwartz, Dan Stahl, Brooke Stratton, Alec Tressler, Lisa Turner and Melanie Wills.


News & Notes

Anne Hilton writes, “I am retiring at the end of this school year.  I'm excited to give more time to SquashSmarts, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and Philadelphia Ceasefire.  And I'm looking forward to having the flexibility that my husband, David, has in his schedule. I've been so fortunate to teach at (and see my children graduate from) this wonderful school.”


Faculty and Staff Announcements

All-School Musical
Disney’s My Son Pinocchio: Geppetto's Musical Tale

Book by David I. Stern
Music & Lyrics by Stephen Schwartz
“When You Wish Upon a Star” & “I’ve Got No Strings”
Music by Leigh Harline, Lyrics by Ned Washington (from the Walt Disney Motion Picture)

Friday, Feb. 22, 2019, 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019, 2:00 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019, 2:00 pm

Directed by Eva Kay Noone

This new musical is a retelling of the classic Disney story from Geppetto’s perspective, featuring songs from the original animated film alongside a fresh score by Oscar and Grammy Award winner Stephen Schwartz. The show tackles themes like what it means to be the “perfect child” – and how to be a “real father.” Students from grades 4 through 12 will participate in all aspects of this production. This show is open to the P.C. community and the general public and is appropriate for all audiences. The running time is approximately two hours with one 10-minute intermission. Starting Feb. 4, faculty and staff can get their complimentary ticket online or through the School Store by using the code: faculty. Additional tickets can be purchased for any of the performances at $10.00 for adults and $8.00 for students. Please come and support our talented cast and crew as they sing these fabulous songs and bring this story to life!



It’s not too late to apply for a VITAL grant! VITAL proposals are due on Monday, Feb. 11. 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 wanted to share a few queries as we begin 2019 and reflect on our work as educators committed to the Friends testimonies of justice and stewardship. I was struck with the following quote as I was preparing for our MLK Day of Service this year:

“We must rapidly begin the shift from a ‘thing-oriented’ society to a ‘person-oriented’ society.  When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, then the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.” 
—Dr. Martin Luther King

This quote was found within a longer reflection from Rabbi Daniel Swartz entitled MLK, Climate and Tu B’Shvat.” Here Swartz notes the connections between the theology of Dr. King and the Jewish Holiday of the “New Year of Trees” that commands we push against the dynamics of oppression (the triplets of racism, materialism and militarism) in the hopes of a more sustainable future. What does it mean to help our students envision a future that is more “person-oriented” rather than “thing-oriented” in our ever-increasing screen saturated life? How can we empower young people to push back against these giant triplets when they often work unseen? What are the ways we can bring all voices and peoples to the collective effort of saving our only home?

While our task can be overwhelming at times, I take comfort in our good community and collective reflections and efforts as we seek a way forward.   

Winter E-Waste Drive: We collected 1,376 pounds of electronic waste! Well done and remember that our next collection will be Earth Week, April 22-26.

Waste Choices: I know there are lots of bins and locations to keep track of around campus, so here is a reminder for the new year about best-choice waste drop offs.

  • Chip Bags, Energy Bar Wrappers: There are Terracycle bins in each divisional lobby as well as the two sides of the cafeteria. An energy bar bin is outside the Blaine Center (weight room) and chip bag bins are in the Gummere Library as well as the lobby of the Dooney Field House

  • Dental Products, Writing Instruments: There are Terracycle bins in each divisional lobby. If you have another bin in a department office, make sure you bring these materials down to the respective bins or let me know.

  • Ink Cartridges and Used Batteries: Each divisional lobby and outside the School Store

  • Used LED Light Bulbs and E-Waste: If you have small items, bring them down to Room 5 and I can dispose of these properly. For bigger e-waste items, take note of E-Waste drives above.

It's Official: Penn Charter is now Bicycle Friendly! Thanks to our bicycle committee (and especially Michael Moulton) for spearheading and putting together our application this fall. I am pleased to announce that Penn Charter is the first preK-12 school in Pennsylvania to be recognized as Bicycle Friendly by the League of American Cyclists! We received the Bronze level, and we will be working on more bicycle supportive programming and events for this spring, so stay tuned! Please let us know if you want to get involved.


Notes from the TLC

by Ruth Aichenbaum 

The Teaching & Learning Center is offering both old favorites and new, diverse workshops in the coming months with hopes of meeting your teaching and learning interests and goals. You can sign up for the workshops below using this SignUp link.


  • Test Wrappers to Help Students Reflect on Assessment Performance

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

  • Discussion of the Webinar: "Powerful Teaching: Unleash the Science of Learning," given by cognitive scientist Pooja Agarwal Webinar

  • Discussion of the recorded session "Now You See It: The Future of Education Requires a Paradigm Shift," NAIS address given by Cathy Davidson

  • Introduction to Rocketbook Reusable Notebook
  • Talking Teaching at Jefferson University

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

  • What is the Green New Deal? Learn about the Latest Climate Change and Environmental Federal and Local Legislation
  • Diverse Thinking: Influences of Language and Culture
  • Decoding Penn Charter Culture for Teachers in Years 1-3 at PC
  • Your Mind on Diversity...and Not: Analyzing the Script Behind Virtually Every Difficult Conversation


  • One-to-One Computer Help

  • Learn about Flipgrid

The Arts

  • Art and Ethics: Hot Debates and Controversies in the Art World, Part 2: Controversy at the Whitney Museum

  • Penn Charter Cultural Series Philadelphia Premiere/Annenberg Center Debut – Cirque Mechanics

  • Penn Charter Cultural Series: Miss Saigon at the Academy of Music
  • Get Your Knitting TLC
  • PC Book Group Discussion


  • Morning Swim is back!
  • Mindfulness

  • PC Winter Mindful Yoga (Tuesdays at 4:10 PM)

  • Morning Fitness Class (Monday, Wednesday and Fridays)

  • And more sessions added all the time! Let me know what you’d like to offer or teach!

We invite you to join any of our affinity groups listed below:

  • Learning about Mind, Brain, Education Research and Implications for Teaching (Meeting next on Feb. 4)

  • #BARWE, "Building Anti-Racist White Educators" facilitated by Lisa Turner (Feb. 5)

  • Girls Social/ Emotional Needs and Educational Empowerment (Meeting next on Feb. 25)

  • Meaningfully Using Homework to Promote Learning (Meeting next on March 4)

  • Doing School vs. Learning for Learning’s Sake (Meeting next on March 5)

  • Teaching in a Time of Uncertainty: Discussions about our Current Political Climate as Quaker Educators? (Meeting next on March 7)

  • Balancing the Role of Being a PC Faculty Member and a Parent of a PC Student (Meeting next on Feb. 5)

  • Using Metacognition and Digital portfolios to Promote Deep Learning (Meeting next - TBA)

  • Parents of Children Two Years Old & Under Affinity Group (Meeting date TBA)

Please contact me if there are other types of affinity/learning groups that you’d like to create.

Once again, 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.

Below are some of the resources from December and January workshops that you can take a look at your convenience.


Please remember that we’re invited to take part in Jefferson University’s Talking Teaching each week on Wednesdays from 12 to 1 PM.  There will be a different topic each week with a short reading to jumpstart the discussion. Their other great workshops offerings will be posted on our Sign Up Genius, including sessions about databases, apps to engage students, note-taking and more.

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.

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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