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Monday, January 9, 2017

Thank You Columbia School Board of Education!

Each January we celebrate School Board Appreciation Month, which is a wonderful time to recognize our school board members for the critical role they play in Columbia School District.  We want to thank these local leaders for their devotion and enthusiasm serving as advocates for our students.  As elected officials, they are the representatives from their community, serving in the best interest of Michigan school children.  Our school board members listen to the community, make policy and set the budget. 

Even though we are making a special effort in January to show appreciation to our board members, we realize their many contributions reflect a year-round commitment. They generously give of themselves to ensure that decisions directly affecting our local schools are made by representatives of this community, people who are close to our schools and know our teachers, parents, and students.  You will see them at musicals, band concerts, and football and basketball games.  They will also be at community meetings, parent teacher conferences, the Cash Bash, and the Hope Run. 

Board members shoulder critical responsibilities and often make difficult choices. Their ultimate goal is always focused on the future success of the children in our district. It’s more important than ever before that the public supports our schools so that today’s students are prepared to be productive citizens and the leaders of tomorrow. Our board members provide vision and leadership in their roles as advocates, and they will continue to stand up for public education and guard against anything that takes away from our children.

The Columbia School District benefits from the countless hours contributed by these local citizens who work tirelessly.  The Columbia School Board is responsible for an annual budget of $ 13 million, 1415 students, 190 employees, and four schools. Plan now to show your school board members you appreciate their dedication and hard work. They are extraordinary people who tackle this enormous job. Their actions and decisions affect the present and future lives of our children. Please help us thank these dedicated individuals for their efforts to make a difference and their unfailing commitment to the continued success of our students now and in the future. 

The board members serving Columbia School District are (back row ) Mr. Garry Applegate, Vice President, Mr. Dave Slusher, Trustee, Mr. Robert Wahr, President, and Mr. Michael Moore, Trustee. Pictured in the front row: Mrs. Bev Fish, Trustee, Mrs. Jodi Collins, Secretary, and Mr. Mark Fish, Treasurer. These seven fine individuals make up an efficient and effective board that has taken on the huge responsibility and challenge of working together to lead the way in the Columbia School District.  Their ability to work as a team will help increase the effectiveness of the district and give our students the optimum opportunity to succeed now and into the future.

As we go through the cold and snowy month of January, please join me as we celebrate the continued commitment of the Columbia School Board members by telling them “Thank You!” for all of their hard work and determination.  You too may become involved in Columbia School District and make a difference in the lives of our students through our PTO, booster clubs, Buddies Reading program, and athletic programs.  If you are interested in learning more about Columbia School District and our programs, please email me at or call me at 5175926641.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Golden Eagles Class of 2016!

Columbia School District students grow up knowing that they are Golden Eagles.  As we wish the Class of 2016 farewell, we can liken their successes to the strength and swiftness of the Golden Eagle.  Much like the way an Eagle builds her nest; our graduates will begin building their adult lives.  They will add knowledge and experience, like the eagle adds grass and bits of string or twine to their nest.  Our graduates will want to build a strong foundation over the next few years to help them on their way to a successful future, much like the eagle works to build a sturdy next for their eggs.

Just like our tiny eaglets struggle to peck their way out of their eggs, our graduates may experience difficulties as they begin their lives after high school, but with determination, our graduates will move successfully through any concerns.  Similar to the way the eaglets are when they first hatch, the Columbia Central Class of 2016 will be experiencing everything for the first time as adults.  Whether our graduates are on their way to college, the military or to a job, they will have to use their strength and innate ability to problem-solve and pave the way for success. 

 As we focus in on our eaglets, we see them growing and maturing.   In much the same way our graduates will develop over time as they get ready to stretch their wings and continue to progress into a successful adulthood.

Best wishes to our newest graduates: the Class of 2016.  They have been a terrific group of students, consistently working towards goals, which many people deemed impossible.  Their organizational skills enabled them to plan and carry out the district-wide Hope Run and raise over $13,000 to fight cancer, their tenacity helped them gather donations and enough bottles of water to fill a truck for the people of flint, and they earned the highest average on the ACT in school history.

Congratulations to our graduates.  As the 49th class to graduate from the Columbia School District, you have set the bar high for those who follow in your footsteps!  If you are interested in Columbia School District programs, please email me at or call me at 5175926641.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Columbia Maker Space!

The other day I read a blog post online about the founding of Tempe, Arizona.  A gentleman was on the way from Tucson, in the southern part of Arizona, to Prescott, which is towards the northern part of the state.  When he arrived at the Salt River, it was raging and he had to wait a couple of days before he could cross.  This gentleman saw the possibilities in the area, purchased 160 acres of land, and helped start the city of Tempe.  The writer of the blog, Jim Mullins, called this gentleman (Charles T. Hayden) a visionary.  Any of us who have visited the Tempe area, with its bustling economy, well laid out streets, and large university (Arizona State University) would easily agree with Jim, that it was a stroke of genius to establish the city of Tempe (

At the Columbia School District we encourage our students to make a difference; much like Mr. Hayden did in the 1800’s.  This past week all of our fifth grade students were part of a Maker Space invention discovery day.  The students had an opportunity to build electrical circuits, including using oranges and bananas.  They learned how to program small robots to follow a trail, either on a table or on the floor.  The students used computers to interact with the robots.  Our fifth grade students were also challenged to create!  They used boxes, scissors, paper, tape, staplers and glue to build and create shapes and structures.  The students used various items to build wooden and plastic structures. 

During the Maker Space day, the Columbia teachers and advisors from the Jackson County Intermediate School District were facilitators, helping the students to use their skills and intuition to investigate and create.  Much like Mr. Hayden saw the potential in the central Arizona, our students saw the potential in the random items they were given to construct amazing creations. Their teachers supported their creative spirit and natural curiosity, and gave the students the leeway to be successful through investigations. 

Each day our Columbia teachers give their students opportunities to use their classroom experiences as a base and encourage the students to use their abilities, skills, imagination, and insight to extend their learning.  If you are interested in hearing more about Columbia School District programs, email me at or call 5175926641.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Columbia Central High School: Positive, Dynamic Students!

Over the past several weeks, the Columbia Central High School senior class has begun to imagine their graduation.  They have pictured themselves crossing the stage and celebrating their success in high school.  As June 3rd draws closer, our seniors not only think of graduation, but of their future opportunities and challenges. 

This past week our senior class had the opportunity to participate in an interview process.  During the interviews they spoke about their background, their plans and their hopes and dreams.  Those that were fortunate to sit on the interview panel, heard as our positive, intelligent students talked about scholarships they have earned, their volunteer experiences and where they will be next fall.  As they talked to the panel, it was obvious that some of our seniors were beginning to realize that just having a strong academic background will get them off to a good start, but that they will also have to use wisdom as they apply all of their academic knowledge. 

Columbia School District students have distinct advantages not only because of the high academic standards at Columbia Central, but because of the caring, nurturing nature of their teachers and our exceptional programs.   The students in our Leadership program have learned to work together, organize positive community events and spend time volunteering with our elementary children. 

Recently the students in the Leadership program organized, planned and carried out the Hope Run Day and memorial for Columbia Central alum and fallen trooper Chad Dermyer.  After the day long event was over, one of the young ladies on the planning committee mentioned that her experiences at Columbia Central have given her the confidence to get in front of the whole district student body and lead.  She and her team inspired the Columbia School District students and staff members to raise over $13,000 for the American Cancer Society.

During their time with the interview panel, other students talked about their experiences in our Advanced Placement classes and how they feel prepared to go to college.  Some of them talked about their interest in science and how their experiences taking advanced anatomy, Advanced Placement biology, Sports Medicine and Forensic Science have given them a great base for their next step in college.  The Class of 2016 is a great group of young people full of promise and energy.  It will be exciting to watch them take on their future with tenacity!

If you are interested in cheering our senior on as they walk across the graduation stage, join us at the Potter Center on June 3rd at 7:00 pm.  To have your child join the positive programs at Columbia School District, call me at 5175926641 or email me at

Monday, May 9, 2016

Columbia is a Great School Community!

Approximately 150 Columbia School District teachers, staff and administrators appreciate the opportunity to assist in developing and increasing learning activities to benefit your child’s education. Our goal is to partner with you to provide your child an outstanding educational experience in a safe, positive and dynamic environment.  

At the schools in the Columbia District, we work on being intentional regarding our students’

learning opportunities.  Teachers develop plans which include activities designed to enhance student achievement.  Our terrific teachers use detours and “teachable moments” to allow random events to become learning filled occasions.   The other day I ventured into a classroom where a visiting spider had given the teacher an opportunity to help the students learn a bit about the rather large arachnid.

Increasingly, teachers are integrating technology into their learning activities in their classroom. Our teachers engage their learners by unfolding their lesson by intentionally using technology to boost student interest and understanding.  The teachers are coming up with creative ideas to improve student achievement and to increase the capability of students to be successful problem solvers.  We are empowering our teachers to work with students to harness technology to gather information and to communicate efficiently and effectively.  Our teachers, using best practices, are striving to increase literacy and integration of technology while incorporating digital and blended learning activities into the educational environment in their classrooms.
As a member of the Columbia School District community you may support the teachers’ intentional focus on enhancing the students’ achievement by encouraging your child or grandchild to fully complete their school projects or assignments.  You may encourage your child to take the next step and learn more about topics they are covering in school by conducting web-quests.  You may also support our wonderful teachers by engaging in positive verbal support as you speak with others in the community.  Your enthusiasm for learning at Columbia Schools may also include volunteering to serve on a committee or read a book to a child or cheer our sports teams on to victory.

As we work together side-by-side leading the children of the community to become lifelong learners, our support of education will have an enduring effect on our children! I am deeply proud of the critical and immeasurable community support for the Columbia School District. Thanks to your help, Columbia School District has become one of Michigan’s premier school districts.

If you have questions about how you may partner with the Columbia School District or to register your child for school, please email me at or call me at 517.592.6641.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Teachers Are Real Heroes!

Strength!  The qualities of strength include being strong both physically and mentally.  A definition of strength may include having the ability to move with energy.  As I was thinking about the word strength, I thought about the fact that some of the people I know who show the greatest strength are teachers.  Beginning in 1984, the National Parent Teacher Association started promoting Teacher Appreciation during the first week of May.  This year the theme for Teacher Appreciation Week is “Teachers are Everyday Real Heroes!

Teachers are indeed real heroes!  Our teachers encourage children to excel.  They have patience to educate our children.  Teachers are master innovators; they use common every day experiences to give students a base of education that will help lead to success throughout their lives. 

This week join me in celebrating Teacher Appreciation Week!  Here are some things that the Parent Teacher Association recommends as you honor our teachers: Send a thank you card to a special teacher, help a teacher by volunteering in his or her classroom, and post positive comments on social media about a teacher who had an impact on your life.

Columbia teachers give of themselves both inside and outside of the classroom.  Their dedication to their students doesn’t seem to have a limit.  They use innovative plans to give students the best opportunity to excel.  The teachers’ emphasis on technology integration helps to weave complex thinking skills into each area of the curriculum.  If you are interested in learning more about the great teachers and their curricular specialties we have at Columbia School District email me at or call 5175926641.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Columbia's Music Program Plays the Right Note!

As we listen to music it affects each one of us differently.  The band leader hears the music up close with a trained ear.  The clarinet player hears the whole band, but hears those closest to him clearer.  The percussion players hear the music, but may actually feel the beat to a greater degree that those around them.  While some say the audience members have the ultimate experience enjoying the music.

This past week the Columbia Central Jr – Sr band concert was held in the auditorium.  The band members were all students who put in an amazing amount of effort learning and perfecting each piece of music.  Not only do they play in the band, many of the musicians also take Advanced Placement courses, which focus on college level curriculum for high school students.  These students must not only put a great deal of time and effort into their music, but complete hours of homework and research to be successful in the Advanced Placement course.

Other students who play in the band compete in athletics.  Combining music and athletics is challenging even for the best of students.  These student musicians must put in hours and hours afterschool practicing their sport, go home do their homework, then practice their music.  These students are incredibly dedicated to giving their best in music, academics and athletics. 

Students who are band members who enjoy athletics and academics value the benefits of music, along with many in the community.  Columbia School District values music education for our students.  Leading up to band in the high school, even elementary students have the opportunity to enjoy music class.  Students in kindergarten through sixth grade participate in general music, which includes vocal and instrumental music.  Our sixth grade students may choose to enjoy beginning band.  Once students enter seventh grade, there is junior high band and choir.  Our senior high school students may play in the band and enjoy choir class.  In addition, marching band includes after school practices and many students sing in our musicals.

The strong music program at Columbia has lasting benefits for our students including making memories, and new friends.  Not only is it rewarding to have a great music program, studies have shown that music reduces stress, increases happiness and improves health.  If you are interested in coming and enjoying our music performances, stay tuned to the Columbia School District calendar on our home page at  If you have questions about your child attending Columbia and participating in music or other programs, email me at or call 5175926641.