Since 2015, February 11th has been recognized as “International Day of Women and Girls in Science”— a day aimed at ensuring full and equal access to, and participation in, science for women and girls.
At AC, however, students of all genders have full and equal access to STEM every day. Starting in our Lower School curriculum, STEM is a piece of every unit and is tightly integrated across K-5. As students advance to Middle and Upper School, our curriculum allows for an even deeper study of the sciences.
Did you know, AC offers science electives, including:
- AP Computer Science A
- Video Game Design
- AP Computer Science Programming
- AP Biology
- AP Chemistry
- Science Writing and Research
- Biochemistry of the Cell
- Human Disease
Over the course of just three years, enrollment in AC’s STEM electives has gone from 100% male to approximately 50% male and 50% female. In fact, this year’s enrollment in our culminating science course, Science Writing and Research, is comprised almost entirely of females, with only one male enrolled.
Maya Crosby, Director of the AC Invent Center for STEM and Innovation, recently said, “The key to getting more females interested in science isn’t just having more female teachers in STEM. It is an identity you’re trying to build. Students build their formative ideas of what a scientist is over time, and it is not just what they look like and how to act, it has to do with their [the student’s] confidence level and personal interests.”
This is no different from AC’s overall philosophy of making students feel like they belong here. Our teachers inspire students and build their confidence to make them believe that yes, they can do math and science and become a mathematician or scientist.
If you can’t see it, you can’t be it.
An integral and unique part of AC’s STEM program is our focus on authentic and individualized learning. These opportunities not only provide teachers with a variety of ways to measure student progress, and thus remove gender and race bias, but they also allow our students to actively see and do the things they are learning about. This year alone, students have had the opportunity to participate in partnerships with RIT and U of R to dig deeper into their study of STEM topics and career paths.
“I am a science and technology evangelist,” said Crosby. “It’s my passion to get people excited about all things STEM and make fresh connections to the science and technology in their daily lives. It was evident before I even walked through the door that AC was a special and unique place. I am thankful for my incredibly talented and accomplished colleagues and the atmosphere of encouragement and confidence we are building around STEM for our students.”
Get to know AC’s inspirational women in STEM
“I am not a woman in science. I am a scientist.” — Donna Strickland
In the month of January, musicians in Lower, Middle, and Upper school are offered the opportunity to perform in solo festivals hosted by the Monroe County School Music Association. This year, AC has 15 musicians involved in festivals over the course of the month.
The Vocal Solo Festival was held on January 10th and 11th, and the Instrumental Solo Festivals were held the following three weekends (Jan. 17-18, Jan. 24-25, and Jan. 31-Feb. 1). Representing lower, middle, and upper schools, nine singers and six instrumentalists participated in the festivals. Participation entails studying a piece with an AC teacher or a private lessons teacher, performing the piece for a festival judge, and receiving feedback as well as an overall score. All of the singers received the highest festival rating of “outstanding” or “A+” for their performances. (As of this writing, the instrumental festivals have not taken place yet.) This achievement shows both the students dedication and the hard work put in to studying their pieces over the course of many months.
Participation in these solo festivals shows young musicians’ desires to go above and beyond in their musical learning. Participation is optional and requires extra work on the part of the students, who schedule extra rehearsal and lesson time outside of classes to work with teachers in preparation for the festival performances. They are asked to learn challenging repertoire that pushes them to new levels of musicianship. The opportunity to perform and receive feedback is incredibly valuable to young and developing musicians, and we as music educators are grateful our students have the opportunity to participate.
Lower School Band family members and friends are invited to Join the Band for a special side-by-side rehearsal and performance event on Friday March 6th.
Side-by-side concerts are opportunities for musicians of various ages and ability levels to get together and learn from each other, build strong connections through music, and celebrate learning and growth in a fun, low-stress environment. Parents, older siblings, grandparents, extended family and family friends are all invited. School faculty, staff, and administrators are also welcome to join in the fun.
One night and one night only
Here’s What’s Involved
Music: The music will be easy (appropriate for our band beginners). Once you sign up, we’ll give you the sheet music for the instrument you will be playing. We encourage you to practice at home, with your loved one, to extend the side-by-side experience!
Rehearsal: We will spend the late afternoon on Friday (4:30-5:15 p.m.) and the time between dinner and the concert (6-7 p.m.) rehearsing together, with students and adults sitting side-by-side. AC band directors Lynn Grossman and Gabriel Costanzo will lead the rehearsals and concert.
Food! All performers and guests are invited to a family-style dinner Friday evening. We will provide subs & sides for $5, but you are welcome to bring your own (nut-free) dinner if you prefer.
Concert: At 7:00 p.m. sharp the band will perform the two pieces, showcasing our practice and the love of music that transcends generations. The performance will not be long, but it will certainly last for a long time in everyone’s memories!
Audience: All are invited to see our students and special guests perform. In addition to your presence, we would love for you to film the performance so that we can put together a video collage afterwards. Your unique view of the concert will capture the fun of the event!
After-School Plans: Between 3:00-4:25 p.m., there are a few options for student performers:
- If they normally attend Rainbow Room, they should go there until 4:25 p.m.
- They may also be picked up from school and return by 4:25 p.m.
- Students may also stay at school for a movie and a snack in the Band Room.
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
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. The students guided participants through the process of building “brush bots” made from tooth brushes, a small vibrating motor, and fun decorations. “I had a lot of fun watching and helping kids make their brush bots,” said AC student Harmony Palmer. “I loved watching their smile grow as their bots moved and helping them helped me learn things as well.”
“Girls Who Code” was established by members of the upper school AC Codex club (Liza Cotter ’20, Anna Blake ’20, Mary Cotter ’22, and Harmony Palmer ’23) as a way to develop their coding skills, while sharing their experience with younger students through mentorship.
“I’ve really enjoyed working with younger girls because I see a lot of my younger self in them. I’m glad I can support these girls to explore something new that they could become passionate about,” said Mary Cotter ’22. The lower school girls seem equally pleased with the collaboration saying, “We love working with the upper school girls because they will help us if we don’t understand what to do, but they don’t do the work for us.”
The club has future plans to participate in various coding competitions, including Lockheed Martin’s CodeQuest later in the year.
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.
The “Lightning Boltz” team received the Rising Star award at the competition. This award is given to rookie teams that show promise to go on and do great things. Nice job Boltz!
The “AC Aces” alliance lost their semi-finals match to the eventual tournament champions. It was an excellent first run of the year, and we look forward to participating in the Corning Qualifying event on January 12th.
“Team 11779” had a successful event, participating in the final qualifying matches with teams that consistently qualify for the state level tournaments.
Students also celebrated International Education Week November 18th-22nd. The week was dedicated to celebrating the benefits of international education and exchanges worldwide. It is a joint initiative of the US Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education to prepare Americans for a globally interconnected world and encourage the development of global leaders. AC celebrated the week by conducting a Kahoot! cultural trivia contest in the middle school and upper school. There was also a middle and upper school international photo contest. Our Lower School students participated by bringing in photos of their international or domestic travels. Photos are displayed on the Global Engagement bulletin boards in each division.