Letter from CHS Principal Aaron on the Start of the School Year

by The Village Green
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The following is adapted from a letter emailed to families by Columbia High School Principal Elizabeth Aaron on Friday, Sept. 11.

Dear CHS Families:

Thank you for our first not-quite-full week at CHS. Your students have been terrific at settling in, reminding themselves of school rules and policies, and establishing patterns and habits of success for the year ahead.

Attached to this email you will find our revised Student and Family Handbook. We invite your attention especially to its first page, where we have reprinted our school’s original (and current) mission (and its as-is, 1927 spelling of ’skillful’), easily found on a bronze wall plaque in our main hall. We believe it beautifully captures our dedication as a learning community to each other as students, staff, and families. The work that our school leaders, families, and students identified for themselves in 1927 remains very much our vision today.

Download (PDF, 932KB)

Please be reminded:

Our doors open at 7:20 for our Period 1 class and 8:15 for our Period 2 class. Students have ten minutes to get to their lockers at that time and then be on time to their class which begins at either 7:30 or 8:25. We appreciate the patience of our students and families who have been at the tail-end of our locker distribution process and expect that to be finished by Wednesday.

Our cafeteria opens for breakfast at 7:00 and students are welcome to stay in the cafeteria at that time to do homework if they do not have a Period 2 class. Students who wish to enter CHS before our 7:20 bell may do so only through our cafeteria doors. Next week, we will also publish our tutorial and lab schedules for students and will send home copies to all CHS households via email and our school website. Student may report to our library or a lab during Period 1 to do work also, but must sign in and remain there for the period.

Our library and tutorial labs are open for students for use during Study Halls and lunch periods. Students who wish to sign in to do work need only to have a pass from a teacher. This pass may be obtained the day of or before its use. For example, if a student wishes to work on an assignment, he or she may obtain a pass from a teacher to do so the day before or before leaving the class that day for use the next day or later in the day. All students must sign in when entering a lab or the library.

All CHS students are required to have an ID. ID cards are free of charge until October 1 and $5.00 thereafter. Students, starting on Wednesday, September 16, will need their ID to sign-in after our 7:30 and 8:25 bells. Please be sure your student has an ID. They are also needed to take all standardized tests such as the SAT and the ACT and to take out any library or technology materials from CHS.

…In particular, we ask that you review the following with your students:

  • Dress Code: page 23
  • Attendance: page 9-12
  • Cafeteria Guidelines: page 22
  • Clubs and Activities: pages 35-39
  • Substance Abuse, Counseling, and Services: pages 40-41
  • (Please note: You may use the Parent Portal in Powerschool to report absences!)
  • Expectations for School Citizenship and Behavior: pages 19-22
  • Cell Phones: page 46

Please note: Our cell phone policy is in accordance with Board policy. Our policy can be easily and simply described as “Off and Away.” Please discuss this with your student.

Of special interest to seniors and their families: pages 49-50

(Should page numbers have shifted in formatting from my in-box to yours, thank you for finding and reviewing this material with your student.)

Over the coming days, we will also send you links to our electronic backpack, where you will continue to find important things for this school year. Please remember that you should update all emergency contact information through the Parent Portal in Powerschool. Should you need assistance with Powerschool, please do so by email contact to Mrs. Voorhees at rvoorhee@somsd.k12.nj.us. She has processed hundreds of such requests over the past two weeks, and we appreciate your patience if you have needed to wait for yours. Using Powerschool is an important part of being part of your students’ lives here at CHS and we are pleased that so many parents and guardians have done so this year at our request. We are excited about continuing our transition to smoother and more efficient processes at CHS such as using Powerschool’s Parent Portal for you to report attendance, and appreciate your continued support and understanding as we make these changes.

Should you have questions about CHS related to classes and coursework, please always reach out to your child’s teacher. Please use and view your child’s guidance counselor as a key resource here, and be in contact with your grade level dean and Assistant Principal for support, assistance, and guidance.

We are certain that the coming months and years of working with our new superintendent and our fully committed CHS staff will bring continued hard work, success, and achievements for all of our students. We welcome your expectations and are committed to meeting them for every student at CHS to reach his or her potential, and to be fully supported, nurtured, challenged, and engaged every day.

Best regards,

Elizabeth Aaron

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