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Monday, September 17, 2018

Inspire Your Child to Read!


Straight up in the evening sky was a bright shining crescent moon!  It was so awe inspiring that as I stood in my back yard looking up, my neighbors stopped to appreciate the beauty of the evening sky.  As parents, or grandparents, how can we take an observation of the great outdoors and use it to encourage our children or grandchildren to read? 

By using experiences in nature as an encouraging event, we can take our youngsters to the library and follow up by searching for books on the topic.  For the youngest readers, you will want to choose books that you can share in the reading, or chapter books that you may read to them.  It is important to be in the habit of sharing with your children what you read.  Following an outdoor adventure, you could also choose a book on the topic of the moon, stars, or other naturalist type topic.  By modeling for your children, you will encourage them to view reading as something moms and dads or grandparents do regularly.
One secret to raising a positive avid reader is to aim for a specific number of minutes, pages, or books in a certain length of time.  Follow up your nature reading, with reading on a topic that they are interested in, such as horses, dogs, or science fiction.  You can make reading a family affair by taking everyone on a reading-picnic!  Pack a picnic lunch, take your family outside, spread out a blanket, and bring along a book for everyone! 

Raising a reader also may involve incentives.  You may encourage your child or grandchild by having a chart for stickers marking the number of pages, minutes or books read.  Your child may enjoy a trip to the dollar store for trinkets when they pass a milestone reading goal measured in books, minutes or pages read.  You can also enjoy healthy snacks during your reading time.

In the end, your child can become a voracious reader even if they don’t seem to enjoy it now.  Allowing them to pursue their interests while reading can motivate them to find the joy in reading.  You will feel the utmost happiness and success when your child begs for reading another chapter before they go to sleep.  If you are interested in learning about the reading programs available at Columbia School District, email me at Pamela.Campbell@myeagles.org or call 5175926641.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Better Than The Movies!


Education at Columbia School District is better than in the Movies!  Over the years we have seen television shows or movies that focus on school life.  While story lines about schools take risks and exploit academic opportunities, at Columbia Schools the teachers, parents and students have partnered to give students the best opportunity for academic success

When you watch a movie you only see just what is on the screen, at Columbia there is a well-rounded philosophy that keeps all of our students in view of the teachers and administrators.  Columbia School District teachers work together to help our student learn today so they may become leaders tomorrow.  At Columbia Upper Elementary students are experiencing STEM in two unique ways; The Lego Robotics Program and The Michigan League of Academic Games.  The students participating in these programs only need to have enthusiasm to learn more by experiencing hands-on strategies.  Robotics begins in the elementary and continues through junior high and high school.  These programs use collaboration, camaraderie and problem solving to extend learning opportunities in a practical futuristic way.

On the big screen the focus is on the exceptions rather than reality.  For example, the Hogwarts School in Harry Potter housed children who had magical abilities.  At Columbia the magic is not in our students, but in the way our teachers inspire students in their academic endeavors.  Our teachers are positive, creative and hardworking individuals who work to be inclusive of all students not just those who fly, become invisible or use their telepathic powers to get good grades.

One television program that focused on school life was “Welcome Back Kotter.”  This comedy was popular, but regularly featured students who were not behaved and often ridiculed each other.  At Columbia, our students not only care about each other, but maintain a focus on positive classroom behavior.  This fall about forty of our high school students will attend a three day-two night event called “Communication Camp.”  This event gives students the ability to make connections on a deeper level and learn about others.  Activities like Communication Camp, Leadership Forum, Key Club, Leadership class and other Columbia leadership opportunities, give our students an opportunity to excel while moving past the cliche school experience.

Columbia School District’s positive programs and activities both during the day and afterschool help to make our students’ experience better in the movies!  If you are interested in learning more about Columbia School District, email me at pamela.campbell@myeagles.org or call 5175926641.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Columbia's Rainbow of Learning Opportunities!


During the soggy wet afternoon, the drizzling rain kept coming.  My drive around the country side was on a road surrounded by a green lush valley that seemed to stretch upward towards the sky.  As the sun began to peak out from between the clouds, there was a small rainbow visible between the trees.  The further I drove the more brilliant the rainbow became until it stretched across the valley from side to side.  It was an amazing sight and I wondered just which end held the pot of gold?

 Seeing the beautiful rainbow shining through the gray drizzly sky made me think about how fortunate we are to have such great educational programs supporting our students’ learning environment.  The brilliant rainbow of programs includes many learning activities at all levels.  As we begin the 2018-2019 school year our students will have the chance to enjoy some of the extended learning opportunities. 

As we work closely with the teachers in our child’s school, we find ourselves in an educational rainbow of opportunities for our children that extend far beyond fun science experiments and activities.  This expanding rainbow of learning opportunities will lead our children to develop their talents in art, music, math, reading, social studies and physical education.  By providing the full spectrum of learning to our children, teachers lead them to develop into the leaders of tomorrow.

The rainbow of learning opportunities available to our children in the Columbia School District through our highly qualified teachers will give our children the tenacity to become a jet pilot, the ingenuity to become an automobile designer, or the enthusiasm to become a kindergarten teacher.  Each day I have the opportunity to see children learning at all different levels in our Columbia School District classrooms. 

Each and every day the teachers and members of the Columbia School District family come together to provide educational activities and learning opportunities for our students to brighten our children’s day, just like the rainbow in the valley brightened my day.  If you are interested in learning more about how your child could benefit from the awesome learning environment at the Columbia School District, would like a tour or to have your child shadow one of our terrific students please contact me by email at pamela.campbell@myeagles.org or call me at 5175926641.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Enjoy Back-to-School with STEM!


Each summer my husband and I take a group of teens to Cedar Point.  The experience is enjoyable and educational.  One of the things I find fascinating is that depending on your vantage point, you see the park differently.  When you are on a fast ride you see the area as a blur, both right-side up and upside down.  If you are on the Sky Ride or the giant Ferris wheel you are able to see a lot of the park and a bit more of the detail.  However, if you tour the park on the ground by walking around, you see details you miss from a speedy or an elevated ride. 

Similarly, Columbia School District teachers, administrators and staff members focus on working closely with your child to ensure the important details are covered.  Whether your child is a preschooler enjoying learning about career choices, a sixth grade student learning about the parts of a cell or a Columbia Central High School senior learning the intricacies’ of solving a crime in the Forensic Science class, our teachers give their students the information they need to be successful. 

Our caring administrators work diligently to craft schedules, programs and educational learning opportunities to give students a firm foundation for a bright future.  The Columbia emphasis on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) includes engineering and robotics classes and after school programs, hands-on activities through the MLAG program (Michigan League of Academic Games) and opportunities to earn college credit through our STEM electives: AP Chemistry, AP Biology and AP Calculus.  New this year will be our robotics teams at each level, even at Columbia Elementary!  The STEM elements the students will learn will give them a greater understanding of how science, engineering, technology and mathematics are integrated and combined.

One of the programs for our students in kindergarten through sixth grade is the technology exploratory.  This class will give students the opportunity to learn more about educational technology including Chromebooks, iPads and applications that focus on learning strategies.  At Columbia Central High School students also have technology options.  These classes will give our high school students the opportunity to build their skills and abilities to provide a pathway to higher education and the work-force. 

In each of the areas of our district our teachers are dedicated to providing our students both a birds-eye view of their subject area, similar to the outlook from Sky Ride at Cedar Point, and the ground-level detail that will give our students a foundation for a successful future.  Make sure you have your child registered for the first day of school: Wednesday, August 22, 2018!  If you are interested in learning more about Columbia School District, our programs and opportunities for success, email me at pamela.campbell@myeagles.org or call me at 5175926641.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Columbia Students and Jackson County Early College!


The Columbia School District is participating in the Jackson County Early College (JCEC) program through a partnership with Jackson College.  This new early college program paves the way for Columbia students to move from a traditional k-12 approach to a more vigorous k-14 conduit that will be personalized for our students.

The Jackson County Early College program will assist students gain a post-secondary education while still in high school  They may take courses along a path to earn an Associate’s degree, certification, credential, or skillset.  The early college program is deliberately designed to guarantee transferability of credits to four year universities. Our program is designed so students may begin their college education as early as their freshman year and remain in the program through their 13th year to a maximum of 60 credits.

Our emphasis on positive learning and integrated technology helps to weave complex thinking skills into each area of the curriculum. The Jackson County Early College program will enhance the lives of our students and give them the best chance for a successful future!  If you are interested in learning more about the opportunities at Columbia School District email me at pamela.campbell@myeagles.org or call 5175926641.

The Shopping List!


Many of us make shopping lists.  Whether digital or on paper, our shopping list may include items like eggs, milk, dish soap and tissues.  As we arrive at the end of July and look towards the beginning of school, our lists could include purchasing items designed to help prepare our children for school: pencils, pens, crayons, glue sticks, and notebooks.  One thing every parent of our students should put on their list is to have them participate in one of the Columbia Summer Programs!

Learning can happen anytime, anywhere, anyhow.  This philosophy gives today’s students the   Columbia School District is committed to giving students the optimal learning activities to gain the knowledge they need to be successful in the 21st Century. 
opportunity to experience a different type of learning environment to help them be ready to start the school year.

We not only have great teachers and learning opportunities at Columbia, but our summer programs are a lot of fun!  The following sessions will give you some options to put on your end of the summer list!

During the week of August 6th, we have Art Camp for students in grades 1st – 6th and 7th through 12th grade taught by our art teachers, and Leaders In Training for grades 4th through 6th, taught by Miss Wing.  The week of August 13th features Academic Games Camp for grades 3rd through 6th, taught by Miss Wing and Ms. Weidenbach, Explore! for grades 1st through 6th, taught by Mrs. Friday, Mrs. Knaup, Miss Wing and Ms. Weidenbach, and Underwater Robotics taught by Mrs. Coughlin.  In addition, the Electric Science Camp is August 13, taught by Mrs. Liebau and Mr. Snow, but it is full.  Register for one or more of the programs today!  You may register online by accessing the Summer Programs on our website at www.myeagles.org .   If you are interested in learning more about the opportunities at Columbia School District email me at pamela.campbell@myeagles.org or call 5175926641.

Monday, July 9, 2018

The Windmill!


Outlined against the early morning sky, the windmill stood tall over the farm.  For centuries, windmills have been working to create electricity, pump water and grind corn or barley.  Although an old idea, this is a new windmill.  The technology used in developing windmills stands as a stark contrast to what we normally think of as technology.

At Columbia School District we focus STEM with positive up-to-date technology to prepare our students for the future.  Our teachers work with their students using Smart Boards, iPads, Chromebooks, robotics, and 3D printers.  These technology based items enhance the learning environment for our students and provide excellence in education. 

Our focus on STEM helped form the basis for the Project Based Learning for our sixth grade students this year. The students worked closely with their teachers, Mr. Williams, Mr. Meschke, Mr. Learned, and Mrs. Friday.  The students used research to learn more about their particular scientific issue and then formulated a solution for this scientific concern.  One group of sixth grade students, Lorado, Savannah, and Izzy, used a video to present their project focused on garlic mustard, which is an invasive plant species in Michigan.  Izzy said they learned that garlic mustard spreads very quickly and soaks up the nutrients essential to other plant life.  She went on to mention that it prefers small clearings with sun and it pushes other plant life out of the area. This particular group of students completed a project based learning research last year as fifth grade students.  They learned about mute swans, which are the big swans with the orange beaks.  Their concern regarding the mute swans was that they are mean and attack other swans and even humans. Learning about science in the world around us helps support our students in preparing for life in the years ahead.  

As our students move into junior and senior high school they have opportunities to increase their scientific knowledge.  This year some of our junior high school students will have science electives along with robotics electives.  The opportunity to learn fun science, do experiments and the basic elements of robotics enhances the academic environment for our students.  As our students move into high school, they have the opportunity to continue their understanding of engineering through a STEM offering.  This year, Mrs. Samson wrote a grant to Lowe’s and received two laser printers.  It is amazing to see the students learn the principles of engineering and act upon their new understanding.

Columbia students have the opportunity to excel in mathematics through the combination of technology and math.  Our youngest students work on math principles through their classroom assignments and investigations, then follow up with targeted lessons on iReady through their computer portal.  Our older students may take Advanced Placement mathematics classes or math classes at Jackson College through our new Early College program.  If you are interested in learning more about our STEM opportunities, email me at pamela.campbell@myeagles.org or call 5175926641.