Columbia Public Schools is the fifth largest district in the state. It includes 21 elementary schools, seven middle schools, four high schools and the Columbia Area Career Center, as well as an early childhood program, with an enrollment of 18,213 students.The school district is accredited by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, citing such educational advantages as:
- Comprehensive curriculum and services at all grade levels, including preschool and adult
- Exceptional programs for at-risk students and students with disabilities
- Extensive depth and breadth in middle school and high school course offerings
- Award-winning career education programs designed for all students
- Successful community partnerships and volunteer programs
- Significant emphasis on staff development and school improvement efforts
Columbia's students excel in the classroom and in their post-secondary education careers. Nearly 70 percent of Columbia students extend their education beyond high school. Sixty-seven percent attend a college or university. Student performance on the ACT and SAT exams exceed state and national averages. In 2020, 89.1 percent of Columbia Public Schools graduates took the ACT. Additionally, of the 1,483 students taking advanced placement courses, more than 69 percent earned college credit.
Our district's teachers represent the primary reason Columbia's schools and students are so successful. More than 72 percent of teachers hold a master's degree or higher and an average of 12.5 years of professional experience.
The community understands the importance of maintaining a high-quality educational program. Most recently, bond issues were passed in 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2007, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2020. A tax levy increase received voter approval in 1999, 2003, 2012, and 2016.
Columbia Public Schools is also ranked as a top 10 district for exemplary and innovative use of technology by the National School Boards Association and ranked in the top 10 percent of school districts nationwide by Niche.com.
The district's focus, from preschool to adult career education, is excellence.