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P.C.P.D. February 2016

Penn Charter Professional Development

February 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! 



Congratulations to Alice Bateman, Peter Shaifer and Bob Wilson for passing their belay certification test. If you are interested in learning how to belay on our climbing wall, please contact Tom Rickards for more information.

In January, Lindsay Franklin performed in the play In the Quiet for the Barley Sheaf Players annual benefit show.

On Feb. 13, Sarah Sharp will host a workshop at Penn Charter for area middle and high school teachers. The workshop is entitled “Touching the World: A World Heritage Sites and Cities Lesson Development Workshop.”

This month, Antonio Williams will be presenting a workshop at the NAIS annual conference entitled “A Tale of Two Schools: Catalysts and Calamities of Creating a School Policy to Ban the N-Word.”

Congratulations and special thanks to the many PC colleagues who shared their expertise by offering January TLC workshops: Sarah Aguilar-Francis, Debbie Foley, Julian Guindon, Imana Legette, Michael Moulton, Eva Kay Noone, Lisa Reedich, Sheila Ruen, Pam Shannon, Lisa Turner, Doug Uhlmann and Antonio Williams.   


News and Notes

Jennifer Ketler took an online course this fall through the University of Oklahoma entitled "Competition Math for Middle School.” The course was created for coaches of math competitions, such as Math Counts.

Lisa Reedich recently attended a workshop titled "Youth Violence Prevention: Clinical Approaches for Individual and Group Intervention.”

Please take a few moments to check out the math bulletin board display, designed by Bruce MacCullough with the assistance of Beth Menzie, near Room 122 of the Upper School. Bruce writes about the display, “This particular display, entitled 'Diverse STEM Pioneers,' is a celebration of mostly recent people (plus a couple of significant earlier pioneers) drawn from major segments of the human population that have largely been excluded from education, power, wealth and equal opportunity for many centuries. Many of them are 'firsts'—individuals achieving major distinctions in the fields of mathematics, science and invention and often facing obstacles along the way. Each of these persons has a short bio next to their photograph, yet it is at least long enough to describe not only some of their achievements, but also additional information to provide some more detail on these outstanding people. I must say that the reading in doing the research for this project was quite interesting, informative and inspiring.”


Technology News: Spam!

Keep Your E-Mail Private and Secure

E-mail is one of the most widely used forms of communication today. Estimates from May 2009 suggest that around 250 billion emails are sent every day. That equates to more than 2.8 million e-mail messages per second, and some of them are not even spam. E-mail is faster and cheaper than traditional postal mail, but at least when you seal that envelope and stick a stamp on it, you can have some confidence that only the intended recipient will open it. On the other hand, you have to take steps to secure and protect your e-mail messages.

E-mail spam has been a hot topic lately in the Tech office due to a recent upsurge in the amount of spam e-mails that appear to be coming from some Penn Charter accounts. Most of us know spam when we see it, but seeing a strange e-mail from a friend, or worse from ourselves, in our inbox is pretty disconcerting. If you've seen an e-mail that looks like it's from a friend, it doesn't mean they've been hacked. Spammers spoof e-mail addresses all the time and it's not hard to do.

Spoofing is when a spammer sends out e-mails using your e-mail address in the From: field. The idea is to make it seem like the message is from you in order to trick people into opening it. These e-mails do not originate from your Penn Charter account and do not have any contact with the Penn Charter Google Apps email system—the addresses are just edited to make them appear that way. The message actually originates from the spammer's e-mail account and is sent from the spammer's e-mail server.

What's the difference between hacked and spoofed?

Your Sent folder may offer the best clue to whether you have been hacked or spoofed.

  • If you DO find e-mail in your Sent folder that you did NOT send: Your account has been compromised (hacked).

  • If you DO NOT find any strange e-mail in your Sent Folder: Your account has most likely been spoofed.

Rest assured, our Penn Charter Google Apps email system utilizes security protocols designed to prevent spamming and reject spoofed e-mail messages.

Here’s How To Secure Your Google Account

1. Choose A Strong & Unique Password

Use a strong password (8-10 characters, letters numbers and symbols) for your Gmail account that you do not use on any other site.

2. Enable 2-Step Verification

Two-Step Verification adds an extra layer of security to your Google Account by requiring you to have access to your phone, as well as your username and password when you sign in. This means that if someone steals or guesses your password, the potential hijacker still can’t sign in to your account because they don’t have your phone.

3. Secure Your Computer

  • Check for viruses and malware.
  • Make sure to perform regular software updates.
  • Make sure your browser is up-to-date
  • When using a public computer for e-mail, be sure to sign out when you are done

Use the web version of gmail to check your e-mail ( Some e-mail clients like Apple Mail and Microsoft Outlook can have vulnerabilities.

It is the goal of the Tech team to provide the best experience possible when using our communication tools. We understand that it can be frustrating to hear from friends and colleagues that you have been spamming them. It is for this reason that we have spent much time in making sure we adhere to the highest e-mail security protocols (DMARC/DKIM/SPF) when it comes to our e-mail system.

As always, check out the resources at 109ONLINE or stop in to U/S Room109 for assistance.



It’s not too late to apply for a VITAL grant! 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.


Summer Reading 

Last call for summer reading suggestions! Click here to recommend a summer reading title. The deadline for submissions is Feb. 10.

Also, please let the CTL know if you are interested in organizing or being involved in any of the following NEW summer reading options this summer:

  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. 


Sabbaticals, 20-Year Grants and Summer Work Proposals

Sabbaticals and 20-Year Grants
If you are interested in applying for a sabbatical or a 20-year grant for next year, please submit a letter with a description of how you plan to spend your time and a timeline for your work. Copies of your letter should be sent to Darryl Ford, Beth Glascott and David Brightbill. The Personnel Committee of the Overseers will make the final decision. The due date for sabbaticals is Feb. 19 and the due date for 20-year grants is March 4. Additional information can be found on the TLC website.

Summer Work
Summer work proposals are for work that will take a day or two and that is directly related to enhancing existing curriculum. Per diem rate is $125. The proposal form can be found online at the TLC website. The due date for summer work proposals is April 6.


Faculty and Staff Announcements

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion is excited to announce three new opportunities to further develop the diversity programming on each division. Beginning next school year, each division will have one Divisional Diversity Coordinator. The primary role of the Divisional Diversity Coordinator (DDC) will be to help create an inclusive environment throughout the division by assisting in the planning of various faculty, student and parent activities. If you are interested in this role for the 2016-2017 school year, please see Imana Legette or your division director.

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

You can sign up for the many upcoming learning opportunities using the TLC SignUp Genius Link. In February sessions will be offered about


  • "Sort and Sift: Helping Students to Embrace Emergent Thinking" with Natalie Nixon, professor at Philadelphia University
  • Lecture by Frances Jensen, neurologist and author of The Teenage Brain: A Neuroscientist's Survival Guide to Raising Adolescents and Young Adults
  • Reading Group: Neuroscience and Implications for Teaching
  • Engaging Students for the Long Haul: Classroom Management and Beyond
  • Roundtable about Homework
  • Interdisciplinary Teaching 2.0
  • Discussion about Using Computer Programming in the Classroom
  • Assessing Project-Based Learning Using Integrated Performance Assessment
  • Connecting Class Topics to the Real World
  • Passion-Based Learning: What Matters to You?
  • Tips for Giving Presentations

Understanding Students ... Our School ... Ourselves ...and the World


  • Garageband
  • Laser Cutting
  • One-to-One Mac Help
  • What to Do When You Run Out of Space on Your Computer

Art and Design

  • Coil Pots (for LS families)
  • Ceramics: Wheel Throwing
  • Lama Losang Samten creating a traditional sand mandala
  • Collaborative Weaving
  • Graffiti Tags
  • Animal Mixed Media Collage
  • Embroidery Stitches and Tips
  • Introduction to Photoshop: editing and collage
  • Beaded Snowflakes
  • Observational Drawing


  • Mindfulness Meditation
  • Swim Some Laps at Lunch

If you haven’t heard, Philadelphia University is offering  two Talking Teaching opportunities each week. On Wednesdays from noon to 1:00 pm there is a Talking Teaching with no set agenda—just come and chat about education. On Thursdays from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm there will be a "Topical Thursday" talk with a short reading to jumpstart the discussion. In addition, Philly U is offering a workshop each week. February workshops include:

  • Flipping a Lesson Using Zaption-Modified Videos

  • Attitudes Towards Ethics in Biology

  • Participatory Action Research: Learning Through the Lens of Change

  • Mathalicious Active Learning

Time and location of these workshops are listed on our TLC SignUp Genius Link.

Please let me know if there are other workshops or one-to-one sessions that you'd like me to schedule in future months.

Hope to see you at the TLC!


Professional Development News

Call for PAIS Conference Proposals
The PAIS 2nd Biennial Conference is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 17, 2016, at Episcopal Academy. All administration, faculty and staff of PAIS member schools are invited to submit proposals that explore how the theme "Lead, Collaborate, Innovate" shapes curriculum and teaching, independent school identity, equity and justice, leadership and governance, school life and culture, or school management. Click here for more details.

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.

Visit this link on the Teaching and Learning website for more information on other professional development opportunities related to diversity, including Multicultural Teaching Institute, Institute for Teaching Diversity and Social Justice, White Privilege Conference and more.

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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