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P.C.P.D. November 2015

Penn Charter Professional Development

November 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! 



Sarah Aguilar-Francis and David Brightbill presented a workshop entitled “Achieving Proficiency Through the Three Modes of Communication” at the Pennsylvania State Modern Language Association (PSMLA) fall conference in King of Prussia on Oct. 17.

Stephanie Ball and Nicole Martz presented a workshop entitled "How Events Enhance Fundraising: Creating Meaningful Events" at the Quaker Fundraisers Gathering on Oct. 1.

Christy Brennan presented the workshop “Embedding Inquiry Across the Curriculum” for the Pennsylvania Association of Supervision & Curriculum Development (PASCD) conference on Oct. 21.

Lea Ekeberg and La Sripanawongsa presented a workshop entitled “Chinese Made Easy Through TPRS” at the Pennsylvania State Modern Language Association (PSMLA) fall conference in King of Prussia on Oct. 17.

Sarah Sharp presented a talk as part of a session entitled "Transnational Experiences: Engaging with World Heritage" at the Global Education Forum 2015 at UPenn on Oct. 16. This presentation was part of her ongoing work as a Master Teacher Fellow in Global Education.

At the Penn Charter Athletic Honor Society induction on November 13, several of our colleagues will be honored. Tori Small will be inducted for her accomplishments as a Penn Charter student-athlete. Head coach Liz Flemming will be inducted along with the 1999 girls track team, while head coach Chuck Hitschler will be inducted along with the 1983-84 wrestling team.

Debbie White has been named the General Manager of the HEADstrong Girls Lacrosse Club. The HEADstrong Foundation is a national organization that supports families affected by cancer.

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 October: Marianna Allen, Sarah Aguilar-Francis, Alice Bateman, Kevin Berkoff, Christy Brennan, David Brightbill, Wilson Felter, Brooke Giles, Julian Guindon, Dan Hajjar, Tiffani Harris, Jeff Humble, Shahidah Kalam Id-Din, David Kern, Imana Legette, Rachel Malhotra, Marianne Master, Vicki Miles, Michael Moulton, Eva Kay Noone, Josh Oberfield, Jim Pilkington, Lisa Reedich, Tom Rickards, Joan Rosen, Sheila Ruen, Sarah Sharp, Kristin Swoszowski-Tran, Lisa Turner and Doug Uhlmann.


Chris and Monique Durso welcomed a daughter on Oct. 20.

Peter and Brooke Stratton welcomed a son, James David, on Oct. 8.


News and Notes

Fourth Grade is enthusiastically preparing information for the school community about Trick or Treat for UNICEF.

Joel Eckel has received his belay certification for the Penn Charter Climbing Wall. If you are interested in getting certified to belay, please be in touch with Tom Rickards.

Stephanie Vogel ran the Chicago Marathon on Oct. 11.


Faculty and Staff Changes

With Jim Ballengee retiring, the job description for the new Director for the Center for Public Purpose is now posted on the Friends Council website. Here is a link. Stephanie Judson is the clerk of the search committee for this position. Please contact her with any questions.  

Sports writer Ted Silary OPC '69, retired from a career at the Philadelphia Daily News, will be on campus several days a week, writing about and photographing for the Athletics pages of the PC website. He will continue to publish his website about high school sports.


Penn Charter Hosts Race Institute for K-12 Educators

Erin Hughes, Shahidah Kalam Id-Din, Bryan Skelly, Marcy Sosa and Lisa Turner participated in the The Race Institute for K-12 Educators hosted at Penn Charter from Oct. 22-24. Several Penn Charter students, including Janayjah Dunmore, Jazlyn Crawford, Paige Hodges, Ayana Opong-Nyantekyi, Evan Wilson, Evan Farrell, Isiah Powell-Taylor, Anu Senthil, Priya Ahmad and Lizzie Drebin, also participated in a panel discussion.


PC Team Explores Learning Gardens and School Farming

by Lisa Turner

Stephanie Judson and I traveled with Jeff Reinhold, clerk of Overseers, and Overseer Grace Cooke to Lawrenceville School and Princeton Day School (PDS), where we explored their sustainability efforts around learning gardens and school farming. We brought back many wonderful insights from PDS Sustainability Manager Liz Cutler, who described her three decades of work "greening" the school from the inside out. The award-winning PDS garden features a daily "Grazing Menu" for kids and a full-time garden educator. At PDS, Jake Morrow provided a tour of their ample farm education offerings, which include a faculty CSA program — and we viewed it all from the vantage point of a tractor-pulled hay hitch!


Professional Development Funding

Professional development is a key component to the teaching experience here at Penn Charter. As you explore opportunities to attend or present at workshops and conferences, please be sure to inform your division director, department chair and David Brightbill of your professional development interests. Furthermore, for budget planning purposes, any proposal to present at a conference must be approved by David Brightbill before it is submitted. While we hope that all faculty will both attend and present at professional conferences and meetings during their time at Penn Charter, the professional development budget can limit participation at times.


Faculty and Staff Announcements

Holiday Party--Save the Date!
The faculty and staff holiday party is scheduled for Friday evening, Dec. 18. This event is in place of the individual divisional parties that were held last year.

The Faculty and Staff Book Club will be reading Elena Ferrante's first book in the Neapolitan Novels series, My Brilliant Friend, for their next book discussion. The discussion is scheduled for Dec. 3 at 3:30 pm in the Teaching & Learning Center.

Summer Reading Update
The Committee on Teaching and Learning would like to thank everyone who provided feedback on the faculty and staff summer reading program at opening meetings. We are carefully reviewing the results of the survey and will be thinking of even more ways to develop and improve the professional summer reading experience. Stay tuned for more details!

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

Two morning cross training fitness classes will be offered to our faculty and staff on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings at 6:00 and 7:00 am. 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.

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).


Notes from the Teaching & Learning Center

by Ruth Aichenbaum

In November, the TLC is holding many diverse sessions and is also exploring new ways of offering sessions. We have two “Flipped Workshops for Archived Webinars.” You’re given a URL to watch an archived webinar on your own time, and then you’re invited to the TLC to dig into a discussion about that topic. We’re doing this for two webinars this month:

  1. Teaching Tolerance Webinar: Let’s Talk: Discussing Race, Racism and Other Difficult Topics with Students found at this link and the discussion is on Wednesday, Nov. 4 at 3:30 pm.

  1. ASCD Webinar: The Motivated Brain–Improving Student Attention, Engagement and Perseverance or read the book by Gayle Gregory and Martha Kaufeldt (copy in the TLC). The Webinar is found at this link and the discussion is on Monday, Nov. 16 over lunch at either 11:45 am or 12:30 pm.

Please let me know if you have a webinar with which you’d like to use with this flipped format or if there’s a live webinar that you’d like to watch together with colleagues in the TLC. Already there is one live webinar scheduled for viewing in the TLC on Thursday, Nov. 19 at 3:00 pm: ASCD Live Webinar: Teaching Students to Reflect on Personal Learning led by National Board Certified Teacher Starr Sackstein, author of the book Teaching Students to Self-Assess: How do I help students reflect and grow as learners? This session will also be offered as a flipped workshop in December.

We’re also trying to expand learning opportunities by including visiting speakers on the TLC schedule. When you’re bringing in an outside speaker to your classroom, club or meeting, and you’re open to the idea of having other faculty attend the session, please email me and I’ll add this opportunity to the TLC SignUp Genius and TLC weekly posters.

November’s Teaching & Learning Center workshops include:

  • Piktochart–a great way to make PC Hub visually attractive!

  • Assessing Creative Projects Using Rubrics and Backward Design

  • Organizing Photos in iPhoto

  • Executive Function and Classroom Interventions

  • Teacher Tinker Time in the new IdeaLab

  • Google Drive (Google forms, Google Sites, Google Docs)

  • One-to-One Mac Help

  • Envisioning Using Advisory with Digital Portfolios

  • Time Management Tips for the Busy Teacher

  • Google Hangouts

  • Be Alert: Automate your Inbox to Receive Articles

  • PC Hub Help

  • Talk about Teaching Brown Bag Lunch at Philadelphia University

  • Free Climb Fridays

Here is the SignUp Genius 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.

Now that we’re into the rhythm of the school year, please be in touch with me if there are ways the TLC can support you with your teaching and learning. 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. 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. You can 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. 


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.

#QuakerEd Share and Share and Like has published information on the Bridge Film Festival.

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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