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Monday, February 19, 2018

Student and Staff Safety is a Priority!

Columbia School District puts the safety of our students and staff members first.  Our administrative team has been diligently working with local law enforcement to thwart violent actions in our schools.  As a community of learners, Columbia School District believes that student safety is paramount.

At each of our schools, Columbia School District principals and staff members schedule and conduct lockdown and evacuation drills in cooperation with the Columbia Township police and fire department.  This past summer, Columbia School District administration collaborated with our local law enforcement and fire department personnel to update and improve our district-wide emergency response plan.  During the professional development time the staff reviewed the procedures for various types of crisis should a threat transpire.  This emergency response design is a dynamic plan and is updated with up-to-date information and advice.

Over the past six years, the Columbia School District Family has collaborated on increasing the safety of our students and staff members.  The secure entry vestibules, the camera and buzz-in systems at our main entrances allowing us to keep the perimeter doors locked throughout the school day, the video system in all of the hallways, the upgrades and collaboration with our local law enforcement and fire departments are evidence of our commitment and focus on the safety of our students and staff members. 

The Columbia School District needs your help.  While our teachers, staff and administrators have worked diligently to keep our schools safe, your awareness of posts on social media, comments you or your children may hear in school or at events, should be reported to the police, and our school office immediately.  Please make sure your children are aware of OK2SAY, which is a website available at, or report through a text to 652729, or call their toll free number at 855.565.2729.  A tip could also be emailed to 

The repeated reports of high profile acts of violence may upset children or teens.  The websites for school counselors and school psychologists both have resources and tips to assist you as you help your children process the recent school violence (  You may want to contact your child’s school counselor for assistance with concern regarding your child: Mrs. Diefenthaler is the counselor at CCHS and may be reached by email at; Mrs. Phelps is the counselor at Columbia Elementary and may be contacted at; Mrs. Schatzle is the counselor at Columbia Central Junior High and Columbia Upper Elementary and may be emailed at .

Please continue to be vigilant, offer suggestions and work collaboratively together as the strong resilient Columbia community that we are.  As you process the recent events with your children and families, please keep the Florida in your thoughts and prayers.  As always, if you have questions or concerns, please email me at

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Enhancing the Columbia Learning Environment!

Recently I watched a home renovation program on the television.  It was interesting how the people looked at homes that were in poor shape, and then through the magic of television in a half hour, the home was completely renovated and looked like new!  They tore down walls, replaced windows and doors and painted everything.  In the end, their new house was beautiful and very functional!

Similarly, in beginning June of 2014, the Columbia School District launched a renovation of our educational learning spaces funded by the bond project of November 2013.  Much like the television renovation programs, we tore down ceilings and walls, removed windows and doors, replaced the heating and cooling systems, rewired the electrical and technology infrastructure, installed updated plumbing and fixtures, purchased updated student and classroom technology, installed new lockers, reroofed the buildings, constructed safer parent and bus drop-off and pick-up areas, installed new casework and classroom furniture, fabricated new tennis courts and track, and painted the walls. Much like the excitement we see on the faces of the participants in the renovation television programs; our community members, students and staff members feel a renewed sense of pride following our school building makeovers.

Columbia School District has always enjoyed positive support from the community, parents and students.  During the month of February, Columbia supporters will be holding the Fourth Annual Cash Bash to raise funds for Academics, Arts, and Athletics for items that weren’t purchased through the bond projects, but are important to continue to enhance the learning environment for our students.  In the past three years the friends of Columbia have raised over $50,000 for classroom mini grants and student scholarships through the ticket sales, raffles and silent auction at the Golden Ticket Cash Bash.

Mini grants have funded special STEM field trips, robotics activities, curriculum project supplies, flexible seating, and lots of new books! The students and teachers are looking forward to this year’s Cash Bash to raise even more funds to continue to provide all of the great activities and resources that deliver classroom enhancements. If you would like to support the Fourth Annual Golden Ticket Cash Bash by donating an item for the silent auction, or would like to attend the event, call Monika at the Columbia Administration office: 5175926641 or email her at  If you have questions about Columbia School District email me at or call me at 5175926641.

Support Columbia Students: Purchase a Cash Bash Ticket!

Would you support Columbia School District with a donation for our annual Silent Auction at our Fourth Annual Cash Bash or by purchasing a ticket?  Get ready for fun and fellowship at the Golden Ticket Cash Bash on February 24th at the Gene Davis Banquet Center!  Last February our Columbia School District family came together to raise over $17,000 for Senior Scholarships and Mini Grants for Academics, Arts, and Athletics.   This year we are eager to raise even more for our great Columbia students. Tickets for the Cash Bash are available for $80 for two people.  You may obtain a ticket from any of the Columbia School District offices or administrators. 

Funds from the ticket sales and raffle games at the Cash Bash are dedicated to provide some terrific new exciting innovative items for academics, arts, and athletics through teacher mini grants.  All of the funds raised through the silent auction were as a direct result of the generosity of our donors and supported scholarships for seniors. 

Last year our community of donors gave gift certificates, vacation destinations, tickets to sporting events, and other great items that were auctioned at our event.  If you are able to donate, please send the donation and the estimated retail value to the following address: Columbia School District, 3 A's - Academics, Arts, Athletics Fundraiser 2018, 11775 Hewitt Rd, Brooklyn, MI  49230.  If you will need your donation picket up or if you have any questions, please call Monika at the Columbia School District administration office at 517-592-6641 or email her at

Sunday, January 14, 2018

JCEC: Paving the Way to College or Career

The Columbia School District is participating in the Jackson County Early College (JCEC) program through a partnership with the other public school districts in Jackson County.  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 skill set.  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.

Courses in the program will be taught on a college schedule.  Many college courses will take place during the traditional school day, while some will be evening or weekend classes.   Students may ride buses to and from Jackson College along with our Jackson Area Career Center students.  If the courses are in the evenings or weekends, transportation will be the responsibility of the student.  Students will be able to continue to participate in any courses offered at Columbia Central or Options High School if appropriate based upon each student’s schedule.   Each student will pay for their own college textbooks.  

Participation in the program begins with students preparing for taking college classes by satisfying prerequisites.   This program is open to all Columbia students, including students who attend through the school of choice program, even if they do not reside in Jackson County.  Columbia Central and Options High School students and parents will be invited to informational meetings to learn further details of the JCEC program.  If you have questions regarding the Jackson County Early College program or any program at Columbia School District, you may email me at or call 5175926641.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Recognizing the Columbia School Board

Recently I was reading about the duties and role of the school board.  On one of the websites, they depicted the work of school board leaders as “helping kids soar to success.”  I had never heard that description, but it is perfect!  Officially our school board members listen to the community, make policy and set the budget.  However the magic of our school board is their “helping kids soar to success” activities.  Inevitably, you will see them at musicals, band concerts, and football and basketball games.  They attend community meetings, parent teacher conferences and the Hope Run. 

January is School Board Appreciation Month.  This month gives us an opportunity to recognize the service and selfless time given by seven individuals in our community for the benefit of our schools. As the board members help kids soar to success, they continually imagine the future for our students. We all have hopes and dreams for each child in our community to have a successful future.

January is a great time to focus on the crucial and critical role the school board plays in Columbia School District.  Their focus on success for all of our students, takes dedication. Their actions and decisions affect the present and future lives of our children.  Their service to the community includes caring for students, parents, staff members and administrators.  They carefully examine all sides of a policy or an issue prior to making a decision.  Through their decisions, they are laying a pathway for the future of our school district.

School board members take their responsibility and public trust very seriously, dedicating an enormous number of hours to their work both in and outside of board meetings. Attending school functions, preparing for board meetings, reading financial reports, agendas and proposals, and making a host of difficult and challenging decisions are just a few of the regular activities board members participate in through their service.

Today, more than ever, school board leaders are faced with the overwhelming charge of providing a quality education at a time when financial constraints weigh heavily on the health of school district budgets. In an era of unprecedented choice in education, school boards are also tasked with charting a course that provides long-term, sustainable success for current and future students in all of Michigan’s public schools.

This year much of the focus of our seven school board members has been collaborating with the teachers, administration, community and superintendent to establish a Strategic Plan.  They spent countless hours working and focusing on increasing student achievement. 

The 2018 School Board is made up of seven energetic, tenacious community members, who are: Bob Wahr, Garry Applegate, Mark Fish, Jodi Collins, Dave Slusher, Bev Fish and Michael Moore.  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 snow 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 as a volunteer and make a difference in the lives of our students through our PTOs, 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. 

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Bright Future for Columbia in 2018!

The year 2018 brings amazing opportunities for children in the Columbia School District.  Our teachers, staff and administrators appreciate the opportunity to assist in developing 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. 

Top quality education happens when students, parents, staff and the community collaborate to create and develop learning environments where everyone flourishes. It is very exciting to be a part of the Columbia School District’s journey toward increased student achievement and educational excellence. Collaboration between our staff and community has resulted in the Columbia School District Strategic Plan that will help shape and guide our district over the next five years.

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 “teachable moments” to allow events to become learning filled occasions.  

Increasingly, teachers are integrating technology into their learning environments. Our teachers engage their learners by intentionally using technology to boost student interest and understanding.  The teachers use creative ideas to improve student achievement and to increase the capability of students to be successful problem solvers. 

 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 the Columbia School District or to register your child for school, please email me at .

Monday, December 11, 2017

Making A Difference!

Home for the holidays!  Each year many people travel home for the holidays to celebrate with family and friends.  We bring Christmas presents to our loved ones and spend time laughing and celebrating together.  Gathering around a table filled with turkey, ham or roast beef, most of us eat to our hearts content.  However, there are many families in our area who struggle to make ends meet. 

During this season of giving Columbia students and staff members sponsored families for Christmas with toys and canned goods.  Our students banded together to collect over a thousand nonperishable food items.  The students at Columbia Central High School teamed up with the Country Market and the community of Brooklyn to collect donations of food and paper products.  Many people 
recognized the need and donated funds that were turned into additional nonperishable food items. 

Even our youngest students at Columbia Elementary School brought cans of green beans, ravioli and even chicken noodle soup!  The donations of Ramen Noodles, spaghetti sauce and toilet paper were given to the Brooklyn Food Pantry to be distributed to those families who are struggling. 
At Columbia Upper Elementary students and staff members not only donated food items, they teamed up with high school students to collect toys and funds to purchase toys and clothing for families in our area.  These donations will help to give many area children a better Christmas.

If you missed the opportunity to donate to the Columbia School District food and toy drive, you still have time to donate funds to a nonprofit before the end of the year.  The Brooklyn Food Pantry accepts donations of food and funds all year around to address the needs of struggling families in our area.  The Salvation Army will have their Red Kettles and bell ringers at various locations in the Jackson area or you may send funds by mail to support their various community efforts.  You may also make a tax-deductible donation of funds to an area nonprofit such as the Columbia Educational Foundation for student scholarships, Columbia School District for technology, a YMCA camp for camperships for needy children or a local church for their efforts to help area families. 

If you are interested in finding out more about Columbia School District and our programs, email me at or call 5175926641.D