• CPS 150 Logo


    The 2022-23 school year included the 150th anniversary of the founding of Columbia Public Schools. While our community and district have grown and changed considerably since 1873, our commitment to children, families and our community remains the same.

    Though our celebration is over, enjoy this virtual time capsule of the last 150 years in CPS. 

An image of the First Public School Building. The photo is of a brick school house building on yellowed paper.

CPS Sesquicentennial Celebrations


    CPS logo on blue sky background with a small play button in the upper right

    As we begin official CPS sesquicentennial celebrations in January 2023, we will reflect on where we began, celebrate how far we’ve come, and look to our future in this special CPSTV segment


    Image of the original CPS crest from 1873 with a small play button in the upper right.

    The history of Columbia Public Schools can be traced back to December 1872, when the community voted in favor of the formation of a city school district. However, education in our community began well before then.

    CPS 150 logo on white background with a small play button in the upper right.

    Throughout its history, Columbia Public Schools has undergone significant changes, faced numerous challenges, and accomplished many great things. We continue celebrating our rich history by looking back at some of the notable initiatives.


    Celebrating 150 Years 	 CPS Sesquicentennial - Continued Excellence

    As we look towards the future, Columbia Public Schools is well-positioned to continue its legacy of excellence. We are committed to providing our students with the tools and skills they need to succeed in a world that looks very different from the one at our founding 150 years ago. Our students begin learning these skills from the moment they walk through our doors. 


    The final episode of the CPS150 sesquicentennial celebration special CPSTV segment.

    Our school district has come a long way in the last 150 years and we are proud of our progress. From the moment we opened our doors in 1873 educators have worked tirelessly to create nurturing environments that foster learning and growth. Just as we look back and can appreciate the dedication of those who came before us, we also look to the future.  

    Thank you for celebrating with us this year! We look forward to the next 150 years of CPS. 

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History of the Columbia Public School District

  • 1873: Formation of first community school in Columbia In 1873 the Columbia community elected the first six-member board.
  • 1881: School building constructed at corner of 8th and Rogers This is now the site of Jefferson Middle School.
  • 1896: First African American school, Frederick Douglass, opened The building was located on the southeast corner of Ash and Third streets, on land bought by a black Baptist church.
  • 1892: The first graduating class from Columbia Public Schools
  • 1894: CHS held the first unofficial football practices and games