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P.C.P.D. May 2016

Penn Charter Professional Development

May 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 education blog, including a post about the Middle School Advisory, mindfulness and concussion management! 


Vision Forward NOW

Look here for highlights and to watch videos from the recent showcase of Penn Charter's Strategic Vision in action.



Stephanie Ball and Shannon Makhija presented on April 13 at the New Jersey Association of Independent Schools (NJAIS) conference for Development and Advancement. They discussed use of a systematic, data-driven approach to structuring a Major Gifts program. The session also reviewed fundraising practices for developing authentic relationships and securing major gifts, as well as the process of managing a prospect pipeline through moves management.

In February at the International Teachers Teaching with Technology Conference in Orlando, Tony Farrell presented a session entitled "Using the TI-Nspire CX CAS handheld to save time in teaching Common Core Algebra 1.”

Ed Marks will attend the Advanced Placement Government and Politics Reading this year in Salt Lake City. This year he has been promoted to Table Leader.

Congratulations and special thanks to the many PC colleagues who shared their expertise by teaching workshops and /or mentoring faculty during April: Pat Bender, Christy Brennan, David Brightbill, Sonia Duprez, Joel Eckel, T.J. Ferrick, Brooke Giles, Julian Guindon, David Kern, Imana Legette, Marianne Master, Vicki Miles, Lee Payton, Malia Piazza, Lisa Reedich, Tom Rickards, Joan Rosen, Sheila Ruen, Claire Scribner, Pam Shannon, Lisa Turner, Doug Uhlmann, and Laura Valdmanis.


Natasha Pronga and Taylor Lindsey welcomed a son, Malakai Eastwood, on May 10.


News and Notes

Several PC faculty took advantage of the opportunity to attend the White Privilege Conference, which was held in Philadelphia this April. Nora Landon attended a workshop entitled “Reimagining Equity and Justice in the United States through a Polarity Lens." Amanda Lelii, Marianne Master and Christie Pearsall attended "White Women: Internalized Sexism and White Superiority." Imana Legette brought a group of Upper School students who participated in an all-day student workshop. Other faculty participants included Chris Christoph, Ben Dziedzic, Liz Flemming, Beth Gould, Megan Kafer, David Kern, Margaret Lea, Ruth McGee, Jim Pilkington, Jim Phillips and Maria-Odilia Romeu.

Jennifer Chernack and Orit Netter recently attended the FEEN (Friends Environmental Education Network) conference, which was held this year at the Carolina Friends School.   

Patrick Lombard, Maria-Odilia Romeu and Laura Valdmanis participated in a three-evening professional development program titled “Entrepreneurship and You.” Sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, the program introduced lessons about economics and personal finance that will be adapted to enhance the economics curriculum in fourth grade.

On February 26, Penn Charter hosted an inaugural Writing Center Colloquium for writing center directors from Germantown Friends, Germantown Academy, Baldwin School, Hill School and Westtown.


Faculty and Staff Changes

After taking a leave of absence this year, Cassandra Aldridge has decided not to return to Penn Charter. She has relocated to Wilmington, Del., where her husband, Ken, is the head of Wilmington Friends School.

Congratulations to Jim Ballengee on his retirement. Aly Goodner OPC '96 has been hired to direct the Center for Public Purpose. The search for an assistant director is near completion.

Sarah Black is teaching in the fifth grade during Natasha Pronga’s maternity leave.

Phil Consuegra is leaving to become associate head of school/executive director of philanthropy at Pacific Ridge School in Carlsbad, CA. Phil has made US Government and Politics come alive for seniors in the AP Gov class.

Heather Hillas OPC '06 has been hired as a new pre-K assistant teacher to replace Christina Hipp.

Christina Hipp will be relocating to Red Bank, N.J., to be closer to her family and to pursue her career as a child play therapist.

Malia Piazza, having recently completed her master's degree, is moving on from her position teaching Upper School Biology toward other opportunities to utilize her expertise in sexuality education. A search for her replacement is currently underway.

Natasha Pronga will be teaching fourth grade at the Elisabeth Morrow School in Englewood, N.J. 

Sheila Ruen will be the galleries director at Crooked Tree Arts Center in Petoskey, and Traverse City, Mich.  

Jessica Stusnick will remain as a first grade teacher. This year she served in a one-year position.

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



This year, we have awarded three VITAL grants for the projects Creating Music: Theory and Practice, Upper School Advisory and Ninth Grade Seminar.

Tim Clarke and Brad Ford will collaborate on "Creating Music: Theory and Practice." The project will involve studying music theory and the physics of music behind the notes and tones produced by a variety of musical instruments. This will also include the study of what makes combinations of notes and instruments combine for good sound. The group will then undertake the construction of a variety of musical instruments and use science equipment and musical training to analyze and compare the sounds produced by these instruments to theory and to professionally made instruments.

Karen Campbell, Judith Hill, Michael Moulton and Debbie White have been awarded a VITAL grant for their project “Ninth Grade Seminar.” To further ensure a solid foundation of academic success, the new Ninth Grade Seminar will allow the faculty across technology, learning support, library and physical education to re-envision a dynamic, multidisciplinary course that can change the way students become acclimated to Upper School life and future learning.

Elizabeth Coombs, Catherine Ezzo, Erin Hughes and Claire Scribner, together with a number of other US faculty members who will collaborate on specific parts of the project, will work on the "Upper School Advisory" project. They plan to create a meaningful and spiraling advisory curriculum for our Upper School students that builds on the programming now in place in the Middle School. The work will include identification of specific grade-level needs (academic, co-curricular, social, emotional) and then the development of a curriculum to meet those needs. It is their vision that the curriculum will be grounded in Quaker principles and practice, integrating them throughout the program.


Overseers' Dinner

The annual Overseers' Dinner was on Tuesday, May 10, at 6:00 pm in the tent at Timmons. Click here for a list of faculty and staff who were honored for their service to Penn Charter.


Faculty and Staff Announcements

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

In May, the TLC is offering varied workshops, including sessions about graphic design, bar modeling, and neuroscience and implications for teaching. Since May is a busy month for all of us, the TLC will also offer a number of fun sessions, many over lunch, with hopes of providing some time to unwind, smile and enjoy each other's company! Some of the offerings include:

  • Game-a-palooza!: Come Play Board Games During Lunch
  • What's for Dinner? Recipe Exchange
  • Zentangle: Meditative Drawing
  • Make Yarn Pom Poms
  • Ceramics: Wheel Throwing
  • Sharing Ideas for Summer Pleasure Reading and Listening
  • Staycation Sharing: Share Your Favorite Local Travel and Fun Activity Destinations
  • Great Apps to Play with Over the Summer
  • Perennial Plant Exchange in Honor of Cheryl Irving

And as always, we have our staple workshops:

  • Swim Some Laps at Lunch
  • Free Climb Friday
  • Mindful Meditation

If you have an idea for a fun workshop you’d like to lead or see offered before the end of the year, please email me and we’ll make it happen.

Here is the SignUp Genius link to sign up for a workshop. As always, if there’s a TLC session you’d like to attend, but the timing doesn’t work, please email me (, and I’ll 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.

Philadelphia World Heritage Tool Kit

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

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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