May 2019

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


Pamela Shannon has been invited to be part of a lunch discussion on Women's Athletics for Ursinus College on May 15 at the Huntingdon Valley Country Club.

Congratulations and special thanks to the many PC colleagues who shared their expertise by teaching workshops and/or mentoring faculty during April: Sarah Aguilar-Francis, Jim Behr, Kevin Berkoff, Eileen Bossone, Ashleigh Brown, Karen Campbell, John Estok, Aly Goodner, Julian Guindon, Judith Hill, Shahidah Kalam Id-Din, Joy Lai, Marianne Master, Michael Moulton, Cory Moy, Eva Kay Noone, Kristen Ostendorf, Lee Payton, Christie Pearsall, Tom Rickards, Brooke Stratton, Alec Tressler, Lisa Turner, Antonio Williams and Melanie Wills.


News & Notes

Maria Adamson and Kristen Ostendorf recently completed the Choices Program workshop, "Engaging Students in International Issues: The Choices Approach" at the University of Pennsylvania Museum. The workshop focused on teaching about issues such as the civil war in Syria and immigration using personal stories and documents.

Sarah Black attended the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project (TCRWP) Saturday Reunion in October and again this past March. Both were awesome days of free reading and writing workshops at Teachers College for thousands of teachers. The keynote speaker in October was Kate DiCamillo and in March, Jason Reynolds started the day of amazing workshops. The day in March closed with Marc Brackett, the founding director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence.

Joy Lai, Cory Moy, Julie Park, La Sripanawongsa and Linh Tran attended the 9th Annual National Conference of the Asian Educators Alliance. AsEA is committed to identifying challenges for Asian & Pacific Islander (API) educators, discussing strategies to address these challenges, building mentor structures, and finding ways to support API families at independent schools.  


Reflections on Callie Brownson’s Visit to PC: “A New Ode to Dartmouth Football”

by Lisa Turner

After graduation I hadn’t visited Dartmouth for over two decades. Let’s just saw that we had . . . drifted apart. Then in the summer of 2017, my husband was running in the Vermont 100, an ultra race just a half hour away from Hanover. So I decided to take a few hours to show the kids “where Mommy went to school.”

“Mom. MOM. What is that?”

Turning right off of the highway exit, I breathed and took back my lost landscape. My river. My bridge. I drove over and up, parent-narrating all the places I had loved: Ledyard, just down the path; Sanborn Library, home of naps and teas; and Baker Library, in all of its climate-controlled, Orozco-painted magnificence. For some reason, Webster Avenue’s pull also remained as strong as its long-ago basement odors. I curved the car around the still-gorgeous Occum and then slow-rolled down the Row.


My 10-year-old daughter was pointing to a young man in red body paint and a jockstrap. He was tossing a football on the front lawn with some friends who had opted for clothes. It was 1 pm on a Saturday.

“That’s a fraternity, honey," I offered. "These students have likely been drinking for several hours now, so that might have something to do with the choices they are making. Imagine the choices they’ll be making when they have guests at their party later today!”

“Oh my gosh,” said my son. He was seven.

I laughed and my kids saw through it. Dartmouth was still Dartmouth; it still wore that old, masculine patina of Green. It still tossed footballs mostly naked.

I had no idea on that day that this strange soup of memory—the masculinity, the carelessness, the dynamics of gender, athletics and fraternities—it was all about to take a mind-bending turn. Buddy Teevens was going to hire the first female Division 1 football coach. Hanover would soon welcome a humble genius named Callie Brownson—and I was going to start caring a whole lot more about football.

Continued . . . 



Congratulations to  our 2019 VITAL recipients!

Sarah Aguilar-Francis, Sharon Ahram, Ben Dziedzic, Joy Lai, Travis Larrabee and Tom Rickards were awarded a VITAL grant to further develop the Upper School Certificate program. This group will develop the vision, policies and procedures for our newly established certificate program. Among other goals, the group plans to explore how the certificate students can be involved in more cross-divisional connections and project-based learning.

Monica Freely, Corey Kilbane and Eva Kay Noone were awarded a VITAL Grant for their Embroidery Machine project. This group will receive the software and training needed to help students create their own cross-cultural and tech savvy designs and creatively use the embroidery machine across the curriculum for pre-K to 12 students.

The VITAL Selection Committee encourages you to start dreaming about your ideal VITAL project. Applications will be due in mid-February 2020.


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.


Color Day

Color Day is May 24 at 1:00pm on Maguire Field. All faculty and students are expected to come out and support this 127-year tradition. For those teachers new to Penn Charter, Color Day is the annual competition between blue and yellow teams. Each class is divided into two teams who then compete in different events, culminating with the senior rope pull.

Color Day, established in 1892, has had a long tradition of friendly competition. PC educator Isaac Porter was the founder of the first Color Day, which enabled every PC student “the opportunity to compete and share with his or her classmates the joy of a festival competition.” Porter was responsible for establishing the color “points system” where points were awarded throughout the school year for academic honors, public speaking, holding offices in school clubs, athletic letters and other honors. Any active school involvement was eligible for “color points.” These points were tallied throughout the school year with the final points awarded at the spring Color Day field competition, determining the overall color team winner for the year.  Most likely due to the accounting nightmares, this point tracking system only lasted two years. In 1894, color points were awarded only for athletic activities.

The afternoon of Color Day is a time to come together as a community to share in a continuing PC tradition. Parents, friends and alumni travel to campus to cheer on their favorite yellow or blue team with the opportunity to be reunited with old friends and visit the refreshment or activity booths located outside the stadium field. Color Day captains, elected by the senior class, lead the procession of flags onto the field to commence the day’s events.

The Health and Physical Education Department plans and runs the event with the help of many others. All faculty and staff to participate in the Color Day festivities. Faculty members not responsible for specific duties need to be present to hold all students accountable for appropriate behavior throughout the afternoon. Specific faculty responsibilities are outlined by division below:

  • Lower School: Faculty members accompany students by grade to the inner field and assist the Color Day facilitators with the specific grade events.
  • Middle School: Homeroom faculty members accompany students by grade to the inner field holding/paddock areas and assist the Color Day facilitators with the specific grade events.
  • Upper School: Grade advisors should assemble their specific grade in the inner holding/paddock areas prior to their event and assist the Color Day facilitators.

Go Yellow! Go Blue! Enjoy the day!


The Eco Corner

by Tom Rickards

We had an awesome Earth Week this year with powerful student programming and testimonials. Please add pictures and videos you might have in this folder. I just wanted to say thank you to all you good colleagues and friends that made that week possible! We are now entering the home stretch! Here are some items for the month of May.

Reusables for Small Events
I have recently purchased a set of 50 mugs, small plates and flatware that I can bring to you for small “end-of-the-year” gatherings and events if you would like to avoid single-use disposables. Just email me the details, and I will work on getting those items to you. Also let me know if you would like a set of travel-conscious cutlery and I will be happy to order more!

Outdoor Planning and Events
As we approach the freedom of summer, I wanted to remind folks of the PC Green Events calendar that I continually add events to as they come into my inbox. Secondly, if you were inspired by Earth Week and you want to do more outdoorsy things next year, please fill out this survey. Science continues to show the benefits of being outside, so let’s build up those skills and see what we can do together.

All Trails Challenge
The Friends of the Wissahickon is moving its challenge earlier for this coming year and it will run from May 27 to August 28. While not as ideal for us as a school team, I will still share the team page soon and I hope we can still partake. We have been the highest fundraising team for the last two years, so we got some rep to uphold, but stay tuned for more information.


Notes from the TLC

by Ruth Aichenbaum 

There are  many varied learning opportunities in the next month. Since May is a busy month for all of us, the TLC will also offer a number of fun sessions/activities, many over lunch, with hopes of providing some time to unwind, smile and enjoy each other's company! Hope you find sessions below that you’d like to attend!


  • Flipgrid Sharing Session
  • Using Metacognition and Digital Portfolios to Promote Deep Learning

  • Mind Brain Education Research and Implications for Teaching Group

  • Writing Effective College Recommendation Letters

  • A Taste of American Studies

  • A Teachers College Reading and Writing Project (TCRWP) Conversation at PC: Hear Takeaways from the March Speakers/Workshops

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

  • White Fragility: Come and Discuss Robin DiAngelo’s talk and her book White Fragility: Why it’s So Hard to Talk to White People about Race

  • BARWE: Building Anti-Racist White Educators

  • Girls Social/Emotional Needs and Educational Empowerment Group

  • Introducing America 4.0: Diverse Perspectives of the Period Beginning in 2008 that Marked a New Period in or Nation’s History as Our Social, Political and Culture Dynamics Shifted


  • Updates to G Suites and other Google Support

  • One-to-One Computer Help

  • IdeaLab Help

Wellness / Stewardship / Enrichment / Just for Fun!

  • Get Your Knitting TLC

  • Sharing Ideas for Summer Pleasure Reading and Listening

  • What to Watch on TV

  • Now Playing . . . at a Theater Near You!

  • Come Share your “Summer Bucket List”

  • Spring Mindful Yoga

  • Morning Swim

  • Morning Fitness

  • Mindfulness

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

  • Your Idea! Have an idea for a fun session you’d like to offer? Let me know and we’ll make it happen!

Had you hoped to attend a session last month, but couldn’t make it? Here are some resources from past workshops, so that you can take a look and learn at your leisure

Here is the SignUp Genius link to sign up for a workshop. As always, if there’s a TLC session you’d like to attend, but the timing doesn’t work, please email me (, and I’ll 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
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, Privilege, and Power: Unpacking Our White Selves
The Third Annual Summer Symposium, "Power, Privilege and Power: 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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