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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 .