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Friday, May 31, 2013


On behalf of the Columbia School District Board of Education, staff members and teachers congratulations to the Class of 2013.  Our graduates leave high school and our adult education program with many memories from their years of schooling.  Many graduating seniors are headed off to college armed with an excellent education.  They have a whole community of people cheering them on to success.

Many of our graduates have received scholarships from universities located all over the country.  Our students’ academic abilities that have precipitated the awards are the result of excellent learning opportunities provided by their teachers and staff of Columbia School District. 

As the Class of 2013 approached graduation many students commented on their opportunity to participate in leadership activities like the student blood drives, service learning activities and Communication Camp. They reminisced about their experience in AP English and the fun they had discovering DNA during their Biology class.  Others talked about their opportunity to participate in vocationally focused classes through the Jackson Area Career Center.  Still other students fondly discussed their trip to France and the accidental bonus day in Germany.  A future writer said that he was well prepared for college and another student said she appreciated being able to take mathematics up through Calculus.

A future scientist mentioned his opportunity to take AP Chemistry and about how he feels well prepared for college.  One student commented on how pleased she was to have had an opportunity to participate in the Band and the musicals.  Another student described his satisfaction at being able to enhance his creativity through his experience in art class.  One thing many students mentioned was how proud they are of earning their high school diploma from Columbia and how much they have appreciated their teachers and staff members.

Over the years the families and the teachers of our hard working graduates have labored in partnership to sculpt our students into the fine young men and women they are today.  Our graduating seniors have been a terrific group of students.  They have laughed together and cried together.  Best wishes to our graduating seniors for a successful future!  Congratulations to the Columbia Central High School, Columbia Options High School and Columbia Adult Education Class of 2013!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Building Blocks Towards Success!

When my boys were young they were excited to play with blocks.  As they matured and gained greater dexterity, they began playing with Lego’s and other types of toys to build structures, vehicles and machines.  Sometimes they would begin with a single block and then build wider and wider structures until they toppled over.    However, when they built a structure with a wide base of support, they were successful in building amazing buildings, towering over the little Lego figures.
In much the same way our children must gain a wide base of learning to build on as they grow.  Children who begin with a basic understanding of their multiplication facts and work to broaden their understanding through practice will be successful when they have to recall those basic facts.  The same idea holds true in all of their subjects.  It is important for our young children to begin reading each day so that when they are in middle school and high school they have the necessary skills to successfully complete their assignments.
Last evening I had the chance to see the results of a good learning foundation and how it affects our students as they grow and mature towards graduation by attending our Honors and Awards ceremony.  Many students in the Class of 2013 have worked diligently over the years to earn high grades and a solid educational base.  Our Top Ten seniors are: Joshua Angles (Valedictorian), Hannah Butler (Salutatorian),  Sara Blumhardt, Joshua Callison, Katharyn Hogle, Matthew Lane, Christian Reed, Kamil Lawrence, Tyler Smith and Rebecca McComas.  In addition to our Top Ten seniors, there were 28 additional seniors awarded with a designation of Highest Honors and Honors.
One by one the students received honors, awards and thousands of dollars in scholarships for their outstanding achievement in academics, service and athletics.  Many of the students exhibited a breadth of ability in their achievements.  Five students were awarded with the designation of earning the Lenawee County Athletic Association’s Academic All Conference Award.  They were Andrew Cherry, Daryn Davenport, Kamil Lawrence, Christian Reed and Alexander Snow.  Two students, Dwight Blucher and Brianna Ahrens, received awards for their membership in the Jackson Area Career Center National Technical Honor Society.  Congratulations to all of our students who received honors, awards and scholarships last evening.
Many of our seniors started their academic journey in the Columbia Elementary preschool or in our kindergarten.   These wonderful students began as young children intentionally building a solid foundation of learning and understanding.  Their focused learning has resulted in a successful tenure at Columbia Schools.   If you would like to have your child begin their education by attending our preschool, Early 5’s program, or kindergarten, please call us at 5175926641 or email me at .

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Puzzle

As I rounded the corner and began walking down the hallway of Columbia Central High School my eyes glanced up at the wall to my right.  I found it interesting that there was a purple colored square on the wall.  It was puzzling, I wasn’t sure what the square meant.  Later during the day there were two, then three, then four squares arranged on the wall.  The puzzle was becoming clear: it was a picture.  As additional painted squares appeared over the following few days more of the picture appeared and I realized that the picture would be of a familiar character from a cartoon movie.

In much the same way, many things in our lives appear slowly, like random pieces of a puzzle, until we finally see the picture clearly.  Currently we are working with Kingscott architects and Granger Construction to complete an assessment of our school buildings and facilities.  As part of the process looking at each piece of the facility assessment puzzle, we are working with a group of community members who are part of a Facility Improvement Team.  

The Facility Improvement Team will work together, gathering input from community members, business owners, school personnel, and Columbia School District students.  Throughout the process the FIT team will use a process to continue to assess, evaluate and gather additional input regarding the concerns with our facilities.  

Currently we are aware of only a few of the puzzle pieces: Our heating systems are over 44 years old and while some areas have updated controls, the core of the system is unreliable and outdates.   The existing roof structures at the buildings have outlasted their expected life-span.  Our technology infrastructure needs are many and improvement of the system would tremendously benefit our students.  In addition to the puzzle pieces of heating, roofs and technology, our students’ safety is paramount.  As we have worked to assess our school facilities, we have specifically noted ways of increase the safety of our children and school staff members.

The entirety of the Columbia School District community is invited to assist the Facilities Improvement Team.  If you are interested in helping to complete the facility assessment puzzle and would be interested in serving on the team, please let me know by sending me an email to

Friday, May 10, 2013

The Educational Rainbow

When our children are small we take every opportunity to teach them.  We begin by encouraging our toddler to “throw a ball” or “see the big red truck.”  With each exchange our children learn more about the world around them and gain an insight into the adult they will become.  As our toddlers grow into preschoolers and then into primary school students they build on their initial vocabulary made up of “mama” and “no” into full sentences which often begin with the word “why.”
As our precious little children begin to grow and develop into preteens they learn math facts, scientific principles, and how to write a five paragraph essay.  As they hunger for more learning opportunities, our children’s teachers forge a partnership with us as parents.  As we work closely with the teachers in our child’s school, we find ourselves in an educational rainbow of opportunities for our children.  This new rainbow of learning opportunities will lead our children to develop their talents in art, music, math, science, 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 through our strong public schools and highly qualified teachers will give our children the tenacity to become a jet pilot, the ingenuity to become a automobile designer, or the enthusiasm to become a kindergarten teacher.  Each day I have the opportunity to see children learning at all different levels.  I see the high school student working collaboratively with his peers in Anatomy class to identify DNA.  Then there are the middle school students who work with their science teacher to gain a deeper understanding of various aspects of the environment.
This year take a moment to visit a public school in your area and discover the rainbow of learning opportunities available to your child.  If you have any questions regarding educational opportunities for your child, email me at

Friday, May 3, 2013

Teacher & Staff Appreciation Week!

Next week is Teacher and Staff Appreciation Week in the Columbia School District and in schools across the country.  The Columbia School District teachers and staff work hard to instill a love for learning in our students.  They work to provide learning activities for our smallest children in preschool to our high school seniors who are actively engaged in determining whether to take a step towards college or careers.  They are concerned with the well being of our students.  Our teachers teach with courage and vision challenging students to do their best and become life-long learners.  The teachers are patient and support students as they work together through cooperative learning and problem solving activities.

Teaching is an important profession.  Columbia School District has a host of great teachers who dedicate their lives to raising the knowledge level of their students.  Our teachers arrive each morning with an enthusiasm for learning and a readiness to be attentive to the needs of their students.

Our staff members are adept at providing educational assistance for our students.  The learning environment of our students includes tutoring, administrative assistance, helpful custodians, and food service support.  The commitment of our teachers and staff members comes with a diligence to strive for excellence in the education of our students.

Columbia School District teachers and staff members are committed to securing a bright future for our students.  Over the years our teachers and staff members caring attitude and nurturing spirit has increased the success rate of our students.  Earlier this week I learned that Columbia Central High School was ranked Number One in Jackson County by US News.  The Number One ranking is a tribute to our staff members for all their hard work and dedication to our students.    

If you have a chance to stop by a classroom please show your appreciation to your child’s teacher.  Take an opportunity to say “Thank you!” in gratitude to the teachers and staff of their genuine support of student learning.   Columbia Schools are a Great Place to Learn!