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Monday, April 23, 2018

Thank You!


Thank you!  Each day we use these two small words to appreciate people around us.  No matter where you are, the sentiment is the same, we appreciate what you are doing!  Other ways of expressing our thankfulness include: Merci beaucoup, Gracias, Grazie, Danke, Dank u,  Obrigado, or a simple “Thanks!”

In 1952 the last week in April was set aside to recognize secretaries through National Professional Secretaries Week, with the Wednesday of that week especially promoted as  National Secretary’s Day.  This important week filled with a chorus of “Thank You!” is now recognized as Administrative Professional‘s Day.  The recognition of Administrative Professionals was the work of very thankful and forward think gentleman named Harry F. Klemfuss.  Just as Mr. Klemfuss was appreciative of his staff, the teachers, support personnel , administrators and students at Columbia School District send a heartfelt “Thank You!” out to all of our administrative professionals!

Columbia School District has many wonderful, helpful, cheerful people in our organization. Since this is Administrative Professional’s week, I would like to introduce you to five very wonderful people who make Columbia Schools special. Monika Cook is the administrative professional to the superintendent and the Board of Education. Parents who call the Columbia School District have the pleasure of speaking with her as she offers assistance.  Although this is her first year as the administrative professional at the superintendent’s office, she has worked for the district as the Upper Elementary administrative assistant, classroom aide, and ABC room aide. She enjoys working with parents, students and teachers. Her pleasant smile and easy going manner helps put even new students at ease. We are pleased to have Monika in the office at Columbia School District!

At Columbia Upper Elementary School the administrative professional is Lori Hunter. She is the first person our parents and staff members see when they walk into the office. Her pleasant demeanor is reassuring to parents of ill children and teachers who need some support. Lori Hunter has worked for the Columbia School District for almost 20 years. She told me, “I enjoy working for Columbia School District because of the small community. Over the years I have developed sincere relationships with students and families across the district.” She continued by saying, “I have the best job!!!  In what working environment can you receive so much love every single day?  I adore all the hugs that I receive in a day. The students at CUES are the best. They are kind and respectable. I am so blessed to work with a group of amazing teachers, staff and the best Principal ever!!” One thing is evident to anyone who sees Lori work with children; she exhibits a loving caring spirit to all!

At Columbia Central High School we have the dynamic duo: Nianne Prendel  and Debbie Russell! Mrs. Prendel has worked in the Columbia School District with various responsibilities, and has been in the CCHS office for several years.  She assists Mrs O’Neil and is the hub of communication for parents, teachers and students at CCHS.  Students appreciate her calm demeanor, quick smile, and helpful assistance when they are in need.  She is kind to students and staff and is willing to assist them with any concerns that they have.

When students think of Debbie Russell, they think of her laugh and cheerful demeanor.  After working for the Columbia School District for 26 years, she still enjoys her job. She said, “I like a lot of things about Columbia Schools but my favorite is the students. My husband and I moved to this community in 1979, my children all graduated from Columbia Central High School, I have seen a lot of changes to this community and district and I’m very proud to be a part of the Columbia family.”

New to Columbia Elementary School as the administrative professional is CCHS Alum Carol Ladd.  We are so happy to have Mrs. Ladd at Columbia!  She brought experience as an elementary administrative professional with her and has made the transition nicely!  She keeps things organized and moving quickly at Columbia Elementary School, assisting the principal and teachers.  Her cheerful voice and understanding is reassurance for even the most concerned child and parent. 

At Columbia Options High School and Adult Education, Bill Miles is the new administrative professional.  He brings with him experience and expertise from his former position in another district.  His organizational ability is essential as he registers students six times per year!  His steady voice and kind demeanor enables him to assist students with their various concerns.  He is able to keep track of students as they work through their online curriculum, or attend in the classroom setting at Options.  He is a tremendous asset to the students, teachers and principal at Options!

Let’s make this week a time when we say “Thank You” to our wonderful and caring administrative professionals!  If you have any questions about Columbia School District or would like to register your child, please email me at pamela.campbell@myeagles.org or call 5175926641.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Columbia's Top Quality Teachers!


The other day I was listening to a speaker and he told a story about a pot.  As he held up the old commercial steel pot, he said that although it was over 20 years old, it was still in good condition and would last many more years producing great meals at the soup kitchen.  He asked us to think about how many things had been cooked in the pot and how it had fed many people over the years.  Then   This pot was a top quality commercial pot, built to last.  As he continued his talk, he mentioned that while we may purchase pots and pans that may seem more glitzy or appear to be a great deal, if they were made of low quality, of sub-par materials, or of poor craftsmanship, they will eventually bend and break.
he talked about the quality of the pot.

Similar to the quality pot, Columbia School District is built on quality.  Columbia School District has many excellent highly qualified teachers teaching our children.  Earlier this year Columbia Central High School teacher Mr. Kevin Miller was nominated for the Michigan Teacher of the year for the American Legion.  His nomination was based on his impact on the Columbia community.  The quality of the Columbia Central Leadership program, like the quality of the pot, has stood the test of time and impacted the community by providing the Forum program for the high school students, which has been reproduced at other Jackson County high schools.  In addition, the activities and community impact strategies Mr. Miller instills in his students through the Leadership program changes lives for the better.  The Leadership students sponsor blood drives, facilitate the Hope Run, and work with the Brooklyn Buddies.  Mr. Miller’s contributions to the community also include his coaching, and especially his many years of coaching varsity softball and football at Columbia Central.

Columbia School District has many quality teachers, staff and administrators.  This past spring Mrs. Angie Hogle was awarded Teacher of the Year by the Brooklyn-Irish Hills Chamber of Commerce.  Her positive enthusiastic focus on educational opportunities for her students is infectious!  When you enter her room you see the children engrossed in one of many learning opportunities and Mrs. Hogle leading the way.  Over the past couple years Mrs. Hogle has written grants and worked to accumulate STEM activities to enhance the learning environment for her students.  In addition, to her work with students during the school year, Mrs. Hogle spent time the past two summers teaching robotics to first and second graders in our summer program.

Living by the motto, “let a book be your ticket to the world”, Mrs. Schmidt has opened the eyes of Columbia Central junior high students to the world around them.  She helps students who never have been interested in reading to love getting into the next book.  Her students have had an opportunity to expand their ability to write and several of her students recently placed in a county-wide a poetry contest.  Many of her former students who have moved onto college, often talk about their junior high English class and give Mrs. Schmidt the credit for teaching them to be a great writers.

One aspect of the quality education Columbia students receive is the opportunity to experience using technology.  Mr. Moore teaches technology in education to kindergartners through sixth grade students.  His students use Chromebooks, iPads and learn how to create web pages, write code, and create technology.  In addition to his work during the school day, Mr. Moore works with students in our football and track programs.

Together the highly qualified teachers at Columbia make a difference in the lives of our children each and every day.  Columbia has stood the test of time, being an impressive successful educational learning environment filled with quality employees: amazing teachers, and many fabulous instructional aides, staff members, and administrators.  Just like the top quality pot, lasting the test of time, Columbia will continue providing excellence in education for years to come.  If you are interested in learning more about Columbia, email me at Pamela.Campbell@myeagles.org or call 5175926641.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Funding: The Key to Success in Education


Keys, keys, keys.  We all have keys to various things; cars, the house, and the office. In education, funding is one of the main keys to excellent teaching and learning environments.  On Tuesday, May 8, 2018, Columbia School District voters will have the opportunity to vote on an operating millage renewal proposal.  You may have some questions regarding this proposal, so here are some questions and answers: 

How does this fit into the overall School Funding Structure at Columbia?  Michigan schools are funded under a structure created when Proposal A was approved statewide by Michigan electors in 1994. Under the plan, Michigan schools are funded with a total of 24 mills on non-homesteads. This is made up of a state-wide millage rate of 6 mills on all property and 18 mills on non-homestead property when approved by local voters. When proposal A passed in 1994, the school operating property tax rate on homesteads decreased by 84 percent, from 37.92 mills to 6 mills. The school operating rate on non-homesteads decreased by 37 percent, from 37.92 mills to 24 mills.

I thought schools no longer received funding through property taxes, so why are they talking about a millage renewal?  Funding for school districts changed significantly in 1993/94 when Proposal A was passed by the Michigan voters. Under Proposal A, the State pays the majority of the cost, but to receive full funding, schools must levy 18 mills on non-homestead property in their district.  What does “Non-Homestead” mean? Non-homestead represents industrial, commercial and some agricultural property   and “second homes.” It does not include a family’s primary residence.

Is this a new tax? No. This millage was approved by the voters in 2012. The district has voter approval to levy 18 mills on non-homestead property through December 2018.  How much will this cost my business?  This renewal will have little effect on your current taxes. For a business with a taxable value of property established at $200,000 the tax cost would be $3,600 ($200,000 ÷ 1,000 x 18 mills), similar to what you are paying today.

Will my residential school taxes increase?  No. This tax is on non-homestead property and does not apply to your primary place of residence.  What if the millage is voted down?  The revenue generated from the 18 mills totals over $4,499,712 or about 1/3 of the school district’s budget. If this millage does not pass, the State will not replace the funding and Columbia School District will be forced to reduce or cut programs to offset the loss.

What is the ballot language? This proposal will allow the school district to continue to levy the statutory rate of not to exceed 18 mills on all property, except principal residence and other property exempted by law, required for the school district to receive its revenue per pupil foundation allowance and renews millage that will expire with the 2018 tax levy.  Shall the currently authorized millage rate limitation of 18.3361 mills ($18.3361 on each $1,000 of taxable valuation) on the amount of taxes which may be assessed against all property except principal residence and other property exempted by law, in Columbia School District, Jackson, Lenawee, Washtenaw and Hillsdale Counties, Michigan, be renewed for a period of 6 years, 2019 to 2024, inclusive to provide funds for operating purposes; the estimate of the revenue the school district will collect if the millage is approved and 18 mills are levied in 2019 is approximately $4,499,712 (this is a renewal of millage that will expire with the 2018 tax levy.

If you have other questions, please email me at pamela.campbell@myeagles.org or call 5175926641.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Columbia Central Students Learn CPR


The phrase “Safe Schools” has many implications.  In addition to having locked doors, video cameras, safety apps, an updated crisis response plan, and our new school liaison resource officer, Columbia School District has taken further steps towards a safer school district.   Earlier this year, I collaborated with our some of the Columbia Central Jr – Sr High School teachers to provide Hands-Only CPR (Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation) training to our seventh, eighth, ninth and twelfth grade students.

Why teach Hands-Only CPR to our teens?  Although rare, each year sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) affects children and teens.  More than 300,000 people in the United States die of SCA and it remains the leading cause of death in America. 

CPR was developed in 1960, when three researchers from Johns Hopkins University Hospital tried combining chest compressions with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.  Since then, CPR has saved many lives each year.  Although millions of people around the world know CPR, most of our teens had not learned how to do hands-only CPR.  Hands-only CPR allows people to do chest compressions to circulate oxygenated blood through a victim’s body while a rescuer is waiting for EMS to arrive.  Without CPR a victim of SCA has little or no chance of survival.

In addition to learning how to do hands-only CPR, our students became acquainted with an AED (Automated Electronic Defibrillator).  Columbia Central High School has three AED’s and the students learned where to find them and how they operate.  They also learned where the AED’s in the other buildings are kept. 

During the informational hands-only CPR session, the Columbia Central High School students learned about the cardiac chain of survival: Early recognition and calling 911, early CPR at a rate of 100 to 120 chest compressions per minute, early defibrillation, advanced emergency care, and advanced cardiac care. 

Are you interested in learning CPR?  The Columbia Township Fire Department does a great job of teaching CPR.  Many Columbia School District faculty and staff members have participated in the CPR training from the fire department.  The American Red Cross also offers classes in CPR and first aid.  The Columbia Community Fitness Center will host CPR classes in the next few months.  Until you have an opportunity to take CPR, there are apps available from the App Store: “my CPR trainer” app is free and has a learn and practice button, and the American Red Cross has a free app with first aid and a small section on hands-only CPR.  In addition, the American Heart Association has a nice video available free on the internet that illustrates hands-only CPR.  Just like our students, it is important to learn CPR; the life you save may be someone you love!  If you are interested in learning more about the programs and courses at Columbia School District, email me at pamela.campbell@myeagles.org or call 517-592-6641.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

A Comfortable Learning Environment

Many of us have had a favorite pair of shoes.  When you need to be comfortable, you slip into those shoes.  It doesn’t matter what color they are or what style they are, you wear them because they are comfortable.  The Columbia School District focuses on having a learning environment that is comfortable for all of our students.  

Being comfortable at school is important for students.  Our students have teachers who care about their needs, and work together to increase their academic success.  Columbia teachers spend over 30 hours in professional development each year and countless hours collaborating with their fellow teachers to incorporate interesting and challenging activities and strategies into the curriculum.

Columbia classrooms are climate controlled in any season to enhance the learning environment for our students and teachers.  Comfortable areas for teaching and learning is more than just nice furnishings and pleasant spaces, they are also safe places.   Columbia has enhanced the safety of our buildings by limiting entry, through our secure entry vestibules, new windows, new doors and locks, and video cameras both inside and outside of our buildings.  


To help argument the structural elements of security, the Columbia School District has updated the security plan in cooperation with the Columbia Township Police and Fire Departments, worked with our teachers and staff members in training sessions, and practiced safety drills.  The district has also partnered with the Columbia Township Police Department to include a police liaison to work with our teachers, administrators, and students.  If you have questions regarding Columbia Schools, our safety practices or any of our programs, please email me at Pamela.Campbell@myeagles.org or call 5175926641.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Raising Funds for Columbia Students!


The Columbia School District Fourth Annual Golden Cash Bash was a success!  It began in 2015, as a fun-filled celebration of the fabulous programs and activities offered at Columbia!  The Cash Bash has raised almost $70,000 over the past four years.  This year the Columbia Community came together to raise more than $18,000! 

The funds raised are focused on two main areas: Scholarships for Seniors and 3A’s Mini Grants.  Many area individuals and businesses donated items, services, and vacation spots to the Cash Bash Silent Auction.  This year the Silent Auction raised $6,000 for Senior Scholarships.  The funds raised for the 3A’s Mini Grants, which stands for Academics, Arts, and Athletics, flow directly from the Cash Bash ticket sales and raffles held during the event.  This year, more than $12,000 was raised for the 3A’s Mini Grants.

Last year 18 seniors received scholarship funds from the funds raised from the Silent Auction.  With scholarship awards ranging from $100 to $500.  The students used their scholarships for books, tuition payments, and fees.  The generosity of the Columbia community has made a positive impact on more than 50 seniors over the past three years. 

The 3A’s Mini Grants have benefited our students by providing STEM activities, robotics parts, software programs to enhance learning opportunities, athletic items, field trips, and extra educational strategies.  The funds raised for the mini grants helped to extend the ability of our teachers and coaches to make a difference in the lives of Columbia children.  If you missed your opportunity to support the mini grants or the senior scholarships at the Fourth Annual Cash Bash, you may donate to the Columbia School District, 11775 Hewitt Rd, Brooklyn, MI 49230.  If you are interested in learning more about Columbia Schools, call 5175926641 or email me at pamela.campbell@myeagles.org.

STEM at Columbia School District!


It is time for us to celebrate a wonderful first seven months of the 2018-19 school year!  Working closely together with our community has helped to offer our students improved learning opportunities at Columbia Schools.  Many of our positive improvements reside under the umbrella of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).  Teachers have increased their hands-on science teaching by using activities and strategies gained from work with the Battle Creek Math and Science Center curriculum. 

Our students from third through sixth grade have benefited by these STEM strategies and techniques.  One of the opportunities to engage students through innovative strategies is the Michigan League of Academic Games program (MLAG).  Columbia students have been working with Mrs. Thompson and Miss Wing learning math games that focus on computation, problem solving and set theory.  During March some of the participants will represent Columbia in the annual MLAG State Tournament where they will gain positive experience competing against students from across the state!

Aligning with the STEM focus at Columbia School District, Columbia Upper Elementary has two Robotics Teams and our Junior High School has two teams that provide our students with an opportunity to use the engineering and math concepts they learn in the classroom and apply it to building a functioning robot.  The students in robotics are given a challenge, so they build, program and operate their robot to complete the challenge.  Under the guidance of Mrs. Eastman, students at Columbia Junior High School have enjoyed participating in a coding and robotics engineering class that integrates technology, math, and physics into the curriculum.  In their technology class, students in Kindergarten through sixth grade have the opportunity to learn coding with Mr. Moore.  Students across the district have also enjoyed the STEM applications through our partnership with the Shop Rat Foundation and Consumers Energy. 

To support our students in this very important area of STEM, our teachers have participated in afterschool programs: Columbia Junior High School teachers tutor students across the curriculum in their after school program and Columbia Central High School teachers support  their students by providing expert assistance afterschool. Ms. Samson recently received a grant from Lowes for two 3-D printers to assist in STEM.

This is an exciting time at Columbia School District!  Our terrific teachers and staff members have partnered with our parents and community to provide all of these and many more excellent educational opportunities for our students.  If you are interested in learning more about Columbia School District and our positive STEM programs, email me at pamela.campbell@myeagles.org or call 5175926641.