After a fine Parent Appreciation Dinner prepared by the AC Kitchen, Parents of Allendale Columbia Kids (PACK) took care of some annual business voting on new officers and amendments, and Head of School Mick Gee gave thanks, an update, and an earnest appeal for support.
In PACK business, parents voted in a new President, Lois Palomaki P ’24, ’24, and Vice President, Marisa Casa P ’30, ’30, for 2019-2020 ( coincidentally both are parents of twins). Two amendments to the by-laws were approved, adding “When possible” to a clause regarding terms of the Middle School Liaison, and adjusting the number of class liaisons to two in Lower School and 12th Grade and one each in Grades 6-11. Tami Bilinski was recognized as continuing for her 2nd year as Special Events Coordinator, and Lower School Liaison Melissa Clark, Middle School Liaison Colleen Roof, and Upper School Liaison Dawn Williams-Fuller will each continue their two-year terms in 2019-2020.
Mr. Gee then took the stage for his annual update, in which he thanked parents for actively partnering with AC in each child’s education and development. “It’s because of you that the AC family is what it is – a diverse, dedicated group of parents, host parents, guardians, grandparents, faculty, staff, students, and alum who believe that what AC is doing is different, life-changing, and special,” he said, before introducing this video:
Mr. Gee then stated the fact that enrollment is down at independent schools around the country. “This nationwide trend threatens who we are and what we do here at AC, so we have taken aggressive action to address the shift in enrollment. One of the things we’ve done is gotten ourselves into something called the Strategy Lab at the National Association of Independent Schools or NAIS. NAIS saw this same trend and dove in head first to pull the problem apart and come up with new solutions. We were one of 5 schools selected to take part in that process and over the past year, Shannon Baudo and I, and our entire admissions and marketing team, began trying new things and taking risks when it comes to enrollment.”
The following video, shown at the NAIS Annual Conference last week before the keynote address, describes some of that work:
As a result of that participation, AC has made some changes in its marketing, advertising, and open houses, which in turn have contributed to increased applications, Open House attendance, and applications compared to this time last year.
Mr. Gee then appealed to parents to help in another area: annual giving, as summarized below and sent in an email following the event:
A huge thank you to those of you who were able to come out last night for the Parent Appreciation Dinner. It is because of all our families that AC is able to offer an education that is life-changing and unique.
For more than 125 years we’ve been offering the best academic opportunities in the most diverse, supportive, and loving environment in Rochester. As we discussed last night, however, to do it for another 125 years, we’re going to need some help.
AC needs its family right now. AC needs you right now.
Enrollment is down at independent schools nationwide. We have made significant moves this year to address that, and we are trending above where we were last year. But, even with full enrollment, tuition at AC covers just 64% of our operating expenses. The rest of our operating budget comes from donations, and our parent giving is just 27% (compared to 66% nationally).
Simply put, we aren’t getting enough donations.
If we had every parent donating — in whatever amount they could — we could go to corporations and funders and tell them, “Our parents get it. Our AC parents recognize that this is worth it. Our AC parents know that this kind of education doesn’t happen on tuition alone.”
We know what the AC family can do when it comes together. So this is us, asking you for help. We ask because we’re family. We know you will help, because you are, too.
This year’s Lower School Musical, The Bakers Dozen, will be on Wednesday, February 13th at 7:00 p.m. Please confirm how many people from your family will be joining us by completing the form below. We look forward to seeing you there!
After navigating the tricky feat of holding a reception in Boston during a Red Sox playoff game, Mick Gee, Karen Higman, and Kayla Himelein packed their bags and headed to New York City. Along the way, they had a lovely visit with former Headmistress Miss Joan Twaddle at her home in Rhode Island.
Then it was on to New York to enjoy the company of a lively crowd of alumni and parents.
Among the guests present was beloved former faculty member Lorraine Van Meter-Cline who, with celebrity-like magnetism, had alums of all ages flocking to her. Over the course of the night, the drinks flowed freely, as did the stories, and rumor has it, a number of attendees continued the party for several hours after the reception, where AC stories continued to be shared along with many laughs.
Also present at the reception was former staff member Karyn Vella, who was recognized by Mick Gee, Head of School, for her monumental work on the Impact Initiative Campaign. Thanks to the support of AC alumni, parents, students, faculty, and staff, AC exceeded its $4 million campaign goal and is now able to provide students with enhanced access to innovative and authentic learning opportunities.
“The energy of the New York City reception was just incredible,” recalled Karen Higman, Director of Advancement at AC. “It was refreshing to see so many recent (within the past five years or so) AC alumni gathered together. And to personally witness the connection they still have with one another… and with Lorraine! It truly shows just how strong those bonds are between AC students and faculty alike.”
We, of course, must also give a special thanks to Mr. Stephen B. Ashley, our gracious host, without whom none of this would have been possible.
We look forward to seeing YOU at an upcoming alumni reception or event soon!
Save the Date
Thursday, December 20th
Annual Alumni Holiday Reception (Rochester, NY)
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
Wednesday, October 17th from 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.
If you are interested in learning more about college financial aid, join Allendale Columbia’s College Advisor, Emily Nevinger, on Wednesday October 17th for College Financial Aid 101. Renee Swift, Associate Director of Financial Aid at Nazareth College, will present details of the college financial aid process in AC’s Curtis Performance Center. This event is an excellent opportunity to hear from an expert in the field about how colleges use the information provided on the FAFSA and CSS Profile to award need-based financial aid.
This Allendale Columbia event is open to AC families and families from other school communities. Please RSVP if you plan to attend.
Homecoming Weekend is here! Get ready to celebrate this fun AC tradition with the important information below.
PARENT VOLUNTEERS NEEDED
Parent volunteers are needed for various roles on Saturday, September 22nd. Each year our parent volunteers do a wonderful job of helping us run the Homecoming activities. This year we are asking parents to volunteer through MyAC. Volunteering includes fun activities like bringing in a baked good, setting up popcorn, or helping the Lower School prepare for the Lower School Banner Parade.
Students in grades 1-12 will participate in a fun-filled afternoon of activities with their blue/white buddies on Tuesday, September 18th. Every AC student has been assigned to the Blue Team or the White Team and should dress in their team color on Blue/White Day.
Please remember the new date is Tuesday, September 18th, and students can dress in their team colors and wear sneakers. Also, this year our Blue/White team partners are gender-neutral.
Nursery, pre-kindergarten, and kindergarten students will come out and cheer on both the Blue and White teams!
Sales for Homecoming T-shirts are now closed. We had to pre-order shirts to include customizations. If you ordered a T-shirt, they will be distributed next week during school. Students can pick them up from their homeroom teachers.
SPIRIT WEEK DRESS-DOWN DAYS
Students are encouraged to dress for the various spirit days that will be celebrated next week. Please see below for a reminder of the theme of the day for each division.
Lower and Middle School
NEW! Tuesday: Blue/White Day
Thursday: Pajama Day
Monday: Pajama Day
NEW! Tuesday: Blue/White Day
Wednesday: No School (Yom Kippur)
Thursday: Meme Day (dress up as a character in your favorite meme)
Friday:Sports Day (jersey from any HAC team or professional team)
HOMECOMING WEEKEND SCHEDULE
Friday, September 21st
- Varsity Girls Soccer vs. Kendall (Harley School)
- Modified Girls Soccer vs. Romulus (Harley School)
RESCHEDULED TO SEPTEMBER 29th: Upper School Bonfire Grades 9-12 (Harley School)
Saturday, September 22nd:
Homecoming activities will be happening on campus from 12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Come out to support the volleyball and soccer teams, and enjoy fun games for kids of all ages!
- Arrival for Families in Lower School Banner Parade
- JV Girls Volleyball vs. Aquinas (AC Gannett Gym)
- Bounce House and other inflatable activities open (AC Upper Soccer Field)
- Bake Sale opens
- Wolf Den School Store opens
- Pumpkin Painting opens (while supplies last)
- Food Trucks open including Marty’s Meats and Abbott’s Ice Cream
12:15 p.m.: Lower School Banner Parade starts (AC Lower Soccer Field)
12:30 p.m.: JV Boys Soccer vs. Lyndonville (AC Lower Soccer Field)
1:30 p.m.: Varsity Girls Volleyball vs. Aquinas (AC Gannett Gym)
3:00 p.m.: Varsity Boys Soccer vs. Northstar Christian (AC Lower Soccer Field)
5:00 p.m.: Homecoming Day events conclude
8:00 p.m.: HAC Homecoming Dance Grades 9-12 (Harley School Commons)
Saturday, September 29th
6:30 p.m.: HAC Upper School Bonfire Grades 9-12 (Harley School)
Wristbands for the festivities on September 22nd (including bounce houses, inflatable games, pumpkin painting, and more!) will be available to all students. Wristbands are available for purchase before and during Homecoming. The cost will be $5.00 for unlimited use of activities offered on this day.
We encourage all AC families and friends to join us at this wonderful community event. Children of all ages are welcome to enjoy fun activities on campus for the entire day!
by Annie King and Stephanie Williford
As part of a Project Based Learning (PBL) unit focusing on the Amazon Rainforest, Allendale Columbia’s first graders continued their research on the rich biodiversity of this amazing natural resource. We have been studying the rainforest and its creatures all year long and have discovered many troubling facts about the 28,000 species that live there.
This information gave us the idea to begin our campaign to raise $1,200 so that we can adopt 30 acres of land in the Amazon Rainforest — the same size as our Allendale campus! Allendale Columbia’s 1st grade Rainforest Rescuers launched their own GoFundMe page with the hopes of raising $1,200 for the Amazon Aid Foundation. After just 4 hours, they had raised $555, and they have already surpassed their goal! This group’s love and passion for the Amazon Rainforest is truly making an impact on our world.
Our 1st graders are truly experts about many of the animals in this area. We Skyped with Sarah DuPont, the president of Amazon Aid Foundation. The first graders worked hard to come up with thoughtful questions for Sarah, and she was impressed with their commitment to saving the Amazon Rainforest. Sarah was also able to teach us much about the challenges facing the Amazon Rainforest and the crucial work her organization is doing.
In math, we continued working on measurement this week by practicing drawing lines and crafting bookmarks to spread the word about the plight of the Amazon Rainforest. The bookmarks will be going on sale soon so stay tuned!
Ann KingAfter pursing her passion for teaching, Ann became a long-term substitute at Allendale Columbia before beginning to teach first grade full-time at AC. Prior to beginning her teaching career, Ann was in the financial industry as an Assistant Vice President, Financial Analyst, and Corporate Trainer at two different regional banks. Ann earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Economics from Penn State College and her Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education from Roberts Wesleyan College.
Stephanie WillifordStephanie joined Allendale Columbia in the fall of 2012. She holds an associate's degree with a concentration in Psychology, a bachelor's degree in Psychology with a concentration in Inclusive Education, as well as Quad-Inclusive Teacher Certification for grades 1-9. Prior to coming to AC, Stephanie served as a kindergarten teacher at Children's Creative Learning Center and supervised the Child Care and Preschool Summer Fun Camp at Pittsford Recreation Center.
Posted in: Entrepreneurship, First Grade, Global Engagement, Highlights, Lower School, Uncategorized
by Elizabeth “Liza” Cotter ’20
On Saturday April 21st, six Allendale Columbia Upper School CodeX club members traveled to sunny Owego, NY, to compete in the 6th Annual Lockheed Martin Code Quest competition. Code Quest is a 2.5 hour computer programming event where teams of up to three students are challenged to solve a collection of 15-20 questions.
Here’s a question from the 2017 competition:
The home keys on a keyboard are imperative to quick typing if you are a touch typist, but what if you are off just one key? Imagine you accidentally placed your left index finger at D instead of F and your right index finger at H instead of J.
Translate the following messages as if you were retyping it with the wrong home key finger placement.
Hickory dickory dock → Guxjiet suxjiet sixjm
The day started with the competition, which included some difficult problems that required teamwork, persistence, and attention to detail. The most significant item I learned that day was the importance of asking a well-thought-out question when clarification is needed.
We also went on a great tour of the Lockheed Martin plant, including an up-close look at US Navy Seahawk helicopters. While inside the hangar, we learned about the stages of production that each helicopter goes through. The best part was standing in the soundproof chamber of the hangar. We all got to ask questions about the helicopters and about Lockheed Martin and have a closer look at a possible future career path!
AC’s “hACkers” Aditi Seshadri ’18, Anjana Seshadri ’18, and Liza Cotter ’20 competed in the “Advanced” Division. AC’s “Aces” Luke Dioguardi ’20, Matt Duver ’20, and Cameron Perry ’20 competed in the “Novice” category where they won 3rd place and an excellent trophy to add to the AC STEM trophy case! Even though all six of us are members of the CodeX club, we were all relatively new to programming competitions. This made the competition all the more challenging, and a little scary, but everyone agreed that it was a fun event and that we should return next year.
Elizabeth CotterLiza Cotter '20 was the captain of Allendale Columbia's TEAM+S team for the 2019 competition. She also is the Vice President for the Upper School Student Government, and a member of the ACHax club. She runs cross country, swims, and runs track for HAC and does triathlons during the summer. In her free time she likes to watch "The Great British Baking Show" while petting her cats. In the future she hopes to pursue a career in biomedical engineering.
Posted in: Centers for Impact, Eleventh Grade, Highlights, Invent, MS Birches, Ninth Grade, Tenth Grade, The Birches, Twelfth Grade, Uncategorized, Upper School, US Birches