June 2019

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


Back by popular demand, Julia Judson-Rea, Nicole Martz and Emma Rowan presented their session titled "Collaborative Giving Days: How to Create the Why" again at the ADVIS Annual Giving Workshops held at Friends’ Central in May. They also hosted members of the development and communications departments from Oratory Prep School (Summit, NJ) in April to share strategies for developing their own day of giving modeled after Great Day to Be a Quaker.   

Congratulations and special thanks to PC colleagues who shared their expertise by leading sessions and mentoring at the Teaching & Learning Center during May: Sarah Aguilar-Francis, Pat Bender, Kevin Berkoff, Eileen Bossone, Ashleigh Brown, John Estok, Jane Evans, Julian Guindon, Judith Hill, Shahidah Kalam Id-Din, Corey Kilbane, Sara Moses, Michael Moulton, Eva Kay Noone, Kristen Ostendorf, Lee Payton, Christie Pearsall, Tom Rickards, Jody Sweeney, Alec Tressler, Lisa Turner and Caroline Yang.


News & Notes

Sonia Duprez attended the Writing Graphic Novels Institute at Columbia Teachers College through the Reading and Writing Project. During the three-day course, she learned about the importance of graphic novels in our culture and the comprehension skills that are developed through the reading of comics. She can't wait to do some of this work with fourth grade and is hoping to collaborate with anyone interested in this topic.

Joy Lai, Cory Moy and La Sripanawongsa recently attended the 7th Annual Teaching Social Activism Conference, held at the Museum of the City of New York.


New Editor for P.C.P.D.

Starting next school year, Rachel Malhotra will be the new editor of P.C.P.D. Marianne Master is stepping down from the role to focus on other activities related to her responsibilities as 9/10 Grade Dean.  


Faculty & Staff Changes

Sharon Ahram will continue as the 11/12 Grade Dean next year.

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

Malcolm Ford and Jeff Humble will serve as interim co-chairs of the Science Department for next year.

Anne Hilton is retiring from teaching at the end of this year. She will continue to advise the Upper School Mock Trial team.

Karen Hallowell will continue as the Director of Middle and Upper School Admissions next year.

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

Debbie Kaesshaefer will spend the next year transitioning out of her role as chair of the Performing Arts Department.  She will be working with Brad Ford so that he can replace her in 2020-2021.

Debbie Marcee is leaving Penn Charter and will relocate to Texas.

Peggie Murphy is retiring this summer.

Lee Payton will continue as the assistant head of Upper School next year.

Tom Rickards will serve as interim Religious Studies chair for the 2019-2020 school year.

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

Eve Schwartz has accepted a position teaching lower school science at The Haverford School.

Bryan Skelly has accepted a position teaching middle school humanities at Friends Select School.

La Sripanawongsa is leaving Penn Charter to teach middle school Chinese at Friends Select School.

Alec Tressler is leaving Penn Charter to move back to central Pennsylvania.

Vera Wilson is retiring at the end of this year.


The Eco Corner

by Tom Rickards

As we close out this year, I share the reflection that this may have been the most student-engaged school year around environmental stewardship and climate justice! I want to express my deep gratitude to you, my good colleagues, for inspiring and giving voice to our students. A few final notes to hit as summer approaches.

Terracycle Wrap-Up
In the next two weeks, we will be shipping out the last of Terracycle waste streams and also cleaning and storing the bins around campus. I will share our final numbers when all is finished, but please bring in your items and know that, after graduation, the Terracycle program will be closed for the summer. This total will jump up after our last collections, but we have diverted close to 400 lbs of waste so far this year! Let's see if we can get past 500!!

PC Hikes All Trails Challenge
Here is our team page for the Friends of the Wissahickon (FOW) All Trails Challenge. They have shifted this event from the fall to the summer, so I am still hoping you can join the team here and raise some funds for FOW. Remember these goals:

  • Let's get a full team membership and get out in the Wissahickon as much as works with our summer schedules.
  • Raise some funds for an organization that keeps the Wissahickon (trails and other infrastructure) in good shape for our students and neighbors.
  • Let’s just have some fun! This is a great way to support each other and get all the health benefits of being outdoors.

Faculty Green Team
I want to thank the members of the faculty green team this year: Joel Eckel, Laura Valdmanis, Steve Wade, Brooke Giles, Orit Netter, Alice Bateman, Peter Shaifer, Eve Schwartz, Jennifer Chernak, Lisa Turner, Kevin Berkoff, David Nichols, Doug Uhlmann and our ever helpful parent liaison Carol Ann Gross-Davis! We met once a month this year and I am deeply appreciative of all the programming and events we were able to accomplish this year. We will be having a final breakfast gathering on Wednesday, June 5, at 7:30 (location TBD) and will explore what would be the best model for environmental information and decision making for next year. Please let me know if you would like to be involved.


Notes from the TLC

by Ruth Aichenbaum 

Thanks to everyone who led and attended TLC sessions this year. It was such a pleasure to learn from and with you!

Below are some links to resources from some of the May workshops that you might have missed so that you can take a look at them during your leisure this summer.

Already I’m starting to plan next year’s TLC workshops and learning groups. Please let me know if you have an idea for a session or a PLC (a professional learning community) that you’d like to lead or that you’d like to see offered. Hope to see you in the Teaching & Learning Center in the fall.

Links to Presentations / Resources from some recent TLC workshops:


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.

Proposals Wanted!  MCRC@ADVIS DEI Conference and People of Color Conference
Here is information on the MCRC@ADVIS DEI Conference, which is scheduled for October 11. Use the link below if you are interested in submitting a proposal for the conference. This would be a great rehearsal for those of you interested in presenting at the 2019 NAIS People of Color Conference.

NAIS PoCC Proposal

Power, Practice, Privilege: Unpacking Our White Selves
The Third Annual Summer Symposium, "Power, Practice, Privilege: Unpacking Our White Selves" will once again be led by skilled and dedicated facilitators, educators and white co-conspirators in social justice work, Peg Schultz and Jason Novak. They will also welcome Ali Michael, a strong educator, author, social justice practitioner and ally as a special guest facilitator. If you are interested in attending, please let Antonio Williams know.

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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