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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