Note from the Principal
Happy December Columbia Families!
Wow, it is hard to believe we are already into December. This sure has been an unique year to say the least. I have always been one to reflect throughout my life however, never as much as I am during this pandemic. Through reflection I am able to acknowledge all that is positive and good in my life. I have always viewed my life as a combination of personal and professional because my job is such an important part of my purpose on this planet. Here is a little reflection of some of the good here at Columbia:
- We have the strongest ever partnerships with our families and you are doing an amazing job supporting your learners at home
- Our kids at Columbia are learning by working so hard and being committed to their learning with their class and teacher (even remotely)
- Remote teaching and learning is more amazing than ever expected
- Columbia staff cares deeply for our Columbia kids and this shows up in person and remotely
- Kindergarten and 1st graders are safely learning at school and having fun doing so
These are just a few of the good things happening at this time. I am grateful for our learning community and everything that everyone is doing to support our students with having the best education possible. I am also especially proud of our Columbia kids for their outstanding resilience and the caring they demonstrate for one another. Columbia is a great community to be a part of.
INCLEMENT WEATHER and SCHOOL CLOSURES
Any changes to the school schedule are usually announced by 6 a.m., and we use a variety of methods to keep families informed:
· Alerts: To receive email and/or text alerts, set your communication preferences on the Skylert tab within Skyward Family Access. (Need help? go here for step-by-step directions or contact 360-676-6520.) Please note: You must opt in to receive text messages by scrolling down to Step 8.
· Tune to local media: 790 AM, 96.5 FM, 104.1 FM or Seattle media.
· Check bellinghamschools.org
· Call 360-676-6400 for a recorded message.
· Call 360-647-6815 for a message translated in Español, русский, tính từ and Punjabi.
Recently, you should have received an email from the district about your access to the ApParent app. The ApParent app allows real time monitoring of a student’s device by the parent, and allows you to remotely see what is on your child’s screen. You can also lock the screen, set time limits for screen time, and block certain sites. Here is a short video intro to ApParent: https://www.apparent.online/
If you did not receive the email from the district, please check your junk email. Email April O’Halloran at April.OHalloran@bellinghamschools.org if you have any questions or if you still haven't received the email.
Is your child entering kindergarten next year and not currently in preschool? Apply for Promise K 2021!
Bellingham Public Schools (BPS) will provide a free, early entrance kindergarten, called Promise Kindergarten (Promise K) for children who are scheduled to enter kindergarten in Fall 2021.
Our Promise K program will run 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. located at elementary schools in our district (sites for 2021 are not yet determined). This program will focus on basic academic and social skills to help qualifying students get a jump-start toward success in school. The estimated start date is January 25, 2021. Promise K will follow the district calendar; the last day of the school year is currently June 18, 2021.
The strategic plan for BPS, The Bellingham Promise, compels us to do all we can in support of all students at every level of education. One of our key strategies is to enhance and invest in early childhood learning opportunities. We believe offering Promise K is a positive and critical step in helping your child transition into our schools and start his/her journey to becoming a lifelong learner.
If your child qualifies and you are interested in enrolling him or her into our Promise K program, please fill out the application online. If you have any questions, please contact Kristin.Newberry@bellinghamschools.org or call 360-676-6488.
HEALTH ATTESTATION and EXCUSING A SICK CHILD
If your student is attending in-building learning and is sick, please remember to contact the school office (360-676-6413) and let them know all symptoms. We encourage you to consult your health care provider. If testing for COVID 19 is indicated, testing sites and information can be found here.
Your child may return to school if: Testing for COVID 19 is not performed - your child should stay home for 10 days after symptoms began and at least 24 hours after fever is gone and symptoms have improved. OR COVID 19 testing is performed and is negative - your student should stay home for 24 hours after fever is gone and symptoms improve.
A Note From Our Counselor
As we head into December of a wild 2020, I want to express my gratitude to all the parents and guardians and caregivers in our school community who have worked so hard to support students during this unprecedented time. You have stepped up teachers, playmates, tech support, emotional support and activity coordinators, for your children, along with managing all the other responsibilities in your lives. We are truly grateful for your support and partnership as we’ve navigated these strange months. Thank you!
Additionally, if you need resources for mental health support, food support, or new ideas for parenting in a pandemic, please reach out! I can set up times to meet with families and students via zoom as needed, and can also support students in our building, as well.
To reach the School Counselor:
BSD Mental Health & Wellness Resources:
Columbia Library Book Checkout
The link to the library catalog is https://search.follettsoftware.com/metasearch/ui/25719
The RECONNECT Plan
Our Reconnect Plan for the 2020-21 school year outlines five stages for a return to in-person instruction at school based on safety and equity. We are now in Stage 2 and 3 of our Reconnect Plan. Learn more about our Five Stages. Taking care of yourself and your family is taking care of your community.
Meal Box Distribution - No Boxes Distributed Over Winter Break
Starting tomorrow Dec. 2, the weekly meal box distribution returns to Wednesdays. The December boxes will be given out on Dec. 2, 9 and 16 at the regular 21 locations.The Dec.16 box will contain 21 meals to cover additional days during winter break. The Dec.16 box will also include a recipe for carrot ginger soup created by the Central Kitchen and Common Threads. All the ingredients needed for this soup are in the Dec. 16 box.
Important note: There will be no meal box distributions on Dec. 23 and 30. The Bellingham Food Bank will continue to operate around the holidays. Visit their website for more information on times and locations.
If you need additional support, please contact the Family Resource Center now by filling out the help form or calling 360-676-6456.
Meal box distribution will remain on Wednesdays starting in January 2021.
Students are using the playground and the field. Please help us by following the expectations for dogs on the playground:
- Dogs are not allowed on campus from 7:15-2:00
- Dogs must always be leashed on school grounds
- Please clean up after your dog and dispose of waste in a garbage receptacle
Thank you for being principled neighbors and helping our kids be at school safely.
Keeping Students Information Updated
It is important that you contact our office when there are changes made regarding your students address, health, or contact information. Throughout the year, you will receive emails and phone messages concerning your child(ren), from Columbia and the Bellingham Public Schools. Please take the time to update your preferences at here.