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P.C.P.D. october 2015

Penn Charter Professional Development

October 2015

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


News to Know


Thought & Practice: Where Vision and Possibility Meet

Follow this link to read the latest posts on Penn Charter's new education blog! 



David Brightbill has been elected to complete a three-year term on the Executive Council of the Pennsylvania State Modern Language Association. His tenure begins in January 2016.

John Estok recently completed a Level I Certificate Course that provided him with an initial and foundational education to begin training others using CrossFit methodology. He hopes to use this certification to enhance future physical education curricula and to be able to run CrossFit classes that can be accessed by students, faculty and staff.

Dan Evans, director of College Counseling, contributed to an article entitled "Top Colleges for B & C Students," which appeared in the September 2015 issue of MetroKids magazine.

Shannon Makhija has been selected as a speaker at the CASE District II Annual Conference in Philadelphia next February 2016. She will be presenting "The Art of Moves Management” and also serving as a judge for the Accolades Awards Program.

Congratulations to Sara Perine, Peter Shaifer, Kristin Swoszowski-Tran and Lisa Turner for completing their belay certification on the PC Climbing Wall.

Sarah Sharp will be presenting at the World Heritage Teacher Workshop at the University of Pennsylvania Museum on Saturday, November 14.

On September 18, La Sripanawongsa hosted a meeting at Penn Charter for the Tri-State World Language Teachers Teaching with Comprehensible Input group. The teachers had a chance to reconnect, share strategies and view a demonstration lesson for the French classroom.

Congratulations and special thanks to the many PC colleagues who shared their expertise by teaching workshops and/or mentoring at the Teaching and Learning Center during August and September: Christy Brennan, Sonia Duprez, Joel Eckel, Lindsay Franklin, Judith Hill, Jeff Humble, Shahidah Kalam Id-Din, Corey Kilbane, Rachel Malhotra, Marianne Master, Sara Moses, Michael Moulton, Lisa Reedich, Tom Rickards, Sheila Ruen and Doug Uhlmann.


News and Notes

Jen Ketler is president of the Makefield Women’s Association and her work was recently featured in an article about the Autumn Fest fundraiser at Shady Brook Farm in Yardley.

Former PC Spanish teacher Father Gus Puleo is featured in the local news report on the Pope’s visit to Philadelphia.


David Tidey is the new part-time Helpdesk and user support staff member in the Technology Department. A graduate of Kutztown University, David has also worked at the Apple School.

5th Grade Film Celebrates PC's 325th Anniversary

Last spring, Naveena Bembry wrote an article about the fifth grade video project to commemorate Penn Charter’s 325th anniversary. Click here to view the final film! 


Notes from the Teaching and Learning Center

by Ruth Aichenbaum

This month’s Teaching & Learning Center offerings include:

Teacher Tinker Time in the New IdeaLab
One-to-One Mac Help
Bringing the Outside In: Google Hangout
Teaching Tolerance Webinars
Learn about VITAL
Building Classroom Community Through Outdoor Experiences
PC Hub Help
Vive Le Chocolat: Conversational French
Facilitating Rich Discussions, Part II: Picking Rich Texts and Asking Meaningful Questions
Comment Writing
Your Personal Newsstand
Development 101: Learn about Development and Fundraising Work at PC
Free Climb Fridays

And more!

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.

Please remember that each Friday, from noon to 1:00pm, we’re invited to join Philadelphia University’s faculty for a rich discussion about teaching in the Kanbar Center Fishbowl room.

I’m excited to announce that this month, Lisa Reedich will begin to offer weekly drop in mindfulness meditation sessions. Please email Lisa if you’re interested in participating, and she’ll set up an orientation session for you.

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. October’s spotlighted articles are about making learning stick.  Hope to see you at the TLC!



It’s not too early to start planning for your ideal VITAL summer project! For those of you unfamiliar with VITAL, 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, Oct. 27. If October 27 isn’t a good time to meet, feel free to schedule an appointment with Ruth Aichenbaum using this link. You can also learn more about VITAL and the 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. 


Faculty and Staff Announcements

Two morning cross training fitness classes will be offered to our faculty and staff on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings at 6:00 & 7:00am. These classes vary day-to-day and include a wide variety of body weight, dumbbell, TRX suspension training and kettlebell exercises, emphasizing functional movement patterns. The classes, which are scaleable to all levels of fitness, will typically run for 45-50 minutes and are free of charge. All are welcome to join! Email John Estok if you’re interested.

All faculty and staff are invited to a new diversity film series called "Movies that Matter." The first film, Fruitvale Station, is coming up on October 18 from 2:00 to 4:00pm in Kurtz Center, Choral Room A. There will be a discussion, led by Upper School students, after the movie.

Do you have a great recommendation for our summer reading? It's not too early to begin thinking about fascinating books (non-fiction, novels, memoir) you'd like to read over the summer to grow our thinking about pedagogy, diversity, sustainability, technology and more. As you discover great reads, please add your recommendations at this link

If you know of any safety-related concern around your area, or anywhere on campus, report it to  You may also speak to anyone on the committee. The members of the Safety Committee are Paul Butler (clerk), Paul Blackwood, Debra Foley, Levi Giddings, Charlie Kaesshaefer, Bill Quinn, Debbie White, April Witherspoon, Kathy Fiedler (recorder) and Hal Davidow (ex officio).


Penn's Purpose

by Jim Ballengee

We are continuing our SparkMakers STEAM workshops out in the city of Philadelphia with nine workshops at Mercy Neighborhood Ministries in Tioga/Nicetown. These workshops are run by Penn Charter student interns and teach principles of engineering, design and mechanics to young people in non-profit agencies and schools in a variety of neighborhoods.

The Allegheny West Consortium (AWC) of schools in our neighborhood will be holding more teacher professional development workshops in the 2015-2016 school year. This group formed three years ago and consists of Penn Charter, St. James School, Logan Hope School, Dr. Ethel Allen Promise Academy, Bayard Taylor School, Rhodes Elementary School, Wissahickon Charter School, Philadelphia University and Temple University. Many teachers in all divisions have been involved over the last three years and you are welcome to get involved. See Jim Ballengee for more information.

Penn Charter’s involvement with Our Closet will continue and deepen this year. Our Closet runs weekly pop-up shops throughout the city of Philadelphia to provide clothing to those who can’t afford the expense. The fifth grade has been our school leaders with this project in recent years, even producing a Public Service Announcement for the group. We will participate in a number of events this fall, but they are also developing a service learning component to their work and would love to work with any classes.

Corey Kilbane and Jim Ballengee met with two industrial design professors at Philadelphia University and will be working in a collaborative project with Philly U, Widener and Penn Charter. Graduate students at Philly U will be printing devices with a 3D printer, based on collaborative designs made by students from the two schools and the physical and occupational therapists at Widener.


Professional Development News

Office of Diversity and Inclusion
The theme for diversity programming this year is "Gender Equity and Understanding Gender Definitions." All programs can be found on the Diversity Events section on the Penn Charter website.

Click on this link to explore the Friends Council on Education’s Fall 2015 professional development opportunities.

Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Program is accepting applications for K-12 teachers through Nov. 4. Click on this link for more details on this opportunity to conduct educational research abroad.

TECHedADVIS is a series of short, inspirational, “TED-style” talks illustrating and informing how GAMEChangers are leveraging technology to build and transform the next generation of K-12 learning environments. It takes place on Oct. 9 at the Independence School in Newark, Del. Click here for more information.

MCRC@ADVIS presents Critical Conversations—"Defamation: The Play" on Nov. 2, 9:00-11:30am at Malvern Prep. Race, religion, class and gender collide in the riveting courtroom drama by Todd LoganClick here for more information.

Click here for more information on upcoming professional development opportunities. Please remember to fill out the blue professional development form attached 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









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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