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Sunday, June 5, 2016

Golden Eagles Class of 2016!

Columbia School District students grow up knowing that they are Golden Eagles.  As we wish the Class of 2016 farewell, we can liken their successes to the strength and swiftness of the Golden Eagle.  Much like the way an Eagle builds her nest; our graduates will begin building their adult lives.  They will add knowledge and experience, like the eagle adds grass and bits of string or twine to their nest.  Our graduates will want to build a strong foundation over the next few years to help them on their way to a successful future, much like the eagle works to build a sturdy next for their eggs.

Just like our tiny eaglets struggle to peck their way out of their eggs, our graduates may experience difficulties as they begin their lives after high school, but with determination, our graduates will move successfully through any concerns.  Similar to the way the eaglets are when they first hatch, the Columbia Central Class of 2016 will be experiencing everything for the first time as adults.  Whether our graduates are on their way to college, the military or to a job, they will have to use their strength and innate ability to problem-solve and pave the way for success. 

 As we focus in on our eaglets, we see them growing and maturing.   In much the same way our graduates will develop over time as they get ready to stretch their wings and continue to progress into a successful adulthood.

Best wishes to our newest graduates: the Class of 2016.  They have been a terrific group of students, consistently working towards goals, which many people deemed impossible.  Their organizational skills enabled them to plan and carry out the district-wide Hope Run and raise over $13,000 to fight cancer, their tenacity helped them gather donations and enough bottles of water to fill a truck for the people of flint, and they earned the highest average on the ACT in school history.

Congratulations to our graduates.  As the 49th class to graduate from the Columbia School District, you have set the bar high for those who follow in your footsteps!  If you are interested in Columbia School District programs, please email me at or call me at 5175926641.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Columbia Maker Space!

The other day I read a blog post online about the founding of Tempe, Arizona.  A gentleman was on the way from Tucson, in the southern part of Arizona, to Prescott, which is towards the northern part of the state.  When he arrived at the Salt River, it was raging and he had to wait a couple of days before he could cross.  This gentleman saw the possibilities in the area, purchased 160 acres of land, and helped start the city of Tempe.  The writer of the blog, Jim Mullins, called this gentleman (Charles T. Hayden) a visionary.  Any of us who have visited the Tempe area, with its bustling economy, well laid out streets, and large university (Arizona State University) would easily agree with Jim, that it was a stroke of genius to establish the city of Tempe (

At the Columbia School District we encourage our students to make a difference; much like Mr. Hayden did in the 1800’s.  This past week all of our fifth grade students were part of a Maker Space invention discovery day.  The students had an opportunity to build electrical circuits, including using oranges and bananas.  They learned how to program small robots to follow a trail, either on a table or on the floor.  The students used computers to interact with the robots.  Our fifth grade students were also challenged to create!  They used boxes, scissors, paper, tape, staplers and glue to build and create shapes and structures.  The students used various items to build wooden and plastic structures. 

During the Maker Space day, the Columbia teachers and advisors from the Jackson County Intermediate School District were facilitators, helping the students to use their skills and intuition to investigate and create.  Much like Mr. Hayden saw the potential in the central Arizona, our students saw the potential in the random items they were given to construct amazing creations. Their teachers supported their creative spirit and natural curiosity, and gave the students the leeway to be successful through investigations. 

Each day our Columbia teachers give their students opportunities to use their classroom experiences as a base and encourage the students to use their abilities, skills, imagination, and insight to extend their learning.  If you are interested in hearing more about Columbia School District programs, email me at or call 5175926641.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Columbia Central High School: Positive, Dynamic Students!

Over the past several weeks, the Columbia Central High School senior class has begun to imagine their graduation.  They have pictured themselves crossing the stage and celebrating their success in high school.  As June 3rd draws closer, our seniors not only think of graduation, but of their future opportunities and challenges. 

This past week our senior class had the opportunity to participate in an interview process.  During the interviews they spoke about their background, their plans and their hopes and dreams.  Those that were fortunate to sit on the interview panel, heard as our positive, intelligent students talked about scholarships they have earned, their volunteer experiences and where they will be next fall.  As they talked to the panel, it was obvious that some of our seniors were beginning to realize that just having a strong academic background will get them off to a good start, but that they will also have to use wisdom as they apply all of their academic knowledge. 

Columbia School District students have distinct advantages not only because of the high academic standards at Columbia Central, but because of the caring, nurturing nature of their teachers and our exceptional programs.   The students in our Leadership program have learned to work together, organize positive community events and spend time volunteering with our elementary children. 

Recently the students in the Leadership program organized, planned and carried out the Hope Run Day and memorial for Columbia Central alum and fallen trooper Chad Dermyer.  After the day long event was over, one of the young ladies on the planning committee mentioned that her experiences at Columbia Central have given her the confidence to get in front of the whole district student body and lead.  She and her team inspired the Columbia School District students and staff members to raise over $13,000 for the American Cancer Society.

During their time with the interview panel, other students talked about their experiences in our Advanced Placement classes and how they feel prepared to go to college.  Some of them talked about their interest in science and how their experiences taking advanced anatomy, Advanced Placement biology, Sports Medicine and Forensic Science have given them a great base for their next step in college.  The Class of 2016 is a great group of young people full of promise and energy.  It will be exciting to watch them take on their future with tenacity!

If you are interested in cheering our senior on as they walk across the graduation stage, join us at the Potter Center on June 3rd at 7:00 pm.  To have your child join the positive programs at Columbia School District, call me at 5175926641 or email me at

Monday, May 9, 2016

Columbia is a Great School Community!

Approximately 150 Columbia School District teachers, staff and administrators appreciate the opportunity to assist in developing and increasing learning activities to benefit your child’s education. Our goal is to partner with you to provide your child an outstanding educational experience in a safe, positive and dynamic environment.  

At the schools in the Columbia District, we work on being intentional regarding our students’

learning opportunities.  Teachers develop plans which include activities designed to enhance student achievement.  Our terrific teachers use detours and “teachable moments” to allow random events to become learning filled occasions.   The other day I ventured into a classroom where a visiting spider had given the teacher an opportunity to help the students learn a bit about the rather large arachnid.

Increasingly, teachers are integrating technology into their learning activities in their classroom. Our teachers engage their learners by unfolding their lesson by intentionally using technology to boost student interest and understanding.  The teachers are coming up with creative ideas to improve student achievement and to increase the capability of students to be successful problem solvers.  We are empowering our teachers to work with students to harness technology to gather information and to communicate efficiently and effectively.  Our teachers, using best practices, are striving to increase literacy and integration of technology while incorporating digital and blended learning activities into the educational environment in their classrooms.
As a member of the Columbia School District community you may support the teachers’ intentional focus on enhancing the students’ achievement by encouraging your child or grandchild to fully complete their school projects or assignments.  You may encourage your child to take the next step and learn more about topics they are covering in school by conducting web-quests.  You may also support our wonderful teachers by engaging in positive verbal support as you speak with others in the community.  Your enthusiasm for learning at Columbia Schools may also include volunteering to serve on a committee or read a book to a child or cheer our sports teams on to victory.

As we work together side-by-side leading the children of the community to become lifelong learners, our support of education will have an enduring effect on our children! I am deeply proud of the critical and immeasurable community support for the Columbia School District. Thanks to your help, Columbia School District has become one of Michigan’s premier school districts.

If you have questions about how you may partner with the Columbia School District or to register your child for school, please email me at or call me at 517.592.6641.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Teachers Are Real Heroes!

Strength!  The qualities of strength include being strong both physically and mentally.  A definition of strength may include having the ability to move with energy.  As I was thinking about the word strength, I thought about the fact that some of the people I know who show the greatest strength are teachers.  Beginning in 1984, the National Parent Teacher Association started promoting Teacher Appreciation during the first week of May.  This year the theme for Teacher Appreciation Week is “Teachers are Everyday Real Heroes!

Teachers are indeed real heroes!  Our teachers encourage children to excel.  They have patience to educate our children.  Teachers are master innovators; they use common every day experiences to give students a base of education that will help lead to success throughout their lives. 

This week join me in celebrating Teacher Appreciation Week!  Here are some things that the Parent Teacher Association recommends as you honor our teachers: Send a thank you card to a special teacher, help a teacher by volunteering in his or her classroom, and post positive comments on social media about a teacher who had an impact on your life.

Columbia teachers give of themselves both inside and outside of the classroom.  Their dedication to their students doesn’t seem to have a limit.  They use innovative plans to give students the best opportunity to excel.  The teachers’ emphasis on technology integration helps to weave complex thinking skills into each area of the curriculum.  If you are interested in learning more about the great teachers and their curricular specialties we have at Columbia School District email me at or call 5175926641.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Columbia's Music Program Plays the Right Note!

As we listen to music it affects each one of us differently.  The band leader hears the music up close with a trained ear.  The clarinet player hears the whole band, but hears those closest to him clearer.  The percussion players hear the music, but may actually feel the beat to a greater degree that those around them.  While some say the audience members have the ultimate experience enjoying the music.

This past week the Columbia Central Jr – Sr band concert was held in the auditorium.  The band members were all students who put in an amazing amount of effort learning and perfecting each piece of music.  Not only do they play in the band, many of the musicians also take Advanced Placement courses, which focus on college level curriculum for high school students.  These students must not only put a great deal of time and effort into their music, but complete hours of homework and research to be successful in the Advanced Placement course.

Other students who play in the band compete in athletics.  Combining music and athletics is challenging even for the best of students.  These student musicians must put in hours and hours afterschool practicing their sport, go home do their homework, then practice their music.  These students are incredibly dedicated to giving their best in music, academics and athletics. 

Students who are band members who enjoy athletics and academics value the benefits of music, along with many in the community.  Columbia School District values music education for our students.  Leading up to band in the high school, even elementary students have the opportunity to enjoy music class.  Students in kindergarten through sixth grade participate in general music, which includes vocal and instrumental music.  Our sixth grade students may choose to enjoy beginning band.  Once students enter seventh grade, there is junior high band and choir.  Our senior high school students may play in the band and enjoy choir class.  In addition, marching band includes after school practices and many students sing in our musicals.

The strong music program at Columbia has lasting benefits for our students including making memories, and new friends.  Not only is it rewarding to have a great music program, studies have shown that music reduces stress, increases happiness and improves health.  If you are interested in coming and enjoying our music performances, stay tuned to the Columbia School District calendar on our home page at  If you have questions about your child attending Columbia and participating in music or other programs, email me at or call 5175926641.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

During spring break my husband and I visited some friends who live in the south.  During our visit, I was picking up sticks in their backyard, and saw a chameleon darting up the side of their house and under the siding. Watching him quickly leave the green grass and scurry up the tan siding, I was amazed at how rapidly he began to change his color based upon his surroundings. 

This type of teachable moment scenario may be used as a basis for a science lesson at Columbia School District for students in grades kindergarten through 12th.  How does a teacher know what to teach in science?  It has always seemed logical for high school teachers, because students select biology, anatomy, physics or chemistry, but what tips the scales for teachers in kindergarten through eighth grade? 

Columbia School District has always had a science curriculum, but now we have additional updated input from the State.  Last November the State of Michigan released the new science standards for our children.  One of the goals of the new document was to promote the ideology that science, technology, and engineering saturate nearly every facet of our lives.  In addition, the new standards underscore the fact that science, technology, and engineering are integral to defining and solving many current and future global concerns and challenges.

The new science standards give our teachers the parameters with which to lay out the curriculum for each grade level and help them get our students prepared for State Assessments, such as the MSTEP (that was initially given in the spring of 2015). Now in its second year, the MSTEP assesses English language arts and mathematics for children in grades three through eight, science in grades four and seven, and social studies in grades five and eight.  From this list, it almost looks like we only need to teach science in fourth and seventh grade, however each grade is provided with State of Michigan science standards.  In fourth grade, children are assessed on the standards and information they learned in not only grade four, but in kindergarten through third grade. 

In order to assist our teachers with the huge impact of giving our students the base of understanding for science, technology, and engineering, the standards are organized around seven concepts*: (1) Patterns, (2) Cause and Effect, (3) Scale, Proportion, and Quantity, (4) Systems and
System Models, (5) Energy and Matter in Systems, (6) Structure and Function, and (7) Stability and Change of Systems.  These concepts provide a cross disciplinary framework for our students and their teachers.  Within the framework there are eight different practices that are to be used when investigating a concept.  The practices that our teachers are using are*: (a) Asking questions and defining problems, (b) Developing and using models, (c) Planning and carrying out investigations, (d) Analyzing and interpreting data, (e) Using mathematics and computational thinking, (f) Constructing explanations and designing solutions, (g) Engaging in argument from evidence, and (h) Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information.  Combined, the concepts and practices give our students a powerful ability to build a knowledge base from which to become life-long learners in the area of science, technology, and engineering.

If you are interested in learning more about Columbia School District and our focus on science, technology, and engineering, email me at or call 5175926641.


(*) The information regarding the State of Michigan K-12 Science Standards is taken from

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Columbia STEM Investigations!

Columbia School District students experience STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) on a daily basis.  At Columbia Central High School Mrs. VanWagnen's Forensic Science class uses scientific techniques to build their analytical skills.  During one session they focused on the physics of blood stain and spatter analysis to learn how to solve a crime. They learned that the bloodstain pattern depends on both the force used to propel the blood and the type of surface the spatter lands upon.

Columbia Central High School teacher Mr. Dickens gave his Advanced Placement Biology class the opportunity to experience the fascinating world of DNA investigation. Upon arrival at Camp McGregor for their DNA experiment, they put on their safety goggles and lab coats and became acquainted with the high-tech equipment.  The real-world technique the students used was DNA fingerprinting, which is sometimes called DNA profiling.   The science is often used on television crime dramas and by police detectives to identify a perpetrator by their DNA.  

In the Upper Elementary students are taking advantage of the new science classroom to increase their proficiency in STEM areas.  Recently, Mrs. Adams used a hands-on lesson about force and motion.  The students learned how things moved using spinning tops.  They evaluated the force and motion by measuring distance, time, and speed.  In all of the elementary STEM classes, students collect data and reflect on their experiments and assessments in qualitative and quantitative terms. The curriculum also has students illustrate and graph their results.

At Columbia Central Junior High School, science teacher Mrs. Libeau has been teaching her students about electricity and energy. The investigation into energy uses research into the effects of light energy, solar energy, and water energy. The students use the hands on experiments and investigations, combined with reflection to gain an improved understanding of the world around them.

As the science in the world around us gets more and more complex, our students must get a firm foundation in STEM.  Columbia School District has a focus on giving our students a base of understanding in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.  If you are interested in registering your child at Columbia, please email me at or call 5175926641.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Columbia School District STEM Programs!

As we approach Spring Break it is time for us to celebrate a wonderful first six months of the 2015-16 school year!  By working closely together our community has improved learning opportunities in Columbia Schools.  Many of our positive improvements reside under the umbrella of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).  Teachers in grades four through eight have increased their hands-on science teaching by using new activities and strategies gained from work with the Battle Creek Math and Science Center curriculum.  These new activities give students an opportunity to investigate, learn and reflect on science concepts.  Our students understanding of science will also receive a boost during our Cranbrook family science night and through the Science Fair this spring.  Students will have the opportunity to learn through participating in fun and interesting hands-on science experiments.

Our Columbia teachers have diligently worked together to improve math education by spending time aligning our curriculum, developing innovative teaching strategies and integrating new math techniques and skills.  They also have participated in a unique opportunity to study math through a collegial professional learning community book study on “Number Talks: Helping Children Build Mental Math.”

Our students from grades three through eight have benefited by these advanced strategies and techniques.  One of the opportunities to engage students through innovative strategies is the Michigan League of Academic Games program (MLAG).  Columbia students have been working and learning math games that focus on computation, problem solving and set theory.  Some of the participants attended the annual MLAG State Tournament and gained positive experience working competing against students from across the state.

Aligning with the STEM focus at Columbia School District, Columbia Upper Elementary has a Robotics Team through which students has an opportunity to use the engineering and math concepts they learn in the classroom and apply it to building a functioning robot.  The students in robotics are given a challenge, so they build, program and operate their robot to complete the challenge.  Under the guidance of Mrs. Eastman, students at Columbia Central Junior High School have enjoyed participating in an engineering class that integrates technology, math, and physics into the curriculum.  Students have also enjoyed the STEM applications through our partnership with the Shop Rat Foundation and Consumers Energy. 

To support our students in this very important area of STEM, our teachers have participated in afterschool programs K – 12.  Columbia Central Junior High School teachers tutor students across the curriculum in their after school program and Columbia Central High School teachers support their students by providing expert assistance afterschool.  Again this summer, we will offer programs focused on remediation at the high school level, team building for fifth through eighth grade students, accelerated math for students in seventh and eighth grade, and math games for third through eighth grade students.  New this coming summer, Columbia Elementary students in grades K through 6 will have the option to participate in the Book Club or Robotics program!

This is an exciting time at Columbia School District!  Our terrific teachers and staff members have partnered with our parents and community to provide all of these and many more excellent educational opportunities for our students.  If you are interested in learning more about Columbia School District and our positive STEM programs, email me at or call 5175926641.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Join Columbia for an Evening of Fun!

Get ready for fun at the Golden Ticket Cash Bash on February 27th at the Gene Davis Banquet Center!  Last spring the Columbia School District Family came together to raise over $17,000 for Senior Scholarships and Mini Grants for Academics, Arts and Athletics.  Tickets for the Cash Bash are available for $80 for two people.  You may obtain a ticket from any of the Columbia School District principals. 

At the end of this month Columbia School District supporters will again experience fun and fellowship while raising even more funds for the students of our district.  To learn more about how the funds from the Silent Auction portion of the Cash Bash were dedicate to our students and provided some terrific new innovative educational additions read the following paragraphs.  

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, January 31, 2016

Sadie's Big Adventure!

The other day a friend posted a video on Facebook.  Although I usually do not watch videos, this one started when I scrolled by.  It was very funny and I could hardly stop laughing!  After I stopped laughing, I began thinking about how enjoyment can enhance every aspect of our lives.  In general, people participate in activities they enjoy. 

At Columbia School District our teachers use learning strategies that use enjoyment to enhance academic goals and objectives.  Our students benefit from receiving instruction from individuals who are creative and use positive experiences to boost the end result of their classroom activities.  Earlier in the school year Mrs. Wright challenged her class to read enough books and earn scores of at least 1,000 points in the Accelerated Reader program.  If her entire class could achieve the 1,000 goal, their reward would be having Sadie, Mrs. Wright’s dog, come in for a visit. 

The big day when Sadie came to visit happened last week.  Not only did the students enjoy having Sadie visit, they used their improved reading skills to read with her.  They also used their math abilities to graph which students had dogs at their home and told funny dog jokes, such as, “Why did the dog not talk back to his foot?  Answer: Because it’s disrespectful to talk back to your Paw!” 

During Sadie’s visit the students had an opportunity to take her for a walk in the cool fresh air.  In addition they collaborated with a service learning project happening at Columbia Upper Elementary School and did an advertisement for the Cascades Humane Society.  Their experience learning and working with Sadie helped make the school service project of collecting supplies for the Cascades Humane society a reality.  Mrs. Wright’s students had a great time and they smiled all day during their enjoyable, fun-filled experience!

 At Columbia, our teachers work with their students to tie enjoyable activities to academic skill building experiences that lead to success.  If you are interested in learning how your students could participate in Columbia’s great educational environment, email me at or call 5175926641.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

A Successful Foundation for a Bright Future!

As I looked out the window and saw the snowflakes falling, I walked outside to catch some of the light, fluffy, cold snowflakes in my hand.  The snowflakes seemed quite similar, although I know that no two snowflakes are alike.  Looking at the snowflakes it made me think about how our students are similar in age and size, even in temperament, although each child is unique.  Similarly to the way that the complex shapes of the snowflakes are molded and formed by the different environments they pass through, our students bring with them different experiences that give them differing and unique capabilities and strengths.

In the Columbia School District our teachers work with students and use approaches that focus on the students’ various strengths.  Our preschool and kindergarten teachers use strategies to bring out the best in our youngest students.  During their classroom experience, our kindergartners get an opportunity to experience strategies that bring out the best in each child.   The teachers use hands-on manipulatives and activities designed specifically to give our kindergartners a firm foundation for their educational success.

Our upper elementary school students experience activities that give them a path to academic success.  Not only does Columbia provide great academic opportunities during the school day, but this year many of our upper elementary students have participated in the Magic Choir, Robotics Club, Robotics Team, Academic Games and various athletic programs during the after school hours. 

At Columbia Central our teachers provide success oriented activities designed to give our students positive experiences.  Just like we do at all levels at Columbia we address the various differences in our students by offering classes especially designed to give them academic success. Our Advanced Placement courses give students a taste of college level academics while still in high school.  In addition to their basic academic core subjects, students have an opportunity to take Calculus, Physics, Chemistry, Engineering, Robotics, Spanish, French, Senior Transitions, band, choir, physical fitness and Psychology.  We also have many athletic teams for our students, along with musicals and plays.

As each and every one of our students transform into the unique individual people they are to become, it is our responsibility to nurture and educate them. Similarly to the way we appreciate the unique differences in snowflakes, Columbia School District teachers from preschool through high school work with their students to educate them with strategies designed to give them a positive foundation for a bright future.  If you are interested in learning more about Columbia School District and our programs, email me at or call 5175926641.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

January 2016 is School Board Appreciation Month!

Recently I was reading about the duties and role of the school board.  In one of the websites, they depicted the work of school board leaders as “A Work of Heart”.  That is a perfect description!  Officially our school board members listen to the community, make policy and set the budget.  However the magic of our school board is their “Work of Heart” activities.  Inevitably, you will see them at musicals, band concerts, and football and basketball games.  They will also be at community meetings, parent teacher conferences and the Hope Run. 

Each January we celebrate School Board Appreciation Month, which is a wonderful time to recognize our school board members for the critical role they play in Columbia School District.  Their focus on their “Work of Heart” takes dedication and an extraordinarily high level of integrity.  Their service to the community includes caring for students, parents, staff members and administrators.  They carefully examine all sides of a policy or an issue prior to making a decision.  
Through their decisions, they are laying a pathway for the future of our school district.

This past year much of the focus of our seven school board members has been on following the critical path of the school district renovations.  Many of our members were involved in planning the projects through our Facility Improvement Team.  They spent countless hours walking along side community members through our district speaking with homeowners about the future improvements.  Their structuring of the priorities of our facility improvements has resulted in keeping our students safe, warm, dry and technologically proficient well into the future.

The 2016 School Board is made up of seven vivacious, tenacious community members, who are: Bob Wahr, Garry Applegate, Mark Fish, Jodi Collins, Dave Slusher, Bev Fish and Michael Moore.  These seven fine individuals make up an efficient and effective board that has taken on the huge responsibility and challenge of working together to lead the way in the Columbia School District.  Their ability to work as a team will help increase the effectiveness of the district and give our students the optimum opportunity to succeed now and into the future.

As we go through the cold and snow month of January, please join me as we celebrate the continued commitment of the Columbia School Board members by telling them “Thank You!” for all of their hard work and determination.  You too may become involved as a volunteer and make a difference in the lives of our students through our PTOs, booster clubs, Buddies Reading program, athletic programs and Grandparents for Greatness.  If you are interested in learning more about Columbia School District and our programs, please email me at or call me at 5175926641.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Top 15 in 2015!

Last week we said goodbye to 2015 and hello to 2016.   Since 2015 was such a great year for all of us, I tallied 15 great things that took place in Columbia School District during ‘15! 

1)  In January Columbia School District honored the Board of Education members for “Board Appreciation” month and new board members Bev Fish and Michael Moore were sworn in along with returning board members, Mark Fish, Dave Slusher and Bob Wahr.

2) In April the Junior High students and their teachers moved from the middle school to their new wing at Columbia Central.

3) Also during April Columbia celebrated with our first Cash Bash fundraiser!  As a community we raised over $17,000 for student scholarships and teacher mini-grants.

4)  In May, Columbia Central High School earned the U.S. News & World Report Bronze Medallion Award as a top high school in the country!

5)  In June Columbia Seniors walked for graduation and earned hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships to colleges and vocational programs.

6) In June Columbia School District students and staff members moved their furniture and books out of the buildings to enable the contractors to begin demolition in all of the buildings.

7)  During the month of August construction maintained a feverish pace to prepare the schools for the fall.

8) As we got ready to begin school, Columbia teacher Nick Rulewicz was named Columbia Central Junior High Principal!

9) As September arrived approximately 50 students and all of the teachers focused on getting classrooms set up for school to begin!

10) On September 8th, the Columbia School District community came together to celebrate the Grand Opening of our newly renovated schools!

11) In September, three wonderful Columbia School District employees announced their retirement: David Hamilton, fifth grade teacher, Ralph Piepkow, Columbia Communication Director and Options principal and Betty Bruce, district bookkeeper.

 12) October brought the awarding of the Cash Bash teacher mini-grants.  Grants were awarded for new books, technology, robotics and science.

13) In October, sports were celebrated at Columbia: Freshman golfer Alissa Fish earned her way to participate in the State of Michigan golf tournament and the Golden Eagle Football Team earned their way into the playoffs during the month of October!

14) In November Columbia Central Junior-Senior High School Leadership sponsored the annual Forum Days, which brought many special speakers in to work with our students.

15)  In December the Columbia Central Junior- Senior High School was host to WILX channel 10’s School Rules program and in combination, Columbia School District students gathered thousands of nonperishable food items for the Brooklyn Food Pantry.

Many more fantastic things happened in Columbia because of the wonderful parents, terrific students and great teachers and administrators!  As we move into 2016, Columbia School District is focused on continuing excellence in education for our students!  If you are interested in learning more about Columbia School District call me at 5175926641 or email me at