Talking About Race

Posted on October 28th, 2020 by lbrown
Today’s resources center around engaging in meaningful conversations about race.  Did you know that 64% of Black adults say their family talked to them regularly about challenges related to race while 90% of white adults said they rarely had these conversations?  Also, be sure to check out the PBS Let’s Talk series which addresses the best ways to talk to kids about race.


How often does a conversation about race turn a room silent, or create divisions among friends, family, and colleagues? Why does this happen?
Many people think that talking about race is “taboo” or have been taught to avoid the topic all together. Others may shy away due to lack of experience or ability to articulate their feelings on the topic. Whatever the reason, taking this Challenge may help to build the skills to participate in conversations about race to help move our community forward.
Here’s How You Get Started
First, ask yourself if you are comfortable engaging in a conversation about race with those who are the same race as you. Now, how about a conversation about race with someone who is a different race? Either situation may feel uncomfortable, especially if you haven’t been exposed to this type of dialogue or are not sure how to start. Maybe you’re worried about “saying the wrong thing”, causing harm, or creating a rift in a relationship.
If this is you, you’re not alone. Check out the resources below for helpful tips and supportive examples to improve conversations about race.
64% of Black adults said that their family talked to them about challenges related to race while they were growing up (32% said that this conversation happened often).
90% of white adults said that their families rarely had these types of conversations.
The 21-Day Racial Equity Challenge does not support nor endorse any advertisements associated with the above content.
Questions to Consider for Self-Reflection:
  • How often have you been in social settings where the majority of individuals have been of a different race or ethnicity?
  • When you hear people in your circles making biased comments, do you speak up?
Ways to Get Involved:
Share What You Learned:
Use the images below to share that you learned about race and equity today, and use be sure to include #ROCequity.
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Posted in: Diversity Equity and Inclusion

Race & Equity

Posted on October 23rd, 2020 by lbrown
Today marks the beginning of the United Way’s 21-Day Equity Challenge, and Allendale Columbia is thrilled to be participating!  As part of our participation, all employees and some community members will be receiving a daily email with resources and reflection questions around issues of equity.  We will also provide opportunities to come together and discuss the content you are exploring.
Today’s highlights:
  • About 10% of AC’s students are multiracial.  “Race and Multiracial Americans in the U.S. Census” gives an overview of how multiracial Americans have been represented in the census over time.
  • “The Myth of Race Debunked” is a short video that highlights how racial categories have changed greatly over time. A great resource to use with your children and/or students!


Welcome to Day 1 of our community’s 21-Day Racial Equity Challenge! Together, thousands of local people are working to develop a deeper understanding of race, equity, and our collective role in improving our community.
To help set the stage, let’s look at a few common terms and develop a mutual understanding of diversity, inclusion, and equity:
  • Diversity – Welcoming differences of race and ethnicity, gender and gender identity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, language, culture, national origin, religious commitment, age, (dis)ability status, and political perspective.
  • Inclusion – A commitment to ensuring that differences are welcomed, every person feels a sense of belonging, and everyone’s voice is valued and heard.
  • Equity – A commitment to fair and impartial opportunities for all, often through actively challenging and responding to bias, harassment, and discrimination.
This Challenge is focused on racial equity. The Center for Social Inclusion defines racial equity as an outcome and a process. We are striving toward the outcome of everyone having what they need to thrive, regardless of their race or where they live. The process of equity requires breaking down beliefs, systems, policies, and practices that support systemic racism and racial inequity.
You may have heard the idea that race is a “social construct”. What does this mean? Race is not defined by genetics or DNA, instead society plays a major role in shaping our views of race and racial identity. With this comes social, economic, and political implications that have contributed to racial inequity in the United States for hundreds of years.
“The gaps between racial and ethnic groups are greater in the Rochester region than in the United States or New York State as a whole. This is not a city-suburb comparison. The nine-county area includes four cities, expansive suburban areas, numerous villages, and significant rural areas.”
Option 1: Read “Race and Multiracial Americans in the U.S. Census” from the Pew Research Center
Option 2: Read “What is Racial Equity” from the Center for Social Inclusion
Option 3: Watch “The Myth of Race: Debunked in 3 Minutes” from Jenée Desmond Harris at Vox
The 21-Day Racial Equity Challenge does not support nor endorse any advertisements associated with the above content.
Questions to Consider for Self-Reflection:
  • When did I first become aware of my racial identity?
  • How does my race impact me on a day-to-day basis?
Local Ways to Get Involved:
  • Sign up to learn more about Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative’s Structural Racism Guiding Principle and dismantling institutional racism on October 29.
Share What You Learned:
Use the images below to share that you learned about race and equity today, and use be sure to include #ROCequity.
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Posted in: Diversity Equity and Inclusion, Highlights

MLK-inspired Dreams to Rhombicuboctahedrons: Celebrating Learning in Lower School

Posted on January 18th, 2019 by Allendale Columbia 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.

Recycling! Recycling!
Just as fun as playing!
Recycling! Recycling!
Saving our earth is thrilling!

Recycling! Recycling!
Just as fun as playing!
Recycling! Recycling!
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:

  1. Take smaller portions!
  2. Eat all your crusts!
  3. Plan ahead to buy food you will actually use!
  4. Use up leftovers. Make a soup or an omelette. Just use them up!
  5. 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 Palomaki

John Palomaki

John 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.
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Posted in: Authentic Learning, Fifth Grade, First Grade, Fourth Grade, Kindergarten, Lower School, Second Grade, Third Grade

I am from…

Posted on May 13th, 2013 by Tony Tepedino
After visiting the Rochester museum exhibit on Race and attending a school assembly on Race, freshmen English students in Ms. Hutton’s class composed poems that celebrated their own backgrounds and families. All of the poems begin, “I am from…” and capture the memorable images, sights, and sounds of their childhoods and families.
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Posted in: Highlights, Upper School

Snap if You're Where I'm From

Posted on April 12th, 2013 by Tony Tepedino
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Posted in: Middle School, Upper School

The Race Card Project

Posted on March 20th, 2013 by Tony Tepedino
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Posted in: Upper School