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P.C.P.D. September 2014

Penn Charter Professional Development

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



News to Know

Ancient Rome In Your Own Backyard

by Marianne Master

“mille viae ducunt homines per saecula Romam.”Selfie at Getty Villa

“A thousand roads lead men forever to Rome.”
--Alain de Lille, 1175

When Latin teachers contemplate the idea of going on sabbatical, they usually envision a trip to Italy or Greece. And although the idea of sipping cappuccino while strolling through ancient ruins was certainly appealing, I chose to spend my sabbatical a little closer to home. In the process, I found that indeed many roads do lead to a better understanding and appreciation of the legacy of ancient Rome and the Latin language. I must begin by expressing my deepest gratitude for the gift of time that was granted to me last spring. The ultimate fruits of my project represent true labors of love —longstanding passions and inquiries that I have always hoped to explore in my fifteen years of teaching. I find myself returning to the classroom refreshed and inspired to travel new avenues of curriculum with my students. Penn Museum

Initially, the goal of my sabatical was to increase accessibility to the artifacts of the ancient world without crossing the Atlantic. Traveling abroad is a proposition that is both expensive and complicated. And while nothing can replace the joy of experiencing firsthand the Roman Forum or the ruins of Pompeii, I knew that there had to be a way to access the amazing resources of our own city to furhter enhance the Latin curriculum and to provide pathways to learning to all my students whether or not they have the means or opportunity to travel abroad.

From this seed, my work bloomed into an exploration of how the influence of the Greeks and Romans is manifested in the art and architecture of our city. This also led to an examination of the legacy of Latin in the English language. We are the recipients of a rich heritage of ideas and language from the Romans. Roman mottos and expressions provide authentic examples of the language with meaningful cultural connections and also offer the opportunity to make significant curricular links to the grammar and vocabulary that we study in a Latin language class.

Continued . . . 



Jim Ballengee served on a 10-member national steering committee this summer planning the inaugural "Service Learning: Engagement, Action, Purpose" conference to be held at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore in late October of this year. 

Phil Consuegra delivered two presentations at Independent School Advancement's Leadership Giving conference in Colorado Springs in July. They were entitled "Strategic Re-Design: Alumni Giving" and "Maximizing Your Online Presence for Maximum Impact."

Megan Kafer has joined the School Committee at Greene Street Friends and will be chairing their development committee.

Jim Pilkington has earned his MSEd in School Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania.

Jody Sweeney is now chair of the communications committee for the Association of College Counselors in Independent Schools (see more below in News and Notes).

Tom Yabor's master's thesis won the Athletic Training Education Journal Outstanding Research Manuscript Award. 


Christine Pearsall married Bill Seaman on July 20 in Cape May.


News and Notes

This summer, Chris Christoph attended a Wilson Reading three-day introductory workshop at AIM and the 4th Annual Singapore Workshop at Worcester State University.

Ed Marks read AP Government and Politics Exams in Salt Lake City and participated in a month-long NEH Philosophy seminar with 15 other educators in July at Mt. Holyoke College in Massachusetts.

Tom Rickards completed 16 hours of Top Rope Rock Climbing Certification in Bar Harbor Maine in July. Ask him to go climbing!

Jody Sweeney continues her work with the communications committee for the Association of College Counselors in Independent Schools (ACCIS). In addition to supporting external relations efforts, Jody is now chair of the committee. The team provides timely updates and important professional development information to ACCIS members. This summer they began work on transitioning the membership database to a new platform designed to enhance many services including newsletters, event registration, and the website.

Josie Wallmuth participated in a day-long chemistry workshop at the AP Annual Conference in Philadelphia in July.


Welcome to New Faculty and Staff

Click here for a directory of new faculty and staff.


2014 Summer Program for Incoming Ninth Graders

This year’s summer program for some selected incoming ninth graders was an endeavor involving dedicated students and their teachers for five mornings in four weeks. This summer there were 15 students enrolled, working on critical reading and writing skills, algebra and geometry skills, study skills and Upper School resource information, Google sites and Noodle tools training, and an introduction to technology use with their new computers.

The faculty for the program directed by Shahidah Kalam Id-Din included Debbie Marcee, Steve Stodghill, Dana Toedtman, Doug Uhlmann and the tech team Paul Blackwood and Naeem Moody. Students gained many valuable skills and their instructors really enjoyed getting to know each of the rising ninth graders better and giving them a taste of what is needed for success during the coming year and beyond.


Notes from the Teaching and Learning Center

by Ruth Aichenbaum

I’m excited to begin the second year of our Teaching & Learning Center (TLC) and am looking forward to your participation as a teacher and learner! The TLC is here to help you learn what you want to learn, when you want to learn, and how you’d like to learn. The Teaching & Learning Center facilitates one-to-one mentor sessions, small workshops, classroom/school visits, Critical Friends Groups, online learning and more. You’re also invited to learn through teaching your areas of expertise.

This month we are offering varied Lunch and Learn and after school workshops including:

  • TLC Open Houses: Over lunch and after school, please come to discuss your teaching and learning needs and how the TLC can best help you. The open house lunches run from 11:30am to 1:00pm. Please drop by whenever you’re free for whatever time you have available. I’ll have a delicious lunch available for all who sign up using this signup genius link.
  • Professional Development 101 (The session offered on September 23 is specifically for new faculty and an October 2nd session will be offered for all): Come learn how Penn Charter can support your professional development. Learn about your guaranteed $250 per year, graduate work, summer work, VITAL, the Teaching & Learning Center and more.
  • iTunes U: Interested in having a place in iTunes to share your own audio podcasts or videos? Penn Charter has its very own place in iTunes U that you can learn more about and use.
  • EDpuzzle allows a teacher to take an existing video (i.e.from YouTube or one a teacher has created) and insert questions, audio and written comments, voiceovers) for students to access on/off campus. You can create classes and make assignments. A teacher can see if/when a student has watched the video and/or answered questions. The video can be linked or embedded into a website.
  • Blendspace allows a teacher to pull digital resources for a lesson or topic together (i.e. video, modified videos from EDPuzzle, PDFs, links, files from Google Docs, Dropbox, computer, quizzes, comments, etc.) in a single spot. You can create classes. The "lesson/topic" can be linked or embedded in a website.
  • Google Classroom (brand new with Google Apps for Education) allows a teacher to create classes (and associated Google Drive folders), assign and track homework, and add content resources.
  • Super Simple Video Lesson Making with Quicktime screen recording.

Click on this signup genius link to look at and sign up for September TLC workshops and open house events. This link is also found on the main page of our Teaching and Learning website. If the timing of these workshops isn’t convenient for you or if there are other workshops / individual sessions you’d like to attend, please let me know (email me at, make an appointment, stop by the center or catch me in the halls), and I will be happy to arrange something to best meet your needs.

Again, I invite you to come visit and make use of the Teaching & Learning Center this year. The TLC is located on the second floor of the Gummere Library. You are also invited to explore our online presence on our Teaching and Learning website. This site has a link to make an appointment to discuss your learning needs and a signup genius link for lunch and after school workshops. On the site there are also pages under the title “Sweet Sixteen Resources and More” to explore online learning about varied educational topics and a page that lists upcoming conferences and workshops outside the school. This website is a resource that I hope you will also help develop. Please let me know if you have online resources that you’d like me to add to this site.

Looking forward to seeing you at the TLC!


Penn's Purpose

by Jim Ballengee

One beneficiary of the 50/50 Raffle at the Phillies game on Sept. 14 is our 3D Printer Project already initiated at Widener Memorial School. This video has already been featured on the National Network of Schools in Partnership (NNSP) website and this effort will be expanded throughout the 2014-15 school year. We also hope to use the proceeds to buy 3D printers for St. James School and Rhodes Elementary School, members of the Allegheny West Consortium of schools in our neighborhood.

PC students and faculty member Lisa Turner have been working to set a garden at our partner school down Henry Avenue, St. James School. This is all part of a joint effort between St. James, DiBruno Brothers and Penn Charter to bring healthy food choices to the Allegheny West area. Lisa and the students have harvested lettuce and cherry tomatoes (which were used in student lunches all summer) and are now planting more lettuce, spinach, three varieties of carrots and radishes. There is also an amazing compost pile set us with an incredible number of worms per square inch. If you are interested in getting your class involved in this effort for just a visit or year-round, see Lisa Turner and/or Jim Ballengee.


Professional Development News

PAIS Biennial Conference--Please respond ASAP!
We have the opportunity to send many faculty members to the PAIS Biennial Conference on October 10 at Episcopal Academy. While the fourth grade camping trip and the Middle School trips will conflict with this conference, we encourage others who are interested in attending to contact Stephanie Judson ( by Tuesday, September 9. Click on the program for more information.

Also featured this month:
Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Program
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.

June 2014 Supplement

May 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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