The Columbia Union Teachers Association would like to take a moment to extend a
warm welcome back to our Columbia Elementary families. We are excited to begin the 20/21
school year and cannot wait to meet our new students and begin building our classroom
families. In everything that we do, we must always put the wellbeing and safety of our students
and staff first. While we recognize that there has been a significant amount of energy and time
being dedicated to sowing division within our community we have, instead, chosen to dedicate
OUR time and energy into creating a welcoming and robust digital learning experience for our
We stand wholeheartedly behind the hard work, dedication, and innovative problem
solving that embodies our amazing administration and their decision making processes. They
have been working closely with our county health official and Superintendent of Schools to
make the best decisions possible under the current situation, for the safety of our school
community. Joe Aldridge has not only shown himself to be committed to the wellbeing and
growth of our school, but has also been a visionary leader in the development of offering a
diverse range of cutting edge educational opportunities tailored to the needs of ALL of our
families. For example, Tuolumne County families can now enjoy the opportunity to participate in
a Columbia Elementary led homeschooling or independent study program, bringing them into
our ever growing school family. These actions have created a growing interest in Columbia
Elementary as an academic trailblazer and has caught the attention of many educational
leaders and families in our community. Thank you Mr. Aldridge!
The teachers of Columbia Elementary have spent countless hours volunteering our time
since March collaborating, adapting curriculum to digital format, and preparing for a multitude of
instructional settings for fall. While nothing beats getting to meet and educate our students in
person, WE are ready to teach, encourage, help, love, and support our students and families
throughout this unprecedented time. As educators, we understand better than anybody that
the most effective learning experience is face to face. However, when that option became
unavailable, we chose to rise to the challenge by creating a rigorous digital learning
environment optimal for student support and academic growth.
You will find that distance learning for the start of this school year will look very different
than last spring, when, on a dime, we had no choice but to shift from our classroom learning
environments to providing “crises learning” almost overnight. With proactive support and
encouragement from our administration, we logged hundreds of hours of training on a multitude
of distance learning educational platforms to better prepare for our incoming students and their
needs. Administration has worked diligently to secure hotspots and chromebooks to make sure
our students have the technology they need to support their education. Students will also
continue to be offered Music, PE and Counseling throughout our distance learning adventure.
We are prepared to create as “normal” and as consistent of a school day as possible.
The social-emotional needs of our students come before any political or ideological agendas,
the facts are the facts, and our kids are all that matters. We understand that distance learning
can be challenging for everyone involved, so please do not hesitate to let us know how we can
help. We are all in this together and we will persevere!
The Columbia Union Teachers Association