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Sunday, October 15, 2017

Columbia School District: Strategically Planning for the Future!

A couple of days ago I bought some mixed beans to make soup.  As I looked at the bag of beans, there were various colors and sizes: a very diverse combination.  I followed the directions and the
soup was fabulous!  It was really amazing that those little, colorful beans could blend together and have such a wonderful flavor and texture. 

At Columbia School District our teachers take children of various sizes, ability levels and backgrounds and nurture them into a cohesive group of learners, much like the fabulous bean soup.  The students participate in hands-on activities to build their skills as learners.  The positive instructional capabilities of our teachers gives our Columbia students an opportunity to fulfill the new Columbia Vision: Learning Today, Leading Tomorrow

As you review our group of Columbia staff members, you will find that they are role models for the next generation of teachers and staff members.  Their ability to provide excellence in education gives our students a foundation for a bright future full of success.  In order to continue to provide the best in educational opportunities for our students, the Columbia School District, led by superintendent Pam Campbell, has developed a strategic plan.

The Columbia School District Strategic Plan is the result of over a year of discussion, research, surveying, and planning.  Board members, school improvement team and the administration have worked diligently and collaboratively to produce this plan focusing on the future academic success of our students. This strategic planning process started with the vision of the Board of Education to examine the Columbia School District and begin shaping our school district to meet the needs of our students today and into the future.  This visionary process required leadership and participation from many individuals during  the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 school years.

The Columbia School District has established the Strategic Plan on the following four educational beliefs:
  • Columbia School District provides innovative learning opportunities encouraging students to pursue their dreams!
  • Columbia will offer unique experiences for students to become lifelong learners.
  • Partnerships with Columbia stakeholders will empower students to become problem-solving leaders in our society.
  • Columbia School District will provide a diverse and nurturing environment to engage students and meet the needs of all learners.
Much like the way my bag beans and recipe brought spices, flavors and various sizes and colors of beans together to create a fabulous soup,  your Columbia School District teachers, administrators and board members continue to work together to provide a high level of excellence in education for your children.  Our mission through our new strategic plan says it all: Nurture Dreams. Empower All. Create a Better World.

If you have questions regarding the excellent educational programs and activities at Columbia School District, please email me at or call 5175926641.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Reading for Fun!

Reading is the foundation for success in school and in life.  The ability to read and write is necessary to master other subjects and to communicate what is learned.  Even more important, children who enjoy reading will continue to learn and grow throughout their lives.  Reading is one of the most inexpensive and readily available forms of education and entertainment. The experts note that literacy is crucial and that children should read more.  They also comment that children should be encouraged to try reading different types of books. 

Your child will enjoy stopping by the local library.  You can make the visit seem like a treasure hunt!  Before you get to the library, decide what type of books they want to read.  For example, your child may choose dinosaurs or a type of science fiction.  Whether your child is a beginning reader or an experienced reader, your local librarian will be able to help them find the type of books they are looking for.  Or the librarian may suggest great books and exciting book series for your child.  Many local libraries have activities for your child.  The activities may include reading “fairs” and reading clubs through which your child may earn recognition and prizes.
To help direct you and your child as you capitalize on the after school or weekend reading time, you may want to search for “what books should children read?”  One website that has a nice list of books categorized by age group is .  One of my favorite books for young readers is The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle.  This book may be accompanied by various activities to help wake up your child’s understanding and creativity.  Those activities may include talking and writing about food, drawing caterpillars, hunting for caterpillars and butterflies, and phonetic activities tied to the foods in the story.  

Little children love reading, but what how should you tie your teenager’s interests to a deeper understanding of what they are reading?  You may choose to read a book along with them or simply talk to them about the books they are reading, yes, some teens read several books at once.  To encourage your teenager to read you should model reading, so that when they read, you read.  Another way to encourage your teen to read is to have them use informational reading sources to help plan activities for short weekend day-trips.  This way the reading will have a reward and your teen will be the expert on the area or attraction you are visiting.  For other ideas about how to encourage your teen to read, check out a website like RIF @ .

By encouraging your child to read, he or she will increase their level of self-esteem and broaden their world.  Your positive feedback and interest in the books they are reading will encourage them to read more.  Have fun reading with your child!  If you are interested in learning about our great reading programs at Columbia School District email me at or call me at 5175926641.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

CCHS Soccer Field Named After Alumnus Chad P. Dermyer

Columbia School District’s focus on excellence gives our students a positive environment for learning today, leading tomorrow.  Alumnus Chad P. Dermyer was a leader and excelled at Columbia Central. Chad participated in many events and activities while at Columbia Central High School, including the Golden Eagle Marching Band and varsity soccer.

After graduating from Columbia Central, Chad Dermyer served four years in the U.S. Marine Corps, before joining the Police Department in Jackson, Michigan.  Chad then served with the City of Newport News Police Department, prior to attending and graduating from the Virginia State Police Academy in November 2014.  As a Virginia State Trooper, Chad first served in the areas around Newport News and Hampton, and then received a transfer to the state police Counter-Terrorism and Criminal Interdiction Unit.

On March 31st, 2016, Chad put on his Virginia State Police uniform, and with a smile on his face and a positive spring in his step, he headed out to take part in a training exercise at the bus station in Richmond, Virginia.  Chad’s life ended there, tragically while on duty on March 31, 2016.   He is survived by his wife and two young children.

When talking to his former teachers and soccer coach, they said that Chad was a delight to have in class and that he always had a big smile.  They characterized Chad Dermyer as the ideal student, always positive, cheerful, and a diligent worker.  He took time to speak with others, was very talented, and was humble about his abilities.  Similarly, after the tragic incident, Virginia State Police Superintendent Colonel W. Steven Flaherty talked about Chad’s positive character and high level of integrity.

Earlier this year, the Columbia School District Board of Education responded to a request by the Dermyer family and named the Columbia Central High School soccer field after Chad because of his history of leadership, exemplary character, and positive work ethic.  The CCHS Athletic Boosters funded a new scoreboard bearing the name of the field.  Many of the Columbia community members and friends of Chad’s have donated to erect a sign near the entrance of the field.

Please join the Columbia School District as we dedicate the Chad P. Dermyer Memorial Soccer Field on Saturday, October 7th at 1 pm.  Please come to honor Chad and celebrate his life! In memory of Chad, the Golden Eagle Marching Band will play the National Anthem and the CCHS Fight Song.  Jackson Radio Works will do a remote broadcast before and during the event.  There will be testimonials, and a short program, followed by the alumni soccer game.  Refreshments will be provided and there will be commemorative t-shirts for sale.  For more information call 5175926641.