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Sunday, August 10, 2014

Updated Columbia Elementary and Middle School Campus

In any environment there are right and left-brained individuals.  This combination of the two types of people helps to make school a rich learning environment.  The so called “right-brained” thinkers are said to be creative, thoughtful and intuitive.  “Left-brained” thinkers give us the logical, analytical and sequential way of approaching a problem or a concern.  Strengths of right-brained and left-brained combine to make the school environment rich during learning activities.  Classrooms in the Columbia School District often use grouping to solicit various solutions and problem-solving approaches by complementing right-brained people with students who are left-brained.

As we have worked with our construction projects we also have included right and left-brained individuals in the process.  Some of us look at things in square boxes, very sequentially, while others view the area in question with a creative approach.  Some of our contributors use charts, graphs and organizational utilitarian strategies, while other participants go by their experience and feelings.  As we have proceeded through the process we have discussed, designed, and redesigned areas, then kept, delayed or deleted individual items. 

This summer our projects included new roofs at all four schools.  The roofing projects included new metal trim around the edge, upgraded and improved soffits and soffit lighting and new downspouts.  The roofs received new insulation and are warrantied.  So far we have had very few leaks throughout this process.  Unfortunately, one leak emerged after the antenna on the Columbia Central High School was placed directly above the CC logo in center court in the gymnasium.  The slight rip in the seam of the roof during a short down pour, resulted in some damage at center court.  The roofing contractor is paying for the damage to the court.

One of the important safety items we tackled this summer has been the separation of the parent drop-off and
bus loop at the Columbia Middle and Elementary School Campus.  Parents will find it convenient to drive east on School Street straight into the parent drop-off loop.  The loop goes to the right, so parents may drop their middle school students off first, then proceed around to the elementary school drop off area.  There will be two lanes: the right one for dropping your child off and the left one for passing.  Children should exit from the passenger side of their vehicle. Parents may not drop their child off from the left lane or they may be in peril of getting hit by a car.  To keep the drop-off lanes working to peak efficiency, please ask your child to have their shoes or boots on and their school supplies in hand when you pull up to the drop-off area.  There will be a small parking area in the center of the drop-off loop for preschool parents.  This area is reserved for preschool parents because they have to bring their little ones into the school to sign them in.

For parents who desire to park and bring their child into the building, they will find it convenient to park immediately west of either the elementary or middle school.  Parents with elementary aged children are asked to park in the “Parent/Staff” lot on the west end of the elementary school.  This lot is designed for parking only, not for drop-off.  All drop-offs must be made in the drop-off loop between the buildings.  Middle school parents who must accompany their children into the building are asked to park in the “Parent/Staff” lot immediately west of the middle school.  This lot is being transformed from a drop-off loop into a regular parking lot.  The formerly dirt and gravel lot may be used by either elementary or middle school parents.
A second safety element is the bus loop.  Children arriving by school bus will be dropped off in a separate area from the parent drop-off loop.  This area is accessed by the new bus driveway off of Monroe Street.  This drive may not be accessed by any automobile traffic. 

It is exciting to see this summer’s renovations coming to a close just in time for the next phase to go out for bid in October.  A heart felt “Thank You” goes out to all of you left or right-brained community members who have participated in the Facility Improvement Team or any of our other committees.  The improvements to our schools are a testament to your hard work and tenacity!

If you have questions regarding the traffic flow at the middle or elementary schools, please attend the Back-to-School Bash for Columbia Elementary students on Wednesday, August 27th from 5:00 pm to 6:30 pm or the Open House for Columbia Middle School students also on Wednesday, August 27th from 6 pm to 7:30 pm.  If you have questions regarding registering your child for Columbia Schools, please email me at or call me at 5175926641.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Stuff the Bus!

Recently I was talking to a friend of mine regarding my concern for children who come from families who are struggling to provide back-to-school supplies.  As we talked about the opportunity for community members to donate notebooks, pens, pencils and backpacks, my friend launched into her own story.  She told me that her eldest daughter was ready to begin school when her situation changed at home.  Her husband left her with nothing, so she applied for a position back in Michigan to be closer to her parents.  However, it took all she had to get moved and she was worried that her daughter would not have everything she needed to start school.

She knew that her daughter had grown a lot during the summer and wouldn't fit into her clothes from the last fall, and she certainly didn't have funds to purchase a new backpack or other school supplies.  Being a woman of faith, she prayed that she would be able to provide for her daughter as she began school.  The next morning she opened the door and there was a big box filled with a mixture of gently used hand-me-down clothes and items that still had the price tags!  There was even a backpack filled with school supplies.  When she checked the return address, she noted it was from a friend.  When she phoned her friend to thank her, she learned that her friend had gone through her daughter’s closet pulled out items that no longer fit her.  When she mentioned the backpack, her friend told her that they had been at the store getting back-to-school items and her daughter had suggested they send the items along with the clothes.

At Columbia Schools, we too have families, who struggle just like my friend who was in need at that point of her life.  As you make trips to the store to purchase back-to-school items for your child or grandchild, you may want to pick up a couple extra notebooks, pencils, pens or even a backpack to donate to someone who is in need.  Donations of school supplies may be dropped off at any of the Columbia School District offices or put your donation in the school bus during “Stuff the Bus Week” August 25th through September 2nd; you never know…your generosity may just be the answer to a mother’s prayer.

If you are interested in registering your child for school or learning how you might volunteer at the Columbia School District, please email me at or call 5175926641.