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Sunday, January 28, 2018

Enhancing the Columbia Learning Environment!

Recently I watched a home renovation program on the television.  It was interesting how the people looked at homes that were in poor shape, and then through the magic of television in a half hour, the home was completely renovated and looked like new!  They tore down walls, replaced windows and doors and painted everything.  In the end, their new house was beautiful and very functional!

Similarly, in beginning June of 2014, the Columbia School District launched a renovation of our educational learning spaces funded by the bond project of November 2013.  Much like the television renovation programs, we tore down ceilings and walls, removed windows and doors, replaced the heating and cooling systems, rewired the electrical and technology infrastructure, installed updated plumbing and fixtures, purchased updated student and classroom technology, installed new lockers, reroofed the buildings, constructed safer parent and bus drop-off and pick-up areas, installed new casework and classroom furniture, fabricated new tennis courts and track, and painted the walls. Much like the excitement we see on the faces of the participants in the renovation television programs; our community members, students and staff members feel a renewed sense of pride following our school building makeovers.

Columbia School District has always enjoyed positive support from the community, parents and students.  During the month of February, Columbia supporters will be holding the Fourth Annual Cash Bash to raise funds for Academics, Arts, and Athletics for items that weren’t purchased through the bond projects, but are important to continue to enhance the learning environment for our students.  In the past three years the friends of Columbia have raised over $50,000 for classroom mini grants and student scholarships through the ticket sales, raffles and silent auction at the Golden Ticket Cash Bash.

Mini grants have funded special STEM field trips, robotics activities, curriculum project supplies, flexible seating, and lots of new books! The students and teachers are looking forward to this year’s Cash Bash to raise even more funds to continue to provide all of the great activities and resources that deliver classroom enhancements. If you would like to support the Fourth Annual Golden Ticket Cash Bash by donating an item for the silent auction, or would like to attend the event, call Monika at the Columbia Administration office: 5175926641 or email her at  If you have questions about Columbia School District email me at or call me at 5175926641.

Support Columbia Students: Purchase a Cash Bash Ticket!

Would you support Columbia School District with a donation for our annual Silent Auction at our Fourth Annual Cash Bash or by purchasing a ticket?  Get ready for fun and fellowship at the Golden Ticket Cash Bash on February 24th at the Gene Davis Banquet Center!  Last February our Columbia School District family came together to raise over $17,000 for Senior Scholarships and Mini Grants for Academics, Arts, and Athletics.   This year we are eager to raise even more for our great Columbia students. Tickets for the Cash Bash are available for $80 for two people.  You may obtain a ticket from any of the Columbia School District offices or administrators. 

Funds from the ticket sales and raffle games at the Cash Bash are dedicated to provide some terrific new exciting innovative items for academics, arts, and athletics through teacher mini grants.  All of the funds raised through the silent auction were as a direct result of the generosity of our donors and supported scholarships for seniors. 

Last year our community of donors gave gift certificates, vacation destinations, tickets to sporting events, and other great items that were auctioned at our event.  If you are able to donate, please send the donation and the estimated retail value to the following address: Columbia School District, 3 A's - Academics, Arts, Athletics Fundraiser 2018, 11775 Hewitt Rd, Brooklyn, MI  49230.  If you will need your donation picket up or if you have any questions, please call Monika at the Columbia School District administration office at 517-592-6641 or email her at

Sunday, January 14, 2018

JCEC: Paving the Way to College or Career

The Columbia School District is participating in the Jackson County Early College (JCEC) program through a partnership with the other public school districts in Jackson County.  This new early college program paves the way for Columbia students to move from a traditional k-12 approach to a more vigorous k-14 conduit that will be personalized for our students.

The Jackson County Early College program will assist students gain a post-secondary education while still in high school  They may take courses along a path to earn an Associate’s degree, certification, credential, or skill set.  The early college program is deliberately designed to guarantee transferability of credits to four year universities. Our program is designed so students may begin their college education as early as their freshman year and remain in the program through their 13th year to a maximum of 60 credits.

Courses in the program will be taught on a college schedule.  Many college courses will take place during the traditional school day, while some will be evening or weekend classes.   Students may ride buses to and from Jackson College along with our Jackson Area Career Center students.  If the courses are in the evenings or weekends, transportation will be the responsibility of the student.  Students will be able to continue to participate in any courses offered at Columbia Central or Options High School if appropriate based upon each student’s schedule.   Each student will pay for their own college textbooks.  

Participation in the program begins with students preparing for taking college classes by satisfying prerequisites.   This program is open to all Columbia students, including students who attend through the school of choice program, even if they do not reside in Jackson County.  Columbia Central and Options High School students and parents will be invited to informational meetings to learn further details of the JCEC program.  If you have questions regarding the Jackson County Early College program or any program at Columbia School District, you may email me at or call 5175926641.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Recognizing the Columbia School Board

Recently I was reading about the duties and role of the school board.  On one of the websites, they depicted the work of school board leaders as “helping kids soar to success.”  I had never heard that description, but it is perfect!  Officially our school board members listen to the community, make policy and set the budget.  However the magic of our school board is their “helping kids soar to success” activities.  Inevitably, you will see them at musicals, band concerts, and football and basketball games.  They attend community meetings, parent teacher conferences and the Hope Run. 

January is School Board Appreciation Month.  This month gives us an opportunity to recognize the service and selfless time given by seven individuals in our community for the benefit of our schools. As the board members help kids soar to success, they continually imagine the future for our students. We all have hopes and dreams for each child in our community to have a successful future.

January is a great time to focus on the crucial and critical role the school board plays in Columbia School District.  Their focus on success for all of our students, takes dedication. Their actions and decisions affect the present and future lives of our children.  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.

School board members take their responsibility and public trust very seriously, dedicating an enormous number of hours to their work both in and outside of board meetings. Attending school functions, preparing for board meetings, reading financial reports, agendas and proposals, and making a host of difficult and challenging decisions are just a few of the regular activities board members participate in through their service.

Today, more than ever, school board leaders are faced with the overwhelming charge of providing a quality education at a time when financial constraints weigh heavily on the health of school district budgets. In an era of unprecedented choice in education, school boards are also tasked with charting a course that provides long-term, sustainable success for current and future students in all of Michigan’s public schools.

This year much of the focus of our seven school board members has been collaborating with the teachers, administration, community and superintendent to establish a Strategic Plan.  They spent countless hours working and focusing on increasing student achievement. 

The 2018 School Board is made up of seven energetic, 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, and athletic programs.  If you are interested in learning more about Columbia School District and our programs, please email me at or call me at 5175926641.