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P.C.P.D. December 2015/january 2016

Penn Charter Professional Development

December 2015/January 2016

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’s workshop entitled "Achieving Proficiency Through the Three Modes of Communication" has been selected as Best of PA of the 2015 PSMLA Fall Conference. They have been invited to present the session at NECTFL (the Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages) in February in New York City.

Darryl Ford has been awarded the Leonard C. Ferguson Youth Advocate Award by College Settlement’s Outdoor School. He was honored on Nov. 7 during College Settlement’s third annual Acorn to Oaks Gala.

On Jan. 22, La Sripanawongsa and Kristin Shipler, a Spanish teacher from Greene Street Friends, will be leading a peer-to-peer workshop on "MovieTalk" as part of the monthly TriState TCI meeting at the Greene Street Friends School.

Antonio Williams just presented two workshops at the People of Color Conference in Tampa, Fla. They were entitled “Blazing the Path: Creating Powerful Professional Development for Emerging Leaders of Color” and “#BlackGreeksMatter: Heeding the Call to Service in Independent Schools Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.”

On Dec. 8, Antonio Williams presented at Agnes Irwin School's first Upper School Day of Understanding. His workshop was entitled "The History of the N-Word." 

Congratulations and special thanks to the many PC colleagues who shared their expertise by leading November TLC workshops and sessions during our November 30th in-service day: Sarah Aguilar-Francis, Jim Ballengee, Christy Brennan, David Brightbill, Karen Campbell, Tim Clarke, Rachel Dyer, Wilson Felter, Debbie Foley, Brooke Giles, Julian Guindon, Corey Kilbane, Marianne Master, Vicki Miles, Sara Moses, Michael Moulton, Teodora Nedialkova, Eva Kay Noone, Lisa Reedich, Tom Rickards, Sheila Ruen, Pam Shannon, Sarah Sharp, Marcy Sosa, Kristin Swoszowski-Tran, Lisa Turner and Doug Uhlmann.   


Neil and Rachel Malhotra welcomed a daughter, Elizabeth, on Nov. 19.


News and Notes

Naveena Bembry and Sarah Sharp went to Pendle Hill to observe Paula Palmer facilitate her program "Re-Discovering America: Understanding Colonization" with ninth grade students from the Westtown School. This program is a simulation where students explore the various voices and perspectives that shaped the colonization phase and founding of America. Sarah and Naveena are collaborating on plans to adapt this material for their classes, eleventh and fifth grades respectively, and explore ways to engage students in the study of key episodes in Native American history in a Quaker context. 

Kevin Berkoff, Malcolm Ford, Malia Piazza, Steven Wade and Melanie Wills attended the National Science Teachers Association regional conference in Philadelphia in November.

Paul Butler attended a Symposium on Technology and School Safety in King of Prussia on Nov. 6.

Ed Foley recently completed a workshop for high school economic teachers at the Federal Reserve Bank. The two-session program focused on Currency, Cars and Credit, with the goal of educating our students of the perils of credit cards and finance contracts.

Sandy Portnoy and Josie Wallmuth went to the Ullyot Lecture given by Bruce Alberts (former President of the National Academy of Sciences) at the Chemical Heritage Foundation on Nov. 17.

Lisa Reedich recently attended a workshop titled: "All in the Family: LGBTQ Issues in Therapy" with Arlene Istar Lev. This workshop was sponsored by the Pennsylvania Society for Clinical Social Workers and Lisa serves on their Education Committee.

Steven Wade attended the NGSS Train-the-Trainers two-day workshop at the NSTA conference in Philadelphia last month. The workshop focused on learning the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and being able to facilitate a training at your school or district. The science department is now being trained in NGSS for the rest of the school year.


New Faculty Summer Reading Options

Based on the resounding success of the new "Choose Your Own Book" option that was offered for last year's faculty summer reading, the Committee on Teaching and Learning (CTL) has been exploring other ways to develop and enhance this important professional development activity. The CTL envisions offering some new ways to expand summer reading opportunities and is interested in learning more about how faculty might want to be involved.

As always, the CTL plans to offer a list of options from the books that are recommended by faculty and staff. These books are carefully reviewed by the committee and often focus on areas (e.g. diversity, Quakerism, technology, pedagogy) that are related to PC's Strategic Vision. We will also continue to offer the "Choose Your Own Book" option for next year. In addition, we may also like to form some new types of reading affinity groups. To that end, please let the CTL know if you are interested in organizing or being involved in any of the following NEW options:

  1. Forming an affinity group of people reading different books on same subject. This group could even begin meeting before the summer.

  2. Forming an affinity group of people reading the same book that would meet in an ongoing fashion during the following school year. 

  3. Suggesting a book that you personally would like to lead a discussion about.

If you are interested in pursuing any of these options, please email Ruth Aichenbaum or Marianne Master to get the conversation started. 


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 Holiday Party is on Friday, Dec. 18 from 6:00pm to 10:00pm at the Academy of Natural Sciences. Please R.S.V.P. to Denise Haigler.

The Faculty and Staff Book Club will meet next on Feb.2  to discuss Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. 

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).


Notes from the Teaching & Learning Center

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:

  • Understanding Anxiety in Children

  • Executive Function and Classroom Interventions

  • Digital Video and Audio Device Review

  • Tips for Presentations

  • SDLC Student Presentation

  • Passion Based Learning

  • Connecting Class Topics to the Real World

  • One-to-One Mac Help

  • Discuss ASCD Webinar: Teaching Students to Reflect on Personal Learning

  • Swim Some Laps at Lunch

  • Holiday Workshop: Printmaking & Cookie Cutter Design Workshop

  • PhillyU Session: Keys to Building a Flexible Learning Space Initiative on Your Campus

  • GarageBand Tutorial

  • 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.

As always, I am happy to meet with you to discuss specific workshops 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!



What’s on your professional development bucket list? VITAL might just be the opportunity you need to make it happen! VITAL proposals are due on Tuesday, Feb. 16. 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

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.

MCRC will present "Gender & Sexuality Diversity in PreK-12: Exploring Frameworks, Values, & Practice" on Jan. 11, 2016, at Penn State Great Valley. Registration deadline is Jan. 4. Click here for more information.

#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 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









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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