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Craig  McKee
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Principal's Corner

CHS: On the Cutting Edge

When I think of Columbia High School I think of great teachers, an exciting environment, and a school that is on the cutting edge.

Not only do we have a staff that cares about our students we also have a staff that is well-prepared to teach future generations. Seven staff members are National-Board Certified, six are certified to teach AP classes and fifteen members of our staff have earned their Master’s Degree.  

Our leadership class, led by Scott Kasenga, helps create a positive school culture making Columbia High School a place where students want to learn.  The Leadership students organize Homecoming assemblies and activities, coordinate the all-night “Lock In,” prepare and set up many of the school dances, and post BRUIN WAY and inspirational banners around the high school.  The Leadership class also promotes student involvement by guiding the formation of new clubs, and they provide various food and raffle prizes for students who have earned Bruin Bucks.  Each week this year, Leadership has sponsored events. During ASB Meetings, the Leadership class and officers discuss, plan, and organize new events such as: Star Wars movie night, Dog Day, volleyball tournament, recognition events for students, foosball tournament and open gym.  Leadership students also create, upgrade, publish, and broadcast the daily bulletin. The Bulletin has evolved over the years with our present version being a collaboration between staff and students. Leadership students also advocate for community service volunteers.

Thanks to the help of the WSVEF, the Stevenson Family, Dorothy Henkle and our community, we have been able to purchase current machines and technology that help keep CHS on the cutting edge.

In John Hadley’s woodshop courses, students are learning to use a CNC router to create surfboards, kiteboards, windsurfing boards, skateboards and even electric guitars. Students are also using a newly purchased vinyl cutter to produce t-shirts, art designs and possibly banners in the future.

Chris Hipskind’s metal technology and robotics classes are building remote-controlled single-wing airplanes, all-terrain programmable robots, underwater robots, and electric cars. There is also the opportunity for students to work with Advisor Jack Perrin on the schools competitive robotics team. The metal shop is also waiting on a brand new CNC plasma cutter. This will allow students to cut intricate patterns and designs into sheet metal.

Christy Kreps’s art classes have Ituos pressure sensitive drawing tablets.  This allows students to draw artwork on the pad that is immediately transferred to the computer screen.  This enables students to draw and edit their artwork.  They also have CS6 digital imaging and graphic communications software.  It is the current industry standard.  The art department is waiting on a large format printer.  The printer will do showroom quality prints as well as banners and posters.

At Columbia High School, our students are able to gain industry-level certifications in Microsoft Office 2013 Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and Access in their required Computer Applications class taught by Mrs. Jan Callow. Through a partnership between OSPI and CCI Learning Solutions these certifications are offered free to students and staff. Normally these certifications cost between $100 - $300.

CHS has six classroom sets of Chromebooks with Google classroom. Google classroom helps teacher create assignments, distribute them electronically to their students, and grade the assignments without using any paper.

Our Science Department is using Vernier software and probeware, which is the most current software for high school and college science labs. These labs engage students with hands-on-science and peaks their interest in complex concepts.

Our special education department is doing a push-in model for students. The special education students are no longer learning math and English in a separate special education classroom. Within this inclusive model, the special education instructor works with the classroom teacher to provide extra instruction for all students.

The Math Department recently adopted a brand new common core math curriculum.

CHS is also adding five more access points for WiFi and we are also updating our core network switches. This will allow us to speed up our network by being able to handle about five times as much data.

The White Salmon Academy has had a high success rate of making sure students graduate with a high school diploma.

We are proud of the improvements that we have made at CHS to help our students, but we understand there is still much work to do. We would again like to thank our community for all of your support. Working together, we will continue to create an outstanding learning environment for our students.