November 2018

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


Chief Development Officer Hal Davidow and Head of School Darryl Ford attended the annual INDEX Benchmarking conference in Tampa. While there, Darryl led a roundtable discussion on Engaging Alumni and Parent Donors.

Darryl Ford was recently invited to speak at the Friends School of Atlanta Quaker Education Night.

In October, Kristen Ostendorf helped facilitate a workshop for the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania's Anti-Racism Commission on personal accountability and racism. Her contribution centered around the concept of white privilege and white fragility within a spiritual framework. The work was informed by the writings of Debby Irving and Robin DiAngelo.

Congratulations and special thanks to the many PC colleagues who shared their expertise by teaching workshops and/or mentoring at the Teaching & Learning Center during October: Alice Bateman, Naveena Bembry, Eileen Bossone, John Estok, Jane Evans, Debbie Foley, Julian Guindon, Jeff Humble, Corey Kilbane, Shahidah Kalam Id-Din, Joy Lai, Rachel Malhotra, Marianne Master, Sara Moses, Michael Moulton, Eva Kay Noone, Lee Payton, Christie Pearsall, Jim Pilkington, Lisa Reedich, Pam Shannon, Alec Tressler, Lisa Turner, Doug Uhlmann, Antonio Williams and Melanie Wills.


Kaitlyn Norton and Nate Osheyack welcomed a son, Emmett, on September 29.


News & Notes

Lindsay Franklin recently attended a conference on diversity and identity for early childhood educators called “Little Chairs, Big Differences.”

Judith Hill and Sara Moses attended Arthur Larrabee's Clerking Workshop, held at Friends Center on October 16.

On October 16, Anabelle Montero-Hricz, Linda O'Malley and Darci Spencer traveled to Newark, Del., to attend the Responsive Classroom workshop designed specifically for specials teachers.

Lisa Reedich attended a one-day seminar titled "Conflict Resolution Strategies for the Workplace" offered by the Center for Resolutions in Media, Pa. Concepts covered were: styles of conflict management, active listening, de-escalating anger, identifying positions, interests and issues, and collaborative problem solving.


Welcome to New Faces!

Colin McCloskey OPC '14 is a new Development Associate. A graduate of Ursinus College, Colin is excited to be back at his alma mater supporting events, alumni relations and annual giving.

Shawna Hanley is our new Administrative Assistant to the Chief Development Officer, replacing Jen Cubbin, who has moved over to Admissions. A graduate of West Chester University, Shawna comes to us after more than eight years as an executive assistant in both higher education and the financial sector.


Faculty and Staff Announcements

Casting Call!
Attention male and female faculty and staff members: Eva Kay Noone is seeking talented adults to play the roles of the “Founding Fathers” in the winter all-school musical production of My Son Pinocchio: Geppetto’s Musical Tale. These non-singing roles appear in a brief scene in act one with a few lines that will need to be memorized. It would be great to have representation from all three divisions, Upper, Middle, and Lower School, for three different performance dates (Feb. 22, 23 and 24). There will be sporadic rehearsals in January and February with the bulk of the rehearsal time in late February. Interested faculty and staff should contact Eva Kay Noone, Liz Jones or Holly Silberman to find out more about the roles and get a copy of the scene that will be used in auditions. Initial auditions will be held privately at your convenience. Looking forward to working with some talented colleagues!

Upper School Play
Tickets for the Upper School Play are now on sale.  This year’s production includes two one-act comedies. The production runs approximately 75 minutes (including one intermission) on Friday, Nov. 16 at 7:30pm, and Saturday, Nov. 17 at 2:30 p.m. in the Kurtz Center.

It's Not You, It's Me, by Don Zolidas, explores the painful art of breaking-up through comedic, awkwardly realistic characters. This series of wildly hilarious scenes are sure to make you feel relieved not to be the receiving end of those five fatal relationship words.

13 Ways to Screw Up Your College Interview, by Ian McWethy, follows two college recruiters at a prestigious university who need to fill one last spot to keep their jobs. What seems like a simple task turns into a nightmare when the applicants turn out to be a reality TV star, a practicing vampire, an amateur magician, and others that are much, much worse. Each applicant's interview hilariously illustrates what NOT to do in a college interview.

Penn Charter faculty, staff and administration are entitled to one free ticket. Visit the school store or see the email from Michael Roche for more information.

Phone Extensions
There were a few recent changes to some phone extensions in the internal directory. You can also look in the Faculty Handbook for the updated list.


PC Summer Book Swap

The Committee on Teaching and Learning would like to help make it easy for you to read other PC Professional Summer Reading Books that interest you. To this end, we’ve set up a shelf in the TLC where you can drop off your summer reading book and take another book of your choice.

Also, we’re already collecting suggestions for next summer’s reading. As you come upon books that you think would make a great PC summer read, please use the form on the front page of the TLC website to share them with us.



It’s not too early to start planning for your ideal VITAL summer project! For those of you unfamiliar with the program, VITAL (Valuing Innovative Teaching and Learning) is an exciting professional development model that provides teachers time during the summer for the transformation of their craft through research, collaboration and innovation. Projects, lasting one to four weeks, are funded at median faculty salary. There will be a drop-in information session about VITAL and the application process during lunch and after school on Tuesday, Dec. 4. If that date isn’t a good time to meet, feel free to schedule an appointment with Ruth Aichenbaum by emailing her or using this link. You can also learn more about VITAL and past funded projects by visiting this page on the TLC Google Site. The application form and the rubric that the VITAL Selection Committee uses to review applications are also available on this page.


The Eco Corner

by Tom Rickards

As we make our way through the first quarter of the year, I hope you are enjoying the changes in the natural world around us as well as the many fall holidays that happen this season. Here are a few announcements and updates.

  • PC Hikes
    We have reached our $2,000 goal! We are now entering our final month of the All Trails Challenge!! I want to recognize some major mileage and fundraising participants (as of 10/25/18). David Nichols is closing in on 190 miles in the park so far, and Sonia and PC Awesomesauce 4th Graders have raised a whopping $735.50! Please check our team page for the fun pictures and stories of our PC community getting out with students and family members in the lovely Wissahickon. Let’s give some love and support to some colleagues like Brooke Giles, Steve Wade and Jody Sweeney by checking out their fundraising page and providing a small donation!

IPCC Climate Change Report
I have been struggling with the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, which is the fifth, and a “synthesis” report giving the data and predictions of climate disruption since 1988. I have seen this as a moral wake-up call for us as educators. I am interested in working with others on this and in building more resources for our students. Here is a short resource on the 10 takeaways that may help summarize some of the main points. Keep me posted if you would like to work on this together.

Biking Survey
Please take 2-3 minutes of your time to fill out this short 10-question survey about biking infrastructure at Penn Charter. This is the final part of our application with the League of American Bicyclists to have Penn Charter listed as Bicycle Friendly Business. We will get feedback about our strengths and weaknesses and, if approved, we would be the first pre-K to 12 school listed in Pennsylvania as bike friendly. Thanks for your time on this!

Please keep up to date with environmental stewardship happenings with Twitter: Penn Charter Green, Instagram: Penn Charter Green and our Google calendar of events: PC Green Events


Notes from the TLC

by Ruth Aichenbaum 

You can sign up for the many upcoming learning opportunities using the TLC SignUp Genius Link. In November sessions will be offered about:

  • Discussion about How Mental Illness Affects Students' Social Dynamics, informed by the book Turtles All the Way Down by John Green--the book that our students say all teachers should read! (Please come whether you read the novel or not!)
  • Discussion of Teaching Tolerance Webinar: Best Practices for Serving LGBTQ Students

  • Discussion of Teaching Tolerance Webinar: Fun Social Justice Activities for Elementary Students

  • Difficult Conversations Around Diversity and Inclusion

  • Learnings and Questions from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education Project Zero

  • PC Book Group Discussion of the novel Where the Crawdad Sings by Delia Owens

  • Deeper Dive into Logical Consequences for Lower School Teachers

  • Tour the Discovery Center, a Joint Venture of Audubon Pennsylvania and Philadelphia Outward Bound

  • So You Want to Know More About … One-to-One Time with your Librarian

  • How to Survive and Thrive at Upper School Parent Conferences

  • Learn about Hands-Only CPR and How to Use the AED machine

  • Professional Development 101

  • Campus Learning Gardens Tour

  • Window Screen Time

  • One-to-One Computer Help

  • Mindfulness Meditation

  • Mindful Yoga

  • Morning Fitness Class

  • And more!

We have launched a number of different affinity/learning groups in October, and we have more that are beginning this month. You’re welcome to join any of them!

  • New Affinity Group! Balancing the Role of Being a PC Faculty Member and a Parent of a PC Student (meeting on November 8th)

  • New Affinity Group!  Doing School vs. Learning for Learning’s Sake (meeting on November 12th)

  • Teaching in a Time of Uncertainty: Discussions about our Current Political Climate as Quaker Educators? (meeting next on November 16th)

  • Meaningfully Using Homework to Promote Learning (meeting next on November 26th)

  • Girls Social/ Emotional Needs and Educational Empowerment (meeting next on December 3rd)

  • Learning about Mind, Brain, Education Research and Implications for Teaching (meeting next on December 10th)

  • Using Metacognition and Digital portfolios to Promote Deep Learning (next meeting date to be announced soon.)

  • Instructional Rounds

If you are interested in being part of one of these groups and the timing doesn’t work for you, please let me know. Also please contact me if there are other types of affinity/learning groups that you’d like to create.

PC Parents have their Parent to Parent version of a TLC up and running again this year, and faculty and staff are invited to attend sessions. You can check out their offerings and signup using this link.

Here are some resources from last month’s workshops that you can explore:

Once again, here is the link to sign up for a TLC 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.

As always, I am happy to meet with you to discuss specific workshops that you’d like to attend or teach. I’m also available to facilitate a Critical Friends Group, to arrange a classroom visit and/or arrange a one-to-one session with a mentor on a topic of your choice. You can schedule an appointment on the front page of our TLC website. While you’re on the TLC website, I invite you to explore its many online resources including our monthly Spotlight articles.  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.

Diversity and Inclusion Workshops

Teaching Black Boys  (Nov. 12, 8:30am-1:00pm). Everyday Tools and Skills Needed to Create an Equitable Classroom—by Ali Michael and Sharif El-Mekki.

Upcoming Events at The Franklin Institute

Vikings: Beyond the Legend (Oct. 13, 2018 – March 3, 2019)
Explore hundreds of archaeological discoveries and rare treasures, plus dramatic reconstructions and immersive experiences designed to reveal who these legendary explorers were and why they have forever captured our imagination.

Girls In Engineering Day (Nov. 15, 2018)
Middle and High School female students will enjoy hands-on activities, a showing of the awe-inspiring Dream Big: Engineering our World IMAX® Film, and learn from female engineers about career possibilities in this inaugural event.

Marvel: Universe of Superheroes (April 13 – Sept. 2, 2019)
Experience an immersive exploration of the Marvel Universe through some of its best-loved and most groundbreaking characters—featuring rare original artifacts, costumes and props, and multimedia storytelling through video, audio and immersive set design.

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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“The process of giving way to the Light takes us into a place of intimacy with God, and impels us to challenge the injustices humanity besets itself with. We are transformed in our spiritual experience to act collectively as co-agents with God of transformation in the world. We are transformed in order to transform.”

— Ben Pink Dandelion