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Monday, April 24, 2017

Succeeding at the Speed of Sound!

This weekend as I was driving along US 12 enjoying the beautiful sunshine and noticed a jet zooming straight up into the sky.  It was quite impressive to see the jet trails streaming behind as it continued to climb into the sky.  It appeared as though the jet would blast right out of the atmosphere.  Success is much the same, with successful students progressing upward and onward towards their future. 


Columbia School District partners with parents and their children to produce top students with an excellent academic background, which results in impressive standardized test scores.  The students who are the most successful in school have several things in common.  One of the most important is that they go to school each and every day.  The U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) comments that students who go to school every day achieve better and are more likely to successfully graduate.  Studies show that seventy-five percent of students who are classified as truant fail to graduate.  Students who are often absent fail to learn problem solving and higher order thinking skills.

The USDOE says that the main reason students achieve at a sub-par level is because of chronic absenteeism, which is defined as missing 18 or more days of school out of the 180 days we have in Columbia.  Eighteen days represents almost a month of school, and missing that many days may lead to poor academic performance and lack of success after high school.  Poor attendance may result in a failure to get accepted to college or trade school, which may lead to a deficiency when that student wants to begin a career.

Just like fuel is essential for the jet I saw, attendance is crucial for our children.  Good attendance in school fuels our children’s education, giving them the right push to break through to success.  Most of us understand that attendance in high school is important, but the pattern for a child begins in kindergarten.  By having children get up each day and go to school, even if they seem tired, or achy, a youngster will learn more, and benefit in a myriad of ways by attending school.


Give your child the best chance for a successful future, set perfect attendance in school as a goal!  If you have any questions regarding Columbia School District, please email me at pamela.campbell@myeagles.org or call 5175926641.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Columbia School District Strategic Planning Process

Columbia School District is developing a strategic plan that will establish priorities and focus the district efforts from 2017 through 2022.  Earlier this school year, the Columbia School District Board of Education and administration worked together to develop an updated Vision and set of Beliefs.  The Vision is as follows: “Learning Today, Leading Tomorrow.”  The Vision statement underscores our commitment to students today, while emphasizing the importance of educating and graduating industrious, considerate and successful citizens.

The updated Beliefs are as follows: (1) Columbia School District believes in providing high-quality learning opportunities so that each student has tools to pursue their Dreams! (2) Columbia students will become life-long learners through experiences and relevant skills to become outstanding citizens. (3) Columbia School District will empower students to become problem-solvers and leaders within the Community. (4) Columbia School District will provide a diverse and nurturing environment to engage students and meet the needs of All learners.

A Strategic Planning process will provide the Columbia School District Board of Education with integrated, significant participation from community and staff, aligns Board priorities with school improvement processes, and presents a concise and vivid picture of the district's current standing.  In addition, it sets intensive strategic goals that identify target areas to improve student achievement, it uses data to set goals and make important decisions, and it helps identify areas to apportion increasingly limited resources.


If you are interested in participating in the planning process, please respond to the online survey found at:   https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/BVKZJZZ .  If you have questions, please email me at pamela.campbell@myeagles.org or call me at 5175926641.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Cash Mini Grants Total More Than $7500!

The Third Annual Columbia School District Golden Ticket Cash Bash was a huge success!  The community came together to benefit the students of Columbia by raising more than $18,000!  Each fall and spring Columbia School District teachers and staff members come together to apply for the 3A’s Mini Grants funded through the ticket sales and raffles at the Golden Ticket Cash Bash.  The Cash Bash 3A’s stand for Academics, Arts, and Athletics.  This spring Mini Grants worth more than $7500 have been awarded to seventeen teachers and staff members to benefit more than 1400 students at Columbia!

Mrs. Eastman who teaches math and STEM courses at Columbia Central Junior High School is receiving a grant to give students a hands-on approach to learning topics that integrate math and science standards, critical thinking skills and problem-solving activities that benefit students by increasing their academic success.  Her students will have the opportunity to use 10 Cell KaZoon Kites, test Parachutes, build Toothpick Bridges, and investigate Packaging Engineering Design.  She will also receive two books that will underscore activities to acquaint students to Chemical, Mechanical and Civil Engineering.  In addition to the STEM grant for the Junior High students, Mrs. Kielhorn’s mini grant application for headphones was also funded.  Students at Columbia Central Junior High use headphones when they use the blended learning activities in the iReady and Newsela programs, along with taking the M-STEP exam.

Columbia Upper Elementary fifth Grade teacher Mrs. Elliott is receiving a Cash Bash Mini Grant to purchase materials for a Makers Fair.  The students will benefit by learning about STEM through hands-on activities that use problem-solving, higher-order thinking skills, and project-based learning strategies.  Also at Columbia Upper Elementary, teachers Mr. Howland, Mrs. Adams, Mrs. Wright, Librarian Mrs. Weaver, and Principal Mrs. O’Neil received Cash Bash Mini Grants for software, whiteboards, headphones, library books, and field trips to natural sanctuaries. 

Columbia Options High School science teacher Mr. Timmerman’s Cash Bash Mini Grant will benefit students by giving them the opportunity to learn more about botany by setting up a vertical garden or “Green Wall.”  This water based plant growing system is soilless.  It takes up minimal floor space and improves the air quality in the room, produces food and serves as a working art piece.  The vertical garden will sustain 32 plants and may be replanted as often as every six to seven weeks.  The hydroponic garden covers seven science standards and will help students learn through this hands-on activity.

Mr. Folts also wrote a mini grant application that will benefit students from both Columbia Central Junior and Senior High School.  His goal is to have his students learn and sing musical selections that appeal to young listeners.  He is excited to have the additional popular music to motivate students in the Voices of Columbia choir, the junior high choir and future members of those choirs.

The athletic grants that were funded include funds for the new Columbia grade 6th through 12th grade Clay Target Shooting Team.  The funds will help purchase ammunition bags, shooting vests, ear protection and safety glasses.  Columbia Options High School will receive a mini grant to help start a co-ed softball team.  The instructors at Options High School have found that organized sports help students to improve academically and behaviorally.  Mr. Iott and Mr. Moore wrote a grant to initiate a positive program called Bigger Faster Stronger.  The program gives students an opportunity to improve their physical fitness, flexibility, and mobility.  The Bigger Faster Stronger program will benefit all Columbia students in grades kindergarten through 12th grade by providing new activities and strategies in physical education and athletics.  The new Golden Eagles Baseball and Softball organization will be able to purchase new equipment with their Cash Bash Mini Grant.  Mr. Vitale wrote a mini grant to benefit students in grades sixth through 12th to help improve shot put and discus by purchasing new implements for this popular activity. 


Most of the 3A’s Cash Bash Mini Grants only partially fund these fabulous activities and programs for our students.  If you are interested in helping support any of these activities or programs, please email me at pamela.campbell@myeagles.org or call me at 5175926641.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Supporting Our Columbia School District Children

The Columbia School District special needs children have benefited from the Jackson County Intermediate School District’s partnership in financing educational resources.  In 2012, county voters approved and supported the special education millage for 1.55 mills.  In May, our community, along with the rest of Jackson County, will be asked to support a renewal of the 1.55 mills that funds special education services for some of our most vulnerable children.  This renewal would not add any new taxes and would sustain the 1.55 mills through 2023.

The special education millage renewal will not add to our tax burden.  The millage results in 85% of the funds going directly to the local school districts in Jackson County to reimburse mandated special education costs.  The remaining 15% of the millage supports a portion of the Jackson County Intermediate services.  Without these funds, precious children would lose opportunities to learn and progress. 

Over 170 special education teachers, consultants and staff members provide essential educational services to more than 3,000 children in our county public and parochial schools.  The Intermediate School District of Jackson County leverages economy of scale and saves millions of dollars county-wide while it coordinates educational services that are mandated by both state and federal legislation.  Included in the services are: Occupational therapy providers, physical therapy services, psychology services, speech pathology and audiology services, social workers, specialized classrooms and programming, early childhood intervention, regulatory oversight and records management, transportation, teachers and classroom aides, and teacher consultant services.

By partnering together with the Jackson County Intermediate School District and fellow county districts, Columbia’s children benefit from the special education services available due to the millage.  The current millage rate of 1.55 mills will enable all local districts to maintain mandated special education services.  In 2016-17, Columbia School District received reimbursement of $438,300 to support special education students.  Without this reimbursement, Columbia would have had to reallocate general fund dollars to provide the mandated special education services.  This would have adversely affected all Columbia students.


Please take time to learn more about how the 2017 countywide special education renewal millage proposal will affect you, your family, and educational opportunities for the children of our community.  The Jackson County special education millage impacts all students because it reimburses mandated expenses.  More information is available at www.jcisd.org .  If you have questions, or are interested in learning more about the educational programs at Columbia School District, email me at pamela.campbell@myeagles.org or call 5175926641.

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 pamela.campbell@myeagles.org 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 pamela.campbell@myeagles.org 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 (http://surgenetwork.com/blog/2016/5/26/entrepreneurship-creativity-and-the-story-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 pamela.campbell@myeagles.org or call 5175926641.