Allendale Columbia School was recently ranked as one of Newsweek’s Top 5,000 STEM High Schools in America. More than 30,000 high schools in the country were analyzed over a three-year period to determine the rankings. Newsweek, with its long history of reporting on scientific breakthroughs, technological revolutions and societal challenges, partnered with STEM.or to rank America’s Best STEM High Schools.
Recent AC STEM Activities
NASA Thanks AC Sixth Grade Citizen Scientists for Their Research
AC sixth graders just completed a month-long citizen science project through NASA’s GLOBE Program, recording more than 330 cloud observations. On December 17th, the class virtually met with NASA Education Specialist Marile Colon Robles who thanked the students for their work and reiterated the importance their cloud data plays in NASA’s on-going studies. Read more
“Girls Who Code” Club Represent AC at Rochester Maker Faire
This past November, Allendale Columbia School was a sponsor at the Rochester Maker Faire, where our “Girls Who Code” club taught visitors how to make brush bots and paper circuits. Read more
AC Robotics Teams Compete at Local FIRST Robotics Competitions
Four AC robotics teams recently competed in local FIRST robotics competitions. Representing the lower school in the FIRST Lego Robotics City Shaper challenge, were the “Wolf Pack” and the “Lightning Boltz”, led by AC faculty member Donna Chaback. Teresa Parsons, with the help of AC parent John Palomaki, led our middle school team, the “AC Aces”, while the upper school team, “Team 11779”, led by Phil Schwartz and Maya Crosby, competed in the FIRST Tech Challenge. Read more
Second Graders Learn About Cities by Meeting with a City Planner and Building Their Own!
Second graders met with Manager of Special Projects for the City of Rochester, Erik Frisch to discuss different transportation systems and learn more about the City of Rochester as they planned and created their own city, Birchville. Read more
AC-RIT Collaboration Continues to Thrive and Enrich Learning Opportunities for Students
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. Read more
AC sixth graders just completed a month-long citizen science project through NASA’s GLOBE Program, recording more than 330 cloud observations. On December 17th, the class virtually met with NASA Education Specialist Marile Colon Robles who thanked the students for their work and reiterated the importance their cloud data plays in NASA’s on-going studies.
The data students collected throughout the fall helps scientists better understand satellite data. Students received emails from NASA comparing their data to the satellite data when observations were made within fifteen minutes of a satellite flyover. NASA contacted our school at the start of the challenge when they realized students were not able to receive feedback. Rob Doran, Director of IT, quickly fixed that, and students gained an early understanding that their observations were valued.
Participating in this challenge took a static note from a textbook, “scientists classify clouds by their altitude and shape”, and brought it to life, allowing students to think critically about what that really means. The NASA Globe Cloud Team received over 45,000 observations, from over 17,000 locations in 93 countries on every continent. As a token of appreciation for our students’ hard work, the class got to virtually meet a member of the GLOBE Cloud Team on Tuesday, December 17th to share what we have both learned and answer any outstanding questions.
A special shout-out to three students who spent a considerable time outside of class making additional cloud observations. Anna Esquivias led the 6th grade class with 52 observations! Ella Douglas (22) and Meredith Jones-Cole (20 ) also came in before school and during breaks to help increase the total data Allendale Columbia contributed to this project. A great job done by all!
In December, a month known for holiday celebrations and excitement leading up to a well-earned break, AC student musicians did their part to spread joy with performances in two Winter Concerts, caroling at the Genesee Valley Club, performances at the AC Holiday Book Fair at Barnes & Noble and, of course, to complete the circuit, the Holiday Breakfast.
Mark your calendars for upcoming concerts and musicals!
Monthly Update from Board Chairs Ann Balderston and Richard Yates
Dear Members of the AC Community,
Over the past five months, we have thoughtfully developed a strategic three-year financial plan which will lead the way to Allendale Columbia’s long-term financial sustainability. We are writing to share high level details of the financial plan we submitted to the New York State Association of Independent Schools (NYSAIS) last week as part of extending our accreditation, and we expect a positive outcome from their review. The following is an overview of the work we’ve been doing and the information that was submitted to NYSAIS.
AC is projected to continue to improve its bottom line in 2020-2021, 2021-2022, and 2022-2023 with a net positive budget. We have reached these projections by working closely with the school’s Leadership Team, thoughtfully managing expenses, carefully considering tuition increases and successful fundraising, and projecting conservative enrollment numbers.
As part of our financial planning process, the AC Leadership Team and the Board took a hard look at every area of the budget to see where we could cut expenses without impacting our students or our program. As a result of this work, we were able to cut approximately $1.5 million in expenses while continuing to maintain, and in fact expand, our program offerings for students.
In August, we launched our StandWithAC fundraising campaign and reached out to all of you asking for your help in our effort toward sustainability. We are excited to share that we have raised $2,300,000 toward our year-end target of $3,000,000, and we are confident that we will reach our $3 million goal by December 31st.
We anticipate that we will end this school year in June slightly ahead of budget with no draw from our endowment for the first time in 10 years. We have been asked how much we have in our endowment, so we want to be clear that we have $7.5 million. According to the National Association of Independent Schools, 24% of independent schools across the country are operating without an endowment. We are fortunate to not only have this financial resource but to be in a position to not have to draw from it this year.
While we are making great progress in a very short amount of time, our need for exceptional donor generosity and participation will continue this spring and into 2020-2021. Our hope is that we can continue to count on you for your dedication to the future of AC. If you have given already, please know that those gifts have allowed us to get to a place where we can confidently say that AC is on a strong path. If you have not donated, but are encouraged by the success we have achieved in five short months, please join the effort and StandWithAC!
Each and every member of the AC community is critical to our enrollment effort. People need to hear about AC and be encouraged to come visit. Given the dynamic nature of this past summer, we know that there are still people in the outside community who believe we merged or are closed. We are counting on YOU to share the AC message of our strong, dedicated community who have come together, around a common goal, to give current and future students access to an incredible education.
As past parents of former AC students ourselves, we are energized by the dedication of AC’s faculty and staff, the excitement we see in the students, the support of our alumni, and the knowledge that the work of so many is moving Allendale Columbia toward a future of continued excellence in education. We are both pleased to be part of this effort and encourage you to give your time and dollars to support AC’s long-term sustainability and make an AC education accessible to more students in our community.
We will continue to work on our long-range strategic planning and keep you informed of our progress throughout 2020. In the meantime, we hope you enjoy the holiday season, and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for supporting Allendale Columbia School.
Ann Balderston P’04, P’07, P’10 Richard Yates P’15
Co-Chair, Board of Trustees Co-Chair, Board of Trustees
Posted in: AC in the News, Authentic Learning, Highlights, Lower School, LS Birches, Second Grade, The Birches
Students from AC’s Communications, Marketing, and Design class visited Partners + Napier at their new location in downtown Rochester at the Metropolitan building. When we first walked into the conference room there was swag waiting for each student on the table! Mini pendants, pins, and a pencil, inviting us to Leave A Mark.
Posted in: Centers for Impact, Eleventh Grade, Entrepreneurship, Highlights, Ninth Grade, Tenth Grade, The Birches, Twelfth Grade, Upper School, US Birches
It’s probably best not to wait until 11:56 p.m. on deadline day to submit your Common Application, but if you speak with any Director of Admission, you’ll learn that a good portion of applications actually arrive at colleges in the 11th hour. My advice: don’t be one of the last applicants to submit your Common App, as you risk running into technical issues or, if a college notes your submission time, even portraying yourself as a Last Minute Larry.
Here are 7 key steps to take before you submit your Common App:
1. Give yourself plenty of time to accurately and authentically complete your application.
The summer before your senior year is the perfect time to begin work on your college applications, as we all know how busy things can get when the school year begins. Set aside some time during the summer to write (and re-write!) your personal statement and review any college-specific application requirements.
2. Connect with family members to make sure you’re capturing the right professional and educational information.
You’ll need to know your parents’ job titles, employers, and educational background, including degree dates. If you have older siblings, you’ll need their details, too. Colleges like knowing whether there is a legacy connection, which can sometimes be a boost in the admissions process, or whether you will be the first in your family to attend college.
3. Know which standardized test scores to self-report.
With score choice and test-optional schools, you are in the driver’s seat when it comes to reporting test scores. My advice is to use an SAT/ACT conversion chart to see if one score clearly trumps the other, in which case, the lower score can be omitted from your application. I also recommend only self-reporting AP scores of 4 and 5.
4. Have a game plan for the Activities Section.
This is one of the most important sections of the Common App, as it’s the place where you can brag about your commitment and contributions to extracurricular activities. You should carefully consider the order and descriptions of your activities. The activities in which you’ve held leadership roles should be given priority, while one-year activities should be listed towards the bottom of the list.
5. Don’t draft your Personal Statement (or any other essays) in the Common App.
You’ll go through many iterations of your essays, and believe me when I tell you how devastating it can be to lose your work when you encounter an internet issue or technical glitch in Common App. Instead, draft your essays in Word or GoogleDocs. You’ll be able to save (and share) these more easily without the risk of losing hours of work!
6. Have someone thoroughly review your application.
Before you submit your application, it’s a good idea to have your college counselor or parent review your Common App for accuracy and authenticity. They’ll be able to catch spelling and grammatical errors and even let you know whether the application reflects your personality. However, if you are applying to more selective colleges, you could benefit from having a former admissions counselor review your application (see details below).
7. Don’t wait until the last minute to submit.
This is for all of those procrastinators! Do not wait until deadline day to submit your application, as there’s a chance you’ll run into internet issues or the Common App website will be overwhelmed by user volume and crash. The safest bet is to submit your application at least one day in advance of a deadline. Plan accordingly!
Interested in having your Common Application reviewed by a former Associate Dean of Admission and Director of Selection?
As we approach application deadlines, please consider Emily Nevinger a resource and “final check” before submitting your application. During an application review, Emily will review all sections of your Common Application from the perspective of a former admissions counselor. Emily will pay close attention to your Activities, making sure you’re maximizing the order and descriptions of extracurriculars, and she will also review your Personal Statement.
Emily NevingerEmily Nevinger is Allendale Columbia School's College Advising Consultant, guiding students in the greater Rochester area and beyond on the college application process, financial aid, interview preparation, essay review, and more! Emily began working at the university level in 2003 and was a senior member of the admission committees for University of Miami, Emory University, and UNC Chapel Hill. Emily holds a bachelor's degree in Public Policy from Duke University and a Master of Science in Higher Education Administration and Enrollment Management from the University of Miami and a College Access Counseling Certificate from Rice University.
Posted in: AC College Consulting, College Advising News, Eleventh Grade, Events & Workshops, Highlights, Ninth Grade, Tenth Grade, Twelfth Grade, Upper School
Holiday Breakfast is one of AC’s most special traditions. We celebrate the last day of school before Holiday Break with spirited student performances, a story from the Head of School, speeches by seniors, and plenty of music, food, and merriment! It’s a wonderful time for students, faculty, staff, and families to come together, celebrate the holidays, and give thanks for our community!
(live stream will start at 9:00 a.m. EST)
PACK Ice Skating at the
Bill Gray’s Iceplex
Friday, December 20th
12:00 – 1:30 p.m.
Join PACK after Holiday Breakfast for a fun family skate from 12:00-1:30 p.m. at the Bill Gray’s Iceplex, 2700 Brighton Henrietta Town Line Road, Rochester, NY 14623. Admission will be $6 per person (if you bring your own skates) and $8 per person for admission and skate rental. PACK will also be providing pizza at the rink!
We hope to see you there!
If your children are performing at Holiday Breakfast:
- Parents of K-5 students that are in the Holiday Breakfast program should walk their children into the Alumni Gym (smaller gym) by 8:30 a.m. so that they can meet their class. You can park in the back and side lots, enter through the Gannett Lobby and, after dropping off your child, proceed to the Gannett Gym to be seated for the Holiday Breakfast program.
- Middle and Upper School Chorus are asked to meet at 8:30 a.m. in the Chorus Room.
- Brass Ensemble and Wind Ensemble are asked to meet at 8:15 a.m. where they will perform in the Gannett Gym.
- Student speakers should meet in the Gannett Gym at 8:30 a.m.
Other Holiday Breakfast Reminders:
- All are welcome! Even if your children are not performing, we welcome the entire community, families, and friends to join us for this annual tradition.
- Parents of Nursery and Pre-K students, we encourage you to come with your child to the Gannett Gym for our Holiday Breakfast program. You are also invited to enjoy some refreshments in the Dining Commons after the program. Please do not drop off children to the classroom on this day as there are no classes.
- Wheelchair-accessible seating can be arranged if needed. Please contact Amy Fioravanti before Dec. 18th to make the necessary arrangements.
- Refreshments will be served in the Dining Commons following the program.
- The Wolf Den will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. so you can do some holiday shopping.
- No classes or bus service on this day. Please plan accordingly and enter through the Gannett Lobby to reach the gym. For safety reasons, please do not park in fire lanes or along campus roads.
- Rainbow Room will be in session. Register your child ahead of time if you plan to use Rainbow Room this day.
- AC will close at 10:30 a.m. for the Holiday Break.
- Join PACK at 12:00 p.m. for ice skating and pizza at the Bill Gray’s Iceplex. RSVP for ice skating here.