Welcome from the Director

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  • Thank you for your interest in the AC Center for Humanities!

    How can the study of history, literature, art, culture, and technology help us to understand what it means to be human? This big question is at the heart of the AC Center for the Humanities. At AC, humanities classes teach you to value the past, ground yourself in the present, and look to the future. You will grapple with complicated problems that go beyond simple black-and-white answers; communicate using authentic scenarios and various media; and develop your own voice in the world.

    The study of the humanities at Allendale Columbia School cultivates thoughtful, creative, and empathetic children and young adults who live meaningful lives within their communities, their nations, and the world. Students are engaged intellectually and emotionally; they are acquainted with the breadth and depth of the human experience; and they practice skills that will allow them to navigate the world today and in the future.

Center for the Humanities Mission

The purpose of the AC Center for the Humanities is to coordinate humanities-related curriculum that all students engage in and to offer opportunities for students to explore humanities-related topics through elective work both inside and outside of the classroom.

The study of the humanities at Allendale Columbia School cultivates thoughtful, creative, and empathetic children and young adults who live meaningful lives within their communities, their nations, and the world. 

The skills emphasized in humanities courses, especially critical thinking and communication skills, are vital for making sense of our information-saturated world and being active contributors in work, civics, and culture.

In the humanities, students learn from perspectives that are different from their own, explore ethical dilemmas, and examine and articulate their own values. Through their study of history, students are better able to understand the present, and they learn to read literature as both a window into the lives of others and a mirror for reflecting upon their own lives. 

Through the humanities, students are engaged intellectually and emotionally; they are acquainted with the breadth and depth of the human experience; and they practice skills that will allow them to navigate the world today and in the future.

What We Do

Below are a few of the experiences students can look forward to participating in through the Center for Humanities.

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  • Grade Level Forums

    The goals of the forum are to address important issues, to model civil discourse, and to spark discussions in the AC community. Students involved in the forum choose an issue and prepare papers to present the issue to the student body, providing historical context and addressing the issue from diverse perspectives. The presentations are judged by a panel of alumni, trustees, and other friends of AC.
  • Muse Literary Magazine

    Muse highlights the literary and artistic talents of Allendale Columbia students, including work from Kindergarten to Grade 12. Students who work on Muse engage in every aspect of the production of a literary magazine: picking a theme, soliciting submissions, selecting works to include, and creating the layout using publishing software.
  • Capstone Projects

    8th Grade Capstone: During the second semester of 8th grade, students embark upon a collaborative learning adventure among English, History, and Science. Students read one novel and one play on the overarching theme of World War II, which will help prompt them to select topics to explore in groups. Each student will compose a 5-page, research-based, expository essay, with the capstone project culminating in a public presentation of their learning at the 8th Grade Exhibition.

    Upper School Capstone Certificate:
    Upper School student who take on the Humanities Capstone Project will research humanities-based topics that they identify for themselves, develop their work through various media, and present it to both specialized and general audiences. Key features of the project include students doing the following:
    • move through a structured course of research, proposal, creation, and presentation
    • conduct original research (e.g., field work, interviews, surveys, experiments), which includes going through an approval process with AC’s Institutional Review Board
    • identify the form best suited to student and topic (e.g., thesis paper, poetry collection, podcast or video; website)
    • create a website that showcases polished work (product) and includes a log/journal that records progress and reflects on process
    • present work in a school or public venue, as determined by the nature of the project
    • share work with a more general audience

Making an Impact Through the Humanities

Beginning in 8th grade, students have the opportunity to dig deeper into their study of the humanities as they embark upon a collaborative learning adventure among English, History, and Science. Students read one novel and one play on the overarching theme of World War II, which helps them select topics to explore. Students then create websites on their topics that include research-based, expository essays; pre-recorded presentations; and a variety of other creative non-fiction choices. At the end of the year, their websites are shared with members of the AC community.

For qualified upper school students in Grade 12, students in the Humanities Capstone Certificate program begin their year surveying various kinds of humanities research, as well as different ways to present that research to both academic and public audiences. They then move through a structured series of milestones (proposal, annotated bibliography, etc.) in order to identify independent topics and undertake sustained inquiry into those topics. All students in the humanities capstone project create websites to log and reflect on their progress, as well as to showcase their products. At the end of the year, they present their work to a panel audience. It is important to know that, while some students may choose to write a thesis paper as their product, they may also choose other forms, such as podcasts, documentaries, websites, and creative writing portfolios.

Center for Humanities Course Offerings

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  • Middle School

    Core English Courses:
    • English 6: Literary Seminar I
    • English 7: Literary Seminar II
    • English 8: Exploring Literary Lenses
    English Electives:
    • Middle School Newspaper
    • Role-Playing
    Core History Courses:
    • History 6: International Investigations
    • History 7: American History: The Roots of Democracy
    • History 8: American History: The Growth of the Nation
  • Upper School

    Core English Courses:
    • English 9: Identity, Morality, and Justice
    • English 10: Diversity in Thought and Culture
    • English 11: American Identities
    • English 12 
    • AP English Language and Composition
    • AP English Literature and Composition
    English Electives:
    • Practical Ethics
    • Creative Writing
    Core History Courses:
    • History 9: Morality, Democracy, and Justice
    • History 10: Revolution and the Modern World
    • US History
    • Honors US History
    • Honors World History
    History Electives:
    • Democracy and Discourse
    • Economics
    • Modern American Cultural History
    • History of Black Rochester
At Allendale Columbia, we prepare students for the world they will inherit. In our trusting and responsive environment, students in nursery through grade 12 grow in confidence and develop scholastic independence.