Allendale Columbia Rolls Out Equity Statement

Posted on January 10th, 2022 by AC Communications

Students in all three divisions of Allendale Columbia were recently introduced to the school’s new Equity Statement, which was adopted by the Board of Trustees in August. “Current AC students were among the first at the school to voice the need to focus more intentionally on DEI,” said Lindsey Brown, Director of Equity & Community Engagement. “It is amazing to see students connect these equity values to their experiences at home and at school.”

Parents, faculty, staff, alumni, community partners, and students came together to form the inaugural AC Equity Committee in 2020. The committee collaborated to identify equity priorities and develop the Equity Statement. The tenets of the statement were designed to become intrinsic to AC’s mission, aiming to deepen and broaden a community sense of belonging. The AC Equity Statement state that the Allendale Columbia School Community:

  • Affirms and celebrates its members as global citizens who seek to build compassionate connections rooted in social justice.
  • We promote a strong ethic of social responsibility in our students, parents, faculty, staff, and alumni.
  • We strive to build a diverse community that promotes equity and justice for all.
  • We foster an environment that reflects the diverse experiences and perspectives present in the larger world.
  • We embrace the National Association of Independent Schools’ principles of good practice for equity and justice as a framework for inclusion.
  • We commit to continuous, intentional evaluation of our practices to cultivate a culture of belonging, renewed and reimagined by the collective community.

“We are extremely proud of the work that has been accomplished,” said Head of School Shannon Baudo. “This is a long-term process. As a school community, we are committed to staying the course and continuing to nurture an inclusive environment where everyone is safe, welcome, and celebrated.” The Equity Statement was also revised to make it easier to understand for AC students of all levels. The Student Equity Statement, designed for students in the Lower, Middle, and Upper School, is:

  • We are global citizens
  • We make compassionate connections
  • We are socially responsible
  • We believe in equity and justice for all
  • We embrace diverse experiences and multiple perspectives
  • We are a culture of belonging

In advisory and morning meeting, students studied the Equity Statement and were challenged to examine what it means to embody these values.The Equity Statement was also revised for our Little School, Nursery, and Pre-K students. In a group discussion led by Pre-K instructor Lindsay Graves, students explored the concept of fairness and what it looks like in school. They then listened to Mrs. Graves read Click Clack Moo: Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin, a story where cows advocated for justice in their community. This prompted the Pre-K students to examine their own responsibility to treat each other fairly by using their words and speaking up when seeing something unfair.

“This discussion was so natural in its flow,” said Mrs. Graves. “The students had wonderfully thoughtful contributions.”

The AC Pre-Primary Equity Statement is as follows:

  • We care about ourselves
  • We care about each other
  • We are different and we are the same
  • We believe in justice
  • We belong

To better understand the Pre-Primary Equity statement, students read the statement aloud and matched picture cues to each prompt. Students practiced saying the statement together and hung a poster of the statement up in the classroom. Mrs. Graves said of the activity, “We are so proud of the children for sharing their ideas and thinking deeper about ways to take care of ourselves and our peers.”

Posted in: Authentic Learning, Centers for Impact, Diversity Equity and Inclusion, Global Engagement, Highlights, Humanities, Lower School, Middle School, Pre-Primary School, Upper School

Heritage and Cultural Spotlights: Native American Heritage Month

Posted on November 19th, 2021 by artwitholiveri

Our Upper School Production and Design class worked this semester to establish monthly Heritage and Cultural Spotlights inspired by Heritage Dinner. As a group, we wanted to do more to educate our community about different cultures. Each month, the team will share educational components around a featured heritage or culture. The team is comprised of Julianna T., Charlie S., Ayla S., Hafsah Z., and Nolan R. who filmed and edited the video of our 2nd graders below.

The second grade class created this land acknowledgment in honor of Native American Heritage Month. This is an important piece of their project-based learning unit which celebrates community. Annie King, believes that,

“Being a good steward of the land is an integral component for our students to engage in. Students research and learn about communities from the past. In doing so, they became super passionate about what activities and traditions communities celebrated. They wondered about which aspects of these communities they would like to bring to AC and their classroom community. The students were really drawn to respect and love of the earth and their ability to be peacemakers.”

Robbie Robertson publishes Hiawatha and the Peacemaker, new book for kids | CBC News

Gianna I. told me she really enjoyed reading the book, Hiawatha and the Peacemaker. From this book, she loved the parts about being peaceful. She believes that you should never be mean and always be peaceful. When Gianna is peaceful it looks like being kind and loving and helping people.

Production and Design students collaborated with these young allies to record, edit, and share this spotlight feature. 

“Allyship is a process, and everyone had more to learn. Allyship involves a lot of listening.” – Taylor Converse

 

On Tuesday, November 16th, AC’s Food Service Director, Laura Reynolds, created an item for our lunch menu called Three Sisters Salad as a lunch option.

The three sisters are corn, beans, and squash; crops that form a natural ecosystem as they grow. The corn provides a stalk for the beans to climb. The beans convert nitrogen from the air, and convert it into forms that can be used as nutrients. The squash’s large leaves shade the ground which helps retain soil moisture and prevent weeds.

The Haudenosaunee were the first to call these crops the “three sisters.” The Haudenosaunee also have a special way of planting the three sisters. In this method, all three types of seeds are planted together in the same mound, which assists with drainage because this region receives lots of rainfall in the summer.

Selected videos highlighting local Native American history from our friends at Ganondagan were carefully curated by the students in the group. This is the second year we’ve worked with Ganondagan. Last year at Heritage Dinner, Mansa B.T. of our Black Student Union presented this Land Acknowledgment to open the event.

 

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Posted in: Authentic Learning, Diversity Equity and Inclusion, Eleventh Grade, Entrepreneurship, Global Engagement, Humanities, Lower School, Ninth Grade, Second Grade, Tenth Grade, Twelfth Grade, Upper School

Mid-Autumn Festival Shines Light on Chinese Culture

Posted on September 28th, 2021 by acsrochester

Students at Allendale Columbia celebrated the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival on Friday, September 24th. The event was part of AC’s commitment to emphasize diversity, equity, and inclusion in our community. The celebration engaged all students from the Little School to the Upper School in an array of culturally authentic activities and entertainment.

The Festival commemorates the brightest full moon of the year. Mid-Autumn Festival is considered one of the most important celebrations in Chinese culture and is sometimes called the Moon Festival or Mooncake Festival.

海上升明月,天涯共此时
“When the bright moon shines over the sea, from far away, you share this moment with me.”

Little School assistant teacher Mengqian Ou performed live music on the pipa, a pear-shaped Chinese musical instrument similar to a lute. Students made greeting cards, designed hand fans to raffle off, and participated in a Chinese calligraphy writing workshop. Mooncakes, a traditional pastry treat, were served during the festival. Storytelling selections included “The Shadow in the Moon” by Christina Matula, and “Thanking the Moon” by Grace Lin.

For many AC students, this was the first time they celebrated Mid-Autumn Festival. Students expressed their revived interest in exploring different cultures and were thrilled to partake in this school-wide event.

Posted in: Diversity Equity and Inclusion, Global Engagement, Highlights, Lower School, Middle School, Upper School

2021 African American Read-In

Posted on March 25th, 2021 by achew

“Look. How lovely it is, this thing we have done – together.” 

— Toni Morrison

 

On March 10th, AC students and faculty participated in an African American Read-In. Though this was AC’s first year participating in the event, it was originally established by the Black Caucus of the National Council of Teachers of English in 1990. The NCTE describes the event as “groundbreaking effort to encourage communities to read together, centering on African American books and authors.” It has reached more than 6 million participants. 

 

At our event, we invited readers and audience members to attend in person or via Zoom. Each reader chose a short text to share. Authors ranged from Sojourner Truth to Lucille Clifton, Ralph Ellison to Jalil Muntaqim. Whatever text was chosen, a highlight was hearing the readers explain why they chose a particular text. Some of these explanations were personal. Readers described first encountering a text before they really understood it and only later coming to fully appreciate it, or they spoke of finding inspiration and solace in what they chose to read. Others spoke of how their texts connected with historical or current events, whether the large-scale rethinking of colonialism that began in the middle of the 20th century or the current fight against systemic racism. A couple of the readers had even personally met the authors they read. 

 

Like all literature — poetry, fiction, memoir, etc. — these texts may be “important” on paper, but they only truly live when we read them and make them meaningful to our own lives. Texts by Black authors historically have been marginalized. When we read them together in a shared event like this, we show how central they are, both in an American context and globally. Thank you to all who came and shared in this event. 

 

View a recording of the program

Posted in: Diversity Equity and Inclusion, Events & Workshops, Humanities, Upper School

AC’s Virtual Heritage Dinner 2020

Posted on December 17th, 2020 by acsrochester

One of AC’s most beloved traditions is Heritage Dinner, an event typically hosted on campus potluck-style, to celebrate and share the unique cultural backgrounds of our AC families. With this year’s global pandemic and the health and safety of our community at the forefront of our minds, we knew changes would need to be made in order to safely host the event this year. Pulling this off virtually would be a challenge, yes; but it would not be impossible.

Embracing AC’s core values to the fullest — “the importance of connections”, “mastering strategies for learning”, “minds that are curious and creative”, and “developing a resilient spirit that dares to take risks” — we decided to use this real world challenge as a learning opportunity for our students. 

Enter AC Production and Design students Ella Prokupets, Mansa Brown-Tonge, Carly Freeman, Jocelyn Wynn, independent study student Chloe Fowler, and global diploma student Brynn Peters. Together, with the guidance of faculty advisor Amy Oliveri, these six students began to analyze the keystone components of the event and the logistics necessary to host it virtually. 

Among the goals and objectives identified by the group were:

  • The desire to make the event as inclusive as possible
  • The desire to provide various levels of engagement to promote the widest accessibility
  • The ability to virtually bring people together to enjoy culturally diverse food 
  • The ability to incorporate local and international partners 

To implement these goals, the students set to work connecting with our partners in Senegal, Dubai, Mexico, China, and locally, they reached out to Headwater Food Hub to coordinate the sale of Meal Boxes to our community. These boxes, they hoped, would provide a sense of community with everyone prepping and enjoying the same meal. Driven by the desire to support and shop local during this challenging time, the students also arranged to have extra Meal Boxes donated to our School #17 Summer LEAP families. Additionally, the students curated a list of ethnically diverse restaurants to encourage participants to support local small businesses and try new cuisines from around the world. During this time, they also began building their own website, creating social media content and messaging to help promote the event, and gathering family-favorite recipes and music from our AC community.

When the day of the event finally came, we had just shy of 100 people in attendance! Through a combination of pre recorded presentations and live discussions, we were successfully (and safely!) able to come together, yet again, to break bread and broaden our understanding of the world and those in our community. This event is always such a wonderful reminder of the richness and diversity of our AC community.

We are proud to be Rochester’s most diverse school, and we are committed to continuing to build a community that fosters diversity, equity, and inclusion for all people.

 

00:00 – Welcome
02:01 – Intro & Land Acknowledgement
05:20 – History of Heritage Dinner
08:06 – Student Speaker #1 (Lizzie)
13:14 – Student Speaker #2 (Ziqi)
15:58 – Student Speaker #3 (Victoria)
20:03 – Faculty Speaker (Mr. Camara)
36:25 – Breakout Rooms
50:17 – Closing Remarks
50:33 – Solidarity Circle Intro
51:41 – Solidarity Circle Video
53:31 – Closing Remarks

*This year’s Heritage Dinner program was organized and produced by students in the Production & Design Class. Thank you to Mansa Brown-Tonge for hosting the evening’s event and Ms. Oliveri for her oversight and guidance.

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Posted in: Centers for Impact, Diversity Equity and Inclusion, Entrepreneurship, Events & Workshops, Global Engagement, Highlights, Lower School, Middle School, Upper School

AC Students Get Real World Experience Producing Best Buddies Virtual Gala with WROC

Posted on December 7th, 2020 by acsrochester

This fall, AC’s Production and Design students were given a choice of partnerships they could participate in, and seven of the students selected a collaboration with the Western New York chapter of Best Buddies, a global nonprofit organization that strives to create one-on-one friendships between volunteers and children with developmental disabilities to maintain an environment of inclusivity. Since about the third week of school, these dedicated students have worked countless hours to help produce the Best Buddies Champions Gala. This annual gala is the organization’s largest fundraiser of the year, and this year, due to the pandemic, the event needed to be held virtually.

For their part in this collaboration, AC students were given the responsibility of creating and producing vignettes, commercials, and promotional social media content for the gala, and their work culminated in the creation of a 30-minute pre recorded segment that aired December 5th on WROC Channel 8. Throughout the collaboration, students were in contact with the Best Buddies Program Manager, Lindsay Jewett, for nearly two months, often meeting with her via Zoom multiple days of the week as they planned and executed the various aspects of this project. They also had a virtual meeting with WROC to review the formatting requirements needed to  properly air their videos on TV. 

“Before Thanksgiving break, our group went to the Arbor Loft in Rochester to film for the prerecorded virtual gala. Students in our class also took on the responsibility of filming and editing hours worth of footage to make commercials to play on Channel 8 during the event. Throughout this process, each of us discovered that we were capable of doing big projects such as this, and we put our leadership skills to work identifying peer leaders within our group to help manage the program efficiently. We are very thankful to not only the Best Buddies Organization for letting us help with such a big project, but to our peers and teachers for helping us work on this safely and efficiently and, ultimately, leading us to success.”  Alicia Strader, AC Senior  

The Gala raised more than $35,000 for programming in WNY. To learn more about Best Buddies or to get involved visit https://www.bestbuddies.org/.

Watch the Virtual Gala Segment

Behind the Scenes

Students Involved

Morgan Fowler
Social Media Content Designer

 

Erin Kim
Logistics Support

 

Jonathan Ragan
Videography and Editing

 

Thomas Riveros
Videography and Editing

 

Alicia Strader
Social Media Logistics Lead

 

Awak Thongjang
Videography & Editing

 

Lola Wilmont
Project Lead  and Graphic Design

 

Faculty Director

Tony Tepedino

Tony Tepedino

Since starting at Allendale Columbia in 1994, Tony has taken on many different roles. He has coached a variety of sports, including Varsity Girls' Basketball and Varsity Golf. He taught physical education for seven years, kindergarten for seven years, and served as the Director of Curricular Technology for five years. Tony is currently serving as a faculty member in the Center for Entrepreneurship where he teaches electives for both middle and upper school students. He is also the Faculty Professional Learning Coordinator and C0-creator of TEDxAllendaleColumbiaSchool. Recently, Tony was Co-chair of the NYSAIS Accreditation Steering Committee and is a member of the Upper School Student Success Team responsible for Student Life. Tony was also the Program Coordinator for the Iraqi Youth Leadership Exchange Program (IYLEP). He holds a master’s degree in Education from Roberts Wesleyan College. Tony is the proud father of two children, Gabi and Trip. He enjoys hiking, reading, travel, cooking, and learning about new things. 

If you could do any job in the world besides what you do now, what would it be?
I would co-host the T.V. show Diners, Drive-ins and Dives with Guy Fieri. Who wouldn't enjoy touring the country discovering the best food places and sharing that with the world?!
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Posted in: Authentic Learning, Diversity Equity and Inclusion, Highlights, Upper School

Allendale Columbia School Completes 21-Day Equity Challenge

Posted on November 20th, 2020 by lbrown


 

Allendale Columbia School is committed to fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion in our community, and we are proud to be one of the more than 400 local organizations to participate in the United Way of Greater Rochester’s 21-Day Equity Challenge. Prior to the Challenge, AC hosted a series of equity events, including a town hall meeting to explore the history of racism and resistance in Rochester as well as several listening sessions for parents and alumni. 

The 21-Day Equity Challenge covered a wide range of topics including basic definitions of bias and privilege as well as an overview of the challenges of talking about race. Education was a key focus of the series and included an examination of the economic and racial segregation of our local schools. It also offered critical tips on how to talk to children about race

The Challenge also showed how racial discrimination impacts many sectors including housing, wealth, the environment and health outcomes. It closed with a call to action that included advice on allyship and building a culture of racial equity within organizations.

Students, parents, faculty, administrators, and staff from Allendale Columbia School participated in the Equity Challenge. There will be an opportunity for them to come together and reflect on the experience in the near future, and we plan to return to these valuable resources as we work toward achieving our equity goals.

For more information about how you can get involved in these important discussions, please contact Lindsey Brown, Director of Equity and Community Engagement.

 

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Posted in: Diversity Equity and Inclusion, Highlights

A Racial Equity Lens

Posted on November 19th, 2020 by lbrown
Here is day 20 of the Equity Challenge!  Please make sure to check out local ways to continue the conversation including the United Way’s wrap up event on December 3rd and the Gandhi Institute’s Nonviolence News Happy Hour, and an upcoming talk by Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum at the University of Rochester.

DAY 20: A RACIAL EQUITY LENS
One key element of the Racial Equity Challenge is to build the awareness, skill, and will to challenge. Challenge distorted history, stereotypes, implicit biases, single stories, and the continued use of discriminatory practices that prevent progress.
This also means challenging our own ideas, perceptions, and understandings by actively experiencing things through a racial equity lens, and resetting our programming to see all people as individuals rather than members of a certain group that we have (consciously or unconsciously) affixed with labels and expectations.
Dr. Eddie Moore, Jr., racial equity educator, author and co-founder of the 21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge, recommends changing what you notice. Next time you’re with family, in your workplace or out in the world, pay attention to:
  • Who are your ten closest friends? What is the racial mix in this group?
  • How much time each day you are with people of your own racial identity?
  • What are the last five books you read or shows you watched? What is the racial mix of the authors, characters or actors?
Check out the resources and self-reflection below to develop a stronger understanding of this issue, consider new ways to see life through a racial equity lens, and move toward building a racial equity culture at your work and in your personal life.
The 21-Day Racial Equity Challenge does not support nor endorse any advertisements associated with the above content.
Questions to Consider for Self-Reflection:
  • What stereotypes, perceptions or understandings do you hold that you would like to challenge?
  • How can diverse communities and leaders be engaged from the outset so they have a real opportunity to shape racial equity solutions and strategies?
Local Ways to Get Involved:
  • Sign up for the 21-Day Racial Equity Challenge Wrap-Up event on December 3 from 2-3:30 p.m. hosted by YWCA of Rochester & Monroe County, Racial Equity & Justice Initiative (REJI), Causewave Community Partners, Catholic Charities Community Services, Common Ground Health, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative (RMAPI), University of Rochester, and United Way of Greater Rochester
  • Join the conversation at the M.K. Gandhi Institute Nonviolence News Happy Hour
  • Register for the University of Rochester Diversity Advisory Council and the Office of Equity and Inclusion’s virtual event featuring award-winning educational leader, best-selling author, and expert on the psychology of racism, Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum, on November 30 from 7-8 p.m.
Share What You Learned:
Use the images below to share that you learned about race and equity today, and be sure to include #ROCequity.
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Posted in: Diversity Equity and Inclusion