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Monday, December 21, 2015

Columbia School District: Supporting Our Community

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 Junior - 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 including Wal-Mart through noon on December 24th.  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.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Early Christmas at Columbia!

Christmas came early for many of our Columbia School District classrooms as a result of our 2015 Cash Bash Silent Auction!  We were able to fund some terrific new innovative educational additions through a mini grant process.  The 3A’s Mini Grant was designed to provide funds for Academics, Arts and Athletics.   At Columbia Elementary School first grade teachers Mrs. Hawkins and Mrs. Jenness received funds for their classrooms. 

Mrs. Hawkins’ $1,000 mini grant was for a new educational game system called Osmo.  This system uses an iPad with an interactive interface and provides the users with fine motor activities using manipulatives.  This truly innovative device and app gives the children problem solving activities with visual feedback for the students.   Mrs. Hawkins’ students are very thankful for the generosity of those who donated to the silent auction at the cash bash and to those who purchased the items.

Mrs. Jenness received $309 for a classroom learning center for her classroom.  In her grant application, she cited the many benefits to having a listening center in a classroom.  She wrote that it helps to “build sight word vocabulary, exposes students to a variety of story structures (genres), provides access to higher level texts, fosters independence, models phrasing and fluency, compliments and supplements curriculum, and students don’t always have someone at home to read them books.”  Her students were very excited to hear about their new listening center.

At Columbia Upper Elementary School, Principal Mrs. O’Neil and third grade teacher Mrs. Wright, worked with teachers to reorganize the Media Center and evaluated all of the books.  Their mini grant application was titled, “Loving the Library at Columbia Upper Elementary.”  They received $1,000 for books and posters for the new literature.  In addition, I was able to set up a donation from School Specialty Company for some great brightly colored “marsh mellow” chairs and triangle tables.  The students love their new books and furniture!

Columbia Central Junior – Senior High School had four successful grant applications.  Mrs. Eastman teaches math, coding and robotics at Columbia Central Junior High School.  She applied for a mini grant for her coding and robotics class.  In her grant application she wrote that, “the critical need the program will address is the need for students to problem solve, communicate and prepare for future careers.  Students will have the opportunity to construct knowledge and build theories through robotics, thus strengthening their understanding of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in collaborative settings.  Problem solving and communication are life-long skills that can be applied to every aspect of a student’s life.  Robotics also helps to prepare and introduce students for many high demand careers in the STEM fields.”     Her students are very pleased to have $1,000 worth of new robotics parts and pieces to use in their classroom due to the generosity of community members.

Spanish teacher Mrs. Daniels wrote a grant for $150 for a cross curricular program that features a little bit of art and a lot of Spanish culture.  The goal of the cultural learning experience was to have students learn about the significance and history of the piñata, along with creating amazing piñatas.  After they are completed, the students will take them home to share with their families.

At Columbia Central High School Mrs. VanWagnen and Ms. Samson were granted funds for their classrooms.  Mrs. VanWagnen’s Sports Medicine class was initially created in the fall 2014 and the students wanted to have a greater effect on their peers and teachers.  The goal of the grant was to serve additional students at Columbia Central High School through a student-led health and wellness program.  The new wellness program received funding in the amount of $1000 to provide an initial amount of funds for the students to initiate the program.  Ms. Samson teaches science and received a mini grant for science equipment that teaches her students about flight.  Her innovative STEM program using hands-on activities teaches the scientific properties of flight.  If you are interested in learning how your child could attend Columbia School District, call 5175926641 or email me at .

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Columbia Offers Many Activities for our Students!

One of my favorite annual activities is baking Christmas cookies.  Sometime I end up baking them during the second week of December, but this year I made them this past weekend.  As usual I made three types: Lebkuchen, Molasses and Sugar Cookies.  While I enjoy making and eating all three of them, my favorite type is sugar cookies.

At Columbia School District we encourage our students to have favorite pursuits, and much like I enjoy baking Christmas cookies, our students enjoy participating in various activities.  This past weekend our about forty of our Columbia Central High School students participated in a musical play.  The students had been diligently practicing their lines and songs for quite a few weeks.  The sets were nice and the actors and actresses performed well.  One of the things I noticed about many of the students in the play was that just like I make several different types of cookie, most of the participants are involved in several activities at Columbia.

Additionally this past weekend our Columbia Upper Elementary Lego Robotics Team competed in a robotics meet.  This is a new activity and is giving the students an opportunity to use teamwork and problem solving strategies to plan, develop, program and build the robot.  This activity helps the participants build their critical thinking skills and exposes them to a future in robotics.  Much like I enjoy baking Christmas cookies, the robotics students enjoy participating in this educational and fun activity.

Whether a student enjoys after school activities like plays or robotics, or likes participating in sports, band, honor society or leadership activities, they make the school experience better, just like frosting does on the sugar cookies.  At Columbia School District we encourage our students and their families to be involved in school sponsored and community activities.  If you are interested in learning more about the activities offered for your student, email me at or call me at 5175926641.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Focused on Learning at Columbia!

As I gazed up at the evening sky the other evening, I was amazed at the beautiful moon.  It was so beautiful I wanted to take a picture.  Initially I took a picture that included the trees and the horizon,but it did not do the moon justice, so I focused closer and took a picture of the just the moon.  When I focused at the moon itself, it was more strikingly special and vibrant.

At Columbia Schools our teachers and administrators look for the special things about our students and focus on their skills and talents.  Last week over 150 Columbia Central High School students were honored for their academic achievement over the past year.  These students are not only intelligent, but they are hard-working and possess vibrant skills that have been nurtured and encouraged by their teachers. 

These top students and others like them have given Columbia Central High School top rankings for the past three years, being named as Silver and Bronze Medallion Award recipients from U.S. News and World Report, along with earning the distinction of a Reward School from the State of Michigan.  On Friday we were notified that this year’s senior class received top scores in the county on their State Assessment (the ACT) last spring.  Congratulations to our students for their diligence in studying for the assessment and to their teachers for their exceptional direction and focus on academic excellence.

The positive academic focus at Columbia begins with our youngest students.  Last week I spent some time at our elementary school watching and talking to our teachers and students.  Similarly to how the focus on the crescent moon revealed positive results, my visit to the classrooms found teachers who use planned focused activities to increase their students’ academic level.  In many of the classrooms the teachers were focusing on increasing their students’ proficiency in literacy.  Children were reading and working together on literacy skill building activities.  In other classrooms students were collaborating and learning together.  In one of the kindergarten classes students were involved in various activities, with some children laying on small carpets reading, others working on math concepts using play dough, while others were using iPads to improve their educational abilities.  All of the children were focused on learning.

Columbia teachers and students are focused on learning and excellence in academics.  In much the same way as I focused on the moon, the teachers keep excellence in their viewfinder to improve the skills and abilities of their students.  If you are interested in learning more about the great programs at Columbia School District, please email me at or call 5175926641.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Better Than In The Movies!

Education at Columbia School District is better than in the Movies!  Over the years we have seen television shows or movies that focus on school life.  While story lines about schools take risks and exploit academic opportunities, at Columbia Schools the teachers, parents and students have partnered to give students the best opportunity for academic success.   This past weekend we had a great example of that partnership when the elementary Parent Teacher Organization held a very successful Fall Festival for our children.  Not only was it fun for the elementary children, but it gave our teens an opportunity to give back by volunteering to help run the activities and games.  While this event would not make it on television or in a movie, it was a fun, inclusive and positive activity filled time for all of our elementary students.

When you watch a movie you only see just what is on the screen, at Columbia there is a well-rounded philosophy that keeps all of our students in view of the teachers and administrators.  Columbia School District teachers work together to give their students a solid academic foundation.  At Columbia Upper Elementary students are experiencing STEM in two unique ways; The Lego Robotics Program and The Michigan League of Academic Games.  The students participating in these programs only need to have enthusiasm to learn more by experiencing hands-on strategies.  Robotics continues through junior high and into high school.  These programs use collaboration, camaraderie and problem solving to extend learning opportunities in a practical futuristic way.

On the big screen the focus is on the exceptions rather than reality.  For example, the Hogwarts School in Harry Potter housed children who had magical abilities.  At Columbia the magic is not in our students, but in the way our teachers inspire students in their academic endeavors.  Our teachers are positive, creative and hardworking individuals who work to be inclusive of all students not just those who fly, become invisible or use their telepathic powers to get good grades.  Picture ("Hog2warts" by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia -

One television program that focused on school life was “Welcome Back Kotter.”  This comedy was popular, but regularly featured students who were not behaved and often ridiculed each other.  At Columbia, our students not only care about each other, but maintain a focus on positive classroom behavior.  Recently about forty of our high school students attended a three day-two night event called “Communication Camp.”  This event gave students the ability to make connections on a deeper level and learn about others.  Activities like Communication Camp, Leadership Forum and other leadership opportunities, give our students an opportunity to excel while moving past the cliché school experience.

Columbia School District’s positive programs and activities both during the day and afterschool help to make our students’ experience better in the movies!  If you are interested in learning more about Columbia School District, email me at or call 5175926641.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Outstanding Educators at Columbia School District!

Last week I was driving along a beautiful country road spell-bound by the dazzling fall colors.  As I drove past field after field, I noticed various configurations of trees and bushes.  In one farmer’s field there were straight rows tilled with a tree standing right in the middle of the field.  As I contemplated the implications of the beautiful tree standing strong, I thought how our Columbia School District educators stand up for their students and provide many opportunities for success.

Our Columbia Elementary teachers have worked together, standing strong spending many hours over the past two years aligning their curriculum in both mathematics and language arts.  They have created many activities and lessons to give their students the greatest opportunity for success.  One of the skill building strategies used in some of the classrooms has given the students an opportunity to feature their writing in their own blog.  By blogging, the students’ teachers, peers, parents and other special relatives may review and comment on their stories.  All of the positive comments serve to encourage the students to write more.

Similar to the way we assess our environment, like the my admiration for the beautiful tree, the teachers at Columbia Elementary for PK through second grades, Columbia Upper Elementary School for grades three through six, Columbia Central Junior High, Options High School and Columbia Central High School ninth graders, are using an assessment tool called iReady.  This tool uses a progressive system called an adaptive assessment to allow our students to find their exact academic level.  The iReady program uses the academic level of the student to help determine skill building lessons.  Teachers focus activities and strategies to increase student success.

In the Columbia School District we also have outstanding strong programs for vocal and instrumental music.  Similarly to the way I appreciated the beautiful tree, those in our community admire the musicians in our midst.  Our Columbia Central High School Marching Band has made a name for their selves by not only performing beautifully in parades and at football games, but at their many competitions throughout the year.  Our vocal music program has prepared many students to sing in the choirs and our musicals.

These are only a couple examples how our teachers in Columbia are outstanding in a beautiful way much like the way the fall colored tree in the farmer’s field stood out against the background.  If you are interested in learning more about the programs at Columbia School District, please email me at or call 5175926641.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Changing Colors of Fall!

The other day one of my friends told me about an experience with his son.  They were out in the woods doing some hiking and hunting.  As the sun rose and lit the trees with its rays, his son said about the vibrant fall colors practically leaping off of the leaves, “This is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen in nature.”  This ten-year-old was focused on the incredible beautiful ever changing colors of the leaves. 

 As I rush out the door every morning, I take a minute to focus on the beautiful colors of the changing leaves and the rays of the warming sun.  Recently as I gazed up at the bright oranges, yellows, reds and greens of the trees, it made me think about how education has changed over the past several years. 

Technology is one of the most brightest and colorful ever changing areas of education, much like the changing colors of the leaves on the trees.  These days we hear a lot of changing ideas about educating our children.  One phrase we have heard a lot about is “Blended Learning.”  What exactly is blended learning and does it have positive results for our students? 

Blended learning uses both digital learning strategies through online media and traditional classroom instruction.  Students are able to complete the online portion of the learning, decide on the place they access the online content and set an appropriate pace.  Columbia Central High School students use blended learning strategies in quite a few of their classrooms.  In Advanced Placement Biology, Mr. Dickens uses blended learning techniques to enhance the time the students have in their classroom.  He uses a strategy called “Flipped Classroom.”  In this strategy students choose the time and place that they review the material in the lesson before coming to class.  This material may include research, specific online sites or a Podcast.  Once the students arrive in class they begin with activities based upon the material they covered online and may follow up with an assessment covering their assignment and activities.

Blended learning activities also are taking place at Columbia Upper Elementary School.  Many teachers are using strategies that integrate technology both at home and during school.  Recently I spoke to several students who were working on a blended learning technique that included doing online research, creating a graphic organizer and translating that into a multipage website.  This strategy gave the students an opportunity to work in their own time, at their own pace, using a learning-path they chose and a place that worked for them. 

In some of our Columbia Elementary School classrooms teachers are having students write in their blogs online and then classmates, parents, and other relatives, in addition to the teacher, read and write reviews.  This partnership between parents, students and the teacher is made possible through the online techniques of blended learning.

At Columbia Options High School students use online applications during their traditional classes as well as during their virtual classes.  We support students as they complete their virtual classes with a drop-in center and a resource teacher.  Many students find the virtual portion to be better suited to their learning needs, but they also find the resource teacher very important to assist them with questions.

By integrating technology and blended learning into the curriculum teachers must reinvent their teaching techniques.  To adapt the learning activities into this innovative way of teaching and learning, teachers collaborate together and experience a sustainable, transformation that results in meaningful student growth.

At Columbia as we have worked to integrate technology into the curriculum and use blended learning strategies to enhance students’ ability to acquire new knowledge, we have seen a progressive improvement of student retention by using these techniques.  Students enjoy completing online research activities such as in the example in Mr. Dickens’ Advanced Placement course and seem to experience a greater level of retention.  As we continue to use blended learning activities, strategies and techniques with our students we anticipate that they will increase their performance on post activity assessments.  When you look up at the beautiful changing fall leaves, remember to think about the changing look of technology in education. If you would like to learn more about Columbia School District or our programs, call me at 5175926641 or email me at .

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Anytime, Anywhere, Anyhow Learning at Columbia!

Learning can happen anytime, anywhere, anyhow.  This philosophy gives today’s students the opportunity to experience a different type of learning environment to help them be college and career ready.  Columbia School District is committed to giving students the optimal learning activities to gain the knowledge they need to be successful in the 21st Century. 

We not only have great teachers and learning opportunities at Columbia, but we offer a virtual educational experience for many of our students.  This virtual experience underscores the change in the conventional school experience including when and where students learn, what information they need to be confident and who they are as learners.

In addition to virtual classes our students have an opportunity to learn in flipped classrooms.  Flipped classrooms exist when a teacher gives his or her lesson on a short video.  This video lecture is viewed at home, then the in classroom work is focused on projects, completing exercises and discussions.

Our Columbia students may also take college level classes while they are in high school.  The Advanced Placement courses at Columbia Central High School give our students an intense college level experience.  Our incredible teachers used focused strategies and an increased level of educational learning activities to give our students the best chance to succeed.  Students may also earn the opportunity to take courses at the local community college.

Students who are in their junior year of high school and have an interest in a manufacturing career may participate in the early middle college program through JAC3, which is a unique program creating a concurrent opportunity to earn college credit, earn a high school diploma and a technical or career credential.  This program gives students skills through hands-on training, the opportunity to earn a career placement and an associate’s degree while still in high school.

These programs and opportunities are a result the impact of our new economy and its greater emphasis on technology.  Our emphasis on project based learning and integrated technology helps to weave complex thinking skills into each area of the curriculum.  If you are interested in learning more about the opportunities at Columbia School District email me at or call 5175926641.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Columbia School District Teachers Are Dedicated To Their Students!

This weekend I watched several college football games on Saturday and a couple of professional football games on Sunday.  As I watched the players battle for the ball, run in to the in zone for a touchdown or sack the quarterback, I thought about how many hours they practice to get to the collegiate or professional level. 

At Columbia School District our teachers also spend many hours working to hone their teaching skills through professional development and advanced classes.  Each teacher must earn the equivalent of six credits every five years and spend at least thirty hours in school based professional development each year.  Teachers read educational articles and books in order to continue to learn best practices in teaching and learning.  Many teachers scour the internet reading teacher blogs and articles about what activities are included at schools across the country. 

As we prepared for school this fall our teachers spent several days working together, analyzing data and planning positive learning interventions.  During their collaborative learning opportunities they discussed and cooperated on many activities that will provide success oriented activities
for their students.  Many of our teachers spent the summer taking courses, reading educational books or attending seminars to help them prepare for their students.

We had several teachers attend seminars focused on the curriculum for Advanced Placement courses.  Some of our teachers spent time this summer joining almost 1,000 other educators at Nerd Camp focusing on literacy, technology integration and innovative educational activities.  Still other Columbia educators connected with colleagues to participate in book studies.  In addition, some of our teachers and administrators participated in leadership focused activities this summer.

As you watch the various sporting events this fall and admire the proficiency of the athletes, think about all of the effort our great Columbia School District educators put into improving their ability to teach our children and preparing our students to be successful learners.  These fine Columbia instructors are truly life-long learners.  If you are interested in learning more about Columbia educational opportunities, email me at or call 5175926641.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Columbia School District Says Thank You to Our Community!

In 2012 we began meeting as a community interested in improving school safety, increasing our ability to keep our students warm and dry, and enhancing our technology.  Our Facility Improvement Team worked together with Granger Construction and Kingscott Architects to put together the right combination of improvements to provide an excellent learning environment for our students.  In November of 2013, the community voted to approve the two proposals totaling $30.5 million. 

Thank you to the Columbia Board of Education for their commitment and positivity through the Bond Campaign and construction process.   Thank you to Mr. Robert Wahr, Board President for his leadership and continual support.  Thank you to Mr. Garry Applegate, Board vice president, for his construction expertise, enthusiasm and time commitment, attending hundreds of meetings and putting in thousands of hours over the past three years.  Thank you to Mr. Mark Fish for his knowledge of the inner working of electrical projects and attendance to committee meetings.  Thank you to Mrs. Jodi Collins for her ability to motivate fellow committee members and her ability to organize people to canvas the entire community, going door to door educating our friends and neighbors and helping to plan and carryout this ceremony.  Thank you to Mr. Dave Slusher for his support through this process, first as the high school principal and for the past two years as a board member.  Thank you to Mr. Michael Moore for his enthusiasm for the project and his steadfast belief in the importance of creating a positive technological learning environment for our students.  Thank you to Mrs. Bev Fish for her assistance in organizing this ceremony and support throughout the bond campaign.  Thank you also to former school board members Dan Fulara and Doug Schedler for their support and expertise throughout the bond passage and construction process.

I want to recognize our principals Daniel Hyliard, Nick Rulewicz, Christi O’Neil, Deb Powell, Ralph Piepkow, and Lisa Klink for their time commitment attending countless committee meetings, walking door to door, even in the rain, and answering questions from our community members regarding the project.

I want to recognize our teachers and aides for their enthusiasm and positive attitude as they canvassed the community door to door, attended committee meetings, and moved countless boxes and furnishings out of the building and back into the buildings, even over this holiday weekend.  Thank you to one of our retired teachers, Willow Jeffreys, who has been involved in every phase of the process from the bond campaign all the way through until today.

Thank you to our secretarial and clerical staff members for their intense optimism as they answered questions, guided the moving process, packed boxes and still maintained their positive attitudes.
Thank you to our hard working diligent custodial and maintenance staff led by Mr. Bill Bradley for their immense time commitment working to make this transition happen by moving thousands of boxes, chairs and desks, as well as joining in the bond campaign by encouraging their friends and neighbors to vote yes.

Thank you to our positive and enthusiastic Columbia students who never complained as they worked to pass the bond issue and helped to move our teaching staff out, then back in to the buildings.  We couldn’t have done this without you.

Thank you to our Granger construction management team, Glenn Granger for your leadership, Barry Rooney for your support throughout the bond campaign and construction process, Matt Lerg for his leadership and detail oriented tenacity during the construction, Bronson Clayton for his kind way of reminding our construction team of our high standards for the final project, Ken Heinz and Jason for their countless hours working, supervising and sweating with our construction crew.
Thank you to Kingscott Architects, David Martin lead architect, Sarah Haselschwardt lead designer, Dana McClellan designer and John Noteware project architect.

Thank you to our contractors for all of your hard work throughout the two years of construction.  You made the aggressive timeline possible.  Let’s give a round of applause for all those involved in the construction process.

Thank you to our community for your support and enthusiasm through this improvement process!  It was a blessing the way that our great Columbia community members came together to make these extensive renovations possible.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Seeing Education from Various Vantage Points at Columbia School District

Each summer my husband and I take a group of teens and preteens to Cedar Point.  The experience is enjoyable and educational.  One of the things I find fascinating is that depending on your vantage point, you see the park differently.  When you are on a fast ride you see the area as a blur, both right-side up and upside down.  If you are on the Sky Ride or the giant Ferris Wheel you are able to see a lot of the park and a bit more of the detail.  However, if you tour the park on the ground by walking around, you see details you miss from a speedy or an elevated ride. 

Similarly, Columbia School District teachers, administrators and staff members focus on working closely with your child to ensure the important details are covered.  Whether your child is a preschooler enjoying learning about career choices, a sixth grade student learning about the parts of a cell or a Columbia Central High School senior learning the intricacies’ of solving a crime in the Forensic Science class, our teachers give their students the information they need to be successful. 

Our caring administrators work diligently to craft schedules, programs and educational learning opportunities to give students a firm foundation for a bright future.  The Columbia emphasis on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) includes engineering and robotics classes and after school programs, hands-on activities through the MLAG program (Michigan League of Academic Games) and opportunities to earn college credit through our STEM electives: AP Chemistry, AP Biology and AP Calculus.  New this year will be the Upper Elementary Genius Hour project.  During this activity period students will use project based learning techniques to successfully complete hands-on activities.

One of the new programs for our students in kindergarten through sixth grade is the technology exploratory.  This class will give students the opportunity to learn more about educational technology including Chromebooks, iPads and applications that focus on learning strategies.  At Columbia Central high school students will also have new technology options as the result of the addition of our business foundations and Microsoft IT Academy.  These classes will give our high school students the opportunity to build their skills and abilities to provide a pathway to higher education and the work-force. 

In each of the areas of our district our teachers are dedicated to providing our students both a birds-eye view of their subject area, similar to the outlook from Sky Ride at Cedar Point, and the ground-level detail that will give our students a foundation for a successful future.  If you are interested in learning more about Columbia School District, our programs and opportunities for success, email me at or call me at 5175926641.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Accumulating Knowledge Bit By Bit!

The other day I was rearranging items in my bag when I noticed how heavy it was.  When I pulled my wallet out I realized that it was the culprit.  Upon further investigation I noticed that I had accumulated several dollars' worth of change in the coin purse side.  Who would think that in this small compartment I could have almost a pound of pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters?  

Over the years we accumulate many things, some boring and useless, and some items that are precious and priceless.   In much the same way, children accumulate bits of knowledge through their experiences and the learning opportunities that come their way.  At Columbia School District our teachers use various techniques to assist our children as they learn and build their knowledge base. 

This fall our students will be able to take advantage of the use of new iPads and Chromebooks.  Their experiences using these devices will enhance their accumulation of knowledge and skills.  Our students will also be exposed to SMART technology through the interactive projectors and SMART boards.  As our children move forward in their lives they will most certainly use technology in everything they do.  Their use of technology in their Columbia School District classroom will benefit them throughout their lives.

Our students will also have the opportunity to gain insight through the academic focus of their classroom teacher.  Our dedicated Columbia School District teachers passionately focus on helping our students learn and grow, accumulating bits of knowledge, throughout their school careers.  Their accumulation of knowledge and insight will further them down the path to success.  Just like all of the various coins I had accumulated in my wallet, our children will find that the daily, weekly and yearly accumulation of knowledge and skills will give them a firm foundation that is valuable.  If you are interested in registering your child for Columbia School District, please email me at or call 5175926641.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Ribbon Cutting at Columbia School District!

Symbolically, a ribbon cutting ceremony is conducted to celebrate a grand opening or renewal of a business, government building or school.  The ribbon cutting ceremony gives the entity an opportunity to celebrate the hard work of the owners, the community, the construction crews, the architects and governmental partners.  The ribbon cutting allows folks from the surrounding area, including the media, an opportunity to participate in the festivities. 

This year school begins on Tuesday, September 8th and to celebrate the immense work that went into the Columbia School District renovations, you are invited to a ribbon cutting ceremony!  Because the project was spread across the district to all four schools we are having multiple ribbon cuttings.  The times and dates are as follows: Columbia Central High School will have a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at 8:30 am on Tuesday, September 8th.  Columbia Elementary and Upper Elementary Schools will have a joint Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for their students in grades PK through 6th on Tuesday, September 8th at 10 am.  Columbia Options High School and Columbia Virtual School (for sixth through twelfth grade) will have their Ribbon Cutting Ceremony on Wednesday, September 9th at 10 am.

At the Ribbon Cutting Ceremonies Columbia School District will celebrate our teachers, students, administrators, board members and community members who worked diligently to pass the bond issue in November of 2013 that concentrated on making our schools Safe, Warm, Dry and Smart.  We will also focus our appreciation on our many contractors, Granger Construction Management, and Kingscott Architects.

The work on our buildings is almost finished!  There are many great contractors from the local area who are putting their heart and soul into our project to make it a positive learning environment for our students.  Most of our new exterior windows and doors have been installed.  A lot of the classroom doors have been replaced, SMART projectors and new white boards are being installed in the high school and Upper Elementary, SMART boards are being installed in the Elementary, the new heating and cooling systems are almost fully installed across the district, fresh paint has applied to the walls, new tile and carpet is are going in to the classrooms and hallways, and the updated electrical lines and technology wiring is close to being complete.   Many of the new computers, laptops and iPads have been delivered and the furniture is scheduled to arrive on September 1st.   It is exciting to see all of the improvements coming to fulfillment.   If you have questions or want to know how your child can attend Columbia School District and take advantage of our great teachers and terrific facilities, email me at or call 5175926641.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Columbia School District Supports Our Students!

A couple weeks ago there were a myriad of reports in the news regarding NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft as it approached Pluto.  This spacecraft, about the size of a piano, was launched from Kennedy Space Center on January 19, 2006.  As it flew by, one of the photos that were sent back to earth showed Pluto directly in front of the sun (CNN, 7/26/15).  The photo surprised the NASA
scientists by showing that there were more layers of haze than they expected.  It was reported that the New Horizons spacecraft was 1.25 million miles away from Pluto when the photo was taken.

Another photo that was widely publicized in the media showed an area on the surface that appeared to be in the shape of a heart.  These photos represent the hopes and dreams of many scientists, who worked for years to make New Horizons a reality, then waited for nine more years to see the results.

At Columbia School District we focus our skills as learning specialists, our educational efforts, hopes and dreams into making the success of our students a reality.  Just like NASA’s New Horizons taking time to produce pictures, sometimes children take a little extra time and focus to become successful.  Columbia Elementary has several programs that help support our students as they learn and grow into successful adults. 

Our Reading Recovery program gives elementary students the opportunity to work one-on-one with a trained reading teacher.  These teachers not only work with the children, they also communicate with the parents to provide the greatest opportunity for success.  Our Reading Recovery teachers also spend a portion of the day working with groups of students on literacy.  This strategy teaches children skills to help them be successful in reading, which is the basis for all of our core curricular areas.

Another one of our support programs for our students is Buddies Reading, which uses volunteer community members to help provide one-on-one reading support to our youngest students.  Volunteers in this program not only include many retired community members, but working people on breaks and some of our leadership students from Columbia Central High School.
In addition, at all of our schools, Columbia provides extra support for our students who have individual education plans.  The teachers, who are specially trained to give students optimal assistance, work with the students, their regular teachers and their parents to increase their achievement.

Columbia School District also provides positive support for students in the elementary school through our summer math program for students in grades four through six, the summer Leaders In Training program for students in grades five through eight, Academic Games program open to students from September through March in grades three through eight, new afterschool robotics programs for children in grades three through six, a special “eighth hour” study program at Columbia Central, online programs for area homeschoolers and our summer school program at Columbia Central High School.  If you are interested in learning more about these or other programs at Columbia School District email me at or call me at 5175926641.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

The Importance of STEM!

One of the important areas of emphasis at Columbia School District is STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).  Science is very important in society today.   Science is in our lives from the pavement we drive on; to the medicines we take; to the alarm clocks that wake us up each day.  Science has provided us with new plastics that make up our water bottles, bullet proof vests for our law enforcement professionals and parts for our automobiles.  Our students have the opportunity to take chemistry, biology, anatomy and physiology, physics, sports medicine and forensics.  In addition Columbia Central offers the opportunity for our students to earn take college level science courses through our Advanced Placement program. 

Globally, one of the things that science has provided is the basis for technological advancements, which paved the way for cell phones, computers and an impressive array of electronics.  Technology has given students new avenue for learning.  At the schools in Columbia we focus on integrating technology into every area: Language Arts, Math, Science and Social Studies.  Our students use iPads, Chromebooks, desk top computers and graphing calculators.  Technology allows our students to increasing their learning potential by performing research anywhere and anytime.  In addition, some of the lessons our students perform are flipped lessons.  In a flipped lesson technology allows teachers to provide basic learning opportunities through technology, and then the students work together with their peers and teacher to put their learning into practice the next day. 

Engineering is of increasing importance and is directly connected with the other elements of STEM.  Our students have the opportunity to learn basic engineering principles through our science lessons.  Engineering principles are also taught in our robotics course, through our robotics teams and the high school principles of engineering course.  We have the opportunity to offer three engineering and robotics teams to our students in junior and senior high school.  In addition, this fall we will begin offering afterschool programs in engineering and robotics to our third through sixth grade students.

As the final letter in STEM, M stands for mathematics, which offers a platform for technology and engineering, and is directly tied to science.  Math is in our everyday lives, from shopping for bargains, to driving our cars, to figuring out how much tax we owe on a purchase.  Math is not only used in the science, technology and engineering, it is used by artists and musician in their daily work.  At Columbia, we offer our students an opportunity to play in our Academic Games afterschool where mathematics, language arts, social studies are combined to provide an extensive learning program for participants. Our Columbia Central High School students are able to take Advanced Placement Calculus course and our junior high school students may choose to take advanced math through our accelerated summer program.  If you are interested in learning more about Columbia’s many STEM opportunities, email me at or call 5175926641.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Reading Summer 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. 

Stop by your local library!  Whether your child is a beginning reader or an experienced reader, your local librarian will be able to suggest great books and exciting book series for your child.  Many local libraries have summer 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 summer reading time, you may want to check your school’s website or simply 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.  It just happens to be first book on the Teachers First list.  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 your vacation or even for short day-trips.  This way the reading will have a reward at the end 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, July 5, 2015

Important Numbers for Columbia Schools!

The other day as I stood in line at the grocery store there were several magazines lining the shelves.  Each magazine had numbers on the front.  For instance they said things like: “52 Ways to Lose Weight”, “12 New Looks for Summer”, and “17 Exercises for your Abs.”  Numbers are broadcast everywhere.   Advertisers are always noting various prices to encourage us to purchase their products or read their magazines.   Numbers make everything seem more important!  Some of the important numbers at Columbia School District are 1, 4, 6, 8, 9, 17, 20 and 24!

Columbia School District had a very important number this year: A Fantastic 4!  We had four distinguished staff members who were honored in Jackson  County.  Kimberly Samson, physics and engineering teacher at Columbia Central High School, was chosen as the Jackson Area Manufacturing Association Teacher of the Year!  Jennifer VanWagnen, forensics, sports medicine, and anatomy teacher at Columbia Central High School, was named Top 10 for Jackson Magazine’s Teacher of the Year distinction.  Karen Liebau, science teacher at Columbia Central Junior High School, was named Top 10 for Jackson Magazine’s Teacher of the Year award.  This spring Mr. Hyliard, Columbia Central High School principal, was named Jackson County Educator of the Year by Jackson County Junior Achievement.

At Columbia School District there are other numbers to talk about!  At Columbia Central we are renovating an additional 24 classrooms, at Columbia Elementary (grades PK – 2) we are renovating 20 classrooms, at Columbia Upper Elementary (grades 3 – 6) we are renovating 17 classrooms and at Columbia Options and Virtual Academy we are renovating 6 classrooms!   We are doing a lot of renovations!

Eight and nine are very important numbers for Columbia Schools.  In eight weeks our construction workers will be finished with most of the renovations and in nine weeks our students and staff members will be headed off to school!  While there are many other numbers that make an impact at Columbia School District the most important is 1, because all of our teachers work together to make each individual student feel like they are #1!  At Columbia we focus on creating a solid foundation for a bright future for our students.  If you are interested in learning more about Columbia School District and our programs, email me at or call 5175926641.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Safe, Warm, Dry & Smart: Renovations at Columbia!

Two years ago early in June, I wrote a detailed account of our Facility Improvement Team and their work collecting data, information and their task of formulating a strategic facility improvement plan.  I began my column by writing about a big red barn that I passed by each day on the way to school.  This barn was warn and dirty, areas of the façade were crooked and in need of assistance.  As I look at the barn two years later, I notice that it has continued to deteriorate.  The red paint has continued to chip and peel.  It is in need of renovation.  

Much like the red barn, schools in the Columbia District needed renovating and if something wasn’t done, they would have continued to disintegrate due to age.  During our planning phase there were approximately forty community members who created a Facilities Master plan which is focused on the needs of our current and future students.  During the past year we have been able to put our extensive planning into action. 

As you drive by the schools this summer you will find an immense amount of improvements taking place.  At Columbia Central the front drive area contains increased safety in the form of a bus drop-off area in front of the gymnasium and a parent loop directly in front of the office and band area.  During the day parents and visitors to Columbia Central Junior –Senior High School will enter through the north set of doors on the west side of the building.  Parents and visitors will enter through a secure vestibule into the office.  In the morning during student arrival, entry will be through the visitors’ entrance at the front of the building along with an entrance on the north side of the building from the student parking lot.  Similarly, there will be a secure entry vestibule at both the K-2 and the 3-6 building to provide an increased degree of safety for our students. 

Also part of the facility plan is the increased integration of technology.  Each classroom will have SMART Technology.  At Columbia Elementary K-2, each room will have a SMART Board and at Columbia Elementary 3-6 and Columbia Central Jr. - Sr. High School, each classroom will have a SMART Interactive Projector and a whiteboard.  The increased technology integration also includes additional Chromebooks and iPads for use with all curricular areas.

In addition, all buildings are receiving a facelift including: new windows, doors, flooring, heating and air conditioning and updated paint.  The updating of the tennis courts and track at Columbia Central will provide years of physical activity for area residents.  A new playground at the 3-6 building has delighted students this year and we were able add a new playground structure at the PreK-2 building for the preschool and kindergarten students.  If you have questions regarding programs at Columbia School District email me at or call 5175926641.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Control/Alt/Delete; each time I turn on my computer I tap on these three keys to gain entrance to the world of technology.  In much the same way, Columbia School District teachers, parents and students had to move furniture out of the buildings to gain entry to the amazing world of renovation.  Over the course of the past year we have updated our schools with new roofs, new parking areas, upgraded technology and a newly renovated junior high wing at Columbia Central.  The current phase of renovations began with a lot of effort.  All of the furniture was moved from the inside of the school to the outside of the school.  The furniture went into trailers, over to Miller for storage and to the “give-away” areas.  Through all of the difficult and tedious work it was easy to see why our Columbia students excel!  Not only did the teachers work diligently to make sure all of their items were packed away for safe keeping, but we had parents, teachers’ families, students and graduates carrying, lugging and organizing educational items for next year. 

Now that all of the work emptying the buildings is complete, our contractors are deep into the demolition of removing old duct-work, ceiling tiles, windows, doors, outdated electrical wiring and panels, technology wiring and switches, and the Columbia Central Junior/Senior High School bus drive and parent drop-off loops.  Over the next several weeks the contractors will begin work on the tennis courts and the track surfacing at Columbia Central. 

It is exciting to see all of the renovations and upgrades at our schools!  The diligent work to prepare and carry out the renovations, collaboration of various community groups, parents, teachers, board members, and administrators will give our students the optimal areas in which to learn and develop their intellect to facilitate success as they grow and mature.  We anticipate a great finish to the renovations late in August.  Please consider donating some time during our “Back-to-School Move In” which will take place sometime around August 31st.  As the move in date gets closer, I will keep you informed.  If you would like more information on Columbia School District, our renovated facilities or great programs, please email me at or call 5175926641.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Day One for Our Graduates!

Recently a new song was released by Matthew West entitled “Day One”.  He begins lamenting that instead of looking forward, he dwells on was has happened in the past and that he is always trying to measure up to perfection.  He goes on to say that no one is keeping score so he will begin anew, because today is “day one of the rest of his life”!

As we focus on our students who are graduating, we encourage them to begin their new life with gusto, to take risks, and to reach out and make a positive impact on their surroundings.  In the same way as West sang, it is “Day One,” it is imperative that our seniors go on to the next stage; their future. 

It was such a pleasure and honor to take part in the Columbia School District graduation ceremonies for all of our graduates.  On Thursday Columbia School District had 19 Adult Education and Options High School students enjoy commencement, and then on Friday we had the pleasure of seeing 107 Columbia Central High School seniors graduate.  

Our seniors have grown together, laughed together and learned together.  Our young people are full of potential.  They have the opportunity to meet and defeat the challenges they face.  They are the promise of tomorrow.  Their past learning experiences give them the platform for their future success!
Congratulations to all 126 Columbia School District graduates as they discover their bright future, because as Matthew West said, It is Day One of the rest of your life.  The Columbia School District Family is cheering them on to success.  We will always be here for our graduates!  If you are interested in joining the Columbia School District Family, email me at or call 5175926641.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Columbia School District: Positive Learning Environments For Our Students!

Over the past year the Columbia School District has been diligently working on the renovation of our school buildings and campus grounds.  The renovation projects have been focused on ensuring our students have an educational learning environment that is Safe, Warm, Dry and Smart.

 "Safe" refers to a safe and secure learning environment for students, staff and community with many updated areas to meet current code requirements.  Planned safety upgrades will include secure entries at each building, doors that will properly lock and do not need to be chained shut, drop off and pickup traffic patterns that separate parent and bus traffic to ensure the safety of students and staff, security cameras that are installed to increase security and facilities upgrades to meet the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

"Warm" refers to creating a more energy efficient learning environment for our children so more money may be spent on educational needs and the installation of items that will convert operational dollar savings into educational funds.  To create the energy efficient learning environment, the 1950's and 60's era boilers will be replaced with new energy-efficient heating and cooling systems, increase the R value of our buildings by installing additional insulation and new roofs, and install new windows and doors with energy-efficient glass and insulation.

"Dry" encompasses facilities that are easy to maintain, reflect a positive image and enhance community spirit and update facilities to attract students, parents, staff and community members so the Columbia School District may grow.  To create a dry environment for our students the 40 plus year old roofs will be replaced with highly insulated roofing systems, the 40 to 60 year old original leaking piping systems will be replaced, and install heating systems without water leaking into the duct work.

"Smart" includes a strong educational technology infrastructure that supports current technology needs and allows for future technology growth.  This element includes the expansion of wireless technology infrastructure, the addition of classroom computers for students and staff, and the provision of 21st Century job skill development tools.

So far the project has included the completion of new roofs at all buildings, the parking and drives at Columbia Elementary and the renovation of Columbia Central Junior High area, including the updating of the district administration offices.  The completion of the Junior High area allowed

student grade distribution to be updated to enable Columbia to feature an early elementary building for prekindergarten through second grade students, an upper elementary building especially for third through sixth graders, and the dedicated junior high wing at Columbia Central. 

This spring the construction workers have focused on renovating the former third and fourth grade wing at the early elementary building, the south side of the north wing at the upper elementary building, work in the band, choir, psychology rooms and former counseling office area at Columbia Central, and the building of new locker rooms for the seventh and eighth grade students at the south end of the gymnasium complex at Columbia Central.  Photos of the renovations are available on our Columbia School District Facebook page or the Restore the Soar Facebook page.

This summer you will notice many projects under way on our Columbia School District campuses in order to provide an excellent positive learning environment for our students.  In order to complete our projects the district will move classroom furnishings out of our buildings and into storage trailers for the summer.   In August, we will move back into the completed buildings.  This is an exciting time to be part of the Columbia School District Family!  Our students, teachers and administrators are very thankful for the generosity of our wonderful community!  If you are interested in learning more about Columbia Schools, our programs and our extensive renovations, please email me at or call 5175926641.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

A Teacher's Silent Impact!

As I read through a publication I saw a column regarding movies.  While I would often skip over this type of information, I noted that the reviewer was considering the impact of famous actors and actresses on the viewers.  The reviewer was none other than Joe Morgenstern who is a famous movie reviewer for the Wall Street Journal.  His observation was that even when the actor was not really doing anything on screen, for instance in a close up or when he or she was listening to a speech from another actor, there was still a profound impact on the movie goers. 

As I reflected on his thoughts my mind traveled back home to the Columbia School District and how our teachers, staff members and principals make a tremendous impact on our students even when they are silent.  Sometimes, especially when they are silent!  

Teachers provide a listening ear to students who may have had a difficult morning at home, sometimes arguing with their sister or parents.  Our Columbia staff members, especially our transportation employees and food service workers, may be the first person to smile at a child that day.  That smile, often in silence, impacts our students on a daily basis.

As educational employees, our staff members, watch over, nurture and listen to children each day as they struggle to read a paragraph, learn how to solve a quadratic equation or perform a chemistry experiment for the first time.  These truly dedicated individuals who are teaching our youngsters are making an impact, even through their silence. 

Though movie actresses and actors are often put on a pedestal, adored and lauded, we have many treasured teachers and staff members who make a profound impact on our students to a larger degree than any movie personality could ever formulate.  Although I am not a famous movie reviewer or Wall Street Journal columnist, I know that everyday our teachers help to put forth the mission of Columbia School District, providing a solid foundation for a bright future, even through their silence.  If you would like to learn how your child could benefit from the programs at Columbia School District, please email me at or call 5175926641.

Monday, May 4, 2015

This Week the Spotlight Shines on Columbia Teachers and Staff!

This past week has been packed with athletic events, televised on multiple stations focusing on every detail.  If you were to listen and watch, you could have become acquainted with all of the Kentucky Derby horses, their owners and jockeys.  Although only slightly more than 170,000 attended the Derby, millions more watched from the comfort of their homes.  In addition, over the past week there was immense attention paid to the Mayweather  versus Pacquao fight, the NBA finals and the NFL draft.

These superstars of sports are in the spotlight and we can’t seem to get enough of them.  In the Columbia School District this week our spotlight is shining on our superstar staff members this week!  May 4th – May 8th is Teacher & Staff Appreciation Week!  This is the week for us to honor and appreciate our teachers for all they do each and every day for our students.

Our Columbia teachers work and plan terrific educational learning activities for our students.  In her
anatomy class Mrs. VanWagnen offers her students incredible opportunities to delve into their subject through dissection of various animal parts.  Recently she introduced her students to the anatomy of an eye by dissecting a cow’s eye, then last week they experienced dissecting a fetal pig.  The students were not only very interested in comparing the anatomy of a pig to that of a human, but it gave them an experience they will never forget!

Mrs. Dagenais is the new counselor for our junior high students in their new area at Columbia Central.  In her role as counselor, she is also teaching a leadership class.  Her enthusiasm for increasing self-esteem and building leadership skills has motivated her students to not only learn more about themselves, but produce posters with positive quotes for all the students to view. 

Our sixth grade teachers, Ms. White, Mr. Williams, Mr. Luppo, Mr. Meschke, Mr. Moore and elementary counselor Mrs. Schatzle gave our students the opportunity to learn in an experiential hands-on way at Kimball Camp last week.  The students learned about physics through the Pendulum Physics activity on the Giant’s Swing, experienced the aging of a lake during their canoe explorers class and found the courage and tenacity to take one more step as they conquered Goliath, the forty-foot climbing tower. 

Our Columbia Central Elementary kindergarten teachers, Ms. Uhl, Mrs. Hotchkins, Mrs. Sexton and Mrs. Bernstein work together with their students to take our youngsters from their A, B, C’s to reading a book!  Their patience and nurturing spirits supports their students as they become acquainted with school and the awesome learning opportunities we offer.

As I visit each school there are many opportunities for me to applaud the great things teachers are accomplishing on a daily basis.  Please take some time this week to email, snail mail or stop by and thank one of our great teachers or staff members for all they do each and every day for the children of our Columbia School District Family!

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

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Columbia's Rainbow of Learning Opportunities!

During the soggy wet afternoon, the drizzling rain kept coming.  My drive around the country side was on a road surrounded by a green lush valley that seemed to stretch upward towards the sky.  As the sun began to peak out from between the clouds, there was a small rainbow visible between the trees.  The further I drove the more brilliant the rainbow became until it stretched across the valley from side to side.  It was an amazing sight and I wondered just which end held the pot of gold?

 Seeing the beautiful rainbow shining through the gray drizzly sky made me think about how fortunate we are to have such great educational programs supporting our students’ learning environment.  The brilliant rainbow of programs includes many learning activities at all levels.  Recently our students and parents have had the chance to enjoy some of the extended learning opportunities. 

The Science Fair was amazing!  Students used their knowledge of the scientific process to research a topic, perform an experiment, gather data, and present the results to their teachers, parents, community members and peers.  One especially interesting experiment had some of our students making what Mr. Hamilton referred to as “Elephant’s Toothpaste.”  It was an amazing mix of ingredients, topped off with hydrogen peroxide to make a foaming batch of foaming colored paste.  Another fascinating experiment spotlighted the “5 Second Rule.”  The students completing this experiment investigated various locations that one might drop a piece of candy or potato chip and grew various bacterial cultures from those areas. 

Another ray of our science curriculum rainbow of learning activities was the elementary science night.  Our students had a terrific time interacting with teachers, high school students and Principal Powell over scientific experiments and interesting activities.  Mrs. Powell even let the children and their parents hold giant cockroaches!  The hard work and dedication of our teaching staff resulted in an unparalleled opportunity for our students to not only learn academically, but stretch themselves and their understanding and knowledge in science.

As we work closely with the teachers in our child’s school, we find ourselves in an educational rainbow of opportunities for our children that extend far beyond fun science experiments and activities.  This expanding rainbow of learning opportunities will lead our children to develop their talents in art, music, math, 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 in the Columbia School District through our highly qualified teachers will give our children the tenacity to become a jet pilot, the ingenuity to become an automobile designer, or the enthusiasm to become a kindergarten teacher.  Each day I have the opportunity to see children learning at all different levels in our Columbia School District classrooms. 

Each and every day the teachers and members of the Columbia School District family come together to provide educational activities and learning opportunities for our students to brighten our children’s day, just like the rainbow in the valley brightened my day.  If you are interested in learning more about how your child could benefit from the awesome learning environment at the Columbia School District, would like a tour or to have your child shadow one of our terrific students please contact me by email at or call me at 5175926641.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Successful Golden Eagle Cash Bash Raises Funds for Students!

This past Friday, April 17th the Columbia School District Family came together to raise funds through the Inaugural Golden Eagle Cash Bash to support Academics, Arts and Athletics.  The Golden Eagle Cash Bash was planned and organized by a central committee who worked together to raise the funds to support programs in academics, arts and athletics and scholarships for our students.  The committee, made up of the Columbia School District administrative team, board members and volunteers, began meeting late last fall to organize the event to ensure a successful evening full of fun.

Thank you to all of those who supported the Golden Eagle Cash Bash by volunteering on the committee and working the event, donating items to the silent auction, purchasing items from the silent auction, buying tickets to the event and the 50/50 tickets.  The folks of Columbia came together and had fun fellowshipping, laughing and meeting new friends.  The money raised will fund mini-grants for Academics, Arts and Athletics!  Teachers, coaches and administrators will be able to apply for funding for special programs and projects that benefit Columbia students.   Scholarships will also be available to our great students as a result of our generous community members.
The Cash Bash featured cash prizes, a silent auction and a lot of fun with Columbia community members.  Jackson’s Hot Country 101.5 radio personality and Columbia Central High School graduate Scott Clow helped make the evening fun by announcing the winners and opportunities for participants.  The Columbia Kiwanis Club members assisted Columbia School District volunteers by keeping track of the chip board and helping to raise funds at the Cash Bash.  Vandercook Lions’ Club members also helped the Golden Eagle Cash Bash committee in the planning and running of the event.  They allowed our district committee to use their equipment which resulted in a successful event. 

Our generous and fun loving community members donated more than $17,000 during the event.  Winners of the event were Todd Wanty and Justin Shuberg.  The evening of fun and fellowship was so successful that the committee has already scheduled the Second Annual Golden Eagle Cash Bash for Saturday, February 27, 2016 at the Gene Davis Banquet Center.  Make sure to put it on your calendar today!  If you have questions or want to participate in the great programs at Columbia School District, email me at or call me at 5175926641.