Columbia Public Schools is the fifth largest district in the state. It includes 21 elementary schools, six middle schools, four high schools and the Columbia Area Career Center, as well as an early childhood program, with an enrollment of 18,654 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. Eighty percent of Columbia students extend their education beyond high school. More than 30 percent of Columbia graduates earn the College Preparatory Studies Certificate and more than 75 percent attend a college or university. Student performance on the ACT and SAT exams exceed state and national averages. Additionally, of the 2,300 students taking advanced placement courses, nearly 75 percent earn college credit.
Our district's teachers represent the primary reason Columbia's schools and students are so successful. The average Columbia teacher holds a master's degree, has 12 years of professional experience, and stays in the district a good many years.
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, and 2016. A tax levy increase received voter approval in 1999, 2003, 2012, and 2016.
Columbia Public Schools is nationally recognized as a District of Distinction by District Administration magazine. Its schools are nationally ranked by Newsweek magazine and by SchoolMatch with the "What Parents Want" award. 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.