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P.C.P.D. october 2017

Penn Charter Professional Development

October 2017

Published monthly by William Penn Charter School in the interest of our faculty and staff.


News to Know




Dan Evans, director of college counseling, was quoted in a September Psychology Today article entitled "The Hardest Word," which discussed why we don't say no nearly enough, and why we should. 

On October 3, Lee Payton facilitated a video conference dialogue for the Friends Council on Education entitled “Teaching in a Time of Uncertainty.”

On September 14, Pamela Shannon was honored at the Normandy Farm Ballroom in Blue Bell for her leadership support of the people and programs at Ursinus College.

Congratulations and special thanks to the many PC colleagues who shared their expertise by teaching TLC workshops and/or mentoring faculty during September: Sharon Ahram, Naveena Bembry, Karen Campbell, Sonia Duprez, Aly Goodner, Julian Guindon, Shahidah Kalam Id-Din, Corey Kilbane, Nora Landon, Imana Legette, Marianne Master, Beth Menzie, Michael Moulton, Lee Payton, Jim Pilkington and Lisa Turner.


Julia Judson-Rea and Craig Dulniak welcomed a son, William Judson Dulniak, on September 22.


News and Notes

Marianna Allen spent two weeks in July visiting her host family in Aix-en-Provence. Trip highlights included learning several new recipes from her host maman, a trip to Cassis, the best iced tea she's ever tasted (made with Earl Grey and India Tonic), and a few days spent alongside amazing travel buddy Jennifer Chernak.

This summer, Gillian Diffenderfer took foreign language intensive classes in creative writing, grammar and literature at Middlebury College. She also participated in seminars on language pedagogy and attended a talk by Mexican author and journalist Elena Poniatowska.

Liz Kessler spent six weeks this summer at Middlebury College as part of her journey toward her master's degree in Spanish Literature.

Also, check out the link to the MCRC@ADVIS DEI Conference taking place here at Penn Charter on Friday, October 6. 


Faculty and Staff Announcements

Join Us!
Friday, Oct. 20, 6:00-8:00pm in the Dooney Field House

Food, fellowship, illuminating conversations and student performances when Head of School Darryl J. Ford reveals the plan for Penn Charter's future and the campaign that will fund it. Look for your invitation in the mail and join us. RSVP and sign up for child care


Welcome to New Faces

James Behr started as Director of Safety and Security on September 22. Jim comes to us after 16 years at LaSalle University, where he most recently served as the interim director of public safety, and, prior to that role, as the associate director of security and safety and emergency preparedness officer.


The Eco Corner
by Tom Rickards

All Trails Challenge Update
We are looking great! Here is a link to our team page: PC Hikes. Looking for guided hikes and walks? Check out events here through Friends of the Wissahickon.

Did You Know?
Food News: Our own Kaitlyn Norton through Culinart has made many  commitments to help our students and the planet. We have a new water station (infused with different fruits and flavors each day). Please remember a reusable water bottle to fill up throughout the day! Kaitlyn also orders all of our fruits, vegetables, dairy and other cafeteria food products through Common Market, which works to connect schools and other communities with local, sustainable, family farms. You can read more about Common Market’s mission and values here, but let’s share some numbers of Penn Charter’s impact:

  • We help support jobs and livelihoods for 200 local family farms!
  • Last year we purchased 6,894 pounds of food locally!
  • We have helped preserve 10,358 acres of local farm lands!
  • Make sure you give Kaitlyn a high five for her continued good work!


Notes from the TLC

by Ruth Aichenbaum 

Happy October! Now that we’re getting into the rhythm of the school year, I’ll be reaching out to those of you who are interested in being part of a learning community. I’m hoping to start groups that meet once a month or so to learn together about:

  • Using metacognition and digital portfolios to promote deep learning
  • Investigating how to meaningfully use homework  
  • Learning about neuroscience and implications for teaching
  • Trying out and sharing strategies from the book Making Thinking Visible
  • Watching and discussing how to make use of Teaching Tolerance webinars/resources
  • Instructional Rounds: professional growth through observing colleagues and being observed

If you noted on the TLC Quia signup that you’re interested in any of these groups, I’ll be in touch. If you didn’t note this on your survey and are interested or you want to start another type of group, please let me know. 

There are many varied sessions lined up for October that you can sign up for using the TLC SignUp Genius Link. Some upcoming workshops include:

  • Using Reggio Emilia Pedagogy to Influence Daily Life
  • Learn about the Executive Function Enhancement Technique Get Ready, Do, Done, Get Done!
  • Make it Stick: Transforming Our Teaching Using What Neuroscience Tells Us about Learning
  • Using Pear Deck (Beginner and Advanced User Sessions)
  • US Comment Writing
  • Intro to Eco Dyeing and Printing
  • Reading Benchmarks Revised Edition
  • Reading and Writing Workshop Conferences
  • Learn about the VITAL Quakerism Pop-Up Book Project
  • Culturally Responsive Teaching & the Brain
  • Learn about VITAL
  • PC Faculty Book Club
  • Cultural Events Series: Private Classical Philadelphia Architecture two-hour Walking Tour led by American Institute of Architects Philadelphia
  • One-to-One Mac Help
  • Mindful Yoga
  • Friends of the Wissahickon Hikes

Again here’s a 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.

Here are a few resources from last month’s workshops:

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!



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, October 31. If October 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 past funded projects by visiting this page on the TLC Google Site. The application form (deadline February 20) and the rubric that the VITAL Selection Committee uses to review applications are also available on this page.


Professional Development News

Professional Development Funds
Penn Charter’s policy regarding the allocation of professional development monies is prioritized so that money will be awarded to those requests that present the greatest intersection of institutional, departmental and personal needs which focus on the professional growth of faculty members. Monies will be prioritized for projects that best meet the goals of the Strategic Vision, including excellence, innovation and collaboration. In general, requests for equipment (computer cords, iPads, charging cables, etc…) should be directed to department chairs. Such expenses are not eligible for professional development funds.

As in past years, each full-time faculty member is guaranteed (but not required to spend) $250 per year for professional development. If faculty find that they need funding beyond the annual $250, they may apply for additional monies. To apply for additional funding, faculty need to obtain approval of their division head in the Lower School or their department chair in Middle and Upper School and then contact the academic dean to see if funding is available. The academic dean must give final approval for additional funding. Please note that, starting in the 2017-2018 school year, the $250 annual amount allocated for each full-time faculty member cannot be carried over to the next school year.

Please direct any questions regarding professional development to David Brightbill.

Professional Development Opportunities

Registration is open for Friends Council on Education’s 2017-2018 programming. Check out the FCE website for more details.

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

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