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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.