Since its founding more than 127 years ago, Allendale Columbia School has been dedicated to the highest standards of teaching and learning in the classroom. More recently, in 1983, the Board of Trustees created the first endowed Chair for teaching excellence. Since then, we have been fortunate to be able to attract, retain, and reward some of the best educators locally and globally.
On behalf of the Board of Trustees and the Head of School, we are pleased to recognize and celebrate three highly respected, talented teachers who embody the mission of Allendale Columbia School in everything they do.
Each of these teachers is dedicated to preparing students for the world that they will inherit, by creating a trusting and responsive environment for their students to grow in confidence and develop scholastic independence. They pursue the highest standard of excellence and strive to give our students opportunities for them to make a positive impact locally and globally, even at the earliest ages.
Jennifer Truong: Virginia and Fred Gordon Chair in Elementary Education
Please join me in congratulating Jennifer Truong as the new Virginia and Fred Gordon Chair in Elementary Education. Given every five years to a recipient who then holds the Chair for the five subsequent years, this award recognizes excellence in teaching in the elementary grades. It is awarded to a teacher whose merit is appreciated both within and outside the school community and who has earned the respect and recognition of peers.
As Mick Gee, Head of School, shared in the meeting where Jenn was installed as the fifth recipient of this Chair, “Jenn is a teacher’s teacher. Her dedication to helping her students grow academically and socially is extraordinary and she has earned the reputation of being one of the strongest teachers in the school. Jenn creates a student-centered learning environment in her classroom where second grade students feel supported and challenged in equal amounts. She is a pedagogical expert, a detailed planner, and quite simply one of the hardest working people in our community.”
If you spend ten minutes in one of Jenn’s classes, you will witness second grade students creating new knowledge, designing websites, recording podcasts, and honing their ability to think critically and communicate effectively. All of this occurs in an environment that is joyful, challenging, and inspiring; she is constantly encouraging students to produce their best work and be the best version of themselves. Read more about Jennifer Truong and the Virginia and Fred Gordon Chair in Elementary Education here.
Rob Doran: James R. Koster Chair in Mathematics
Please join me in congratulating Rob Doran as the new James R. Koster Chair in Mathematics. Given every five years to a recipient who holds the Chair for the five subsequent years, this award recognizes excellence in teaching specifically in the area of mathematics. This year we are pleased to recognize and celebrate Rob’s extraordinary presence in the school for eighteen years as both a Middle and Upper School math instructor.
As Mick said when installing Rob as the sixth recipient of this Chair, “Rob is a consummate professional and dedicated teacher who literally lives and breathes math. Most of us know Rob through his tireless work with his students. He is amongst the first people to arrive in the morning and almost certainly one of the last to leave at night, spending many additional hours helping students individually outside of class. Rob has played a pivotal role in helping students to grow in confidence and find their “math legs” as they move through our program, particularly in our Middle School.” He has the ability to empower his students and shift their mindset from math phobic to math loving; this is a rare gift indeed.
Outside of the classroom, Rob is fully immersed in the life of the school and offers many opportunities for students to be successful. He volunteers every year to coach the MathCounts Team, is one of the Middle School’s strongest advisors, chaperones the annual 8th grade trip to Washington DC, coaches Ultimate Frisbee, and as if all that wasn’t enough, Rob also works tirelessly behind the scenes to provide technical expertise for the Middle School show. Read more about Rob Doran and the James R. Kolster Chairin Mathematics here.
Donna Kwiatkowski: Gleason Chair for Teaching Excellence
Finally, please join me in congratulating Donna Kwiatkowski as the new recipient of the Gleason Chair for Teaching Excellence. Given every five years to a recipient who holds the Chair for the five subsequent years, this award recognizes teaching excellence in any grade level, in any subject field, for the highest standards of excellence in independent school teaching. It is with great pride and pleasure that we honor Donna Kwiatkowski as the new Gleason Chair for Teaching Excellence for her long history of outstanding teaching and service to the school as our loyal, talented, and beloved Nursery teacher.
Donna has been teaching at AC for an amazing 31 years. As many of you know firsthand, she is a master teacher dedicated to her craft. She is and has been responsible for developing the hearts and minds of AC’s youngest students for more than three decades. As Mick said at Donna’s installation, “the impact of Donna’s teaching can be seen every day throughout the school. Not only in her classroom and at her lunch table, but in older students at all grade levels who benefited from their early years with Donna. Many of these older students, and even not-so-young adults, have grown into the people they are today because of the lessons learned during the time they spent with her.”
Together with her Pre-Kindergarten teaching partners, Donna has helped to build one of the strongest programs at AC, and anywhere in this region. Her classes are always full — often with a waiting list — and her reputation amongst elementary educators, and parents in the know, is exemplary. Read more about Donna Kwiatkowski and the Gleason Chair for Teaching Excellence.
For more information about any of our named endowed chairs for teaching excellence, please contact Karyn Vella, Assistant Head for External Affairs.
Posted in: Highlights, Lower School, LS Birches, Middle School, MS Birches, Pre-Primary School, The Birches, Upper School, US Birches
Allendale Columbia’s production of The Sound of Music received a number of recognitions at Rochester Broadway Theatre League’s (RBTL) Stars of Tomorrow ceremony on May 10th, 2018. Catherine Kennedy ’18, who played Maria, was one of four to win Outstanding Leading Actress nods in AC’s Division C, and she received her second nomination in a row to compete for a trip to the Stars of Tomorrow “Jimmy Awards” competition in New York City.
You can help elect Catherine as a Fan Favorite at Stars of Tomorrow NYC Bound by sending the text SOT06 (that’s letter S, letter O, letter T, number 0, number 6) to 75327. The contest allows one vote per phone number per day, so please set a reminder to vote every day! Go to http://www.rochesterfirst.com/stars-of-tomorrow-2018 for details.
Before the evening got underway, the Children’s Ensemble from The Sound of Music learned from the program that they received a Future Stars recognition for Outstanding Performance by Elementary and Middle School students in a High School Musical. Also given a “Tip of the Hat” in the program was Assistant Stage Manager Connor Surkau-Parkinson ’18.
Allendale Columbia received a recognition for Outstanding Singing Ensemble. Senior Rebecca McQuilken was one of the Outstanding Supporting Actresses recognized for her role as Mother Abbess, despite having been in a wheelchair after undergoing knee surgery shortly before the performances.
Kennedy next competes on Thursday, May 24th, at RBTL in Stars for Tomorrow NYC Bound. In the first round that evening, she sings a segment of one of her songs from The Sound of Music. If she makes it to the second round, she sings a song she selects from a list provided by the judges. She might then advance to the final round, as she did last year, to perform once again. The judges select just one male actor and one female actress to advance to the competition in New York. Tickets will be available soon; return to this page or http://www.rbtl.org/stars-of-tomorrow-nyc-bound/ for details when they are made available.
(Revised May 13th, 2018)
Posted in: Eighth Grade, Eleventh Grade, Fifth Grade, First Grade, Fourth Grade, Highlights, Kindergarten, Lower School, LS Birches, Middle School, MS Birches, Ninth Grade, Second Grade, Seventh Grade, Sixth Grade, Tenth Grade, The Birches, Third Grade, Twelfth Grade, Upper School, US Birches
by Gabriel Costanzo
Did you ever wonder why certain dances were included in the Strawberry Breakfast at Allendale Columbia? What are their origins? What’s the story behind this tradition? A few secrets will be revealed by Mitzie Collins, Rochester musician and parent of three former AC students.
Collins is a well known musician in Western New York, and she will be joining the AC musicians accompanying the Maypole Dance and Sword Dance at this year’s Strawberry Breakfast. This Monday, May 14th, at 12:05 p.m., Ms. Collins will give a presentation about these traditions to those musicians and dancers. The presentation will be in the Curtis Performance Center.
Gabriel CostanzoAs an instrumental music teacher at Allendale Columbia School, Gabe teaches 4th Grade Band, 5th Grade Band, Concert Band, Jazz Ensemble, Wind Ensemble, and Music Theory. He held the David M. Pynchon Chair in the Visual and Performing Arts from 2008 - 2013 and is a member of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. He earned bachelor's degrees in Music Education and Music Composition from SUNY College at Fredonia and a master's degree in Music Composition from Bowling Green State University. You can also find him on horn and vocals for the local band The Buddhahood.
Posted in: Alumni News, Highlights, LS Birches, MS Birches, The Birches, US Birches
by Annie King and Stephanie Williford
As part of a Project Based Learning (PBL) unit focusing on the Amazon Rainforest, Allendale Columbia’s first graders continued their research on the rich biodiversity of this amazing natural resource. We have been studying the rainforest and its creatures all year long and have discovered many troubling facts about the 28,000 species that live there.
This information gave us the idea to begin our campaign to raise $1,200 so that we can adopt 30 acres of land in the Amazon Rainforest — the same size as our Allendale campus! Allendale Columbia’s 1st grade Rainforest Rescuers launched their own GoFundMe page with the hopes of raising $1,200 for the Amazon Aid Foundation. After just 4 hours, they had raised $555, and they have already surpassed their goal! This group’s love and passion for the Amazon Rainforest is truly making an impact on our world.
Our 1st graders are truly experts about many of the animals in this area. We Skyped with Sarah DuPont, the president of Amazon Aid Foundation. The first graders worked hard to come up with thoughtful questions for Sarah, and she was impressed with their commitment to saving the Amazon Rainforest. Sarah was also able to teach us much about the challenges facing the Amazon Rainforest and the crucial work her organization is doing.
In math, we continued working on measurement this week by practicing drawing lines and crafting bookmarks to spread the word about the plight of the Amazon Rainforest. The bookmarks will be going on sale soon so stay tuned!
Ann KingAfter pursing her passion for teaching, Ann became a long-term substitute at Allendale Columbia before beginning to teach first grade full-time at AC. Prior to beginning her teaching career, Ann was in the financial industry as an Assistant Vice President, Financial Analyst, and Corporate Trainer at two different regional banks. Ann earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Economics from Penn State College and her Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education from Roberts Wesleyan College.
Stephanie WillifordStephanie joined Allendale Columbia in the fall of 2012. She holds an associate's degree with a concentration in Psychology, a bachelor's degree in Psychology with a concentration in Inclusive Education, as well as Quad-Inclusive Teacher Certification for grades 1-9. Prior to coming to AC, Stephanie served as a kindergarten teacher at Children's Creative Learning Center and supervised the Child Care and Preschool Summer Fun Camp at Pittsford Recreation Center.
Posted in: Entrepreneurship, First Grade, Global Engagement, Highlights, Lower School, LS Birches, The Birches, Uncategorized
By Fiona Lutz and Indiia Maring
Students in the Making the Impact: Social Entrepreneurship class are working with Headwater Food Hub to research and market their Blended Burger Project submissions. The Blended Burger is a combination of ground beef, onions, and mushrooms, and its mission is to reimagine the iconic burger in a sustainable and healthier way that is more accessible for everyone.
The students have split into two groups to tackle their objectives more efficiently. The research team is working to collect data about the quality and taste of the Blended Burger in order to see how it would work for the Allendale community and Rochester community. They sponsored a taste survey during school lunches last week. The marketing team is collaborating with Ryn Adkins, manager of the Blended Burger project, to create advertisement material to use with Headwater’s partners.
Fiona LutzFiona Lutz is a sophomore at Allendale Columbia. She plays tennis for HAC and loves being involved with programs at school such as the global engagement and ambassador programs.
Indiia MaringIndy Maring, Co-chair of the Social Inclusivity Club, is a senior at AC. Indy has been a member of SIC for 3 years, and this is their first year as chair. They enjoy throwing discus, learning about cults, and playing with their cousin Riley. Next year, Indy plans on studying Political Science at the University of Rochester.
Posted in: Centers for Impact, Eighth Grade, Eleventh Grade, Entrepreneurship, Highlights, Middle School, Ninth Grade, Partnerships, Seventh Grade, Tenth Grade, The Birches, Twelfth Grade, Upper School, US Birches
Allendale Columbia has a strong partnership with School 25 in the City of Rochester. Members of the Upper School Community Service Club visit the School 25 Kindergarten class during each club block to work with the students and teachers. Allendale Columbia is also committed to helping School 25 address the food insecurity among their students. This school is in an impoverished district and they provide two meals to their students each day. Over the summer months, their students lose this assurance through their loss of access to those meals.
For the past five years, the Community Service Club has held a food drive to collect non-perishables to help a few select families, identified by School 25 faculty members, through the summer vacation. This year’s drive will run from Monday, May 7th – Wednesday, May 9th.
Each division has different assignments:
- Lower School (all grades): Canned goods (fruit, vegetable, tuna)
- Grade 6: Mac & Cheese
- Grade 7: Toaster pastries, Granola Bars
- Grade 8: Cereal, Oatmeal
- Grade 9: Pasta and Sauce
- Grade 10: Rice and Beans
- Grade 11: Soup
- Grade 12: Animal Crackers and Goldfish
All donations must be be nut free.
Donations can be dropped off in boxes by Mr. Gee’s Lower School office, Mrs. Duver’s office, Mrs. Broberg’s office, and the front desk.
The Allendale Columbia community is a generous one, and gathering this food with your help makes a world of difference.
The AC Community Service Club
Posted in: Centers for Impact, Eleventh Grade, Highlights, LS Birches, MS Birches, Ninth Grade, Partnerships, Tenth Grade, The Birches, Twelfth Grade, Upper School, US Birches