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P.C.P.D. October 2014

Penn Charter Professional Development

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


News to Know

Tech Infrastructure Expands To Support 1:1 Program

by Paul Blackwood

JAMF Casper Suite

Penn Charter made the exciting leap forward into a 1:1 MacBook program for the entire Middle and Upper Schools this year. Laptops in the Student Laptop Loan Program will be “managed” by the Casper Suite from JAMF Software. JAMF Software has been working with Macs in the education system for many years. The Casper Suite offers an excellent set of tools for setting up and managing large numbers of computers, building packages and creating a secure ready-to-use computing environment that meets the needs and standards of academically rigorous institutions such as Penn Charter. More than 200 students are enrolled in the Student Laptop Loaner Program.

The Tech Department has made particular use of the Casper Suite feature that allows for the creation of a custom image that can be deployed very quickly to several computers at a time. This allowed for the hundreds of computers needed for the students and faculty to be configured specifically for the Penn Charter environment. Local printers were automatically added and specialized software was installed to each Mac to allow for a simple and seamless user experience.

Classroom Connections

Classroom setups needed to be simple and standardized across every teaching space. The solution we came up with to accommodate this, while keeping the connection process simple, was to use the HDMI technology that is universal across each of these different devices. This means that in every classroom there is a single cord, that is also the same in each room, which connects to the projectors and TVs and allows for both your laptop's screen and sound to be transmitted to the larger display. The Smartboards require a USB connection, so in those rooms you will find a USB cable, along with the HDMI cable, for using the Smartboard. We have found that this classroom set-up is ideal for teachers because of its simplicity and universality.

Getting Help From the Tech Department

Despite the many improvements that have been made  to simplify the technology at Penn Charter, sometimes there will be “hiccups.” For these reasons, the tech department is available to help solve your problems and to teach new things. To solicit help, it is preferred that you use the online help desk ( or e-mail. However, it can be difficult to know whom you should contact.

Here is a simple flowchart that will hopefully make it easier to figure out whom you should contact to get help.

*For in-class emergencies:
Text/Call: Paul: 267.597.9402 or Naeem: 215.370.7818
You can also email Paul Blackwood, Naeem Moody or Julian Guindon:


Access, Equality and Innovation: The 1:1 Laptop Program Is Up and Running

by Michael Moulton

Following the highly attended set of tech workshops last June and the installation of classroom display equipment requested in last year’s faculty survey, 32 more teachers attended August technology workshops late August. Workshop topics included making classes in the Haiku Learning Management System and how to connect laptops to new HDMI and wireless class displays. A rich set of tech classes are being offered in the TLC to continue to help us make the best use of laptops in the classroom.

Students have also been doing their share of tech learning. Sixth through ninth graders were walked through the student handbook’s technology norms document, refined by wisdom gained from last year’s 1:1 pilot program, and 6th-12th grade students all now have their Macbooks for use in class. Fourth and fifth graders have gone through a Chromebook orientation and have Chromebooks for their classes. Tech classes taught in each division are moving from exercises ensuring students are set-up to access school systems and printers to higher-level skill-building for doing more advanced class work and staying organized.



Steppingstone Scholars' "Step Into Fall: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Education" gala on September 20, which was held at the recently renovated Dilworth Park, featured a special recognition of William Penn Charter School and Darryl J. Ford.

Congratulations to Nora Landon, who has a piece in the book Teaching with Heart: Poetry that Speaks to the Courage to Teach, a collection of poetry selected by teachers with accompanying commentary. The book is now available in hardcover.

Beth Menzie has earned a Master's of Science in Education from Bank Street College of Education in Manhattan.

Linda O’Malley will serve as Clerk of pre-K-2nd grade and Natasha Pronga will serve as Clerk of grades 3-5 in the Lower School when these groups meet.


Brooke Giles married Jonathan Sgro on September 27.


News and Notes

Lisa Reedich attended a workshop with Diane Reibel titled "The Use of Mindfulness Practices to Enhance Individual and Group Psychotherapy" at Lakenau Hospital in Wynnewood.

This summer Stephanie Vogel attended the Advanced Placement Latin Summer Institute at LaSalle University.

On October 2, Penn Charter will host visitors from The Friends' School in Hobart, Tasmania. Visiting faculty will include Tony Barrett, Ina Johnson and Mary-Margaret Gibson. They are particularly interesting in learning more about school leadership, Penn Charter's service program and curriculum, student opportunities for leadership and service in the Upper School, and the integration of Quaker beliefs in the Lower School classroom.


Welcome to New Faces

Laura Kurz will be doing special events this year while Nicole Martz is in Australia. 

Darlene Vanasco will be helping with Sanctuary in the Middle School.

Brooke Williams will be helping with Sanctuary in the Middle School until October 8.


Penn Charter Workplace Safety Committee

The Penn Charter Workplace Safety Committee would like to provide the following reminders regarding a safe and secure school environment:

  • Always lock your valuables in your office space. Do not leave valuables unattended.
  • Do not leave items visible in your cars parked in the school’s parking lots.

The school’s Workplace Safety Committee was established on April 1, 2014. This committee will be applying for Pennsylvania State certification later this year. Workplace safety committees are a proven tool in reducing workplace injuries and illnesses. The Penn Charter workplace safety committee will play an important role within the school’s accident and illness-prevention efforts and should help in achieving a safe school environment for the entire community.

If you see any safety concerns or would like to make suggestions, please contact any of the committee members below.

Paul Blackwood
Paul Butler, Clerk
Hal Davidow, ex officio
Debra Foley
Kathy Fiedler, Recorder
Levi Giddings
Charlie Kaesshaefer
Bill Quinn
Debbie White
April Witherspoon


Faculty and Staff Announcements

Admissions Open House
On Saturday, October 18, we will hold our annual Admissions Open House extravaganza from 2:30 to 4:30pm. Student tour guides will be selected, classrooms will be open and teachers will be available for visits. Please feel free to invite any friends or families you know with school-age children; let Pat Cunningham know how many we might expect. If you have any questions, please talk with Beth or John.


Notes from the Teaching and Learning Center

by Ruth Aichenbaum

With hopes of meeting your interests and needs, this October the Teaching and Learning Center is offering the richest and most diverse schedule of “Lunch and Learn” sessions and after-school workshops yet. If you want to learn more about digital photography, Grit and the Growth Mindset, iMovie, organizing your Mac, iCloud, reading assessments, Peggy McIntosh’s writing about diversity, and more, we have great workshops for you. 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 contact me (, and I can set up a one-to-one session.

Also, if you haven’t already, please fill out this Quia survey about your interests in teaching and learning at the TLC, so that the center can best serve your needs this year. I am also happy to meet with you to discuss specific workshops you’d like to attend or teach, to plan a Critical Friends Group, to arrange a classroom visit, and/or schedule a one-to-one session on a topic of your choice. You can make an appointment on the front page of our TLC website. While you’re on the TLC website, there are many online resources that you can explore.  I also invite you to drop by the Teaching and Learning Center, located on the second floor of the Gummere Library, to discuss your learning needs. Hope to see you at the TLC!


Professional Development Opportunities in Diversity, Equity and Justice

This list, compiled by Imana Legette, features professional development opportunities in diversity, equity and justice.

In addition, Imana has organized programs available to us and our parent body right here at Penn Charter. 

  • October 22: Peggy McIntosh lecture at 7:00pm in the Kurtz Center.
  • November 10: Inequities in Education, co-sponsored with Center for Public Purpose, at 7:00pm.
  • January 15: Multi-Religious Parenting, co-sponsored with Religious Studies Department, at 7:00pm.
  • April 14: Parenting Multi-Racial Children at 7:00pm.
Friends Council on Education has a number of peer networks. The Diversity Peer Network meeting is May 4, 2015.  

Professional Development News

CTL Needs Your Summer Reading Suggestions!
Have you read an excellent book lately that you would like to share with your colleagues? Please use this link to make your book suggestions for faculty summer reading now and throughout the year. 

Click here for more information on upcoming professional development opportunities.

Please remember to fill out the blue professional development form attached to your registration.


Previous Issues of P.C.P.D.

September 2014

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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