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.”
One of the visible changes she’s brought forward is having students run the AC school store, the Wolf Den. Students manage inventory, do marketing, and work as clerks, having learned the Square point-of-sale system that they use in the store and in the new online store at wolfden.allendalecolumbia.org.
Another effort is engaging with the AC Center for Global Engagement on such things as the Senegal trip that has students partnering with an organization to solve real-world problems in Senegal, and with the AC Invent Center on things like TEDxAllendaleColumbiaSchool. There are also connections to local businesses, such as the Mindset to Skillset program where students pitch ideas to local entrepreneur judges.
Of course, there are many curricular impacts. Lower School offers Junior Achievement and Innovation Day. Middle School students can take such classes as Business and the Entrepreneurial Mind; Entrepreneurship: Makers and Problem Solving; Entrepreneurship, Social Innovation, and B Corps; and Modes of Persuasion. And Upper School has a huge range of opportunities, including courses in Behavioral Science, Social Innovation, and the Act of Solving Problems and Having Influence; Innovation and Design; Professional Writing; Financial Literacy: Personal and Business Finance; and Digital Design and Illustration.
If you missed the talk, you can take a look at the slides by clicking on the image, and contact Amy Oliveri with any questions, comments, or opportunities.
Posted in: Centers for Impact, Entrepreneurship, Global Engagement, Highlights, Invent, Lower School, LS Birches, Middle School, MS Birches, The Birches, Upper School, US Birches
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.
TED events are all about sharing ideas, and, as one would expect, the sold-out audience gained a lot of insights from a stellar selection of presenters:
- Sam Thomson, Student, Boston University, and CEO, Bluum
- 17 School 17 Student Council
- Alan Raskin, Student, Calkins Road Middle School
- Anderson Allen, Assistant Educational Coordinator, Boys, and Girls Club of Rochester
- Natalie Northrup, Student, Honeoye Falls-Lima High School
- Andrew Brady, President & Chief Evolutionary Officer, The XLR8 Team, Inc. and Conscious Capitalism ROC
- Emily Atieh, Senior, Allendale Columbia School
- Brian Roets, Practice Lead: Infrastructure and End-User Computing, SMP Corp
- Carmen Gumina, Superintendent, Webster School District
But the learning behind the scenes by students in the TEDx class and club that produced the event will probably have the biggest, longest impacts, according to faculty advisors Amy Oliveri and Tony Tepedino. We posed some questions to three of the students who led the effort, Rachel Sherin ’19, Marissa Frenett ’19, and Fiona Lutz ’20.
Q: What were some of your objectives for this year’s TEDx event? Did you meet those objectives?
Rachel: For this year’s TEDx event, we wanted it more geared towards kids. In the past, more of the older community was present at the event. This year we had one speaker from Allendale and two other students from different schools present at the event. We also had a good turnout of student attendees and volunteers.
Marissa: One of our very most important objectives was to get many sponsors from local people. We tried to get all dinner items from local restaurants. With plenty of work, we successfully got a salad from Headwater Food Hub, pizza from Salvatore’s, and mac and cheese from Macarollin!
Q: TEDx is about ideas worth spreading. Does that stop with the event, or how do you plan to continue spreading the ideas presented going forward?
Fiona: Because our event brings in a lot of members from outside the Allendale community, the goal for our TEDx is to leave people thinking about new ideas they might not have considering before and to share them with their peers. Especially with this year’s theme about restarting, we hope that people can apply the topics presented to their everyday life. Not only do we hope that our event’s talks and topics will inspire others in the community, but these talks are also shared online as well which can then be seen by virtually anyone.
Q: How has your experience with TEDx impacted you, either with the ideas presented or in the production of the event?
Marissa: TEDx has impacted me a lot. I think specifically the last speaker was very inspiring. He helped me realize that finding a good combination between academics and happiness is very important and should be done. That talk sort of changed the way I approach things now.
Fiona: Before becoming a part of the TEDx class, I attended the event for several years prior, but this year when I joined the class and actually got to work hands on with something I was genuinely interested in, it was very rewarding. As a part of the class, I was able to be a speaker coach for Samuel Thompson, who spoke about striving for progress over perfection. Seeing Sam’s talk come together over the few months I worked with him and then actually being able to see his talk live on the TEDx stage was great because not only had we both worked so hard on preparing him for the event, but Sam’s talk was personally relatable to me, since even during the semester, I struggled on working towards my goals and often times wanted perfection so badly, but was disappointed when things didn’t work as planned. His talk gave me a different perspective.
Q: What one thing do you want to carry forward from the event?
Rachel: Everyone worked so hard together to put the event together. I would like to carry that passion and positive energy throughout life.
Marissa: I thought that teamwork played a huge role in the success of this event. We all had to find speakers, sponsors, and a bunch of other stuff. That is what made our event as great as it was. I want to carry that, being open to work with people I wouldn’t usually.
Posted in: Centers for Impact, Eleventh Grade, Entrepreneurship, Global Engagement, Highlights, Invent, Ninth Grade, Partnerships, Tenth Grade, The Birches, Twelfth Grade, Upper School, US Birches
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!
If you’ve seen our classroom, with our resident rabbit, bearded dragon and array of bird feeders, it is evident that our children love animals. Several of our students have a passion for pet dogs, so we decided to make dog biscuits to sell. We spent our Monday morning in the Rainbow Room café baking biscuits (see recipe below). The baking process alone is rich in authentic learning, with students engaged in hands-on counting, simple fractions, units of measure, proportions, temperature, time, texture, shapes, material reuse, germs and cleanliness; in addition to digestion and allergy issues (since many dogs, like many people, do not tolerate wheat).
Once the baking was complete, students focused on marketing, which included making posters to advertise around AC and handouts to take home. This process involves writing, spelling, drawing, penmanship, spatial relations, and design. Sales teams interacted with customers on Tuesday and Wednesday morning from 8:00 to 8:20 a.m.: greeting guests, making eye contact, explaining the process and purpose of their project, practicing persuasion, answering questions, and expressing gratitude.
Out of the kindness and generosity of our students, when discussing where proceeds should be donated, they decided “To help poor animals who don’t have a family,” as one child stated. Students used their computers to research three local animal shelters, advancing their skills in internet searching, typing, reading, listening, and fact-finding. They each submitted a ballot, so, as one student explains, “If Lollypop Farm gets nine votes and the other shelters get seven votes, then we would give the money to Lollypop Farm, because it got the most votes.”
Students weighed the total change earned and made estimates based on their knowledge of coin values thus far in our money unit. Earlier in the week, we worked with a group of students proficient in counting mixed coins, coaching them on how to count large amounts of coins. They, in turn, taught their classmates how to count our sum of money received on Tuesday and Wednesday. When students are involved in helping to teach their peers, everyone wins.
In the end, we raised $181.87, and first graders decided to split the donations between Lollypop Farm, Verona Street Shelter, and Animal Service League. In turn, students developed a variety of foundational skills that will stick with them, as they utilized a variety of their senses to make learning more tangible. Throughout the process, first graders didn’t just learn about baking and business; they experienced what it was to be a baker, marketer, salesperson, accountant, and social entrepreneur.
After totaling the change and voting on which shelters to donate to, we asked our first graders what they enjoyed most about this venture, with Callahan summing it up best: “Everything – I loved everything about this project!”
Recipe: Cleo’s Dog Biscuits
Preheat oven to 350.
In large bowl, whisk together eggs and pumpkin to smooth. Stir in dry milk, sea salt, and dried parsley (if using, optional). Add brown rice flour gradually, combining with spatula or hands to form a stiff, dry dough. Turn out onto lightly floured surface (can use the brown rice flour) and if dough is still rough, briefly knead and press to combine.
Roll dough between 1/4 – 1/2″ – depending on your dog’s chew preferences, ask first – and use biscuit or other shape cutter to punch shapes, gathering and re-rolling scraps as you go. Place shapes on cookie sheet, no greasing or paper necessary. If desired, press fork pattern on biscuits before baking, a quick up-and-down movement with fork, lightly pressing down halfway through dough. Bake 20 minutes. Remove from oven and carefully turn biscuits over, then bake additional 20 minutes. Allow to cool completely on rack before feeding to dog.
Makes up to 75 small (1″) biscuits or 50 medium biscuits
* Brown rice flour gives the biscuits crunch and promotes better dog digestion. Many dogs have touchy stomachs or allergies, and do not, like many people we know, tolerate wheat.
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.
Linsay AlexanderLinsay is an educator with a Master of Science for Teachers degree in Art Education from Rochester Institute of Technology and has nearly 10 years experience in the field. She has taught in both large classrooms and small studio settings and has successfully created arts curricula for students in both public and private schools. As a member of the Rainbow Room team, Linsay works with both Pre-Primary and Lower School students at AC. Linsay has also filled in admirably as a long-term sub in first grade this year.
Posted in: Centers for Impact, Entrepreneurship, First Grade, Highlights, Lower School, LS Birches, The Birches
by Tina Duver
Adolescence is a time where teenagers can struggle with the navigation through the rough waters of social interactions, academics, independence, and self-doubt. Here at Allendale Columbia, we are a responsive community who constantly engages our students in dialogue around topics of community and inclusivity. That dialogue in middle school has led to our participation in the KIND Schools Challenge.
Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert defines happiness as “frequent positive feelings accompanied by an overall sense that one’s life has meaning.” In the Leadership and Experience Lab elective, students clued into this and spent some time discussing what it meant to be happy while being a middle school student at Allendale Columbia. They learned that psychology research has shown a very strong connection between happiness and success in the workplace for adults. Why couldn’t this apply to life as a student, and what would that look like? For our students, words such as belonging, inclusivity, connection, respect, understanding, and relationships came up repeatedly.
When the students in the Leadership and Experience Lab elective came across the KIND Schools Challenge, they sensed an opportunity to create dialogue to continue discussion and for students to truly think about inclusivity and happiness within the middle school and actually put it into action. Knowing that kindness has the power to unite school communities and undermine common issues such as bullying and harassment, Making Caring Common was created. It’s a joint project from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and The KIND Foundation who have partnered to launch the KIND Schools Challenge. Students across the country were invited to envision a project which brought kindness and inclusivity into their schools, budget for it, and have a plan to put it into action.
The Leadership elective went to work and submitted three separate projects. In the end, one project, entitled, B.R.I.C.K., caught the attention of the KIND Schools Challenge organizers and was selected as a top 10 finalist from over 200 approved applications. The concept behind B.R.I.C.K. was the fact that walls are often symbols or barriers or exclusion. For the students in the B.R.I.C.K. group (Josh Nozik, Joelle Blankenship, Sean Li, Keria Donnelly, and Chris Smoker), it meant something much more. Walls can be built to protect and to keep things in, such as along a river or to protect wildlife. B.R.I.C.K. stands for Building Respect, Inclusivity, Community, and Kindness), and their idea was for every student in our community to paint a brick that represents them. The bricks would be discussed in advisory, and students would learn more about each other and encourage a feeling of inclusivity. Then, the bricks would be assembled together in the middle school hallway to represent that every brick of a wall is important, and if one of the students were not part of a community, an empty place would be left behind, making the wall weaker.
Through the generosity of the KIND Foundation and the Harvard Graduate School of Education, the project is being funded and supported to be considered for completion to be considered for the grand prize. The students have been engaged in check-in calls with Harvard and The KIND Foundation to make sure they feel supported and to answer any questions. Students are currently working on painting bricks with not only the middle school community, but staff, faculty, and Upper and Lower School students as well. In April, they will submit their impact report to the Foundation.
Tina DuverAt Allendale Columbia, Tina serves as the Head of Middle School. She has taught Science and Leadership at AC for over 15 years. Tina earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Social Sciences with a concentration in Environmental Science from the State University of New York at Buffalo. She brings her natural curiosity, energy, and excitement to education. Tina is also a die-hard Red Sox fan.
Posted in: Eighth Grade, Highlights, LS Birches, Middle School, MS Birches, Seventh Grade, Sixth Grade, The Birches, US Birches
by Teresa Parsons
We’ve seen many Lower School students sledding on AC’s slopes during recess, but 8th grade classes? With snow still covering the campus, my 8th grade science class took learning outside the classroom by studying the physics of sledding this past week. Going outdoors and studying real-life scenarios can make Newton’s laws of physics come alive much more solidly than studying them in a textbook.
As the class transitioned between a unit on forces and their next unit on energy, this activity was a perfect fit to reflect on the forces present, see the relationship between potential and kinetic energy, and learn how to use a new app that will be utilized for future labs.
Students took videos of their sledding in the Playground Physics app developed by the New York Hall of Science. Back in the classroom, students used the app to trace their path of motion. By inputting the mass of the sledder and a known distance, the app calculates the potential energy, kinetic energy, and speed as they sled down the hill. Do these values make sense? How do they compare to the problems we solve as homework? How does the speed of two people on one sled compare to the speed of just one person? Ask an 8th grader to find out!
Teresa ParsonsTeresa joined the Allendale Columbia team as a Middle School STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) teacher after spending 15 years in the engineering industry. She was a product engineer, then she transitioned into marketing and business development. As a business development manager, she created and provided product training, and it was in that role that she discovered her passion for teaching. Teresa earned a Master of Science Degree in Education from Nazareth College, and also holds two bachelor's degrees in Interdisciplinary Engineering/Management from Clarkson University and in Physics from the State University of New York College at Geneseo.
Posted in: Centers for Impact, Eighth Grade, Invent, Middle School, MS Birches, The Birches
by Arielle Gillman
Allendale Columbia’s third grade students just completed a Project Based Learning (PBL) unit based on the Driving Question: How can we create original art, music, and folk tales that share positive central messages with our community? They demonstrated their learning to their parents on Thursday night, January 18th, before the Winter Concert.
Students started out choosing an animal from an African habitat and researching its characteristics. They read and analyzed folk tales, and from there, they imagined what kinds of stories their animal might participate in that would convey positive messages like kindness, compassion, helping others, gratitude, and so on. Each student then storyboarded ideas, wrote and rewrote drafts, and finally produced a book, a mask inspired by their main character, and a music motif performed on percussion instruments to share their messages.
Two of those stories, Elena’s Why Giraffe Have Long Necks and Eryn’s How the Parrot Got Its Intelligence were read and performed during the concert. During the performance, students either acted out original, student-choreographed movements, or played in the percussion section to make these Folktales come to life!
These students have exceeded our expectations. It just continues to amaze me how thoroughly these students grasp a project like this and take it to a level beyond what I’ve seen anywhere else. PBLs can encompass many different learning styles, subject areas, and methods of expression, and they make learning fun.
Arielle GillmanArielle has been involved in the field of education, either through volunteering, as a college student, or as a teacher, since she was 14 years old. She has taught students in multiple grades in Penfield, Fairport, Webster, and Newark and has also worked at the Mary Cariola Children's Center and The Community Place of Greater Rochester. She received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Childhood Education from SUNY Fredonia and her Master of Science Degree in Literacy Education from SUNY Geneseo.
Posted in: Highlights, Lower School, LS Birches, Second Grade, The Birches, Third Grade