By Beth Guzzetta, Middle School Math and Science Teacher and Lucius and Marie Gordon Chair in Science
It was finally time for the competing architects to present their proposals. Each came armed with their virtual project plans, cost estimates, and scale model to prove that their design had the optimal combination of functionality, aesthetics, and cost-effectiveness. The project: cabins for a special-needs camp in the Northeast that can accommodate ten campers and a counselor, with beds, personal storage, and a bathroom. The judges included the Chairman of one of the most respected and successful construction companies in New York State. The architects: Allendale Columbia 8th-grade math students.
The architect project is a perfect example of how we as Middle School faculty implement numerous aspects of STEM into our curriculum through authentic, real-world applications. (more…)
Posted in: Authentic Learning, Centers for Impact, Eighth Grade, Highlights, Invent, Middle School
by Elizabeth Cotter ’20
On March 9th, I was a member of a team of six Allendale Columbia students, with Riley Leibeck ’20, Mary Cotter ’22, Sasha Furdey ’19, Nate Pifer ’19, and Cassidy Draper ’19, who competed in the Tests of Engineering Aptitude, Mathematics and Science (TEAM+S) competition, claiming victory over McQuaid.
The TEAM+S competition encourages students to explore the field of engineering through problem solving and collaboration with their teammates. The theme for the competition this year was The Engineering Brain. We had to learn about cognitive neuroscience, artificial neural networks, the intersection of artificial intelligence and biology, and more. (more…)
Posted in: Centers for Impact, Eleventh Grade, Highlights, Invent, Ninth Grade, Tenth Grade, Twelfth Grade, Upper School
Allendale Columbia won the Terra School Award at Terra Science and Education’s Rochester Finger Lakes Regional Science and Engineering Fair (TRFSEF) hosted by Rochester Museum and Science Center (RMSC). Thirteen AC students also received recognitions at the event, including the right to advance to higher-level competitions.
Sixteen AC Middle and Upper School students submitted 11 projects, the most of any participating school, which resulted in the award that comes with a check for $2,000 for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) initiatives. The students packed up their AC Innovation Day Science Fair projects and took the displays the next morning to RMSC. After setting up their projects and passing a Display and Safety check (science can be “messy”, after all), the students went to a lunch keynote address by Maria G. Korsnick, President/CEO of the Nuclear Energy Institute.
“Science Fair is inspiring and invigorating, because all these students are excited about science, every student, from fifth graders who are doing behavior projects with their cats and a dog to senior research projects that have to do with cancer diagnosis and research and machine learning, really high-end stuff,” said Maya Crosby, Director of the AC Invent Center for STEM and Innovation, and Director-in-Training for TRFSEF. “But everybody who is here is excited about their project and can’t wait to talk about it with the judges who are coming around. That curiosity all packaged in one room is really inspiring; that’s the great part.” (more…)
Posted in: Authentic Learning, Centers for Impact, Eighth Grade, Eleventh Grade, Fifth Grade, Highlights, Invent, Lower School, Middle School, Ninth Grade, Seventh Grade, Sixth Grade, Tenth Grade, Twelfth Grade, Upper School
From Kindergarteners’ dreams inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous speech to rhombicuboctahedrons made by fifth-graders, students in AC’s Lower School demonstrated some of their recent work in a Celebration of Learning assembly.
After reciting the “I Have a Dream” Poem in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, each Kindergarten student read a dream they have for the future. These kind-hearted children included dreams for everyone to have a house and car, food, water, give to others, take care of children, keep the world clean, help other people, and for everyone to be loved.
First-graders recalled facts they learned about local animals, with masks they had made with Ms. Alexander. They also performed a rap song they wrote with Mrs. Grossman about recycling:
Save the Earth, Recycling Wins!
By the First-Grade Rock Band
We want to help you know,
where all the trash should go.
If you have a piece of toast,
Where to put it? The compost!
Plastic, paper, cardboard, cans
If you recycle, you protect our lands.
Put them all in the big blue bin!
Do this now, and you will win!
Dirty wrappers, broken toys,
Listen up, girls and boys!
Don’t put things in the wrong space,
it makes our earth a stinky place.
Just as fun as playing!
Saving our earth is thrilling!
Just as fun as playing!
Saving our earth is thrilling!
“Bee Kind” was the second-graders’ motto and recent project, with its bee mascot, Zinger, whose voice made everyone giggle. They presented different ways people could add kindness in their daily lives. They also performed a regal “Kings and Queens” folk dance.
What strategies can be used to multiply numbers? Third-graders performed a skit to demonstrate multiplication strategies they’ve learned, including skip counting by threes, the sevens distributive property, halving the fives, and using solvemojis to “crack the code” of symbols representing numbers in multiple operations, and having an “ice cream party” treasure hunt after solving their 1,000th math problem of the year.
AC fourth-graders presented part two of their Zero Hunger project, explaining how wasting food also wastes money, labor, fuel, water, and time, and giving tips on how to reduce food waste with waste monsters:
- Take smaller portions!
- Eat all your crusts!
- Plan ahead to buy food you will actually use!
- Use up leftovers. Make a soup or an omelette. Just use them up!
- Clean out your pantry. Use up food close to expiration or donate. Preserve, pickle, or can food!
They also wrote and recited a food waste reduction pledge:
As an Allendale Columbia school student, I pledge to do the following.
- I pledge to be mindful about food during lunch.
- I pledge to ask about portions when getting more food.
- I pledge to waste as little food as possible by taking only what I will eat from the salad bar.
- I pledge to try and drink all of my milk, juice, or water each day.
- I pledge to be appreciative of the hard work our lunch staff does on a daily basis.
- I pledge to be courteous when informing others about the importance of curbing food waste.
- If I am out to eat and there are leftovers, I will bring it home in a box.
How many books have you read since September? Fifth-graders updated everyone on their 40 Book Challenge, where each student is challenged to read 40 books from a variety of genres. They’ve read a total of 239 books this school year, and since their last Celebration of Learning in November, they’ve read 102 books. They explained how to make polyhedrons (many-sided objects), starting with “nets,” which are flat shapes that can be folded into 3-D objects; rhombicuboctahedrons, objects made by folding paper into 6 triangles and 18 squares; and stellated (star-shaped) rhombicuboctahedrons with 18 folded pyramids. They also watched the documentary, “The Number on Great-Grandpa’s Arm,” which inspired the students to write letters to the film’s creators.
There’s a whole lot of learning going on in Lower School!
John PalomakiJohn is a parent of twin boys in Middle School at AC, an active volunteer, and occasional contributor of stories and photos. John spent a stimulating 10 years at Microsoft through the 90s as a systems engineer and managing executive relations programs. Since then, John has worked with non-profit organizations and has held leadership roles in independent schools in New Jersey and Connecticut in development, communications, and technology. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Natural Sciences (Biology) from Colgate University.
Posted in: Authentic Learning, Fifth Grade, First Grade, Fourth Grade, Kindergarten, Lower School, Second Grade, Third Grade
Students at Allendale Columbia School have a strong team of Student Support Services professionals ready and willing to work with students from Nursery to Grade 12. The team members discussed their various roles at the Parents of Allendale Columbia Kids (PACK) Coffee Connection on November 14th.
Starmeshia Jones, School Psychologist and Director of Support Services
As the School Psychologist and Director of Support Services, I have the privilege of working with students from Nursery through Upper School. I partner with families, teachers, school administrators, and other professionals to foster a safe, healthy, and supportive learning environment. I consult and collaborate with teachers, meet with parents, and provide short-term or crisis counseling to students. Additionally, as needed, I conduct classroom observations and emotional and behavioral screenings. I am a member of the Student Success Team (SST) in Lower School and similar support teams in Middle and Upper School. Working closely with both the Lower School Reading Advocate and Middle/Upper School Learning Advocate and the Pittsford Central School District, I strive to be a resource for information related to special education. I promote problem-solving, anger-management, and conflict resolution, and I reinforce positive coping skills and resilience. I make referrals to, help coordinate services with, and serve as a liaison for individual community-based providers.
Carrie Shone, Speech-Language Therapist
As the Speech-Language Therapist, I provide observations, screenings, and services to children in grades Nursery through 5. I’m also available for consultation in Middle and Upper Schools (Grades 6-12). As a member of the Student Success Team (SST), I support our students in a variety of ways. Screenings are carried out for Kindergarten students, new students, and students referred to the SST. Services may be provided individually or in small groups. The areas I address include articulation, language, auditory processing, dysfluency, voice, pragmatics, and social communication. The student’s teacher and I determine together the best times for services to be provided, and changes are made as needed. Services are provided in the classroom, the Speech room, or a combination of the two. The least restrictive environment is taken into account as plans are made.
Kristen McKenzie, Math Learning Advocate, Lower School
As the Math Advocate for Lower School, my job is to support teachers and students with math related learning. I also serve as a member of the Student Support Team in the Lower School and of the school’s Academic Leadership Team. My first priority is to ensure that teachers have the support that they need in order to provide the best math education for each and every student in the classroom. I meet with grade-level teams regularly to discuss plans for the daily differentiated learning opportunities that are being provided to students in the classroom. In addition, we discuss student needs at all levels. If a child’s individual needs are not being met with daily classroom math instruction, the teachers communicate with the Student Success Team. SST members discuss an action plan that could include my direct support for a student in and/or out of the classroom. If additional support is recommended for enrichment opportunities or reinforcement of concepts, parents are contacted and a schedule is determined with the classroom teachers. Finally, I help evaluate the Lower School’s mathematics curriculum and Exit Learning Objectives (ELOs) to ensure that we are providing a well-aligned vertical curriculum that will provide students with the necessary tools for their future.
Amanda Gianniny, Reading Advocate, Lower School
I support teachers and students with reading and writing instruction and serve on the Student Support Team and the school’s Academic Leadership Team. First and foremost, I work to ensure that teachers have the support and resources they need to provide differentiated instruction in the classroom. I regularly discuss plans and student needs with grade-level teams at all levels. If a child’s individual needs are not being met with daily classroom literacy instruction, the teachers communicate with the Student Success Team, who then discuss an action plan, which may include my supporting a student directly, in or out of the classroom. Parents are contacted and a schedule is determined with the classroom teachers if this type of additional support for reinforcement or enrichment are recommended. I am also involved in evaluating the Lower School’s reading and writing curriculum and Exit Learning Objectives to make sure that our vertical curriculum is well-aligned vertical curriculum and provides students with the necessary tools for their future. Additionally, I serve as the Special Education Case Manager for the Lower School. If a child receives special education services or is being evaluated for possible services, I work with Pittsford, our home district, to make sure those services and provided.
Seth Hopkins, Learning Advocate, Middle and Upper Schools
As the Learning Advocate at the Middle and Upper Schools, my job is to support each AC student in accessing as much of the program and as many of the learning opportunities as is possible and appropriate for that student. I do this by helping to design, create, and manage systematic supports, but I also individual and individualized supports. In addition to working with and for students directly, I also collaborate with AC teachers, parents, and staff in their efforts to support our kids. I work regularly with students at the group and individual level and have worked hard to make myself, and the advocate position, an important member of the entire AC community. I do this because every student, regardless of the level of academic maturity, effort, talent, or acumen, will struggle at some point during their time at AC, and we want them to know that help is only a far as the nearest adult.
In addition to the AC staff listed above, every faculty member and administrator at Allendale Columbia is prepared to advocate for each child’s learning and knows when to suggest additional resources. AC receives additional services as needed from the Pittsford School District.
Posted in: LS Birches, MS Birches, PACK, The Birches, US Birches
A delegation of educators from Belarus, seeking ways to boost innovation and economic development and cultivate a competitive workforce, visited Allendale Columbia School because of its reputation as the best school to visit for its “bottom-up” approach to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), which formally begins in Kindergarten. (more…)
Posted in: Centers for Impact, Eighth Grade, Eleventh Grade, Fifth Grade, First Grade, Fourth Grade, Global Engagement, Highlights, Invent, Kindergarten, Lower School, Middle School, Ninth Grade, Partnerships, Second Grade, Seventh Grade, Sixth Grade, Tenth Grade, Third Grade, Twelfth Grade, Upper School
Congratulations to Callahan! Our Great Pumpkin weighed in at 122 pounds, and Callahan’s estimation of 111 pounds came the closest to the actual weight without going over! Callahan wins a gift bag with some treats as well as a gift certificate for a free Encore class for the 2018-19 school year.
The U.S. Department of Energy held its Western New York Regional Science Bowl Competition on March 3rd at St. Christopher’s School in Buffalo, New York. Allendale Columbia sent a team of Middle School students to participate for the 13th year in a row in this past-faced and intense academic competition. The National Science Bowl (NSB) is a science and math competition using a quiz bowl format with buzzers. The competition has been organized and sponsored by the United States Department of Energy since its inception in 1991.
Posted in: Centers for Impact, Eighth Grade, Highlights, Invent, Middle School, MS Birches, Seventh Grade, Sixth Grade, The Birches