AC-RIT Collaboration Continues to Thrive and Enrich Learning Opportunities for Students

Posted on December 19th, 2019 by acsrochester

Students in Math 7, Math 8, Algebra I, and Honors Algebra II continue to participate in a series of classes with RIT. Most recently, students conducted a color absorption experiment using RIT’s light equipment, and they have also recently learned about cryptography and the use ciphers to create and crack codes.

RIT Light and Color Collaboration 

Students in Honors Algebra II and Math 7 collaborated with RIT’s Kara Maki (Associate Professor, School of Mathematical Sciences, College of Science) on a light and color unit. Dr. Mark Fairchild, a professor at RIT, visited AC’s classroom to talk to the students about light, color, and perceptions of color. In math class at AC, students made serial dilutions to measure color absorption and transparency and analyzed the relationships graphically.  Students also visited RIT to tour various math and science labs, including astronomy, biology, color science, and 3D Printing. During their visit, students learned about locating stars and looking at planets, observed bacterial growth, created 3D molds, and conducted a color absorption experiment using RIT’s light equipment.
RIT Cybersecurity Collaboration
Students in Algebra 1 and Math 8 collaborated with RIT’s Lana Vershage (Director of Women in Computing, Dean’s Office, Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences) in the areas of Sustainability and Cybersecurity. The students learned about how good designs and smarter technology can help global change. One example of this was the concept of solar ovens and students were even able to construct their own to try at home. Students also learned about cryptography and used ciphers to create and crack codes.
Posted in: Middle School, MS Birches, Partnerships, The Birches, Upper School, US Birches

Empty Bowls 2019

Posted on December 17th, 2019 by artwitholiveri

Last Friday, December 13th, the Middle School ceramics class presented The Willow Center of Rochester with a donation of $1,368, which they raised at their fifth annual Empty Bowls event at Allendale Columbia School on November 26th. The class made a lot of ceramic bowls and worked with AC faculty and students to help them make items for the fundraiser. They also wrote letters asking local artists to donate items to the raffle.

Roxy Reisch (class of 2020) did a live demo at the event showing attendees how she creates pottery on a wheel.

Empty Bowls is a worldwide grassroots movement to fight hunger and provide items for basic needs. The Willow Center is a nonprofit organization in Rochester that offers a variety of services to families and children. The AC ceramics class was happy to donate all of the proceeds from the event, in the amount of $1,368, to the Willow Center.

Students from the Middle School elective, Ceramics, meeting with representatives from the Willow Center to present their donation

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Posted in: Authentic Learning, Eighth Grade, Entrepreneurship, Kid Kudos, Lower School, LS Birches, Middle School, MS Birches, Partnerships, Seventh Grade, The Birches, Upper School, US Birches

Visiting Local Businesses and Entrepreneurs

Posted on December 5th, 2019 by artwitholiveri

This year in Essentials of Entrepreneurship, an entrepreneurship course for Upper Schoolers, students are choosing local businesses, start-ups, incubators, entrepreneurs, and co-working spaces to visit. The students are calling and making arrangements for our visits. Many of our students have never been responsible for seeking out local organizations and people then cold-calling to begin a relationship with them and make arrangements for a meeting. It’s a great opportunity to get them thinking about and planning logistics, timing, details, and travel arrangements.

AC ninth grader Adam Rogers chose to visit RIT Venture Creations. This is an incubator space associated with RIT in Henrietta. On our visit, we explored one start-up and two successful businesses who graduated from the incubator.

Phase Innovations provides new solutions for energy conversion and storage applications. Our work is grounded in a commitment to clean water, air, and energy.

BlackBox Biometrics is the industry leader in sensor technology to instantly assess forces that can cause traumatic brain injury.

Optel provides a variety of services to companies in the medical device field including product design services from concept to initial prototypes through completed product ready for manufacture, manufacturing services in compliance with the requirements of the U.S. FDA current Good Manufacturing Practices, the European medical device standard ISO 13485, and other medical device manufacturing requirements around the world. 

Amy Oliveri reflected, “Venture Creations at RIT was a fantastic visit for our entrepreneurship students. Not only did we see businesses in the incubator phase but also successful businesses who had ‘graduated’ from the program within one facility. It seems ideal to be housed with other startup businesses in order to share resources and gain insight. Perhaps the most interesting innovation we saw was from Phase who are investigating new ways to convert heat into cooling solutions. The best advice students received was from the father and son team who run Optel. They said that many people think of entrepreneurship as unstable and uncertain. Their advice – “Entrepreneurship is more certain and stable than working for someone else because you are your own boss.”

Our next visit was to the historic American Hotel in Lima. Thomas Riveros, AC ninth grader, chose this location because of a phenomenal dining experience and the businesses long-standing history.

There has been an American Hotel on this site since about 1790. The first two were made of wood, and the present day building was built in 1840. After two fires in the 1850’s, it was rebuilt in 1861 by Mr. Mosley. The hotel has been owned and operated by the Reynolds family since 1920. 

Thomas shared, “I chose this location because I had eaten there before and I really enjoyed it. I loved learning about their history. If you want to be in the restaurant business, then you have to truly care about what you’re doing. If you own a restaurant for the money, you might not be as successful; you have to love what you do and truly care about it.”

Our third location was Atlas Eats. AC tenth grader Alex Wexler chose this location due to his long-standing interest in culinary arts.

At Atlas Eats, they continuously explore the tastes and traditions of foods from around the world. Their changing menus reflect their interpretation of the standards and classics from many cuisines. Atlas Eats procures the freshest ingredients possible from a host of sources in search of the unique and authentic. During the growing season, they engage local farmers and growers for produce whenever possible.

Andrew explained, “I chose this location because I am very interested in the food industry. Atlas had a unique idea to change the menu every two weeks. I thought that the most interesting part of the visit was going into the storage room to see how they stock their supplies and food. One thing I took away was the need to be very enthusiastic about your career in the restaurant business. I would definitely recommend this location to others, it was a very comfortable and nice environment, and I think that it is a must-try!”

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Posted in: Eleventh Grade, Entrepreneurship, Highlights, Ninth Grade, Partnerships, Tenth Grade, Twelfth Grade, Upper School, US Birches

AC Students Find Common Ground with Peers from Mexico

Posted on November 15th, 2019 by acsrochester

From October 17th to October 26th, 10 students from The Harkness Institute, located in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, were hosted by students at the International House and eight AC families. Their time in Rochester consisted of fun, tourist activities, like the Maid of the Mist in Niagara Falls, a tour of the University of Rochester, and a bike tour of downtown Rochester. The students also spent time in Lower, Middle, and Upper School Spanish classes, giving AC language students the opportunity to converse in Spanish with native speakers. Harkness students enjoyed being able to act as “assistant teachers” in the Lower School Spanish classes and spending time with their host families learning about traditional American activities, meals, and family traditions.  (more…)

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Posted in: Authentic Learning, Global Engagement, Highlights, Partnerships, The Birches, US Birches

Allendale Columbia School Hosts Iraqi Students for Summer Leadership Program

Posted on October 16th, 2019 by acsrochester

For the third summer in a row, local Allendale Columbia students participated in the Summer Global Leadership Program, alongside Iraqi students from the Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program (IYLEP). IYLEP is a four-week exchange program for promising Iraqi students to visit different U.S. cities and learn about leadership, peace building, and civic engagement. It is sponsored and funded by the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and implemented by World Learning. Rochester is the only host city that has American students participate in the IYLEP program for the full two weeks, allowing both American and Iraqi participants to build a strong bond and further break down stereotypes and misconceptions.

AC Program Coordinator Tony Tepedino, shares his reflections on this year’s program:


“For two weeks this summer, I was the Program Coordinator for a summer program called the Iraqi Young Leadership Exchange Program (IYLEP).  This is the second year I have been in this role, and I have been very fortunate to be able to be a part of this program. IYLEP is a program that brings a group of Iraqi students to the U.S. for four weeks. The first week is in Vermont, then the next two are in one of four host cities, and then the students travel to Washington D.C. for the last week.

Iraqi teens choose to apply to be part of this program. From what the students have shared with me, it’s a highly selective process, and a spot in the program is very sought after. I wanted to share a few things that have really impressed me about these students (and families) I have worked with over the last two years.

First, as a parent, it’s difficult for me to wrap my brain around how hard it must be to send your child to another country, let alone a country that has been at the center of so much controversy, tension and, simply put, war. I really don’t know how I would react if my teenage child approached me to ask to travel to Iraq. The courage they need to have to travel from their home in Iraq, to the U.S., for four weeks is no small thing. The  students arrive here with an open-mind and an accepting nature. They stay with host families for two weeks, and with that comes getting used to a new home, new people, new foods, new routines, and a language barrier (a few students shared that their primary English teacher was YouTube!). Having New York as a destination brings excitement, until they realize that Rochester, New York and New York City are two very different places and that the famous NYC from movies and television is unreachable for a quick day trip.

As our busy two weeks began, I especially enjoyed observing how quickly the U.S. and Iraqi students bonded and came together as a group. This is something we work on and teach at Allendale Columbia, but the cool part is how this happens genuinely and organically. There is a real sense of connection, love, and caring for each other that occurs during our two weeks together.

During our time together, we covered a lot of ground, through the city and beyond, to immerse ourselves in a variety of different cultural and skill building experiences:

We ended our time together with a day trip to Niagara Falls and an exposition at AC to share our experiences and learnings with the community.

I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work with, and to get to know, the students who have been a part of this program. I applaud their bravery and their willingness to travel so many miles to learn, grow, and share their culture and perspective.

I can only speak for myself, but I know that I am forever changed by this experience, and I hope that it has left a similar mark on each of the individuals who were able to be a part of this unique program.”

Anthony Tepedino

Anthony Tepedino

Throughout his 25 years at Allendale Columbia, Tony has played many important roles. He taught physical education for seven years, kindergarten for seven years, and served as the Director of Curricular Technology for five years. Most recently, Tony has taken on two new roles as our Hybrid Learning Coordinator and Faculty Professional Development Coordinator. Tony also teaches in AC's Summer Camp program. He holds a master's degree in Education from Roberts Wesleyan College.

Get Involved!


Allendale Columbia School’s Center for Global Engagement, in partnership with Rochester Global Connections, offers the Summer Global Leadership Program designed for young people in Rochester interested in learning about and engaging in global issues. Students participate in a 2-week, all-day program where they work, eat, and play with highly-selected youth who are part of the Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program (IYLEP). Together the students receive training and engage in hands-on projects that explore leadership skillscivic educationdiversity and inclusionhuman rights, and peace building. Through cross-cultural collaboration, this program provides all participants with a life-changing experience to help make an impact both locally and globally.

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Posted in: Authentic Learning, Centers for Impact, Global Engagement, Partnerships, The Birches, Upper School, US Birches

AC Summer LEAP Extends Beyond the Classroom

Posted on October 16th, 2019 by acsrochester

This summer, AC LEAP once again welcomed more than 100 Rochester City School District students to campus for six weeks of learning, wellness, and enrichment activities.

During the program students enjoyed:

  • Individualized reading instruction
  • Field trips
  • Family-style lunches
  • STEM activities
  • Weekly swimming

For the past six years, AC has partnered with School #17 to provide high-quality summer learning to students from the Rochester City School District. By extending the community school support students enjoy during the academic year, AC LEAP works to close the opportunity gap often experienced by students with low-income during the summer months.

“To be with these kids every summer and to see their growth is amazing,”said AC Alumnus Justin Kennedy, who works in the fifth grade classroom. “They continue to impress me with how passionate they are and how much they invest in our community. It means so much to me to be able to work with them and see them develop as people.” 

Beyond their classroom studies in reading, math, and STEM, AC LEAP students explored this year’s program theme: Restorative Justice League, in which they used restorative practices to build community and resolve conflict. They also had the opportunity to meet with, and learn about, a variety of restorative justice leaders from the Rochester community.

This year’s off-campus learning included:

A partnership with the Buffalo Bills Foundation and Alfred State’s Art Force 5 to create mosaics celebrating the centennial of women’s suffrage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A visit from We’re Hair, a local, black owned mobile barber shop, to give students fresh haircuts so they could return to school looking and feeling their best.

 

 

 

 

 

Participation in a bilingual read-aloud with Hipocampo Bookstore.

 

 

 

 

 

 

And karate with Johnny Karate, a karate instructor from the city of Rochester, who taught students fun and interactive karate moves to build physical fitness and self-esteem.

 

 

 

 

 


Get Involved!

Lindsey Brown
Director of AC LEAP
leap@allendalecolumbia.org

Lindsey Brown

Lindsey Brown

Lindsey earned her bachelor’s degree in Spanish and master’s degree in Creative Writing at SUNY Brockport and holds New York State Teacher Certifications in Primary Education with a Bilingual Extension, Spanish (7-12), and English (7-12). She is currently working on her Certificate of Advanced Study in Educational Leadership which will be completed in the Spring of 2021. Before coming to Allendale Columbia, Lindsey worked in community health and taught in the Upward Bound Program at the University of Rochester. She is the Executive Director of the Summer LEAP Program.

AC LEAP Accomplishments Since 2014

  • More than 362 students and 329 families served
  • More than 1,800 books distributed
  • More than 12,400 meals served
  • More than 60 field trips taken
  • More than 37 community speakers

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Posted in: Partnerships, Summer LEAP, The Birches, Uncategorized

Senior Project Program Students Explore Careers and Service

Posted on June 13th, 2019 by Allendale Columbia School

Raheema Muhammad, Mikayla Cappon, and Nicole Filipi

For more than two decades, the Senior Project Program has allowed Allendale Columbia seniors  to explore potential careers, participate in community service, and indulge their curiosity in constructive ways.n These three-week off-campus experiences take place in professional environments and are expected to occupy at least the equivalent of the regular school day. At the conclusion, students must prepare and deliver a ten minute presentation to a Review Board of professionals from the AC community. On June 5th, three members of the Class of 2019 presented on their experiences. (more…)

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Posted in: Authentic Learning, Centers for Impact, Highlights, Partnerships, Twelfth Grade, Upper School

Students Conduct Scientific Inquiry In 10-Day Costa Rica Trip

Posted on June 6th, 2019 by Allendale Columbia School
By Kelsey Lisi, Aaron Shepard, and the Costa Rica Trip Students

Twelve Allendale Columbia students conducted scientific inquiry while immersed in regional culture and Spanish language during an intensive 10-day trip to Costa Rica during AC’s May Term session in the final weeks of the 2018-2019 school year. The experience took place in the region between San José and the Caribbean coast and was organized by the AC Center for Global Engagement and the AC Invent Center for STEM and Innovation.

We began our journey at the Ecology Project International (EPI) campus in San José. From there we traveled to the Tirimbina Biological Reserve where we spent two days exploring the rain forest, conducting scientific inquiry, and learning about native species. Our next destination was the Pacuare Reserve, a nearly 2,000 acre tropical forest with six kilometers of beachfront. Pacuare is one of the most important leatherback sea turtle nesting sites in Costa Rica. We were fortunate to take part in three nights of turtle census work, during which we encountered several females that had come up on the beach to dig their nests and lay eggs. Some of the students were able to take measurements and act as “midwives” by collecting the eggs in a plastic bag for relocation to a safer area.

On the return trip to San José, we stayed one night at Casa Calatea, a community–supported neighborhood hostel high up on a forested mountainside. Here we enjoyed delicious food and an amazing view that included howler monkeys and toucans. The next day we traveled to the village of Cahuita, with its eponymous national park, where we went on a snorkeling expedition. We had a tasty lunch at a local diner before continuing our journey back to the EPI campus in San José. Our final full day in Costa Rica included a visit to the active Poás volcano and a tour of the Toucan Rescue Ranch, a rehabilitation facility for numerous wild animals such as toucans, sloths, owls, and monkeys.

As chaperones, we found the experiences we had to be life–changing, and can only imagine the impact it had on the students’ lives. They were an inspirational group who are forever bonded by their unique experiences on this trip. You can read their impressions below.


Blog Post 1

During our trip to the Pacuare Reserve in Costa Rica, we excavated a previously relocated leatherback sea turtle nest.  Researchers excavate the nest after sixty days to see if there were any survivors who had hatched but had not been able to reach the surface and to collect the egg remnants to determine hatching success of the nest.  When the nest was relocated, the team dug the nest to a matching depth to the original nest, which is usually about 80 centimeters deep!

The researcher found seven living leatherback sea turtle hatchlings which we were able to exhume and release for the long journey to the ocean.  Although it was tempting to carry the sea turtles to the water, the turtles had to make their own journey to the water so they could pick up chemicals and environmental clues which will help them to return to the beach when they are of breeding age.

Since we couldn’t carry them to water, the group was assigned individual turtles to follow them on the sand to ensure that they make it to water. Along the way, the turtles were met with debris such as sticks and trash, sandy hills, and vicious crabs hoping to make a meal out of them.  The turtles made the approximately 30 meter trek from the nest to the ocean in about 20 minutes. During this time, we were their cheerleaders and their guardians. Some of us chose to take the time to name our turtles; others viewed the journey as a race and started to cheer for their turtle to win.  Marlin Bassett said, “I felt really protective of the baby turtles as they moved toward the water.”

All seven of our turtle hatchlings made it to the ocean and were carried away by the waves after submerging.  This experience gave us hope for the future of sea turtles and the marine environment. Hopefully in twenty years we can see our turtles return to the beach to lay their own eggs and ensure the success of the species.  This was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience that made our trip so memorable.

Mrs. Lisi collected some responses from our reflections that afternoon.  There were many words and phrases to describe this experience and the trip including magical, powerful, thankful, incredible, and fortunate.


Blog Post 2

During our trip to Costa Rica, we spent nights 4-6 on Pacuare Reserve. We had 4 hour shifts nightly for turtle censuses, at either 8pm or 12pm. Both of us (Marlin and Greg), were given the opportunity to be up close to the Leatherback Sea Turtle while it laid its eggs. At around 1pm on night 4 Marlin saw the massive Sea Turtle, while Greg saw the Sea Turtle on night five around the same time. Even though we both worked with different turtles our experiences were very similar. Only females lay eggs and they come ashore on the beach to do so. She will dig a hole in the sand about 70cm deep with her massive flippers, and lay around 80 eggs. What’s unique about Leatherback Sea Turtles, is that they first lay their fertile eggs, and then on top of the hole infertile eggs. This is done to protect them from predators, and shield them from the elements such as heat. Their eggs unlike any other reptiles are very soft in the beginning, so they don’t break while falling into a 70cm deep hole. If you were to look at the dug hole from the side, it would have a unique shape similar to a boot.

We both had the opportunity to hold this ancient dinosaurs flipper while it laid its eggs into her hole. Before she started to lay her eggs we had to place a large plastic bag under the cloaca so we could collect and relocate the eggs to a safer location, away from poachers. Our main job during this activity was to try and count the eggs that she laid as well as moving the flipper out of the way so other people could observe the amount of eggs that she laid. We both felt how strong she was even by just holding her flipper. Although we tried to move her flipper sometimes it became apart very quickly that once she decided she was moving her flipper, she was moving it and we had no way to stop her. She continued laying eggs for about 10-15 minutes depending on the turtle. When she was done laying, we had to quickly remove the bag before she started filling the hole back up with sand. We then handed over the bag to on-site researchers, so they could relocate it to a safer place which has a higher egg hatch rate. It would then be monitored and checked after 60 days. Data would be collected on the amount of hatched and unhatched eggs.

This made us feel humbled and gave us an overwhelming amount of respect for the Sea Turtles. They have been alive longer than us and have experience far greater than we could ever know. Especially with the problems of pollution and poaching even the effect of global warming it is truly amazing how this animal survives each day and makes this trip to lay its eggs. It makes us hopeful for future generations of life watching the eggs, knowing they will likely hatch and go on to become adults. Thus changing the lives of people like us.


Blog Post 3

On our second day at Tirimbina, we had a midday snack led by our trip guides, Katherine and Catalina. It consisted of the sampling of eight tropical fruits. These were Cocoa beans, Guava, Sour Guava, Passionfruit, Granadilla, Starfruit, Pejivalles, and Mamey Sapote. We ate the pejivalles with mayonnaise, which tasted similar to very dry squash. Starfruit and sour guava were dipped in salt to enhance the flavor. Overall, our favorite fruit was the granadilla (4 orange masses), which had a similar feel to the passionfruit. It was quite sweet with a tang, and its innards were protected by a styrofoam-like barrier. The granadillas were simple and fun to crack open, as we pushed our thumbs into its side and ripped it in half.

For the duration of the trip, we ate rice and beans for practically every meal. However, it was prepared differently each time and even through our various locations, we never repeated a meal. It altered between the separation and combination of these two dishes. There was also consistently a variety of sides, such as plantain chips, shredded cabbage, chicken, fish, beef, mashed potatoes, diced vegetables with corn, mango, watermelon, pineapple, and papaya. We also had many different fruit juices each day, including Passionfruit, Hibiscus, Watermelon, and Cas.

Our favorite meal was at our stay in Casa Calatea. We stayed here for one night after our three days at Pacuare, which was similar to a giant tree house. The staff made us an incredible dinner, which was made up of very tender chicken, mashed potatoes, diced vegetables with corn, plantain chips, and a very good, sweet coconut dessert. It was in a dark brown bar shape and combined coconut pieces with sugar and butter.

 

Kelsey Lisi

Kelsey Lisi

At Allendale Columbia, Kelsey teaches AP biology, biology, and chemistry. Prior to coming to Allendale Columbia, Kelsey taught at St. Paul's School in Brooklandville, Maryland. She earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree at St. John Fisher College and her Master of Science Degree in Biology at Towson University.

Aaron Shepard

Aaron Shepard

Aaron has 16 years of experience as an educator and has been teaching at Allendale Columbia for ten of those years. He began working at AC as a long-term substitute teacher for fifth grade and began teaching in the Middle School full-time shortly after. Prior to joining AC, Aaron was a special education teacher at BOCES and in the Bradford Central School District in Bradford, New York. He earned a Specialized Technology Degree from The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, a Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary and Special Education, with a focus on English, from the State University of New York College at Geneseo, and a master’s degree in Educational Psychology, specializing in gifted and talented education, from the University of Connecticut.

 

Posted in: Authentic Learning, Centers for Impact, Eleventh Grade, Global Engagement, Highlights, Invent, Ninth Grade, Partnerships, Tenth Grade, Twelfth Grade, Upper School