Sure, you need to be smart and know some science and technology. But to succeed in landing on the moon, sending humans to Mars and back, or just about any goal, it takes a lot of curiosity, collaboration, communication, and the relentless pursuit of a dream. At least, that’s the message Clayton Turner conveyed to Allendale Columbia students from his 28 years of experience at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Virginia, where he is Deputy Director.
“I have a strong belief that our future is right here in these classrooms.”
A Rochester native, Turner visited Allendale Columbia as part of a trip to meet with the President’s Roundtable at RIT, of which he’s a member. He never imagined he’d work for NASA at the time when he was a young boy and the first human walked on the moon. After attending McQuaid Jesuit High School, Monroe Community College, and enlisting in the Army, he still wasn’t sure. But he kept searching for the “passion in his heart” that ultimately landed him at his dream job at NASA, where he gets to help fulfill their mission to “Reach New Heights” and “Reveal the Unknown” to “Benefit All Mankind”. Now, he’s sharing that passion with others. He was connected to AC through Leslie Wilson, parent of 10th grader Myles Wilson and RIT’s Director of Alumni Relations.
He began the visit by ideas from the Middle School FIRST LEGO League Robotics class, coached by Teresa Parsons, on how to clean up and avoid space debris, which is the theme for this year’s robotics competition. “Remember, anything you shoot up into space to collect debris needs a big rocket to get it there, so that’s just going to add to the problem,” Turner said, challenging students to think about other methods, such as using equipment in orbit already or engineering items to degrade after their usefulness.
“Hands-on projects like robotics keep students enthusiastic about learning,” he asserted, having visited many schools across the country. We need to keep that curiosity flowing” if we’re to address the problems in the world today, he said. “And Robotics teams are actually a great exercise in teamwork and problem-solving” in addition to coding and technology. “After judging many competitions, I found that you can quickly see the groups that are working as a team and the groups that have one smart person directing everyone else.” “
He then met with an enthusiastic group of fourth graders, who have been engaged in a multi-disciplinary project-based learning unit on space exploration since the beginning of the school year, led by Lower School STEM Lead Teacher Donna Chaback. They peppered him with questions, which he delightfully addressed, often with a question of his own to stimulate their thinking.
When asked if AC is succeeding on its core value to foster curiosity and creativity, he said, “I shared the questions that the 4th grade sent me with my colleagues back at Langley to show them how impressive they are. They were astounded when I told them ‘these are 4th graders!’, and they weren’t asking me about if aliens exist or any of that stuff, they were asking me about the Keiper system, black holes, trajectories for getting something to the moon from the earth. Things they’ve obviously heard in class and they are curious about and want to learn more.”
He concluded his visit by talking to Upper School students in physics and 3D modeling classes. “No one can really be successful working alone any more. All of the work we do today involves interacting with teams of people from all over the world,” Turner told them. He related how his first job entailed working on a business-card-sized circuit board to aim lasers, but it was just a tiny part of a bus-sized satellite that so many other people worked on.
When asked by one student on what they needed to do to pursue a career at NASA, Turner noted that getting a college degree is only the starting point for a job at organizations like NASA. “That shows you can learn and know how to do some work,” he said. “Just as important is seeing evidence of teamwork, collaboration, and people skills.”
“When you think about sending people to Mars, you have a small group of people that will be in a space only this big,” he said, indicating a space about 12 feet square, “for eight months to get there, and another eight months getting back. We need scientists, mathematicians, and engineers, but we also need psychologists, people who have studied human behavior, to address these types of challenges. We also need accountants, lawyers, and people from all professions” in order to fulfill a quest like putting humans on Mars by the late 2030s.
Maya Crosby, Director of the AC Invent Center for STEM and Innovation who coordinated the visit, was especially pleased with that message. “One of the things we strive for in the Invent Center is to help broaden the appeal of STEM. We aim to help students understand that STEM is more than just hard technology, that these other fields are important to the success of technology-focused businesses.”
NASA certainly explores some immense challenges. He said, “One thing I hope they take from this is the difference between hard and impossible, and sometimes replace one for the other, and that they get to know what’s just hard and requires work.”
Turner also warned against anyone who dismisses an idea with, “That’s not the way we’ve always done it.” He encouraged students to prize diverse thinking, to consider multiple perspectives, in order to solve problems. “It’s the wide range of thinking, that diversity of thought, that’s what’s going to help take on the challenges we have.”
“What I find most enjoyable is that I get to look into our future and see all the challenges that these students are going to overcome for us, all the amazing things that they are going to do.”
Posted in: Authentic Learning, Centers for Impact, Eighth Grade, Eleventh Grade, Fourth Grade, Highlights, Invent, Lower School, Middle School, Ninth Grade, Seventh Grade, Sixth Grade, Tenth Grade, Twelfth Grade, Upper School
Last year, as AC began the regularly scheduled re-accreditation process through New York State Association of Independent Schools (NYSAIS), it became evident that our mission was no longer representative of the impactful work we do everyday and why we exist as a school. Since AC’s last mission statement was launched, our programming and curriculum has expanded and evolved to meet a new set of needs in our ever-changing world. While we continue to take pride in our academic preparation for college, we also focus on helping students develop the skills and experiences needed to make a positive and lasting impact in a technology-driven, global society.
“The mission guides us internally as we evolve and change to meet the needs of the students and families who walk through our doors,” said long-time AC faculty member Tony Tepedino and re-accreditation co-leader. “If [the mission] doesn’t align, then we are not able to provide a clear and unified vision and program for the families who place their trust in us as an institution.”
“We haven’t lost the original mission of the school,” said Head of School Mick Gee.
“In fact, it is because of our dedication to a student-centered education and AC’s core values that we have continued to adapt and evolve as an institution to meet the changing needs of the world and the way we prepare our students for life outside these walls. The lessons our students learn here at AC extend beyond the walls of our classrooms, and it is our responsibility to prepare them for the world they will inherit.
Posted in: Eighth Grade, Eleventh Grade, Fifth Grade, First Grade, Fourth Grade, Highlights, Kindergarten, Lower School, LS Birches, Middle School, MS Birches, Ninth Grade, Nursery, Pre-Primary School, PreKindergarten, Second Grade, Seventh Grade, Sixth Grade, Tenth Grade, The Birches, Third Grade, Twelfth Grade, Uncategorized, Upper School, US Birches
If you’re looking for a healthy, protein-rich vegan entree, side dish, or tasty snack, you’ll want to try today’s Fearless Friday treat, Mediterranean Flavored Roasted Garbanzo Beans. Super Chef Yessie Roman fixed up the bean dish for noted vegetable-resistant Food Service Director Laura Reynolds-Gorsuch to try along with four student volunteers and Evan Dumee, our new Physical Education teacher, at Lower School Lunch. It received a thumbs-up from all six taste-testers!
Recipe: Mediterranean Flavored Roasted Garbanzo Beans
- 2 15.5-ounce cans of garbanzo beans
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 Tbs sea salt or kosher salt
- 2 Tbs garam masala
- 1 Tbs onion powder
- 1 Tbs garlic powder
- 1/2 Tbs curry powder
- 1/2 Tbs turmeric
- 1 Tbs paprika
- 1/2 tsp ground peppercorns
- 1 Tbs cumin
- Rinse beans and let dry.
- Mix all ingredients and spread onto a sheet pan.
- Roast in oven middle rack at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, or 5 minutes more if you want it more dry.
- Remove from oven and let cool.
Posted in: Fifth Grade, First Grade, Fourth Grade, Highlights, Kindergarten, Lower School, Second Grade, Third Grade
A long-standing tradition at Allendale Columbia School, Strawberry Breakfast always draws an appreciative crowd as we kick off the Memorial Day weekend. In fact, the audience has grown to the extent that it’s held in the Gannett Gym for greater accessibility, and it’s streamed live on the internet.
The expected traditional pieces, such as the Maypole Dance, Sword Dance, and the “Inch by Inch” song by second graders still enthralled. See the entire agenda below, and click here for more photos.
Former AC parent Mitzie Collins again joined our ensemble for the Maypole Dance. Mitzie created the recordings that have been used for the dances at Strawberry Breakfast for over 30 years. She has a long-standing career in music performance and research, teaching music history and hammered dulcimer at the Eastman Community Music School.
Strawberry Breakfast concluded with…strawberries and donuts!
Head of School Mick Gee
Sophomores Fiona Lutz and Roxy Reisch
Upper School Select Chorus
Featuring AC Fourth Graders
Crowning and Pinning of Seniors
“Now is the Month of Maying”
Upper School Chorus
AC Fifth Graders
AC Third Graders
Middle School Chorus
The Sword Dance
Music performed by Upper School Band and Mitzie Collins
“Garden Song (Inch by Inch)”
AC Second Graders
The Maypole Dance
Music performed by Upper School Band and Mitzie Collins
When You Believe
All Strawberry Breakfast Performers
Sophomores Fiona Lutz and Roxy Reisch
Senior Recessional Chain
Featuring AC Fourth Graders
Posted in: Alumni News, Fifth Grade, Fourth Grade, Highlights, Lower School, Middle School, Second Grade, Tenth Grade, Third Grade, Upper School
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, Middle School, Ninth Grade, Second Grade, Seventh Grade, Sixth Grade, Tenth Grade, Third Grade, Twelfth Grade, Upper School
Women are increasingly studying technology and moving into technology careers. Local organization Digital Rochester and their Women in Technology Special Interest Group (SIG) recognized several local women at a breakfast on April 26th, including Allendale Columbia’s Director of Lower School Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Sue Sorrentino as a nominee for their 20th annual Technology Woman of the Year award.
At the event, five young women from AC also received a lot of attention. Fifth graders Victoria Timpani, Ella Herberger, and Maya Sams and talked about their all-girl VEX-IQ Robotics team Girls With Gears, while Liza ’20 and Mary ’22 Cotter showcased robots used in FIRST LEGO League and FTC Robotics competitions and discussed their technology learning and experiences. Their tables were crowded with attendees from large and small businesses in the Rochester area interested in their technological savviness.
Sue Sorrentino left a career in corporate engineering to address the urgency of building STEM fluency in early elementary age children to build and sustain interest in STEM through middle and high school. She and her team at Vista Teach Instructional Services, a company she founded and serves as Executive Director, have developed comprehensive programs in engineering education and optics for grades K-8, both in school and in after-school and summer programs, primarily at AC but also available to other schools. She has trained hundreds of robotics coaches throughout the Greater Rochester Area.
Sorrentino is in great company, as other nominees for the Technology Woman of the Year and Emerging Technology Professional Woman of the Year included women from such organizations as Rochester Regional Health, ITX, Harris Corporation, Datto, Constellation Brands, CloudCheckr, Luminate, KLDiscovery, University of Rochester, RIT, MCC, and Girl Discover It.
Digital Rochester provides events and community services to strengthen and grow the region’s technology community through education and relationship development.
Posted in: Centers for Impact, Eighth Grade, Eleventh Grade, Fifth Grade, Fourth Grade, Highlights, Invent, Lower School, LS Birches, Middle School, MS Birches, Ninth Grade, Seventh Grade, Sixth Grade, Tenth Grade, The Birches, Twelfth Grade, Upper School, US Birches
by Tammy Crowe, Lisa Crandall, and Donna Kwiatkowski
Allendale Columbia Nursery and Pre-K students hopped and raised $2,150.00 for the Muscular Dystrophy Association in the MDA Hop-A-Thon on Wednesday, March 28th. The MDA disability awareness program helps children to learn about awareness, acceptance, and assistance. We were joined this year by Heather Powers, MDA Regional Fundraising Coordinator, who honored us with her praise of the students’ enthusiastic participation.
Our 4th grade friends join us for this special event every year. The 4th graders are the “counters”, and the Nursery and Pre-K students are the “hoppers”. We hop for 2 minutes! This is our class community service project.
Leading up to the project, the class watched some short videos and learned “hands-on” how to move in a wheelchair. We also learned that:
- Everybody is different, nobody is perfect…But all of us are special!
- Our bodies are amazing and can do lots of things. Every person has different abilities.
- When somebody has a lot of trouble doing something — no matter how hard they try or how old they get — they have a “disability”.
- There are many kinds of disabilities. People don’t have disabilities because they are bad or lazy. You can’t “catch” a disability the way you catch a cold.
- Some kids have a disability in their muscles caused by a disease called muscular dystrophy. They might use leg braces or wheelchairs, but they still like to play and be friends.
- Doctors and scientists are working to help kids and adults with muscular dystrophy. We can help, too, by being in the MDA Hop-a-Thon!
Thank you to all of our Nursery & Pre-K “Hoppers”, our 4th grade “counters” and all of the family and friends who sponsored our students.
Tammy CroweTammy joined Allendale Columbia over 15 years ago working in the Pre-Primary School and Rainbow Room after school program before becoming a pre-kindergarten teacher full-time. Prior to AC, Tammy taught in a variety of educational settings including creative arts, the YMCA, and daycare programs. She's a graduate of SUNY Brockport where she earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Interdisciplinary Arts for Children. Tammy was honored with the Virginia and Fred Gordon Chair in Elementary Education in 2007.
Lisa CrandallLisa has been working at Allendale Columbia School since 1996, starting in our Admissions Department as the Admissions Assistant as well as a substitute teacher before securing her current role as a Pre-K teacher in 2002. Prior to joining AC she worked at Monroe Community College as the Student Association Secretary where she supervised office operations for the Student Senate, and at Progressive Childcare Center as a preschool teacher. Lisa is a graduate of Nazareth College where she earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in English Literature with a concentration in Elementary Education.
Donna KwiatkowskiDonna has been teaching nursery school at Allendale Columbia for 30 years! Prior to teaching at AC, Donna was a Graduate Assistant at the Early Childhood Research Center at the University of Buffalo while getting her master's degree in Elementary Education with Specialization in Early Childhood Education. She is also New York State certified in nursery through grade six and holds two bachelor's degrees in Early Childhood Education and Psychology.
Posted in: Centers for Impact, Fourth Grade, Highlights, Lower School, Nursery, Partnerships, Pre-Primary School, PreKindergarten
Creativity knows no bounds, as Allendale Columbia School students demonstrated at the biennial Evening of the Arts event on Friday, March 23rd. The exhibition featured over a hundred works of art from students in grades N – 12 displayed throughout the school. This year’s theme was “Art Around the World”.
Honors and Portfolio Seminar Art students plied their craft in the Bruce B. Bates Design and Innovation Lab, previewing their work for the upcoming spring thesis exhibition in April. Senior Madison DeCory appreciated the opportunity to help stimulate artistic creativity in younger students, as she mentioned in an interview with News 8 Rochester: “What we want to do tonight is showcase what we’ve been doing, showcase our talents, and get other students interested in the artwork that we’re doing.”
“It’s a variety of work all the way from photography — we have a black and white darkroom which is incredible for our students to have that experience — to printmaking, painting, drawing, design, digital work, and hands on work,” said Amy Oliveri, AC art teacher and Director of the AC Center for Entrepreneurship. A group of 5th graders even demonstrated their “crankie” from the Lower School musical, “I’m Not Sleepy…Yet!”.
Students working in the Global Engagement Diploma program also participated in a bit of social entrepreneurism, selling handmade baskets from a women’s collective and shade-grown coffee to benefit the program’s partners in El Sauce, Nicaragua.
News 8 Rochester summarized the event on their evening news show.
Posted in: AC in the News, Alumni News, Centers for Impact, Eighth Grade, Eleventh Grade, Entrepreneurship, Fifth Grade, First Grade, Fourth Grade, Global Engagement, Highlights, Invent, Kindergarten, Lower School, Middle School, Ninth Grade, Nursery, Partnerships, Pre-Primary School, PreKindergarten, Second Grade, Seventh Grade, Sixth Grade, Tenth Grade, Third Grade, Twelfth Grade, Upper School