After a successful inaugural “Advisory Day” last year, Allendale Columbia continued using Friday of the first week of school for Middle School students to participate in a meaningful bonding experience with their advisors and fellow classmates. On September 7th, students engaged in various on-campus and off-campus experiences to begin their year-long work focusing on each of their class themes.
This year, the 8th grade spent their advisory retreat at Mount Hope Cemetery where they performed community service and learned about many legacies of the Mount Hope “residents” from guide Pat Corcoran. Ms. Corcoran was very impressed and grateful for the enthusiasm and energy the 8th graders put into clearing brush, digging up weeds, and “picking up” around several sections of the cemetery. Students also learned new things about Mount Hope’s famous residents, such as how many people visited Susan B. Anthony’s grave during the 2008 presidential election and the legacies left by Frederick Douglass’s wives. They also learned cool facts about many others buried at the cemetery, including Margaret Woodbury Strong, Hiram Sibley, and Emma Sibley Watson. This day helped set the stage for a year-long exploration of their own leadership within the Middle School and the legacy they want to leave behind as they move into the Upper School only a short ten months from now. At the end of 8th grade, a capstone project in their physics, history, and English will highlight all the work and progress these students have made over the course of the year. This retreat also served as a springboard for the students to think about their goals and look ahead to the 8th grade trip to Gettysburg and Washington DC.
The 7th grade partnered with Best Buddies and School of the Holy Childhood this school year. Best Buddies International is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). On Friday, students were introduced to Best Buddies and spent the day at Charlotte Beach with a group of students from School of the Holy Childhood.
The theme of the 6th grade year in advisory is ”independence.” Sixth grade is a perfect time to introduce topics of independence as students transition from Lower School to Middle School. Students spent advisory day on campus focusing on community building as a class and within advisory groups. Advisory groups were tasked with creating, designing, and building their own “origin worlds”. Similar to writing a science-fiction story, students were asked to think about their own unusual powers and create a fictional world from which they came. These worlds included geography, traditions, language, and supernatural elements. Students then designed and created these worlds out of gingerbread. This task asked students to think about themselves both as individuals and as members of the Middle School community. Self-advocacy, accountability, and individuality are key parts of this day and the 6th grade advisory program.
Posted in: Eighth Grade, Highlights, Middle School, Seventh Grade, Sixth Grade
For the second summer, local Allendale Columbia students participated in the Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program (IYLEP) here in Rochester. IYLEP* is a four-week exchange program for promising Iraqi students to visit different U.S. cities and learn about leadership, peacebuilding, and civic engagement. Rochester is the only host city that has American students participate in the IYLEP program for the full two weeks, which allows them to build a strong bond and further break down stereotypes and misconceptions.
“Before this program, what I thought and knew of Iraq was based off what I see in the news, and sure, we have our differences, but we have way more in common than I thought,” said AC student Garrett Wilson.
During their time in Rochester, Iraqi and AC students visited an array of places, ranging from workshops at the M.K. Gandhi Institute, site visits to Rochester International Academy, a service project at Foodlink, and a night out at a Red Wings game.
On August 16th, students, host parents, and members of the community gathered in the Curtis Performance Center for the IYLEP Student Showcase. As guests trickled in, IYLEP participants laughed, sang NSYNC, and posed for selfies together, further proving that teenagers are teenagers, no matter where they’re from.
“Just because we’re from different places, it doesn’t mean we have different kinds of hearts.” – Mikayla Gross ‘19
Showcase presentations included a student-produced video highlighting the activities and friendships formed over the course of the two weeks in Rochester; a skit depicting some of the cultural differences identified between American and Iraqi students; and a touching thank you video to the host families. Many participants spoke about the lasting impact of the program, including the simple experiences like living with pets or riding a bike.
The evening concluded with the presentation of awards to the IYLEP participants by RGC Executive Director, Cecelia Hencke, and Program Facilitator, Mary Beth Moyer, followed by a friendly mix and mingle over refreshments in the Dining Commons.
“The lasting impact of this program is the person-to-person connection formed between people from diverse backgrounds,” said Hencke. “It increases international understanding and promotes positive U.S. foreign relations and a more peaceful and prosperous world. The program has a multiplier effect because the students are now ambassadors of one another’s country and will help further breakdown the stereotypes or misconceptions.”
Allendale Columbia School has been involved with IYLEP since 2017, when the AC Center for Global Engagement partnered with Rochester Global Connections (RGC), a local nonprofit organization that promotes cultural exchange, to bring this opportunity to our community. Local high school students who participate in the program are eligible to receive accreditation from AC’s Center for Global Engagement. This year’s participants included 11 high school students and one adult mentor from Iraq and eight local Allendale Columbia students.
Since the program’s founding in 2007, IYLEP has brought more than 2,300 promising Iraqi high school and undergraduate students to the U.S. In addition to promoting mutual understanding between the people of Iraq and the U.S., IYLEP also fosters relationships within the diverse group of Iraqi participants, who represent a broad range of ethnic, religious, and geographic backgrounds.
During their program, IYLEP participants visit two to three U.S. cities where they engage in experiential learning activities and cultural exchange. Upon their return to Iraq, they implement projects in their communities, such as organizing peace festivals and providing relief services to refugees and orphans. As an investment in global understanding and peace, IYLEP has created a cadre of future leaders of Iraq.
It is clear this program benefits both American and Iraqi students alike. Together, it prepares them to become global leaders- to learn global empathy, compassion, and humility. They learn leadership skills- such as working with people from diverse backgrounds, problem solving, teamwork, dialogue, and self confidence. From this experience, students are prepared to be successful in our global and diverse society and be empowered to make a positive difference in our community and communities around the world.
“We hope to continue this program on an annual basis, so I encourage local students to apply!” said Hencke.
*IYLEP is sponsored and funded by the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and implemented by World Learning.
Posted in: Global Engagement, Highlights, Partnerships
Every year at the end of the spring semester, Middle and Upper School students at Allendale Columbia complete their usual curriculum and begin May Term. May Term exists to provide educational opportunities outside of the normal structures of the school year to support intellectual discovery, encourage collaboration, and foster community involvement.
Here are some May Term highlights so far this year:
- Students learned about honey bees, built a beehive, planted flora that bees love, and installed a starter colony of bees at the school garden in the “Buds and Bees” course led by Mrs. Guzzetta and Mr. Costanzo. Students will continue to monitor the hive and harvest honey in the fall.
- A panel of judges from the AC Kitchen and maintenance evaluated student culinary creations in a Master Chef-type competition, with students presenting the science behind the creation of those food items in the “Science of Cooking” course led by Ms. Crosby and senior Gio Martino.
- In “Human Impacts on the Environment”, AC students worked with students from the World of Inquiry School 58 at a Water Quality Summit in Rochester to understand the Genesee River ecosystem, which was featured on WROC and WXXI. Mrs. Lisi and Mr. Godkin led this session.
- In “Life Underwater”, students explored the flora and fauna in Corbett’s Glen with Mrs. Guzzetta.
- Students visited the Women’s Rights Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls as part of “Nevertheless, She Persisted” (above) with Mr. Neeley
Other topics included:
- Positive Psychology
- The Great Outdoors
- Console Wars: The History of Video Gaming
- Be Here Now: Mindfulness as a Practice
- What do you want to be when you grow up?
- What would Susan and Frederick Think? The Legacy of Rochester’s Agitators
- Muse: Making a Magazine
- Bilingual Theatre
- Building, flying and using drones for media production
- Music with Kids
- Confidence & Courage: Dare to Show Up, Be Seen, & Be Brave
- Wheelin’ Through Rochester’s History
- Stigma and Mental Health: Issues and Interventions
- Ornithology Science and Art
- Exhibition Night Planning
- Grow Your Own Food
- Social Impact Filmmaking
- Day Trading and Cryptocurrency Lab
- Making Community Service a Way of Life
- 2019 College Workshop
- The AC Genome Project
- Innocence and Guilt: Learning about the Law
We’ll have additional updates as May Term progresses. Everyone is also welcome to participate in an interactive May Term Exhibition Night where students will discuss their projects on Thursday, May 7th from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.
Posted in: Authentic Learning, Centers for Impact, Eighth Grade, Eleventh Grade, Entrepreneurship, Global Engagement, Highlights, Invent, Middle School, Ninth Grade, Partnerships, Seventh Grade, Sixth Grade, Tenth Grade, Twelfth Grade, Upper School
by Ariane Baer-Harper, Director of the AC Center for Global Engagement
During Spring Break in 2018, 12 Allendale Columbia students went to Dakar, Senegal, to participate in an entrepreneurship program entitled, Developing Entrepreneurship Skills through Intercultural Collaboration. This eight-day program was created by the AC Center for Global Engagement, the AC Center for Entrepreneurship, and Baobab Consulting, a company based in New York City and Dakar which specializes in facilitating collaboration between cultures through innovation. Throughout the program, AC students were paired with Senegalese high school students and were tasked to come up with an innovative social entrepreneurship idea.
WROC News 8 interviewed two students and Director of the AC Center for Global Engagement, Ariane Baer-Harper.
(Photos by Garrett Wilson ’21, Anna Mihalyov ’19, and John Palomaki)
All students, with trip leaders Ariane Baer-Harper (Director of Global Engagement) and Gabe Costanzo (Music and Band instructor), stayed at the Tostan Training Facility in Thiès, about 40 km outside of Dakar. Tostan is an international NGO focusing on human rights issues in Senegal, particularly women’s rights. The group also had the opportunity to spend some time in Dakar, the capital, and St. Louis, a city north of the country which was once the colonial capital of Senegal.
Posted in: Centers for Impact, Eighth Grade, Eleventh Grade, Entrepreneurship, Global Engagement, Highlights, Middle School, Ninth Grade, Partnerships, Tenth Grade, Twelfth Grade, Upper School
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
At this week’s PACK (Parents of Allendale Columbia Kids) Coffee Connection, Amy Oliveri, Director of the new AC Center for Entrepreneurship, discussed her vision for the Center. Though she was only hired for the position at the beginning of this school year, she’s making good progress in helping students not only learn about entrepreneurism but actually become entrepreneurs.
The vision for the new Center is for it to be “a hub for entrepreneurship that will create opportunities for our students/participants to make an impact on the world at an unprecedented level by learning to adapt to a constantly evolving world, connecting globally, and carving their own path. This authentic way of thinking and working develops a universally applicable and transferable mindset and skill set.”
Posted in: Centers for Impact, Entrepreneurship, Global Engagement, Highlights, Invent, Lower School, Middle School, Upper School
Learning occurred on multiple levels at TEDxAllendaleColumbiaSchool on February 3rd. You may already be familiar with TED talks, and TEDx events are local versions of those talks. What makes this TEDx event different from most is that it was planned and produced from start to finish by AC students.
Posted in: Centers for Impact, Eleventh Grade, Entrepreneurship, Global Engagement, Highlights, Invent, Ninth Grade, Partnerships, Tenth Grade, Twelfth Grade, Upper School
Annie King and Linsay Alexander, 1st grade teachers
What happens when you combine children’s love for animals, fascination with buying and selling, and treats? Authentic, project-based learning – this week in the form of a social entrepreneurship venture making and selling dog biscuits to raise money for a local animal shelter.
As we approached ways to make our math money unit a more practical, authentic learning opportunity, we revived an idea from Annie’s first year at AC. What is the most realistic way of obtaining and counting change? Selling a product! (more…)
Posted in: Centers for Impact, Entrepreneurship, First Grade, Highlights, Lower School, LS Birches, The Birches