Welcome Letter from New Columbia HS Principal to Families

by The Village Green
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The following is a letter sent by new Columbia High School Principal, Elizabeth M. Aaron, to students and families.

Look for our upcoming interview with Ms. Aaron soon.

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August 2014

Dear Columbia High School Families:

I hope that you are enjoying a fun and restful summer.

It is with great pride that I assumed the role of Principal of Columbia High School on July 1. I look forward to working with you to make Columbia High School the best-performing school in the nation, one where we work together to meet the academic, intellectual, social, and emotional needs of each of our students every day.

Last year, as Assistant Principal, I had the good fortune to work with now-retired Principal Smith and Assistant Principal Healy. They, the students, teaching faculty, staff, and community of our two towns greeted me with enthusiasm and were supportive as I transitioned into the position and were even more so after I accepted the position of Columbia’s principal.   The high standards, commitment, and deep talents of our teachers and the work they do with our students everyday are, I believe, the best that our public schools have to offer. I look forward to working in partnership with them and you in the years ahead.  CHS students and teachers produce some of the most impressive academic, artistic, and athletic results in the entire state. We look forward to building on the work done in previous years this school year and for years to come.

This year we welcome Ms. Cheryl Hewitt and Mr. Charles Ezell as Assistant Principals. Mr. Ezell joins us as Assistant Principal for Grade 9 and Ms. Hewitt is the Assistant Principal for Grade 10. Mr. Michael Healy will guide our juniors through this important year in their lives, and Dr. Jennifer Giordano, Director of Guidance and Counseling Services, will act as grade-level administrator for all matters relating to our seniors as they move toward graduation on June 24th.

The expectations we set for our students are high, and our goal at CHS is to make sure that every student is challenged, nurtured, engaged, and supported every day. High school is a four-year journey. Your students (and you) may encounter choppy waters some days and smooth sailing on others. We are always here to support them and you.  Our Guidance and Counseling staff, the district’s Special Services team, ESS, The Loft, our Intervention and Referral Services and 504 processes, the district’s Parenting Center and social workers, and, most importantly, your child’s teachers, are here to guide them and you on their path toward graduation.  Our teachers are here in the afternoons for academic support through our afterschool conference periods, and our library stays open after school for students to do homework and research. Our partnership with the Achieve Foundation, our own Peer Mentoring program, and other community organizations allow us to refer students for academic support and guidance as needed and to support their efforts toward excellence.

Your student, of course, bears primary responsibility for his or her own efforts and attitude – which are the two primary determinants of achievement and success. How our students choose to come to school is critical to their success. Their choice to be on time every day, with homework done, with eyes and ears tuned toward instruction, ready to engage with their coursework and teachers seriously and with their peers in a way that is supportive and constructive – these are the building blocks of achievement that will allow them to shine and be successful.

Please stay engaged and support your students with us throughout the year by:

  • Staying current on district and school news on the district website, www.somsd.k12.nj.us
  • joining and supporting the CHS Home School Association (HSA) at www.columbiahsa.org
  • attending school athletic,  arts and other events
  • following Ms. Aaron on Twitter at @CougarPrincipal for updates and insights to the great things that happen at CHS each week
  • asking your child to share his or her concerns, successes, frustrations, and learning experiences at the dinner table, in the car, at breakfast, or whenever your family life and schedules permit you to have conversations that show your student that you value school and their efforts toward being a successful student
  • attending Back To School Night to hear from your child’s teachers (Wednesday, October 1), and, most importantly,
  • communicating with your child’s guidance counselor, teachers, and grade-level administrators when you have questions,  concerns and compliments

Also, please mark your calendars for Wednesday, October 15. On that morning, all sophomores and juniors will report to school at 8 am to take a free PSAT. All other students report at 10:45 am to begin their academic day. This administration of the PSAT, funded by our district, allows all of our sophomores and juniors to assess their academic skills and progress to date and informs our understanding of areas of academic strength and potential as they move through high school toward the worlds of work, higher education, careers, and vocations. Find out more about the PSAT at collegeboard.org.

A revised Student/Family Handbook will be available on our website for the start of this new school year. Please take time to review it with your child and be in touch if you have any questions. Please note procedures for lateness, absences, and expectations for student conduct. Please take some time to speak with your child about the need for thoughtful and responsible use of social media, and please be aware that our policies regarding cell phone use at school are designed to help our students and staff focus on instruction.

Finally, enclosed please find an important update from Dr. Giordano regarding class schedules at Columbia this year.

I look forward to the school year with you and your child, and thank you in advance for supporting our work here at CHS.  Go, Cougars!

Best regards,

Elizabeth M. Aaron, MAT, M.Ed.

Principal

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