Goal 2: Program Content

Advance our educational program to provide students with the knowledge and skills they need to thrive in a complex and changing world.

Strategies

Will we teach Shakespeare? Yes. But how we teach Shakespeare will change.

Our curriculum will continue to prepare students for admission to their top-choice colleges, but it also will evolve to position them for success after college by expanding beyond the walls of the school and connecting them with the world.

And we will:

  • Utilize current brain research about how children learn best to develop more strategies for individualizing learning within the curriculum and through learning support services.
  • Develop a distinctive identity for each division that is built around an age-appropriate experience.
  • Collaborate locally, nationally and internationally to enhance learning and leadership opportunities for Penn Charter students.
  • Educate students for global competency through classroom experience, service, student exchanges and travel.
  • Teach environmental awareness and develop advocacy for environmental sustainability.

Implementation Examples

Meaningful Content / Assessments

Meaningful Content and New Assessments

In an effort to provide our Upper School students with a more balanced and academically fulfilling high school experience, students in grades 9-12 took the Challenge Success Survey.

They responded to questions about time management, homework, study skills, sleep habits and other school-related topics. The results of this study have been carefully considered by faculty and divisional leadership.

As a result, alterations to our academic program and assessment and homework policies are currently under review.

In addition, we invited Frances Jensen, chair of the Neurology Department at the University of Pennsylvania and author of The Teenage Brain, to campus to share with parent and faculty her research around adolescent brain development and the importance of sleep.

IdeaLabs

IdeaLabs

Our first IdeaLab is a large and broadly equipped space, located in the lower level of the Middle School, designed to support both current curricula and ongoing innovation for Penn Charter students.

More than a makerspace, the IdeaLab is designed to develop three core competencies -- creation, communication and collaboration. Each of these competencies will have a dedicated area in the IdeaLab: a maker lab, a media lab, and a creative lab.
Students can work with both traditional tools and materials and new technologies, including 3D printers, laser cutters and electronics. The MediaLab section is a studio for students to create and document their projects with digital and analog storytelling and portfolios. The CreativeLab section connects these two work areas with communal tables for discussion, problem solving, and critique.

An IdeaLab for Lower School students opened in the Lower School building in Fall 2016.

Pop Lunch

Pop Lunch

Since 2014, English teachers have offered a series of Pop Lunches, optional faculty-led lunchtime lectures and discussions that allow students to explore topics related to popular culture, including race, sexuality and gender. More recently, educators from other departments and local universities have also taken part. Since their inception, interest in these events has grown and it is not uncommon to have more than 50 community members in attendance.

Foreign Language Assessment

Integrated Performance Assessments for Foreign Language

Foreign language instruction at Penn Charter is no longer solely about grammar and vocabulary. The Foreign Language Department is at the forefront of modern language instruction locally and nationally. Students in French and Spanish classrooms now take part in Integrated Performance Assessments, a performance-based approach to teaching, learning and assessing second language. Students engage with authentic resources and take part in level-appropriate communicative activities that focus on developing proficiency.

Upcycling

Passionate first graders are actively involved with an interdisciplinary project that teaches environmental sustainability, math, science, stewardship, civics and more.

Friends Lobbying in DC

A cross-divisional group of students took their learning beyond the walls of the classroom and Capitol Hill to lobby Congress about mass incarceration.

Sparkmakers

The Center for Public Purpose takes PC students to neighborhood schools to teach STEAM, reinforcing their learning outside the classroom and deepening what it means to live lives that make a difference.

Third Grade Wax Museum

Third grade teachers and students demonstrate how a wax museum project focused on Pennsylvania history has evolved in terms of focus, research techniques and performance.

Advanced Physics Bridge Project

Science teacher Tim Clarke and juniors Zoe Topaz and Josh Patton demonstrate how technology has changed a classic physics project.

Middle School Advisory

Students and Director of Middle School Wilson Felter explain the goals and impact of the new Middle School Advisory curriculum.
Our plan for Penn Charter's future is organized around six goals, each with a set of strategies.


Prefer it in print? View and download this 24-page publication that explains the six goals of the Strategic Vision, the strategies to support those goals, and the themes and issues that inspired the Strategic Vision.

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