Follow by Email

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 .