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P.C.P.D. June 2018

Penn Charter Professional Development

June 2018

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


News to Know




Melanie Wills had an article entitled "Experimenting with Electronic Lab Notebooks" published in the May 2018 edition of Chemistry Solutions, the AACT (American Association of Chemistry Teachers) periodical.

Congratulations and special thanks to PC colleagues who shared their expertise by leading sessions and mentoring at the Teaching & Learning Center during May and June: Sarah Aguilar-Francis, Pat Bender, Kevin Berkoff, Chris Burnett, Tim Clarke, Joel Eckel, Jane Evans, Séverine Fortune, Brooke Giles, Julian Guindon, Judith Hill, Shahidah Kalam Id-Din, Corey Kilbane, Beckie Miller, Michael Moulton, Eva Kay Noone, Cory Moy, Lee Payton, Clancy Philbrick, Tom Rickards, Claire Scribner and Jody Sweeney.


News & Notes

Rachel Dyer and Sandy Portnoy attended a Blackbaud Road Show at SCH on May 16. Topics discussed included new innovations in the software that PC uses for grading, reports and scheduling. There was also a session about current issues for the academic applications of the software.

Eva Kay Noone recently attended the 12th Annual Philadelphia Theater Research Symposium at Villanova University.

Kristen Ostendorf completed anti-racism training entitled "Who Are the Hispano/Latino People 101" through the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania in April. Earlier this year, she completed a similar workshop entitled "History and Race."

Sandy Portnoy recently participated in an online webinar on Mammoth DNA. The webinar explored how the DNA can be extracted and whether scientists will be able to clone mammoths.


Faculty and Staff Changes

This summer, Jennifer Cubbin will transition from the Development Office to work in the Middle and Upper School Admissions Office.

Next year, Clare Dolan will complete the first grade team as the newest lead teacher.

John Estok has been named the new chair of the Health and Physical Education Department.

Monica Freely will move from pre-K to partner with Lindsay Franklin as the new kindergarten teacher.

Marianne Master has been named the new 9 & 10 Grade Dean.

First grade teacher Orit Netter will be moving to the fourth grade cozy room. 

Josh Oberfield and Brooke Stratton will serve as interim co-chairs of the Social Studies Department for the 2018-2019 school year.

Clancy Philbrick is leaving his position as U/S art teacher at the end of this school year to pursue other opportunities.

Marcy Sosa has been appointed Assistant Director of the Lower School.

To support John Estok in the gym, Alec Tressler will be returning as a strength and conditioning coach and part time PE teacher for the 2018-2019 school year.

Shelby Tucker will be teaching social studies in the Middle School next year.

Antonio Williams has been appointed the new Director of Diversity and Inclusion.

Bob Wilson has resigned as the Middle School Band Director to pursue employment closer to his home.


Summer Reading Suggestions

Now that summer is here, are you looking for some great books to read? At a recent TLC session, Pat Bender and Judith Hill shared their suggestions for top fiction and non-fiction titles to explore. Check out this document for more details, and happy reading!


Vital Signs

Monique Durso, Joel Eckel, Sue Shelly, Marcy Sosa and Dan Stahl were awarded a VITAL grant for their project "Project Based Learning: The Buck Institute of Ohio." This group will attend the PBL (Project Based Learning) in Ohio for a week this summer. At this conference, their team will grow in understanding about project-based learning, learn how to accurately assess student achievement while using the PBL approach, collaborate together to develop a project aligned with the current second-grade social studies curriculum, and implement that project with second grade students in the 2018-2019 school year. Additionally, they will continue to develop the second grade social studies curriculum, including materials, implementation plan and a PBL handbook. In addition to enhancing the second grade social studies curriculum through the PBL approach, their group intends to research and examine how the PBL approach could be effectively used in Lower School.

The VITAL Selection Committee encourages you to start dreaming about your ideal VITAL project. Applications will be due in mid-February, 2019.


The Eco Corner

by Tom Rickards

Here is to another good year of environmental stewardship! Thanks for all you do! Below are a few highlights and some summer garden opportunities.

2017-18 Highlights!
As I write this I am still waiting on some final numbers for composting, Terracycle and other details, but here are just a few eco wins!

We started the year moving away from single use plastic “to go” containers to Bridge Gate hinged containers that are made from compostable and organic materials like sugarcane, bamboo, reed and other fibers.

Our PC Hikes team won the highest fundraising team for the Friends of the Wissahickon All Trails Challenge! We logged 560 team miles and raised $1,532.50! Next All Trails Challenge will start this August, so get ready to get out in the Wissahickon!

We reached our Green Schools fundraising challenge of $1,866 through Philacycle! Our project Hydration, Stewardship, and YOU! allows us to install more filtered water-bottle filling stations around campus and lessen our dependence on single use plastic bottles. 

We decided to try two E-waste drives this year (one in December and one in April). Thanks to helpers like Doug Uhlmann, we collectively diverted 2,674 lbs. of electronic waste from our landfills! 

Penn Charter has signed onto 100% Renewable Energy starting July 1 for three years! We are participating in Pennsylvania’s Alternative Compliance Payment program in which we are purchasing Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) that fund solar, wind, geothermal and other forms of low carbon renewable energy sources. A big thank you to our own Hal Davidow (give him a high five when you see him!) for making this commitment

In April we hosted FEEN (Friends Environmental Educator Network) and had an eventful Earth Week with amazing programming. A big thanks to our dedicated colleagues and committed and hopeful students (see the May PCPD Eco Corner for more details.)

“Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help. Gardening is an instrument of grace.”—May Sarton.

We are so grateful for the many helping hands that have expanded our garden program. A special thanks to Lisa Turner for her tireless effort and patience coordinating our Campus Learning Gardens program. We would love to have you involved next year and if you are around in the summer, we are still looking for harvest help once a week. Please click on the Sign-Up Genius here.


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. I’m already starting to plan next year’s TLC workshops. Please let me know if you have an idea for a session or reading/discussion group 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 and resources from some recent TLC workshops:



Professional Development News

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 2017-2018 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.

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.

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I believe
the greatest gift
I can conceive of having
from anyone
is to be seen by them,
heard by them,
to be understood
and touched by them.
The greatest gift
I can give
is to see, hear, understand
and to touch
another person.
When this is done,
I feel
contact has been made."

Virginia Satir’s poem, "Making Contact"









Penn Charter

A Friends School for Girls and Boys, Pre-K to 12

3000 West School House Lane Philadelphia, PA 19144 215.844.3460
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