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. Kolster Chair in Mathematics
Please join me in congratulating Rob Doran as the new James R. Kolster 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
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, LS Birches, Nursery, Partnerships, Pre-Primary School, PreKindergarten, The Birches
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, LS Birches, Middle School, MS Birches, Ninth Grade, Nursery, Partnerships, Pre-Primary School, PreKindergarten, Second Grade, Seventh Grade, Sixth Grade, Tenth Grade, The Birches, Third Grade, Twelfth Grade, Upper School, US Birches
The festive opening reception for Allendale Columbia School’s Evening of the Arts Biennial will take place Friday, March 23rd, from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. The exhibition features hundreds of works of art from students in grades N – 12 displayed throughout the school. This year’s theme is “Art Around the World”.
Highlights of the event will include a group of 5th graders demonstrating their “crankie” from the LS musical, “I’m Not Sleepy…Yet!”, and the Honors and Portfolio Seminar Art students will be working in studio locations on campus as a preview for their upcoming spring thesis exhibition in April.
Refreshments will be served. Everyone from the AC community is invited! It is a great chance to socialize with other families and friends while taking in the talent and creativity of our AC students.
Parent volunteers are also needed for the Wolf Den, welcome table, and helping to direct people through the exhibits. Sign up here.
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, Upper School, US Birches
On Wednesday, October 4th, Allendale Columbia rang in the new school year with Blue/White Day to promote school spirit, community and collaboration. Throughout the day, Upper School students were paired with a Lower School “buddy” to spend time with.
To provide a warm welcome to the 2017-2018 school year, the student pairs ate lunch together and participated in a field day. The Upper School students also offered support and mentorship to the younger students.
Started more than 100 years ago, Blue/White Day helps to create a family-like bond across the student body and promotes the AC value of community. Click here to see pictures from this fantastic event!
Fox Rochester, WROC, and 13WHAM covered the event – combined these news stories have already reached more than a half million people! Click the following links to see the coverage as we share this long-standing tradition with the Rochester community and beyond:
We are delighted to share the Spring 2017 edition of Beyond the Birches with you! As our Allendale Columbia School magazine, we hope you will enjoy the variety of stories included, featuring what’s happening right now at the school, what some of our alumni are up to, plans for the future, and more! Click here to access the full edition, or click on the links below to access individual articles!
Grandparents and Special Friends Day
It’s A Long Story: Featuring AC Faculty Member Randy Northrup
Creating Opportunity for Determined Students
Why Accessibility Matters: Reflections from Phelan Conheady ’17
Innovative Ways to Teach. Innovative Ways to Learn.
From Idea to Reality: AC Students Make an Impact on School #25
From Allens Creek to Broadway: Alumna Profile of Victoria Paterson ’89
AC in the News
Recap of Alumni Events
The Grosso Family: Planning Together
The Legacy Leadership Circle
Explore Summer LEAP and AC’s Summer Program