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
The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, conducted by the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers, is one of the country’s longest-running, most prestigious recognition programs for creative students in the U.S., and the nation’s largest source of scholarships for young artists and writers in grades 7 – 12. Since its founding, the Awards have established an amazing track record for identifying the early promise of our nation’s most accomplished and prolific creative leaders. The Awards have an impressive legacy dating back to 1923 and a noteworthy roster of past award winners including Andy Warhol, Sylvia Plath, Truman Capote, Richard Avedon, John Lithgow, Ken Burns, Robert Redford, Kay WalkingStick, and Joyce Carol Oates. For more information about the program, visit artandwriting.org.
The Awards give students opportunities for recognition, exhibition, publication, and scholarships. This year, students across America submitted nearly 320,000 original works this year in 29 different categories of art and writing. Student entries are judged on originality, technical skill, and the emergence of a personal vision. AC students submitted works into a sizeable Northwest Region-At-Large category, and the following students were honored with these regional awards:
Silver Key Awards, Photography
Matt Duver, ‘20 “Surfacing”
Matt Duver,’20 “Release”
Nya Hauser, ‘23 “Stuck Up”
Silver Key Award, Fashion
Sophie Diehl, ‘22 “Drop Crown”
Honorable Mention, Animation
Ava Gouvernet, ‘20 “Patience and Harmony”
Honorable Mention, Mixed Media
Elena Korte, ‘24 “Teardrop”
Honorable Mention, Drawing and Illustration
Vivian Osness, ‘20 “Landscape”
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.
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
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.
RIT Light and Color Collaboration
Middle school students at AC made bowls in ceramics class for their annual Empty Bowls event. Their silent auction and raffle brought in more than $1,300 that they donated to the Willow Center, a Rochester-based organization that provides support to survivors of domestic violence and their families. The event is held annually as part of an international grassroots project that aims to address food insecurity, creating and auctioning bowls personalized by artists and art organizations on a community level. The service event is entirely organized, run, and curated by the students of the middle school ceramics class.
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.
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!