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Friday, December 6, 2019

At Columbia School District our students have a sense of belonging that flows directly out of our Mission Statement.  Our teachers, community members, administration and board members believe that our students will be stronger adults if we follow our Mission: Nurture Dreams. Empower All. Create a Better World. 

Gabriella Tackett
Our Mission gives our educational community sense of direction to make our students a priority, to help them to be empowered learners, and have a feeling of purpose.  The nurturing environment at Columbia gives our students an advantage over their peers.  The empowerment that students feel when they participate in leadership activities, special programs and extra-curricular events will lead them on a pathway to success.  

As our students leave Columbia Central and move on to their future, they are making a positive impact in the world around them.  Recently Columbia Central Alumnus, Gabriella Tackett was recognized by the Jackson Magazine as a leader in our community in the “under 30” group.  Her work at the Countryside Grand Assisted Living and Atrium Independent Plus has distinguished her in her field.  In the recent article, she was quoted as saying, "We all say it, but do we really mean it? Treat others the way we want to be treated, especially later in life."

Ariel Miller, Columbia Central High School Alumnus, Class of 2015 and former college soccer player at Indiana University East was honored with the Red Wolf Award last year for her tenacity and teamwork.  She was also honored with academic honors for doing so well while playing soccer.   Prior to her playing soccer for Indiana University East, she had an outstanding soccer career at Jackson College, playing for her high school coach Andy Hosmer.  While at Jackson College she spent time working for the Columbia School District transportation and maintenance departments.  The leadership skills she acquired while at Columbia Central High School have given her the ability to excel in all areas of her life.

Lexi with her Championship ring
Lexi Hall, a recent graduate (2018) from Columbia Central High School has continued saving lives by organizing blood drives in the Brooklyn area.  This past summer she held a blood drive, coordinated with the American Red Cross at Columbia Central High School.  Her desire to become a nurse has led her to value the lives of those around her.  Her leadership of American Red Cross Blood Drives began when she was in high school and directed the blood drive for the CCHS Leadership Class.  Lexi's college experience has been augmented by building on her experience as a CCHS varsity cheerleader for four years.  She recently earned a Championship ring as a member of the Concordia University NAIA First Place Cheerleading Team. 

Maria Cook a 2017 graduate from Columbia Central High School planned and ran her Seventh Annual Toy Drive for Mott Children’s Hospital.  Over the past six years she has collected over 3,000 toy for Motts to be given to children who will be spending the holiday season in the hospital.  The program provides toys to the children who are ill, as well as their siblings who are spending many days and nights with their brothers or sisters at Mott Children's Hospital.  Maria is currently a student in Elementary Education at Central Michigan University.  During her summers in the Brooklyn area, she works for the Columbia School District assisting with the educational summer camps.  Last year she created a new program called Princess Camp.  She worked to design the program so that it incorporated STEM activities in to the Princess Camp theme.

In her first year at Western Michigan University, Alissa Fish (Class of 2019) has dominated the fall golf league.  Her experience at Columbia Central High School learning to be a leader and winning the State Championship in golf, has given her the confidence and tenacity to take on older more experienced golfers.  Her competitive spirit was an asset at Columbia Central High School as she not only was an excellent golfer, but played basketball and was a top student academically.

These, and many more Columbia School District students are fulfilling the Columbia Vision: Learning Today, Leading Tomorrow as they experience college, the work place and the community.  Our students are flourishing during their school career and as they leave the empowering, nurturing academic environment of Columbia!

Get Your Ticket To The Cash Bash!

Get a great gift for the person who has everything!  Purchase a ticket to the Columbia School District Sixth Annual Golden Cash Bash on Saturday, February 22, 2020!  

The Cash Bash began in 2015, as a fun-filled celebration of the fabulous programs and activities offered at Columbia!  The Cash Bash has raised almost $90,000 over the past five years.  Last year the Columbia Community came together to raise more than $18,000! 

The funds raised are focused on two main areas: Scholarships for Columbia Central High School Seniors and 3A’s Mini Grants.  Many area individuals and businesses donated items, services, and vacation spots to the Cash Bash Silent Auction.  In 2019 the Silent Auction raised $6,000 for Senior Scholarships.  The funds raised for the 3A’s Mini Grants, which stands for Academics, Arts, and Athletics, flow directly from the Cash Bash ticket sales and raffles held during the event.  Last spring, more than $12,000 was raised for the 3A’s Mini Grants.

Last year 18 seniors received scholarship funds from the funds raised from the Silent Auction.  With scholarship awards ranging from $100 to $500.  The students used their scholarships for books, tuition payments, and fees.  The generosity of the Columbia community has made a positive impact on more than 90 seniors over the past five years. 

The 3A’s Mini Grants have benefited our students by providing STEM activities, robotics parts, software programs to enhance learning opportunities, athletic items, field trips, and extra educational strategies.  The funds raised for the mini grants helped to extend the ability of our teachers and coaches to make a difference in the lives of Columbia children.

If you are interested in purchasing a ticket to this fun event or wish to donate to the Columbia School District Cash Bash, contact us at: 11775 Hewitt Rd, Brooklyn, MI 49230 or call 5175926641.  If you are interested in learning more about Columbia Schools, call 5175926641 or email me at

Monday, December 2, 2019

Time To Celebrate!!

It is time for us to celebrate a wonderful first four months of the 2019-20 school year!  Working closely together with our community has helped to offer our students improved learning opportunities at Columbia Schools.  Many of our positive improvements reside under the umbrella of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).  Teachers have increased their hands-on science teaching by using activities and strategies gained from work with the Battle Creek Math and Science Center curriculum.  

Our students from third through sixth grade have benefited by these STEM 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 with Ms. Weidenbach and Miss Wing learning math games that focus on computation, problem solving and set theory.  During March some of the participants will represent Columbia in the annual Michigan League of Academic Games State Tournament where they will gain positive experience competing against students from across the state! 

Aligning with the STEM focus at Columbia School District, Columbia Elementary and Columbia Upper Elementary has Robotics Teams and our Junior and Senior High School has teams that provide our students with 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.  In their technology class, students in Kindergarten through sixth grade have the opportunity to learn coding with Mr. Moore.  Students across the district 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 after-school programs: Columbia Central High School teachers support their students by providing expert assistance after-school.  Last year Ms. Samson received a grant from Lowes for two 3-D printers to assist in STEM.

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.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Reading and Writing at Columbia Schools

Columbia School District teachers and principals work diligently to partner with parents.  They feel that when children are learning about reading and writing in school, they will be a more successful learner if they complete fun skill building activities at home.  It is important to work with your children to write along with practicing reading.

Parents will want to encourage their children to write even if the end results appear to be a mess.  One of the secrets to interpreting their early writing attempts is to have them draw a picture then write a caption underneath.  As the parent or caring adult, you will simply ask them to read the caption and then you will write the correct spelling beneath their caption.  You can also suggest that they write a letter to a friend or relative, complete with pictures, and you can interpret the words that may be illegible. 

In addition to drawing a picture and having your child write a caption, you could ask your child to tell you what the picture shows.  Ask him or her to tell you a story describing the picture, then write down the story and read it back to him or her. 

To help reinforce your child’s writing skills you may want to talk about what you are writing, even something as mundane as a shopping list.  Talk about the list and the reason to make a list. Your child will have a deeper understanding of the use of the written language if you model the reasons to write. 

To further encourage your child to build his or her skills in writing, you may read your child a short book or a chapter of a longer book, then have him or her draw a picture of the next adventure of the characters in the book.  You could suggest that your child write a sentence or two depicting the exciting adventures for the characters in the story.

These writing strategies and tips will assist you as you work with your young learner at home.  The time you spend with your child reading and writing will lead to success as he or she learns today and becomes a leader tomorrow.  If you have questions regarding Columbia School District, call 5175926641 or email

Monday, November 18, 2019

Mission Impossible: Accomplished!

Mission Impossible!  Sometimes as we work with our children, it seems that it is an impossible task to get them to do small chores such as put the dishes away and clean their rooms.  Recently I spoke with a mother of two high school children.  She mentioned that she has worked diligently to prepare her children for college and beyond by making sure that they have the life skills necessary to survive.  Many parents do not want to burden their children with chores and tasks.  However, it is important to give your children age-appropriate assignments to teach them responsibility.

Even young children can help set the table, sweep the floors and clean their own rooms.  By the time a child enters upper elementary or junior high school they can take on more chores that teach them helpfulness and gives them a greater sense of responsibility.  They may be able to take on more accountability, and independence like helping prepare meals, making his or her own lunch, getting up in the morning, and managing his or her own money.  These life lessons will help support your child as they gain more accountability at school.

As you assist your child to make a smooth transition into a greater level of responsibility, you will want to make sure they know that you are solidly behind them and show that you love them.  Some ways you may support them as they become more accountable are to continue to make sure your child leaves the house on time and goes to school ready to learn.  He or she needs to have a good breakfast and an appropriate night’s sleep. 

In addition, you will want to be aware of his or her teacher’s expectations.  Although your child should do his or her own homework, you will want to know about the assignments in case your student needs assistance.  Make sure you meet your child’s teachers.  If you missed parent teacher conferences in October, take an opportunity to drop by the school and check in with them.  If you can’t stop by, make sure you call or email them to get the inside track on their expectations.

As your child takes on new challenges, be sensitive and understanding as you support them to reach for the stars.  Talk to your child about real life opportunities that tie into what your child is learning.  The newspaper is a good source of information to acquaint your student with the applications and ties to why they are taking math or science.  As you work on this impossible mission to assist your child as they grow into wonderful adults, remember you will be able to celebrate as you say, “Mission Impossible accomplished!”  If you are interested in learning about Columbia School programs, call 5175926641 or email

Monday, November 11, 2019

Columbia School District Salutes Our Veterans!

Columbia School District staff members and students are forever indebted to our veterans for their service to our Country.  On Veterans Day, Columbia School District students and staff members greeted our local veterans with breakfast and a thunderous applause.  

We believe that from the beginning of our nation, many brave young men and women have stepped forward to defend our freedom. Nearly 50 million men and women have worn the uniform of the United States, and nearly 20 million veterans are living and working among us today.  At this time, many young adults are currently serving our country and becoming a new generation of American veterans.  

Our nation owes a debt to our veterans, and it’s a debt we can never fully repay.  Thank you Veterans for your service!

Monday, November 4, 2019

Welcome to Officer Breijak!

Columbia School District is pleased to announce that we have a new police liaison officer to work with our students and staff to continue to increase safety within the district.  Officer Theodore (Ted) Breijak grew up in the Jackson area and graduated from Michigan Center High School in 2014.  Following high school he attended college at Ferris State University. 

During college Officer Breijak played saxophone and oboe in the Ferris State University athletic pep band.  He used his skills in music as a student conductor trainee for a year with the pep band.  He received a small partial scholarship for his participation and leadership in the band.  While at Ferris State University he was also an assistant manager for the fast food restaurant, Kentucky Fried Chicken.

While at Ferris State University, Officer Breijak enjoyed the law enforcement prerequisites and entered in to the Ferris State Law Enforcement Academy his senior year of college, during which he took 20 credit hours each semester to prepare him for a position as a police officer.  Officer Breijak graduated from Ferris State University with a degree in Criminal Justice in 2018. 

Officer Breijak became a police officer because he likes working with the community.  Coming from Michigan Center, he enjoys participating in community activities and getting to know the people in town.  His first position following his graduation from Ferris State University was at the Jackson City Police Department.  Although he learned a lot about being on a police force and enjoyed working in Jackson, he missed being in a rural community.  He worked last summer for the Mackinaw island Police Department.  Officer Breijak found his summer experience on Makinaw Island interesting.  Officer Breijak said that he enjoyed his time immensely with the Mackinaw Island Police Department during the summer of 2019.  He was able to take the position as the Columbia Township Police Department Columbia School District liaison because his time at Mackinaw Island was only a summer job.

Officer Breijak said that he became a police liaison, “because I enjoy working with kids.  I am not that much older than the students so I relate to them.”  He continued by saying that he is interested in working to “develop my skills in juvenile relations, through his work at the Columbia School District.”

Officer Breijak has enjoyed his time so far with the Columbia Township Police Department because people are friendly.  He sees the community as a small world scale and where neighbors look out for one another.  He called the Columbia Township community, “Refreshing.”  His long range plans are to continue working in Columbia keeping the community safe and getting to know more of the residents in the area.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Mr. Luppo: CCJHS Teacher of the Year!!

“My son’s favorite teacher!” “He makes social studies interesting and fun.”  These statements are in praise of Dennis Luppo, a popular Columbia Central Junior High School social studies teacher.  This past year, he was nominated and voted “Teacher of the Year” by his fellow junior high school teachers.

Columbia School District has a great group of teachers and Mr. Luppo is just one of many positive hardworking academic instructions.  Mr. Luppo recently received the Superintendent’s Award of Excellence which recognized Dennis Luppo for his outstanding performance, hard work, and dedication to Columbia School District.  His dedication to our students, family and staff is greatly appreciated.

Mr. Luppo is consistently working to advance his students to higher levels of academic achievement through careful planning and focus on increasing his student’s educational excellence.  He works to motivate his students by encouraging them to exceed their expectations and their past social studies performance.  His caring and nurturing spirit supports students both academically and socially.

Mr. Luppo said that, “There are endless reasons why I love teaching and love Columbia. What I love most about teaching middle school students is that they challenge me daily to be a better educator. Their needs change on a daily basis, and I love the challenge of figuring out how to empower them to become successful learners. The people at Columbia are wonderful to work with and they really care about the school, staff, students, sports, and our image. I wouldn’t trade being here for anything in the world.” 

Columbia teachers recognize Mr. Luppo for his leadership in the classroom and as an important part of the school improvement efforts.  For several years he has coached the junior high school football and basketball teams.  His enthusiasm for learning in various settings is illustrated by his ability to demonstrate creativity and innovation in his lesson plans and using teaching methods that inspire students to learn.

Columbia School District appreciates the hard work and excellence in education provided to our students in Mr. Luppo’s classes.  The students benefit from his tenacity, educational enthusiasm, and positive ethical spirit.  Mr. Luppo is an extraordinary dedicated teacher, blessed by his various teaching gifts. He is an exemplary teacher who fosters a collaborative environment for his students through his deep passion for learning.  If you are interested in attending Columbia School District, please email me at or call 5175926641.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Columbia: Focused on Kids!

Recently I saw an informational graphic that indicates that every 60 seconds there are 3.8 million searches on Google!  Everything happens so fast!  The informational age presses us to complete many tasks with the assistance of technology.  Technology is present in every facet of our lives: from the time we get up and turn on the light, to the last minute text we send out before we go to sleep.  Imagine the world without the high tech influences, such as when years ago before there were light bulbs and people used candle light.  It is incredible that it would take 765 candles to equal a 60 watt bulb.  It is amazing how much technology has change our lives.

In education we often speak about the importance of STEM, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Part of that importance is because the technology permeates every facet of our lives.  No longer do we use maps, we use GPS technology to search out and give us directions at every turn. At the Columbia School District we appreciate and focus on all areas of the curriculum, the STEM areas, foreign language, art, and music.  Students in our elementary may take advantage of after school and summer enhancement programs in Spanish language.  Our formal foreign language program begins in junior high school with an introduction to both French and Spanish.  As students learn and progress, they may continue to build their expertise in French or Spanish. 
Art!  Just the word conjures up visions of famous art pieces, hanging alongside of an inventive piece of kindergarten art.  Recently while speaking with a classroom full of sixth grade students I mentioned that I had a piece of art on my wall from one of the artists in the classroom.  Our students benefit from the opportunity to take art all throughout their educational pathway at Columbia.  Our elementary students love art because it generates creativity and gives them a basis for future academic success in all areas of their curriculum through the enhancement of their motor skills, visual acuity, and decision making.
Columbia School District has a focus on music beginning with our kindergartners!   General music is offered to all of our students.  Our students learn various areas of music, including choral music, and instrumental music.  One of the high lights for our elementary students is the Annual Second Grade musical.  Each year Mr. Cryderman spends hours and hours with our second graders learning, practicing and performing the musical.  The students learn many things through this experience.  Our music program enhances the natural creativity of our students.  They have the opportunity to learn camaraderie, gain self-confidence, and increase academic success.  Studies have shown that there is a positive correlation between music and mathematics.
Our music program gives students an opportunity to experience instrumental music through recorders in fourth grade, and band beginning in fifth grade.  The Columbia School District music teachers, Mr. Cryderman, Mr. Folts, and Mr. Akers combine to give our students a chance to learn how to play various types of musical instruments, including woodwinds, brass, and percussion instruments. 
The junior and senior high school musicals allow students to extend their love of music by combining dancing, singing and instrumental music.  The various musicals that our talented students have performed have given them insight into enhanced group interactions, increased self-confidence, and a positive academic correlation.  Giving our students the best opportunities in all areas of the curriculum including technology, art, foreign language, and music, will provide an enhanced level of success for all of our children and give them memories, skills, and experiences that will last a lifetime.  If you are interested in learning more about our programs at Columbia School District, email me at or call 5175926641.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Integrating Technology into our Lives

The other day one of my friends told me about an experience with his son.  They were out in the woods doing some hiking and hunting.  As the sun rose and lit the trees with its rays, his son said about the vibrant fall colors practically leaping off of the leaves, “This is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen in nature.”  This ten-year-old was focused on the incredible beautiful ever changing colors of the leaves. 

 As I rush out the door every morning, I take a minute to focus on the beautiful colors of the changing leaves and the rays of the warming sun.  Recently as I gazed up at the bright oranges, yellows, reds and greens of the trees, it made me think about how education has changed over the past several years. 

Technology is one of the most brightest and colorful ever changing areas of education, much like the changing colors of the leaves on the trees.  These days we hear a lot of changing ideas about educating our children.  One phrase we have heard a lot about is “Blended Learning.”  What exactly is blended learning and does it have positive results for our students? 

Blended learning uses both digital learning strategies through online media and traditional classroom instruction.  Students are able to complete the online portion of the learning, decide on the place they access the online content and set an appropriate pace.  Columbia Central High School students use blended learning strategies in quite a few of their classrooms.  Some of our teachers use a strategy called “Flipped Classroom.”  In this strategy students choose the time and place that they review the material in the lesson before coming to class.  This material may include research, specific online sites or a Podcast.  Once the students arrive in class they begin with activities based upon the material they covered online and may follow up with an assessment covering their assignment and activities.

Blended learning activities also are taking place at Columbia Upper Elementary School.  Many teachers are using strategies that integrate technology both at home and during school.  Recently I spoke to several students who were working on a blended learning technique that included doing online research, creating a graphic organizer and translating that into a multi-page website.  This strategy gave the students an opportunity to work in their own time, at their own pace, using a learning-path they chose and a place that worked for them. 

In some of our Columbia Elementary School classrooms teachers are having students write in their blogs online and then classmates, parents, and other relatives, in addition to the teacher, read and write reviews.  This partnership between parents, students and the teacher is made possible through the online techniques of blended learning.

At Columbia Options High School students use online applications during their traditional classes as well as during their virtual classes.  We support students as they complete their virtual classes with a drop-in center and a resource teacher.  Many students find the virtual portion to be better suited to their learning needs, but they also find the resource teacher very important to assist them with questions.

By integrating technology and blended learning into the curriculum teachers must reinvent their teaching techniques.  To adapt the learning activities into this innovative way of teaching and learning, teachers collaborate together and experience a sustainable, transformation that results in meaningful student growth.

At Columbia we have worked to integrate technology into the curriculum and use blended learning strategies to enhance students’ ability to acquire new knowledge, we have seen a progressive improvement of student retention by using these techniques.  As we continue to use blended learning activities, strategies and techniques with our students we anticipate that they will increase their performance on post activity assessments.  When you look up at the beautiful changing fall leaves, remember to think about the changing look of technology in education. If you would like to learn more about Columbia School District or our programs, call me at 5175926641 or email me at .

Friday, September 13, 2019

Columbia Students: Learning Today, Leading Tomorrow

Learning can happen anytime, anywhere, anyhow.  This philosophy gives today’s students the opportunity to experience a different type of learning environment to help them be college and career ready.  Columbia School District is committed to giving students the optimal learning activities to gain the knowledge they need to be successful in the 21st Century. 

We not only have great teachers and learning opportunities at Columbia, but we offer a virtual educational experience for many of our students.  This virtual experience underscores the change in the conventional school experience including when and where students learn, what information they need to be confident and who they are as learners.

In addition to virtual classes our students have an opportunity to learn in flipped classrooms.  Flipped classrooms exist when a teacher gives his or her lesson on a short video.  This video lecture is viewed at home, then the in classroom work is focused on projects, completing exercises and discussions.
Our Columbia students may also take college level classes while they are in high school.  The Advanced Placement courses at Columbia Central High School give our students an intense college level experience.  Our incredible teachers used focused strategies and an increased level of educational learning activities to give our students the best chance to succeed.  Students may also earn the opportunity to take courses at the local community college.

Students who are in their junior year of high school and have an interest in a manufacturing career may participate in the early middle college program through JAC3, which is a unique program creating a concurrent opportunity to earn college credit, earn a high school diploma and a technical or career credential.  This program gives students skills through hands-on training, the opportunity to earn a career placement and an associate’s degree while still in high school.

The Columbia School District is participating in the Jackson County Early College (JCEC) program through a partnership with Jackson College.  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 assists 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 skillset.  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.

These programs and opportunities are a result the impact of our new economy and its greater emphasis on technology.  Our emphasis on project based learning and integrated technology helps to weave complex thinking skills into each area of the curriculum.  If you are interested in learning more about the opportunities at Columbia School District email me at or call 5175926641.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Tune In for Success!

Tuned in.  There are radio waves all around us 24 hours per day, for seven days per week.  There are approximately 44,000 radio stations broadcasting on various frequencies in local areas around the world.  Although we are awash in a sea of radio waves, we are not aware of them.    In order to hear what is being transmitted over the radio waves we have to tune in! 

In the Columbia School District our teachers are tuned in to assisting our students and giving them the best academic foundation for a successful future.  Recently, a group of community members, teachers, students, administrators and school board members updated our strategic plan.  The Columbia School District Strategic Planning process began through the visualization and goal setting process by the Board of Education. The theory of the board was to focus and guide the district over the next three to five years.

The Board of Education identified four goal areas important to the success of the district, and the District School Improvement Team identified an improvement goal, based on curricular areas important to student success, which has been included in the district’s plan.  The committees ensured stakeholders were heard through various surveys and verbal feedback.  Surveys were available online and at parent teacher conferences.

The Columbia School District Strategic Plan was approved and has been guiding the work of the district.  It has been revised and adjusted annually to keep us tuned in to the goals that were set. The Board of Education, the Administrative Team and the School Improvement Committee has worked together to provide guidance to ensure the district maintains its emphasis and achieves its goals.

In much the same way as the radio waves are a pervasive and ubiquitous force around us that we cannot see, the Columbia School District Strategic Plan is there broadcasting information to the teachers and administrators as they daily tune in to the success oriented goals for our students.  The Columbia School District has used the plan to guide us as we have updated our reading curriculum, added new resources and curriculum elements in mathematics, and increased our academic focus as our students learn today, so they will become the leaders of tomorrow.  If you are interested in learning more about Columbia School District, email me at or call 5175926641.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Join in the Fun at Columbia Elementary Kindergarten!

Now it is time for your child to attend Kindergarten, what is your next step?  Starting kindergarten is a new adventure, it is part of growing up!  You can help prepare your child and yourself to make the move to kindergarten a smooth one.  Being a kindergartner means that there are changes to their daily routine.  It is important to set up a new routine prior to school beginning and to begin to build new relationships with other children, their teachers and parents.

Many of your children will be excited!  They have heard about attending school from their siblings or neighbors.  It is important for your child to get off to a good beginning!  Help you child build their confidence because it is natural for them to have concerns about the change in their daily routine.  Discuss the activities and fun they will have at school and give him or her a chance to talk about their feelings.  Your conversations with your kindergartner will help both of you feel more at ease regarding their move to school. 

How can you describe kindergarten to your child?  Your new kindergartner will have the opportunity to experience music, art, physical education and technology class in addition to their normal school day.  They will get to use the school library, eat in the cafeteria and ride the school bus.  Your child will participate in recess on the elementary playground and have fun playing with their friends.

Your child will be in a class with other children and they will have the opportunity to develop independent work habits, learn to participate in group work, move to various learning stations and make new friends.  Your kindergartner will have the opportunity to be part of a classroom with a daily routine.  They will experience math, science, reading and writing activities in their classroom. 

If you are still looking for a positive innovative kindergarten for your child, Columbia Elementary School has caring teachers who are having a Kindergarten Roundup time for you to visit and learn more about our program on August 14, 2019 from 5 pm to 7 pm at 320 School Street in Brooklyn.  If you have questions about the kindergarten program or how your child may benefit from attending Columbia, call me at 5175926641 or email me at, or email the Columbia Elementary principal at . 

Friday, July 26, 2019

One of the important areas of emphasis at Columbia School District is STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).  Science is very important in society today.   Science impacts every facet of our lives, from the pavement we drive on; to the medicines we take; to the alarm clocks that wake us up each day.  Science has provided us with new plastics that make up our water bottles, bullet proof vests for our law enforcement professionals and parts for our automobiles.  Our students have the opportunity to take chemistry, biology, anatomy and physiology, physics, sports medicine and forensics.  Columbia Central High School offers the opportunity for our students to earn take college level science courses through our Early College and Advanced Placement programs. 

Globally, one of the things that science has provided is the basis for technological advancements, which paved the way for cell phones, computers and an impressive array of electronics.  Technology has given students new avenue for learning.  At the schools in Columbia we focus on integrating technology into every area: Language Arts, Math, Science and Social Studies.  Our students use iPads, Chromebooks, desk top computers and graphing calculators.  Technology allows our students to increasing their learning potential by performing research anywhere and anytime.  Some of the lessons our students perform are flipped lessons.  In a flipped lesson technology allows teachers to provide basic learning opportunities through technology, and then the students work together with their peers and teacher to put their learning into practice the next day. 

Engineering is of increasing importance and is directly connected with the other elements of STEM.  Our students have the opportunity to learn basic engineering principles through our science lessons.  Engineering principles are also taught in our robotics course, through our robotics teams and the high school principles of engineering course.  This week our elementary students are enjoying Robotics Camp.  Even the first and second grade students have the opportunity to experience hands-on robotics learning activities.  In August, third through sixth graders will enjoy learning about underwater robotics through our summer camp programs.  Columbia Central offers robotics teams to our students in junior and senior high school.  As a bonus to our elementary students we will offer robotics teams for first through sixth grade students.

As the final letter in STEM, M stands for mathematics, which offers a platform for technology and engineering, and is directly tied to science.  Math is in our everyday lives, from shopping for bargains, to driving our cars, to figuring out how much tax we owe on a purchase.  Math is not only used in the science, technology and engineering, it is used by artists and musician in their daily work.

At Columbia, we offer our students an opportunity to play in our Academic Games after school where mathematics, language arts, social studies are combined to provide an extensive learning program for participants. Our Columbia Central High School students are able to take Early College or Advanced Placement Calculus course.  If you are interested in learning more about Columbia’s many STEM opportunities, email me at or call 5175926641.  You may sign up your child for underwater robotics or one of our other fabulous summer programs at our website, click on All News and scroll down to Summer Camp 2019.

The Crescent Moon

Straight up in the evening sky was a bright shining crescent moon!  It was so awe inspiring that as I stood in my back yard looking up, my neighbors stopped to appreciate the beauty of the evening sky.  As parents, or grandparents, how can we take an observation of the great outdoors and use it to encourage our children or grandchildren to read? 

By using experiences in nature as an encouraging event, we can take our youngsters to the library and follow up by searching for books on the topic.  For the youngest readers, you will want to choose books that you can share in the reading, or chapter books that you may read to them.  It is important to be in the habit of sharing with your children what you read.  Following an outdoor adventure, you could also choose a book on the topic of the moon, stars, or other naturalist type topic.  By modeling for your children, you will encourage them to view reading as something moms and dads or grandparents do regularly.

One secret to raising a positive avid reader is to aim for a specific number of minutes, pages, or books in a certain length of time.  Follow up your nature reading, with reading on a topic that they are interested in, such as horses, dogs, or science fiction.  You can make reading a family affair by taking everyone on a reading-picnic!  Pack a picnic lunch, take your family outside, spread out a blanket, and bring along a book for everyone! 

Raising a reader also may involve incentives.  You may encourage your child or grandchild by having a chart for stickers marking the number of pages, minutes or books read.  Your child may enjoy a trip to the dollar store for trinkets when they pass a milestone reading goal measured in books, minutes or pages read.  You can also enjoy healthy snacks during your reading time.

In the end, your child can become a voracious reader even if they don’t seem to enjoy it now.  Allowing them to pursue their interests while reading can motivate them to find the joy in reading.  You will feel the utmost happiness and success when your child begs for reading another chapter before they go to sleep.  If you are interested in learning about the reading programs available at Columbia School District, email me at or call 5175926641.

Learning Today, Leading Tomorrow at Columbia!

Columbia School District staff members are looking forward to a fabulously successful year.  Our teachers and administrators have worked diligently this summer to make our Vision,” Learning Today, Leading Tomorrow,” come alive for your children! 

As a school family, we are proud to be a part of this community. Our outstanding teachers and staff members strive for excellence as we diligently work with your student to increase his or her educational abilities. Columbia School District provides your child an academic learning environment where their dreams will be nurtured, they will be empowered to create a better world, and grow into leaders in our community!

The Columbia School District is participating in the Jackson County Early College (JCEC) program through a partnership with Jackson College.  Now in its second year, the early college program paves the way for Columbia students to move from a traditional K-12 approach to a more vigorous -K14 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 skillset.  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 in high school and remain in the program through their 13th year to a maximum of 60 credits.

Our emphasis on positive learning and integrated technology helps to weave complex thinking skills into each area of the curriculum. The Jackson County Early College program will enhance the lives of our students and give them the best chance for a successful future!  If you are interested in learning more about the opportunities at Columbia School District email me at or call 5175926641.

Friday, May 31, 2019

Teacher of the Month: Kevin Miller!

Whether he is standing tall on the sidelines of a Columbia Golden Eagles girl’s softball game, or working with the CCHS Leadership class on the Hope Run, Kevin Miller is a positive, amazing teacher and coach.  For the past 33 years his positive impact at Columbia Central has made a difference in the lives of our students as they learn today to become leaders tomorrow.

Kevin Miller has been selected as Teacher of the Month due to his involvement in Columbia Central High School as a leader, coach, role model and teacher.  His love for the community extends beyond the classroom and athletic fields.  He has been a member of the Lions Club and participated in events and projects that benefit the community for more than 30 years.  He provides mentoring as the facilitator and teacher of the Columbia Central Leadership Class.  Together, he and his students have provided an immense amount of energy and tenacity as they have conducted many projects benefiting the Mid-Michigan area.  The following projects represent only a few of the many events and activities that Mr. Miller has facilitated and completed to benefit the local community.
·        - Yearly canned food drives to assist the Brooklyn Food Pantry.
·       -  Blood drives in cooperation with the American Red Cross.
·        - Relay for Life and the Columbia Hope Run raising funds to fight Leukemia and Lymphoma.
·        - Water collection to benefit the victims of the Flint Water Crisis.
·       -  Serving food at the homeless shelter.
·        - Swimming with disabled children.
·        - Tutoring children in reading through the Buddies Program at Columbia Elementary.
·        - Adopting families at Christmas.
·        - Fundraising for hurricane victims.
·       -  Spending time volunteering and visiting at the local retirement home.
·         Coordinated and led the Columbia Athletic Boosters Cash Bash for three years.
·        - Supported the Veteran’s Day Celebration.

Twenty years ago, Kevin Miller created the Communication Camp program which brings multiple benefits to students by building bridges between various groups through research-based strategies and activities.  Kevin’s giving spirit and leadership capabilities have benefited participating students by helping them break down barriers and improve camaraderie within Columbia Central High School. 

Kevin’s creativity and love for teaching and learning led to the creation of Forum Day at Columbia Central High School.  This program brings in nationally know speakers, in combination with local leaders, to present life-long learning informative programs for the students.

Kevin Miller credits his love of teaching US History to his family.  He is a grandson of a WWI Veteran, and a son of a WWII Veteran, and he takes tremendous pride in sharing stories and information about our great Nation to the next generation.  He feels blessed and rewarded to have chosen a career in education.  The Columbia School District family is proud of Mr. Miller and his many accomplishments and wishes him a fabulous retirement!

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Mrs. Phelps: Teacher of the Month!

Mrs. Phelps makes a difference in the lives of Columbia Elementary students!  She said that she, “loves being a School Counselor because of the students, and the positive relationships I get to make with each of them.”  Her enthusiasm for helping students and supporting them both socially and academically benefits the children at Columbia Elementary School.  Mrs. Phelps commented that, “One of the most rewarding parts of my job is seeing students use the skills we have practiced to help them be more successful.”

She believes that being a school counselor is amazing.  She said that, “as a School Counselor, it is important to me to be able to help students understand their emotions.  She went on to add, that it is important to communicate to them that “it is ok feel all the things they feel, while giving them tools to best express them.”  She continued by saying, “I love being able to be a person to encourage and support students in both good times and also when they are in need of an advocate.”

When you see Mrs. Phelps, you know she enjoys working with students and counseling them on various skills.  She mentioned that she, “loves coming to school each day!  School is always a new adventure that I am grateful to be a part of.”  Her bright smile greets students as they walk down the hallway. 

Mrs. Phelps has a kind demeanor and focuses on the school motto: “Work Hard and Be Kind.”  She also works with teachers and students under the Columbia School District Mission: “Nurture Dreams.  Empower All. Create a Better World”.  Because Columbia has a positive academic environment, she said that it is especially important to communicate the Columbia Vision to our students, “Learning Today, Leading Tomorrow”.

Mrs. Phelps said one of the things she loves about being a school counselor is forming relationships with the students and the seeing them grow and mature throughout the school year.  She added, “Of course all the hugs and smiles each day are also a huge perk to being a School Counselor!”  This year Mrs. Phelps was recognized by her fellow teachers and staff members as a person at Columbia Elementary that has a huge impact on the lives of the students.  For her hard work and dedication to the children, she received the “You Make A Difference Award.”  Mrs. Phelps is deserving of recognition for all of her incredible focus and enthusiasm on providing a positive, caring, and welcoming counseling program.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Mrs. Trudeau: Teacher of the Month!

Mrs. Trudeau is busy making a difference in the lives of students at Columbia Central High School!  She is focused on cultivating an environment of academic success.  She has always loved helping others.  As an elementary student Mrs. Trudeau loved helping grandmother, Alice Haystead, who was a teacher at Clarklake Elementary School.  As a high school student she would take every opportunity to assist her aunt who was also an elementary teacher in Napoleon.  Because of her love for helping others and experience helping in classrooms and tutoring struggling students, Mrs. Trudeau was determined to become a special education teacher.

This past year, she was voted “Teacher of the Year” by her fellow Columbia Central High School teachers.  Mrs. Trudeau is consistently working to advance her students to higher levels of academic achievement through careful planning and focusing on increasing her student’s educational excellence.  She works to motivate her students by encouraging them to exceed their expectations and their past academic performance.  Her caring and nurturing spirit supports her students both academically and socially.

Mrs. Trudeau achieved her dream of becoming a special education teacher at Columbia.  Her first year she worked with junior high students in the morning and taught kindergarten in the afternoon.  She said that she worked with the late Mary Neely and that she “learned so much from her as she was an amazing teacher and a wonderful human being.”  Although she loved the little ones, she took her dream job as a full time special education teacher at Columbia Central High School the next fall.

Mrs. Trudeau is currently in her 32nd year of teaching.  Mrs. Trudeau says she is so blessed to have a job in which every day is diverse, and is so privileged to work in the satisfying, life-changing career of teaching.  Mrs. Trudeau said that, “There is nothing like watching a student have that "Aha" moment or seeing their faces when they finally understand a concept or when they get a good grade on an assignment, quiz or test.”  

She continued by saying, “I love teaching, especially math.  There are a lot of students who struggle with math and I have tried, over the years, to make it fun.  I love being able to create projects around math concepts.”  Mrs. Trudeau also mentioned that, “I have been able to make treats for the veterans at Christmas, teaching students to read recipes, compare prices and calculate costs.  We have made gingerbread houses, learned cake decorating and even took a trip to Lowes to price the supplies it would take to decorate a room in a home. We made pies for Pi Day as a culminating activity when learning about circles.”  

Columbia teachers recognized Mrs. Trudeau for her leadership in the classroom and as an important part of the school improvement efforts.  Mrs. Trudeau’s enthusiasm for learning in various settings is illustrated by her ability to demonstrate creativity and innovation in her lesson plans and using teaching methods that inspire students to learn.  She has had an impact on students through her love of theater and the musicals.  She is excited to be directing this year's Jr. High musical, SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK LIVE! JR., which will take place on May 3rd and 4th at 7:00 pm, and May 5th at 2:00 pm at the Columbia Performing Arts Center.  The musical features many of the songs from the old cartoon series “Schoolhouse Rock.”  

Get Ready for a Summer of Experiences!

Columbia School District parents have the opportunity to partner with terrific teachers and administrators.   Our students learn today, so they may lead tomorrow!  Columbia students receive an excellent education filled with positive experiences and quality academic activities.  We welcome you to experience an amazing educational culture focused on student success.  We are committed to encouraging our students to grow and excel.  Recent examples of student leadership and success are the Hope Run, student mentors with the Buddies Reading Program, student led blood drives, Fill the Bus and our recycling program.

 Our teachers and staff members use their creativity and nurturing spirit to give our students the unique learning activities available during our summer programs and camps.  Infused with science, team building skills and literacy concepts your child will enjoy every minute of their academic experience.  Giving your child the gift of learning this summer in the comfort of air conditioning will enhance their creativity, whether they select art, robotics, science, sports or academic games.  Have your child join in the fabulous fun by choosing one or more of our camps!

In June, Columbia School District sponsors Basketball camp, Art Camp, Spanish, Theater Camp, Maker Space, Robotics, Cookie Making and Credit Recovery.  The summer programs in the end of July and August gives your child the opportunity to enjoy Art, Princess Camp, Electrifying Science Camp, Football Camp, Academic Games, Leadership, Underwater Robotics, and Explore!  In addition, Columbia Child Care and Latchkey program will have fabulous programs running all summer!

Each and every day the teachers and members of the Columbia School District family come together to provide educational activities and learning opportunities for our students to brighten our children’s day.  If you are interested in learning more about how your child could benefit from the awesome learning environment at the Columbia School District, would like a tour or to have your child shadow one of our terrific students please contact me by email at or call me at 5175926641.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Read With Your Children!

Research shows that children who read as little as 30 minutes per day will become good readers.  They may read magazines, newspapers, comic books, or books.  By paying attention and giving reading a prominent place in our lives, your child will benefit and that advantage will last a lifetime.  Being a good reader gives your child an opportunity to excel in school and at work.  Encourage your child to read each and every day.

Initially you may want to read aloud with your child.  You will want to begin reading to your child when they are an infant.  Your calm voice will soothe your child.  Many children enjoy having their parent read to them.  Begin by reading for as little as 10 minutes.  Children can listen to books that they are not able to read.  By listening, they will increase their vocabulary and benefit from various subject matters.  As they grow and mature, they may want to begin reading portions of the book. 

For most of us our television has a prominent place in our homes, but books are on out of the way shelves or hidden in cabinets or under end tables.  Help your child learn to appreciate reading by setting up an assigned reading time when the family may read together.  Give your child the gift of reading by setting up a personal book shelf for them.  The book shelf doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive, but it gives them an opportunity to select a book from their interesting collection during reading time.

Set a schedule to go to the library.  Setting aside time to visit the library and check out books will help your child develop a powerful reading habit.  While you are at the library with your child, make sure you choose a book for yourself.  This way you set a good example for your child!

Columbia School District teachers place an element of importance on reading.  Your child may bring home books or e-readers that they contain assigned reading.  Make sure they are working on their reading assignments, this will greatly benefit them both in life and in school.  If you are interested in learning more about Columbia Schools, call me at 5175926641 or email .