Columbia Middle School continues to provide a strong instructional program in an inviting student-centered atmosphere. While serving the Township of Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, we benefit from strong community support and believe in communicating our message to all stakeholders.
The middle school curriculum offers challenging opportunities wherein our students will succeed, and indeed thrive in this technological age. A rigorous core program in language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies is augmented by interdisciplinary themes that create a more meaningful and enriching middle school experience.
Sound budget planning, along with grants from our local Berkeley Heights Education Foundation, has allowed us to enhance the use of technology in each classroom.
One student states, “Our school’s advanced technology allows students to excel in a variety of ways with a better understanding of the material being taught.”
A “Related Arts Cycle” program offers a rich variety of experiences in music, art, life skills, computers, technology, public speaking, and theater arts. The study of world languages, health, physical education, support services for students with special needs, enrichment activities, and problem-solving skills round out the program.
Our S.T.R.I.P.E.S character education program helps develop the skills needed to be a successful middle school student. We ask each student to “Earn their S.T.R.I.P.E.S.”. Leadership skills are developed during regularly scheduled counseling lessons. Our students recognize the value of having an impact outside of school by participating in community outreach which this year had global impact when they collected contributions of books, mittens and hats and shipped them off to children in Afghanistan.
The building administrators chair monthly grade level meetings with all students and use that time to address concerns as well as to communicate expectations during a two-way conversation.
Columbia offers an extensive co-curricular program including intramurals, interscholastic sports, student government, yearbook, and many special interest clubs. A 15-second film festival, as well as an annual “Star Party” for sky watchers, are but a few of the opportunities that we showcase here at Columbia Middle School.
Each of the classrooms in our building reflects the enthusiasm of the teacher. Each aspect of our program of study is delivered with skill targeting the various learning styles presented by our students. The majority of our teachers have advanced degrees and others are currently pursuing advanced graduate study. Each member of the faculty brings a rich academic background and experience that enhances the learning climate within the school.
All members of the faculty participate in one of many Professional Learning Communities. The overarching goal is to infuse technology and writing in the subject area. The school schedule allows for team planning and sharing, as well as parent/team meetings.
As a result of our program our students have excelled:
• By scoring better than students statewide and in communities similar to Berkeley Heights on
the New Jersey ASK assessment.
• By placing students in the top 10 in the country on the National French Examination.
• By having students receive recognition for their success in writing at the county, state, and
• By participating in a district-wide “Prism” concert where students performed in an ensemble of
• By achieving a 90% participation rate in our co-curricular and sports programs.
• By inviting senior citizen reading groups into the building for shared Literary Lunches.
• By active participation in community service projects such as community food drives, clothing
collections, and service activities.
Columbia Middle School has a very effective relationship with its Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO). Through this partnership, the PTO sponsors assemblies that promote character education as well as programs of interest that are curriculum-based.
The aforementioned Berkeley Heights Education Foundation continues to provide support in many ways, including visits from authors and artists, new technology for classrooms, and promoting artistic endeavors in a variety of media.
A partnership with the local Municipal Alliance provides funding for programs such as Red Ribbon Week and Project Pride: an annual program for eighth graders who learn the stories of young people who became incarcerated because of poor personal choices.
When we speak to students about “earning your tiger stripes” that includes success in the classroom, growth in character, and becoming an active participant in the process while showing respect to the other members of the community. We are proud to offer these and other opportunities to our young people, whose accomplishments, talents, and achievements make Columbia Middle School a forward-thinking, successful 21st century learning community.