We’re Listening and Moving Forward
Dear valued member of our school community: The enthusiasm on campus since school’s start in September has been gratifying and exciting. Mick Gee’s arrival—coupled with the inception of innovative new educational programs and experiences— has provided dynamic new opportunities for everyone here. We are delighted about the year so far, and thrilled about what is to come!
A Message from Mick Gee
Pre-Primary and Lower School snapshot
Middle School snapshot
Upper School snapshot
In your own words
A Message from Mick Gee, Head of School Dear Parents, It’s been an exciting first six months here at Allendale Columbia School. I’ve learned a lot about the AC community thanks to input from all of you, from your children, and from our alumni around the world. It is clear we have a phenomenal foundation, reputation, and tradition of excellence. The most exciting thing to me is that everyone I’ve interacted with has been enthusiastic about the future ahead of us. You are expecting—as you should be—that the faculty, staff, and administrators will develop, share, refine, and implement new ideas and initiatives so that AC continues to lead the way as a dynamic learning community.
“To hear alums speak about their experiences at AC is really affirming.” In this issue of Listening and Moving Forward, you’ll read about some of the latest news in each division. I have encouraged faculty to innovate, and they have responded eagerly. Their enthusiasm has inspired our students. It’s a remarkable time to be at AC.
Examples in this edition include: /RZHU6FKRROVWXGHQWVSDUWLFLSDWLQJLQQHZ'D\ electives as well as our FIRST LEGO League team 0LGGOH6FKRROVWXGHQWVFROODERUDWLQJZLWKWKH Paleontological Research Institution’s Mastodon Matrix Project 8SSHU6FKRROVWXGHQWVRUJDQL]LQJ TEDxAllendaleColumbiaSchool, an event by youth for youth
“There is a definite sense in the local community that AC is moving forward.” Looking back on my first six months here, I’m particularly proud that we have been able to bring these and other new initiatives to life. School should be meaningful; it should be full of experiences that are authentic and applicable outside our walls. Your children aren’t here just to learn the facts about a particular subject. They’re here because every day at AC children dig deeper, question more, discuss, debate, and question again. As you may have heard me say before, students shouldn’t just learn about science—they should become scientists. The same applies for all disciplines at AC. Be on the lookout for more opportunities for your child to participate in authentic experiences—including more collaboration with external organizations—in the coming months and years. I’m having conversations now with some of our region’s major higher educational institutions and they are excited about working with your children. They see AC’s flexibility as a huge benefit—we can work with them to adapt aspects of our curriculum to expand offerings for our students. Our independence is key, as is the dedication and focus of our faculty and students.
We have a new committee in place to ensure that as our program evolves, it is reflective of our teachers’ voices as well as mine. In addition to helping our students develop into excellent human beings, it is critical to continue developing our faculty so they are inspired and inspiring. This is one of the many ways we will continue to create demand for enrollment. In fact, “I want my child at that school” is a feeling, a sense of pride, I hope you carry with you. We want all of you to feel that AC is the best place for your children. Certainly our faculty, staff, and administrators keep your children and the next generation of students at the forefront of everything we do. I’m also happy to share my continued enthusiasm that as part of our planning for next year, we will welcome Ryan Burke as our new Head of Middle School. Ryan comes to AC from the nationally recognized Overlake School where, as Dean of Students, he has been responsible for the education and well-being of 300 students. In addition to his experience as a department chair, teacher, learning specialist, and coach, Ryan co-founded a company that focuses on teacher learning, student learning, experiential education, and the design thinking process. He has also developed partnerships with Microsoft, DigiPen, and other well-known organizations.
“ ‘I want my child at that school’ is a feeling, a sense of pride, I hope you carry with you.”
AC is a dynamic educational community, where students are known and challenged to reach their potential and coursework is relevant and collaborative. We are committed to providing the best possible educational experience for your children. This communication is just a glimpse of what’s happened this year, and what is still to come. Shortly you’ll receive re-enrollment contracts; we hope you’ll make the same commitment to give your children the AC experience next year.
Mick Gee Head of School
At Allendale Columbia: )ZIV]WXYHIRXMWORS[R and challenged. We focus on depth and breadth. 0IEVRMRKI\TIVMIRGIWEVIVIPIZERX ERHGSPPEFSVEXMZIXLI]JSWXIV independent thinking, leadership, and integrity. ;IEVIQSVIXLER EWGLSSP[IEVI EVIWTSRWMZI community.
First here, then anywhere.
Pre-Primary and Lower School snapshot A highly individualized approach to instruction has infused faculty and students alike with a new enthusiasm for discovery, collaboration, and leadership. Day Six inspires the Lower School community [MXLVIPIZERXMRXIVHMWGMTPMREV]I\TIVMIRGIW In Pre-Primary and Lower School, we’re using our freedom as an independent school to broaden learning experiences in innovative ways. For example, our Day Six program provides academic choices for students and additional opportunities for innovative teaching. With themes such as “Passion Projects,” “China,” and “Sustainability,” faculty members have designed classes around topics such as astronomy, sign language, Terra Cotta Warriors, ribbon dance, and community service. This is one of the ways we’ve tapped into the creativity of our faculty, as well as our students. Teachers get to go beyond books and tests and really bring subjects to life for their students—many of whom are so excited to discover new areas of interest that they continue to explore on their own or through our Guide on the Side program. Led by students, Guide on the Side provides opportunities to develop leadership skills by putting students in charge of their own projects. In one notable example, three 4th and 5th grade students developed their own Minecraft server to foster a safe, engaging gaming environment with other students.
“Day Six has been an amazing adventure that has reaped so many more benefits than we ever imagined.” - John Sullivan, Head of Lower School 4
Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics
78)1 TVSZMHIWGLEPPIRKI°ERHJYR Launched in September 2012, our S.T.E.M. program has enabled us to significantly increase science time in younger grades, and even doubled class time in the upper elementary grades. Teachers differentiate according to ability and interest while providing instruction on every facet of the scientific method from as early as kindergarten. S.T.E.M. focuses on the Life Sciences as well as Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics and provides a critical foundation for a lifelong love of inquiry-based science.
2YVXYVMRKMRXVMRWMGQSXMZEXMSR At AC you can expect child centered teaching and learning. By bridging the best of Day Six, S.T.E.M., and Topics of Exploration (TOE), with other elements of our dynamic curriculum, Pre-Primary and Lower School students will continue to be inspired to study topics in depth, master content, and determine how to best share their findings in authentic and relevant ways. Looking to 2013 and beyond, Pre-Primary and Lower School students can expect even more opportunities for collaboration and exploration. We offer a highly successful and innovative approach to learning—and one that’s just not possible in a public school. “We’re looking to nurture intrinsic motivation,” explains John. “That doesn’t happen by taking standardized tests.”
Middle School snapshot New, relevant learning experiences and personalized resources help Middle School students explore their interests, lead, and excel. Student Success Center and Dean of Students LIPTMRHMZMHYEPWI\GIPMRXLIMVWYFNIGXEVIEW New this year, the Student Success Center and Dean of Students position provide dedicated opportunities for students to advocate for themselves and seek out additional support as they need it. Students can also use the Center to extend their learning, collaborate with peers, build connections between topics they’re studying, and explore personal interests, such as entering an academic contest. Tina Duver is excited about the changes. “As Dean of Students, I help make sure our kids have a consistent advocate and sounding board so they feel safe to take risks and have a great experience here,” she explains. Plans are in place to expand the Center’s offerings and the Dean of Students position to provide additional support for student life.
Academic competitions offer opportunities beyond the classroom Allendale Columbia is the only school in the area to VHQGDWHDPWRWKH86'HSDUWPHQWRI(QHUJ\6FLHQFH Bowl, where we consistently finish strong. Middle School students also compete in Math Counts and the National Geographic Society Geo Bee. New next year will be the opportunity for sixth graders to participate in a FIRST LEGO League team. This new team will build on the success of this year’s Lower School team. These opportunities provide arenas for our students to further explore their interests and apply their knowledge.
Paleontological partnership engages students in problem-based learning Sixth grade science students have been getting hands on with a paleontological “dig” without leaving the classroom. This interdisciplinary project is a result of a collaboration between Middle School faculty members Tina Duver and Jay Theuer and a new community partnership with the Paleontological Research Institution in Ithaca, NY. Several pounds of material dug up with the remains of a mastodon that died just as the last Ice Age was ending are being carefully combed through for clues to everything from climate change to human involvement. The students have been reporting their findings to research organizers at the Paleontological Research Institution and have received direct feedback from Dr. Carlyn Buckler with the Museum of the Earth who said, “Wow! You are all doing a fantastic job! These shells–and everything else you found–will become part of our research and education collection. We hope to have the whole collection online by next fall, and to put your school’s name on the lovely things you found. That way, scientists researching the Pleistocene can use your information to better understand what the environment was like 14,000 years ago, and other Mastodon Matrix Project participants can see what kinds of things you all found. Thank you so much for helping scientists discover more about the Pleistocene – we hope you did, too!” “If the samples are ruined, they can’t be replaced. That makes this a very real experiment,” said Head of School, Mick Gee. “This project illustrates the difference between teaching children science and teaching children to be scientists. They’re not the same.” First here, then anywhere.
8SSHU6FKRROVQDSVKRW Independent Â thinking. Â Leadership. Â Â Integrity. Â Our Â students Â are Â generating Â Â innovative Â ideas Â and Â shaping Â our Â Â community Â and Â world. Â
8)(\IZIRXF]WXYHIRXWJSVWXYHIRXWGVIEXIW ELMKLP]VIPIZERXPIEVRMRKI\TIVMIRGI In Â the Â spirit Â of Â sharing Â ideas Â that Â inspire Â progress Â and Â FKDQJHVHYHUDO8SSHU6FKRROVWXGHQWVKDYHSODQQHG a Â TEDx Â event Â for Â February Â 2. Â This Â independently Â organized Â event, Â licensed Â by Â TED, Â is Â built Â around Â the Â theme Â of Â connections. Â A Â series Â of Â speakers, Â including Â students Â and Â community Â members, Â will Â offer Â their Â insights Â about Â connecting Â with Â others Â and Â sharing Â experiences, Â often Â in Â unexpected Â ways. â€œWe Â decided Â to Â focus Â the Â event Â on Â connections, Â Â a Â topic Â of Â interest Â to Â everyone, Â especially Â as Â we Â Â try Â to Â understand Â new Â ways Â to Â connect Â and Â Â collaborate Â globally,â€? Â said Â event Â organizer Â and Â AC Â 11th Â grader Â Martijn Â Appelo. Â â€œWhile Â I Â am Â sure Â we Â will Â hear Â how Â technology Â is Â essential Â to Â help Â develop Â connections, Â there Â may Â be Â some Â surprising Â ideas Â that Â will Â help Â inspire Â new Â thinking.â€? â€œThe Â power Â of Â ideas Â formed Â by Â first-Âhand Â Â observation Â and Â real-Âworld Â experience Â is Â what Â drives Â true Â authentic Â learning,â€? Â said Â Mick Â Gee, Â Head Â of Â School. Â â€œThis Â TEDx Â event Â will Â provide Â students Â with Â a Â unique Â opportunity Â to Â add Â their Â voices Â to Â Â the Â dialogue. Â In Â this Â way, Â they Â produce Â their Â own Â knowledge Â instead Â of Â simply Â absorbing Â it. Â They Â become Â innovators Â and Â problem Â solvers, Â ready Â to Â work Â at Â the Â forefront Â of Â change. Â This Â is Â a Â testament Â to Â the Â AC Â experience.â€? 6
3YVVIWTSRWMZIGSQQYRMX]VIXYVRWXS'SWXE6MGE Also Â in Â February, Â the Â largest Â AC Â student Â service Â group Â ever Â will Â travel Â to Â Costa Â Rica Â to Â help Â two Â schools Â make Â needed Â updates Â to Â their Â buildings Â and Â grounds. Â These Â ninth Â through Â twelfth Â graders Â will Â be Â immersed Â in Â the Â daily Â life Â and Â culture Â of Â the Â town Â and Â bring Â classroom Â supplies Â for Â the Â VWXGHQWV'LDQD*OHHVRQ+HDGRI8SSHU6FKRROVDLGÂłWKH size Â of Â the Â group Â reflects Â a Â great Â interest Â on Â the Â part Â of Â our Â students Â to Â participate,â€? Â also Â noting Â that Â many Â of Â this Â yearâ€™s Â travelers Â have Â been Â on Â the Â trip Â previously Â and Â helped Â inspire Â others Â to Â join Â the Â project Â this Â year.
International students enrich the AC community Our Â expanded Â international Â student Â program Â continues Â to Â strengthen Â our Â school Â community Â within Â and Â beyond Â the Â classroom. Â Numerous Â AC Â families Â generously Â opened Â their Â homes Â to Â share Â the Â Thanksgiving Â weekend Â with Â our Â international Â students, Â providing Â a Â meaningful Â exchange Â of Â culture Â and Â tradition. Â International Â students Â have Â also Â collaborated Â with Â some Â of Â our Â youngest Â students Â by Â leading Â presentations Â and Â discussions Â relevant Â to Â the Â Lower Â Schoolâ€™s Â study Â of Â China. Â In Â addition, Â our Â FIRST Â LEGO Â League Â Â team Â now Â has Â some Â new Â coaching Â talent Â on Â its Â side. Â Â Fei Â Ma, Â a Â 12th Â grade Â student Â from Â China, Â has Â brought Â Â her Â experience Â as Â an Â international Â robotics Â competitor Â Â to Â AC Â where Â she Â is Â inspiring Â our Â Lower Â School Â team!
You should expect more than the standard. “ At Allendale Columbia, all the teachers know you by name; they know your personality. You’re not just another kid in class.”
At Allendale Columbia School, SYVWXYHIRXWLEZIEGGIWWXS VIPIZERXERHGSPPEFSVEXMZI learning experiences within EVIWTSRWMZIGSQQYRMX]%WE VIWYPXXLI]´VIEFPIXSEGLMIZI their highest potential.
“ This is my first year, and I’ve
never had this much fun at school.”
Megan C. ’17
“ I find myself well prepared for the challenging courses offered in college compared to other students in my classes.”
Yunmei Z. ’12, Cornell University ’16
“ My son has been well-
prepared for the future
with a rich and colorful academic experience including
challenging course work, vigorous classroom discussions, caring and committed faculty, and
a diverse group of fun, bright, and polite friends.” Rachel Rose Colaprete, Parent ’11 and ’13
“ Tonight, my daughter spent a good half hour excitedly telling us about an experience she had at school today. I was utterly impressed by the fact that the faculty allowed the students to ask their own questions and then instead of simply giving them the answer, challenged them to discover it on their own.”
“ Our daughter interacted regularly with faculty, developed a comfort in expressing herself, and realized an active dialogue with faculty and fellow students enhances the learning experience.” 1EVMERRI7YPPMZERParent ’11
Chris Herlong, Parent ’23, ’26, and ’26
First here, then anywhere.
Contact us with questions and concerns… or just to chat! Leadership Team:
Mick Gee Head of School 585-381-4560 x213 email@example.com
Mary Beth Conway PACK President 585-955-3260 firstname.lastname@example.org
.SLR7YPPMZER Head of Lower School 585-381-4560 x223 email@example.com
Lisa Campbell PACK Vice President 585-461-2394 firstname.lastname@example.org
Andrew Ragan Interim Head of Middle School 585-381-4560 x261 email@example.com
Colleen Dandrea 0S[IV7GLSSP(MZMWMSR0MEMWSR 585-924-5638 firstname.lastname@example.org
Diana J. Gleeson Head of Upper School 585-381-4560 x267 email@example.com
Lynn Frenett 1MHHPI7GLSSP(MZMWMSR0MEMWSR 585-352-1401 firstname.lastname@example.org
Katherine Lapa Director of Marketing and Communications 585-381-4560 x309 email@example.com
Wendy Howitt 9TTIV7GLSSP(MZMWMSR0MEMWSR 585-271-4967 firstname.lastname@example.org
Nate Merritt Athletic Director 585-381-4560 x264 email@example.com John Reese (MVIGXSVSJ(IZIPSTQIRX 585-381-4560 x234 firstname.lastname@example.org 1SRMGE8VIZIXX 'LMIJ*MRERGMEP3J½GIV 585-381-4560 x211 email@example.com Karyn B.Vella Director of Admissions 585-381-4560 x282 firstname.lastname@example.org
First here, then anywhere. 519 Allens Creek Road | Rochester, NY 14618 | 585.381.4560 | AllendaleColumbia.org Now well into its second century, Allendale Columbia is a leading independent co-ed college prep school for students in nursery through grade 12. Here, learning goes far beyond books and tests. We have the freedom to dig deeper so students can question more, discuss, debate, and question again. As a result, our students develop critical thinking skills and become effective problem solvers. Our faculty members use their independence and experience to connect knowledge to real life so our students can make more sense of the world–and their place in it. It all adds up to a different school of thought: high expectations and relevant experiences that prepare students to succeed in a global community.
Listening and Moving Forward Winter 2013