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P.C.P.D. april 2016

Penn Charter Professional Development

April 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! This month's post, written by Naveena Bembry, describes the work fifth grade has done educating students about social justice.



Jim Ballengee, along with representatives from Rye Country Day and Riverdale Country School, spoke on a panel entitled "Three Models for Connecting Stakeholders through Committee and Consortium Work" at the Private Schools with Public Purpose Conference in Cleveland, Ohio.

Damon Leedale-Brown has successfully been belay-certified for the PC climbing wall. If you are interested in a belay class and certification, please see Tom Rickards.

Maria Odilia Romeu was invited to participate in an Educators’ Focus Group about Transforming the Galleries of South Asian Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Congratulations to the new Diversity Coordinators on their new role next year: Malcolm Ford (Lower School), Brian Skelly (Middle School) and Ruth McGee (Upper School).

Congratulations and special thanks to the many PC colleagues who shared their expertise by teaching workshops and/or mentoring faculty during March: Marianna Allen, Kevin Berkoff, Antonio Calvo, Elizabeth Coombs, Michelle Dowd, Rachel Dyer, Catherine Ezzo, Wilson Felter, Debbie Foley, Brooke Giles, Beth Glascott, Randy Granger, Julian Guindon, Brian Hecker, David Kern, Corey Kilbane, Ed Marks, Vicki Miles, Michael Moulton, Maria-Odilia Romeu, Eva Kay Noone, Jimmy Phillips, Tom Rickards, Sheila Ruen, Pam Shannon, Allen Vandegrift, Doug Uhlmann and Bob Wilson.


News and Notes

Penn Charter hosted a meeting of computer science educators on March 19. Christy Brennan, Corey Kilbane and Michael Moulton joined 18 other educators, along with keynote speaker Otis Hackney, Philadelphia's new Chief Education Officer.

The Foreign Language Department recently hosted two Latin teachers from Westtown School who were interested in exploring Penn Charter’s classics program. PC’s Chinese and Spanish teachers will host more visitors from Westtown in April.


Faculty and Staff Changes

Sarah Aguilar-Francis has been appointed Foreign Language Department Chair, beginning in the 2016-2017 school year. 

Alyson Goodner has been appointed the Director of the Center for Public Purpose.

Beginning in the 2016-2017 school year, Erin Hughes will serve as the new 11th and 12th Grade Dean. 

Allen Vandegrift has been appointed Assistant Director of the Middle School, beginning in the 2016-2017 school year. 

All available positions are posted on the Friends Council on Education website.


Technology News: Backing Up Your Computer

Backing up your computer is VERY IMPORTANT and yet most people may not have performed a recent back up. Back ups of your computer and files should be performed at least once per week.

On your Mac there are two ways to perform a back up, Time Machine and Google Drive.

Using Time Machine is as simple as plugging in the the USB hard drive that you received with your computer. When prompted, "Do you want to use My Passport to back up with Time Machine?" choose "Use as Backup Disk.” Now leave it plugged in, with your computer on, for a few hours. It's that easy. Click here for more information about Time Machine.

To use Google Drive, simply drag the folders you would like backed up into your “Google Drive” folder, located in the sidebar of your finder window. If you do not have this Google Drive folder, click here to see information on how to set it up.

If you require any assistance with this, please come see us in US Room 109.


Faculty and Staff Announcements

The Middle School play Sort of Beowulf, A Sort of Comedy by Richard Wolf will be performed on Friday, April 29, at 7:00pm and on Saturday, April 30, at 2:00pm. Director Eva Kay Noone writes, “This farcical version of an Old English epic poem is set in the 11th century, but features anachronistic comic elements such as a rapping chorus and a family of wisecracking servants.,The boastful hero, Beowulf, saves pompous Hrothgar from the monster Grendel and battles Grendel’s mother (slow-mo style) in her underwater lair. Returning home, our hero tempts fate one last time by facing a dragon whose breath is worse than his bite." Complimentary tickets for faculty and staff will be available in early April after spring break – you will receive an email with the details and promo code.

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

Welcome back! I hope you had a lovely spring break and are refreshed and ready to learn at the TLC! We have some exciting sessions planned in April, including:


  • Back at PC from Philly U. by Popular Demand: Student Participatory Action Research: A Social Learning Framework that Asks Learners to Better Understand the World by Trying to Change It
  • A Reggio-Inspired Approach to Teaching and Learning led by Brooke Giles and Joan Rosen
  • Guided Math: Differentiated Instruction for Lower School Math
  • Be Your Own CEO: Lessons in Digital Leadership from Silicon Valley
  • Roundtable about Homework 2.0
  • Takeaways from the SXSW Education Conference

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

  • Breaking Down Gender Roles at Penn Charter led by members of SAGA
  • Balancing the Roles of PC Teacher and Parent
  • Pop Lunch Lecture – If You are Reading This You Are (Not) OK: Appropriation in Hip-Hop Culture
  • Discussion about Teaching Tolerance Webinar Code of Conduct: A Guide to Responsive Discipline
  • PC Faculty Book Club discussion about "The Secret Wisdom of the Earth" with its author Chris Scotton
  • Lunch with author Chris Scotton: How I Conquered Fear, Eliminated Excuses, Stopped Procrastinating and Published a Best-Selling Debut Novel at age 54

Technology and Art & Design

  • Introduction to Photoshop: Editing and Collage
  • Graphic Design for Teachers
  • Attracting Bees to Your Backyard: Create a Bee Habitat in our Idea Lab
  • Google’s Powerful Archiving Feature
  • One-to-One Mac Help


  • Mindfulness Meditation
  • Swim Some Laps at Lunch
  • Free Climb Fridays

I also invite you to take advantage of the rich programming at Philadelphia University. There is a Talking Teaching discussion each Wednesday and Thursday, and one or more workshops are scheduled each week, including  

  • Sort and Shift: Helping Students Embrace Emergent Thinking by Natalie Nixon

  • Connecting Creative Students Online: A Guide to Commenting Remotely on Graphic, as Well as Written, Work

  • Digital Learning Tools to Enhance Student Learning

  • Collaboration in Online Studios

  • Engaging Students in a Career Search

Please know the TLC is here to meet your needs, whether you’re looking for a specific type of workshop, class visit, webinar, reading group, one-to-one mentoring session, and / or Critical Friends Group. Please send me an email or schedule an appointment on the front page of our TLC website to let me know how the Teaching & Learning Center can best serve you.

Once again here is the SignUp Genius link to sign up for a TLC and Philadelphia University workshop. If there’s a TLC 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.

Hope to see you at the TLC!


Professional Development News

Sidwell Friends School will be offering an Institute for Teaching Social Justice in July 2016. Click here to learn more about their programs entitled “Race Theory & the Black Experience” and “Gender & Sexuality in the United States.”

There are several local and international opportunities for global education. Click on the links for more information.

Master Teacher Fellowship in Global Education (Application due April 10th)

Philadelphia World Heritage Tool Kit

GEEO Spring Break and Summer Trips Abroad for Educators (Application ongoing)

Call for PoCC Proposals
The 2016 People of Color Conference, which will take place in Atlanta from December 8-10, is now accepting workshop proposals. Proposals are due April 29. Click here for more information. Please review all proposal ideas with David Brightbill before submitting them online.

Call for NAIS Conference Proposals
The 2017 NAIS annual conference, which will take place in Baltimore from March 1-3, is now accepting workshop proposals. Proposals which explore the theme Make Your Mission Matter: From Vision to Values will be accepted until June 6, 2016. Click here for more information. Please review all proposal ideas with David Brightbill before submitting them online.

Visit this link on the Teaching & 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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