Member Profile- Allendale Columbia School

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Closing the Opportunity Gap for Low-Income Students in Rochester, NY
Of comparably sized cities, Rochester, New York currently ranks first for both child poverty and extreme poverty on a national level, with 84% of the 30,000 students in the Rochester City School District qualifying for free or reduced lunch. The opportunity gap for low-income students widens during summer because these students have less access to the learning and enrichment opportunities that middle and upper-income children take advantage of.  Allendale Columbia School promotes greater equity by extending high-quality, tuition-free summer enrichment experiences to students from the Rochester City School District. 

AC Summer LEAP
AC Summer LEAP is a six-week summer enrichment program that promotes pathways to empowerment through education. It is one of the only summer programs in Rochester to offer comprehensive support and enrichment in Spanish for bilingual students. The program prioritizes project-based learning and integrates restorative practices for conflict resolution, and AC Summer LEAP participants benefit from access to community speakers, weekly field trips, and wellness activities. Other notable program features include an active Parent-Teacher Organization, shared professional development opportunities for teachers in both schools, and continued year-round academic support and enrichment on-site at School #17 for AC Summer LEAP participants. Since its founding in 2014 when the program served 30 students, AC Summer LEAP has grown to serve 110 students in grades K-5 in 2018 and will continue to grow to ultimately serve 135 students in grades K-8 in the coming years.

A growing tradition that inspires students to learn, lead and flourish.
In addition to providing access to high-quality summer learning, AC Summer LEAP believes in strong communication and collaboration between families, program staff, and the larger Rochester community. We seek to create engaging and valuable experiences that inspire lifelong learning. It is important to the leadership at both Allendale Columbia School and School #17 to establish ample opportunities for peer interactions and assets-based community building. Last year’s peer-to-peer experience culminated in a TEDxAllendaleColumbiaSchool talk, in which student council members from both schools came together to engage in a series of conversations about implicit bias. Their conversations sparked the composition of the “I Am More Than” poem they collaborated on to create and performed at the TEDxAllendaleColumbia event. Students have also come together through this partnership to learn Kingian principles of nonviolence and walk together in a community march for peace.


Lindsey Brown
Director AC Summer LEAP
Allendale Columbia School
Rochester, NY

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