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P.C.P.D. October 2016

Penn Charter Professional Development

October 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 post on Penn Charter's education blog. The most recent post describes the new interdisciplinary Ninth Grade Seminar Class that was designed this summer with a VITAL grant.



Sarah Aguilar-Francis and David Brightbill are presenting “Achieving Proficiency through the Three Modes of Communication” at the PAIS Biennial Conference at Episcopal Academy on Oct. 7.

Ruth Aichenbaum, David Brightbill and Marianne Master are presenting “Faculty Driven Professional Development: Honoring the Learner” at the PAIS Biennial Conference at Episcopal Academy on Oct. 7.

Christy Brennan is presenting "What's That Code?: Embedding Computer Science in the K-5 Curriculum" at the PAIS Biennial Conference at Episcopal Academy on Oct. 7.

On Sept. 16, La Sripanawongsa hosted a monthly meeting for a professional learning community, the Tri-State TCI-Teaching World Language with Comprehensible Input, at Penn Charter’s Middle School. Twenty-eight dedicated language teachers from the tri-state area attended.

Corey Kilbane is presenting “More than a Makerspace: Designing Spaces to Promote Authentic Learning” at the PAIS Biennial Conference at Episcopal Academy on Oct. 7.

On Sept. 19, La Sripanawongsa presented a webinar on a Hero/Superhero unit as part of the "Differentiation Toward Values in Action Instruction K-16 Chinese Language Education” presentation. The webinar was presented to a group of graduate students of the Chinese language program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, Calif.

Lisa Turner is presenting “Beyond Privilege: Combining Literary Analysis with the Cross/Helms Models to Support Positive Racial Identity Formation” at the PAIS Biennial Conference at Episcopal Academy on Oct. 7.

Congratulations and special thanks to the many PC colleagues who shared their expertise by teaching workshops and /or mentoring at the Teaching & Learning Center during August and September: Kevin Berkoff, David Brightbill, Tim Clarke, Sonia Duprez, Rachel Dyer, Joel Eckel, Lindsay Franklin, Brooke Giles, Julian Guindon, Judith Hill, Corey Kilbane, Rachel Malhotra, Beth Menzie, Vicki Miles, Michael Moulton, Lisa Reedich, Tom Rickards, Pam Shannon, Jody Sweeney and Doug Uhlmann.


News and Notes

Chris Rahill and Emma Rowan completed the week-long CASE Summer Institute for Independent Schools held at Boston University in August.

To prepare for the new class offering "Stand-Up, Sketch Comedy and Improv," Michael Roche took stand-up classes and performed at the Helium Comedy Club in September.

Summer in Latvia

by Laura Valdmanis

This summer I helped in leading 13 U.S. students of Latvian descent around Latvia for two weeks. During this time we traveled between the capital city, Riga, and countryside and seaside towns, including Aglone, Liepaja, Aizpute, Bauska and Cesis. During the two weeks we explored the country and culture, visiting medieval castles and local craftsmen and soaking up the Baltic Sea. We also had the opportunity to connect with two schools in Latvia, meeting for traditional dancing and for a visit with the U.S. embassy and national library. I also kept a blog documenting this trip.


Welcome to New Faces

Jenny Barone is the new administrative assistant in the Lower School.





Blanca Womack has been hired as a gift recorder in the development office.


Green Corner

by Tom Rickards

We are working on expanding our Terracycle efforts! Stay tuned for more information, but look for more WHITE bins around the school. What does Terracycle do? It is a company that can take things like chip bags (which can't be recycled) and make them into new products – which keeps the items out of landfills. See the bins for the labels and we will send out more information soon.

We are exploring Penn Charter’s participation in a global eco-challenge for the month of October called Project Green Challenge. For those who participate, you will receive daily emails that will provide environmentally themed challenges involving activities such as finding out more about organic foods and labels, calculating your “water footprint” in a 24-hour period, creating a Meatless Monday menu for use at home, etc. There are prizes and other incentives as well. If you want more information, please click on the link above or contact Tom Rickards.

Just a reminder that the PC Hikes team is still open for sign ups! No pressure on how much money you can raise, but our recruitment goal is 25 people (we are currently a team of 6).



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. There will be a drop-in information session about VITAL and the application process during lunch and after school on Monday, Oct. 31. If Oct. 31 isn’t a good time to meet, feel free to schedule an appointment with Ruth Aichenbaum using this link. You can also learn more about VITAL and previously funded projects by visiting 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.


Notes From the TLC

by Ruth Aichenbaum

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


  • Let’s Dive DEEP! An Introduction to Design Thinking
  • Discussing Positive Classroom Management
  • Facilitating Rich Discussions
  • Designing New Lessons: Ideate and Inspire
  • Teaching the Presidential Election 2016
  • Reading Benchmark Workshops
  • Words Their Way Workshops
  • US Comment Writing
  • Learn about VITAL

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

  • Difficult Parents: Strategies to Build Positive Relationships
  • PC Faculty Book Club
  • Discussion about Teaching Tolerance webinar: Discussing Gender in the Classroom

Technology and the Arts

  • So You Want to Make a Movie Workshop Series
  • Intro to Laser Cutting
  • One-to-One Mac Help
  • PC Hub Help
  • Building a Simple Box Ukulele


  • Mindfulness Meditation
  • Swim Some Laps at Lunch and Morning Swim
  • Rock Climbing and Belay Training

If you haven’t heard,  Philadelphia University is offering two Talking Teachings opportunities each week. On Wednesdays from 12 to 1 pm there is a Talking Teaching with no set agenda – just come and chat about education, and 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.

Here is the 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.

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, including our monthly Spotlight articles. Hope to see you at the TLC!


Professional Development News

MCRC@ADVIS Critical Conversations presents The Art of the Possible: Overcoming Adversity For School Leaders with nationally syndicated cartoonist Robb Armstrong. It will be on Oct. 14 from 3 to 5 pm at Shipley School. Click here for more details. 

Visit the MCRC@ADVIS website for information about more upcoming programs.

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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