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P.C.P.D. february 2018

Penn Charter Professional Development

February 2018

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


News to Know



The Crystallization of a Vision Made Clear

by Antonio C. Williams

The First National Conference for Teachers and Administrators of Color in Independent Schools was held in Reston, Va., in 1986. Known today as the People of Color Conference (PoCC), it is the largest and most attended conference sponsored by the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS).

Traditionally, PC Head of School Darryl J. Ford hosts a dinner for Penn Charter faculty and staff who attend PoCC. The dinner is an opportunity for everyone to discuss PoCC highlights, memorable experiences and our professional and personal reasons for attending the conference. It was at this dinner, two years ago, that I recalled an idea I had when I was a member of the planning committee for the 2011 People of Color Conference held in Philadelphia. As I listened to Dr. Ford and Jackie Hamilton (who happens to be one of the pioneers who made PoCC possible) share their experiences with the group, I realized the history, stories and evolution of this impactful conference had never been formally documented. It was important to me that the pioneers of the People of Color Conference be recognized, their voices heard and legacies honored.

In 2016, at PoCC in Atlanta, I presented a workshop with Shanelle Henry Robinson, director of Diversity & Multicultural Affairs at Friends Academy, entitled, "Fulfilling the Dream: The History of Black Greek Leadership and the People of Color Conference." The workshop featured a panel discussion with five educators of color who were instrumental in the creation and sustainability of PoCC: Jacqui Pelzer, executive director of Early Steps NY; Bobby Edwards, director of Community Inclusion and External Relations at McLean School; Jackie Hamilton, coordinator, the Urban Fellows Teaching Program at Penn Charter; Johnnie Foreman, director of Community and Diversity at Gilman School; and Sherry Coleman, senior consultant for Carney Sandoe & Associates.

Each of the panelists shared how, for the past 30 years, PoCC has created and sustained long-lasting relationships that have evolved into family. The panelists answered such questions like: Why was it necessary to have a conference designed by and expressly for people of color? What were the struggles in the early years, and how did you overcome them? How has PoCC evolved from its inception in 1986 to what it is today?

I will forever remember that moment; sitting in awe of their strength, listening as they recounted tales of racism and microaggressions that they encountered as educators of color in independent schools. At the end of the presentation, through tears and smiles, we realized we should have captured the workshop on film! The experience of that workshop reiterated to us the importance of recognizing the pioneers and legends who dedicated themselves, their lives and their careers to preserving the legacy of PoCC.  

After PoCC that year, we met with André Robert Lee, director of the documentary films “Prep School Negro” and “I Am Not A Racist…Am I?”, to discuss how we could create a film project documenting the history and celebrating the legacy of the People of Color Conference. Together, we submitted our proposal to the NAIS and a video series commemorating the 30th anniversary of PoCC is currently underway. This video project is a collaborative partnership with me, Shanelle, Andre, Caroline Blackwell (NAIS vice president for Equity and Justice) and NAIS staff. The videos recently premiered at the 30th People of Color Conference in Anaheim, Ca. We were honored to record these interviews of our PoCC veterans and hope everyone is as moved by their stories as we are. The video project is not yet complete and there are many more stories to capture. One thing that has never changed: People of color who have attended PoCC affirm that PoCC is not just a conference – it is a “homecoming.” I am eternally grateful for this opportunity to look back from whence we came, and I am looking forward to the journey ahead!

Links to Videos:

PoCC Veterans: Jacqueline Peltzer and Robert "Bobby" Edwards

PoCC Veterans: Olivia Brown and Johnnie L Foreman, Jr.

PoCC Veterans: Cathy Royal and Jose Juan Ibarra

PoCC Veterans: Doreen Oleson, Tony Featherston and Rodney Glasgow



Stephanie Ball presented at the CASE/NAIS conference in Anaheim, Ca., on January 22. The topic was "Major Gifts: Getting the Visit Is Half the Battle."

Dan Evans, director of college counseling, has been invited to meet with the Augustana College Board of Trustees at their January meeting in Chicago. Dan will be speaking on the college search process and the perception of midwestern colleges among East Coast students and families.

Congratulations and special thanks to the many PC colleagues who shared their expertise by offering December and January TLC workshops: Sarah Aguilar-Francis, Sharon Ahram, Jenny Baer, Alice Bateman, Kevin Berkoff, David Brightbill, Christy Cook, Aly Goodner, Julian Guindon, Judith Hill Shahidah Kalam Id-Din, Marianne Master, Beckie Miller, Eva Kay Noone, Lee Payton, Pam Shannon and Kristin Swoszowski-Tran.  


Marianna Allen and Adrian Ecker welcomed a son, Alec, on January 14.

George and Darci Spencer welcomed a son, Christian George, on January 4.


News and Notes

Jody Sweeney attended her first annual winter meeting as a board member of the Association of College Counselors in Independent Schools. The meetings were held in mid-January at Arizona State University. Jody participates in the strategic planning committee for ACCIS, an organization of independent-school college counselors across the country. A perk of this professional development is the exposure to the host university. Jody participated in two days of counselor programming where she learned about the extensive opportunities available to ASU students.

The students who participated in the recent Student Diversity Leadership Conference at PoCC participated in the Penn Charter MLK Day of Service and led a quiz for the Lower School on MLK facts. They will also be leading the "Movies that Matter" discussion on Sunday, Feb. 11 at 2:00pm. They are showing I Am Not Your Negro, a documentary based on the work of James Baldwin.


PAIS Interim Report

Penn Charter's PAIS Five-Year Interim Report was completed in December and sent to PAIS as a response to the Report of the Visiting Accreditation Committee that was shared in January 2013. In this interim report, we chronicl the school's progress in relation to the recommendations that were made by the visiting team in 2013. What is clearly evident in this report is the overall health of Penn Charter and the progress we continue to make implementing the Strategic Vision. If you are interested in reading the interim report, here is the link.  If you have any questions, please see Beth Glascott.


Sabbaticals, 20-Year Grants, Summer Work

Faculty members who have been at Penn Charter for at least 10 years may apply for a sabbatical to explore an area in the faculty member's field of interest. The Personnel Committee of the Overseers reviews the applications and makes the final decisions. A three-month sabbatical comes with full pay; a yearlong sabbatical is at half pay. Visit the Teaching & Learning Center website for the sabbatical application. The due date is Friday, April 6, 2018

20-Year Grants
There are two $2000 grants available for faculty members who have worked at Penn Charter for 20 or more years. Traditionally, faculty members have used these funds for travel and/or other professional development activities related to their discipline. If you are interested in applying for a 20-year grant for next year, submit a letter with a description of how you plan to spend your time and a timeline for your work. Copies of your letter should be sent to Darryl Ford, Beth Glascott and David Brightbill. The Personnel Committee of the Overseers will make the final decision. The due date for 20-year grant proposals is Friday, April 6, 2018.

Summer Work
Summer work proposals are for work that is directly related to enhancing existing curriculum. Normally, projects last one to two days to complete. The per diem rate is $125. The new proposal form will be housed online at the TLC website by mid-February. The due date for summer work proposals is Friday, April 6, 2018.

Additional information about sabbaticals, 20-year grants, and summer work can be found on the TLC website. You can also contact David Brightbill with questions.


Faculty and Staff Changes

Séverine Fortune is teaching Marianna Allen’s French classes while Marianna is on maternity leave.

Renee Skelly and Alec Tressler are teaching Darci Spencer’s physical education classes while she is on maternity leave.


Faculty and Staff Announcements

Les Misérables
Tickets for the US musical Les Misérables School Edition went on sale on Monday, Jan. 29. Faculty are welcome to one complimentary ticket. Complimentary tickets may be claimed when purchasing tickets in the school store, or online with the code "FACULTY."  

Last Call for Summer Reading Suggestions

Have you read (or heard about) a book that you would like to recommend for faculty and staff summer reading? If so, the Committee on Teaching & Learning would love to hear about it. Click on this link to go to the summer reading suggestion form.  The deadline for suggestions is Feb. 12. Thanks from the CTL! 


The Eco Corner
by Tom Rickards

Recyclebank Green Schools Program
Penn Charter has been accepted in the Recyclebank Green School Program! This program will run from Jan. 8 to March 16. Our school project is called Hydration, Stewardship and YOUAs I write this, we are closing in on 55 percent of our fundraising goal. In addition to gaining funding for more filtered water bottle stations, we are trying to reduce our single use plastics. I will be keeping track of plastic water bottle sales each week as well as find ways to reduce or eliminate other sources of plastic waste. (We may be eliminating straws from the cafeteria. Thank you, Kaitlyn!) Please find creative ways to encourage your students to use reusable bottles and other items and positive reinforcement goes a long way! Let me know if you have questions.

Where Does That Go?!?
In addition to our Terracycle waste streams, we also have places for used batteries, ink cartridges, and even fluorescent light bulbs. Here is a map showing where to find these various waste streams. If you need more information, let me know:

Upcoming TLC Sessions
On Feb. 12, the TLC is offering a session led by Tom Rickards: Bike to Work? Help with Your Commute and Our Planet! Also, let Tom know if you want to be kept up to date with our weekly email listserv: PC Eco Weekly News. Also, you can follow us on Twitter and Instagram both under the name: Penn Charter Green.


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. Offerings include:

  • Helping Girls Find their Voice: Exploring the Unique Social/ Emotional Needs of Girls and Discussing Teaching and Mentoring Strategies to Help Girls Find their Agency, led by Christie Pearsall
  • Difficult Conversations in the Classroom, led by SDLC students and those who attended the ADL conference
  • Fidgets, Spinners, Are Any of These Gadgets Useful? Led by Kristin Swoszowski-Tran.
  • AP Affinity Group, led by Kristen Ostendorf
  • Creating Lifelong Learners: Discussing the Student Skill of Lifelong Learning (Building on the January Session. All welcome!) led by Aly Goodner
  • Teachers are Brain Changers, Part 2, led by Alice Bateman and Ruth Aichenbaum
  • Mitigating Solo Status and Stereotype Threat through Curriculum Interventions, led by Marvin Shelton (via Skype)
  • Tips and Tricks to Create Effective PowerPoints, led by Eva Kay Noone
  • Keynote, PowerPoint, and Google Slides, Oh My! Tech Tips to Avoid Trouble with your Presentations, led by Doug Uhlmann
  • Differentiation in the English Classroom, led by Randall Brown
  • Discussion about Teaching Tolerance Webinar and Resources: Teaching Digital Literacy
  • Bar Modeling Workshop, led by Beckie Miller
  • Responsive Classroom Refresher for Lower School, led by Lisa Reedich
  • Morning Swim, facilitated by Kevin Berkoff
  • Bike to Work? Help for Your Commute and Our Planet! led by Tom Rickards
  • And more!

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.

Did you hope to get to a TLC session in the last two months, but missed it? Below are some of the resources from December and January workshops that you can review 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 too!

Please let me know if there are other workshops, learning groups, or one-to-one sessions that you'd like me to schedule in future months.

Hope to see you at the TLC!



It’s not too late to apply for a VITAL grant! VITAL proposals are due on Tuesday, February 20.  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.


Professional Development News

PAIS Biennial Conference: Call For Proposals

Mark your calendars! The 2018 PAIS Biennial Conference is scheduled for Monday, October 8, 2018 at Shady Side Academy in Pittsburgh. Plans are underway for a comprehensive conference program and PAIS is looking for presenters for this all day conference of high quality, focused professional development for faculty, administration, and staff! Proposals are being accepted through May 11, 2018 and open to all administration, faculty and staff of PAIS member schools. Submit your proposal using this form. Please note that proposals will be reviewed by a committee and notification of proposal approval will be sent via email. Proposal acceptance is confirmed with school registration. For more information, please contact Michele Oswald at or by phone at 610-567-2960.

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 cannot be carried over to the next school year.

Please direct any questions regarding professional development to David Brightbill.

Professional Development Opportunities

Registration is open for Friends Council on Education’s 2017-2018 programming. Check out the FCE website for more details.

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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What I try to tell young people is that if you come together with a mission, and it's grounded with love and a sense of community, you can make the impossible possible.

—John Lewis









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